Settlement Fission in the Western Guatemala Highlands

Author(s): Gregory Borgstede

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Art, Archaeology, and Science: Investigations in the Guatemala Highlands" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

This paper examines dynamic changes in Maya settlement patterns through a comparison of expansion and contraction of settlement patterns during the pre-Columbian, historic, and contemporary periods. In particular, it looks at when and why settlements are formed, within what is generally considered to be a single sociocultural context—the Huista region of western highland Guatemala. Data from archaeological investigations, historical documents, and ethnography are collated to demonstrate that there are discontinuities in the settlement pattern, in ways that are occasionally predictable, and that the etic organization of archaeological data into hierarchies of sites may underestimate this change. The paper provides a contribution to the discussion of how settlement patterns, as reflections of populations, change over time in a landscape, postulates some predictable patterns of settlement expansion and contraction, and comments on the necessary limitations of using the ethnographic present as an analogy for interpreting pre-Columbian archaeological data.

Cite this Record

Settlement Fission in the Western Guatemala Highlands. Gregory Borgstede. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451208)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.197; min lat: 14.009 ; max long: -87.737; max lat: 18.021 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23225