Archaeological Evidence and the Chronology of K'iche'an Dominance in the Guatemalan Highlands

Author(s): Thomas Babcock

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.

The K’iche’an ethnohistoric documents posit movement of Chontal-Nahuan groups into, and conquest of, the central Guatemalan highlands. A list of K’iche’ rulers was used to establish a timeline for occupation of the archaeological sites of Chujuyub, Jakawitz, and Q’umarkaj. Accordingly coinciding with the fall of Chichen Itza around AD 1200, Chontal-Nahuan groups arrived in the Quiche Basin at Chujuyub. Intermarrying with local K’iche’ they gained dominance, relocating to Jakawitz was around AD 1300, and subsequently Q’umarkaj was founded at around AD 1400. Occupation of Q’umarkaj ceased a short time after its conquest by Pedro Alvarado in AD 1524. Excavations at these sites yielded radiocarbon dates not supportive of this timeline. Subsequent reinterpretation of ethnohistoric documents argued in support of Toltec-related residence at Chujuyub around AD 500-800, with consolidation of power at Jakawitz, and regional hegemony at Q’umarkaj. The site of Jakawitz, however, lacked Mexican-style architecture and foreign trade goods when Mexicanized groups were hypothesized to begin dominating the region. This supports an alternative view that indigenous K’iche’an peoples developed in situ at Chujuyup between AD 500 and 800, establishing architecturally more complex Chitinamit around AD 800, and ultimately attaining regional hegemony at Q’umarkaj by AD 1300.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Evidence and the Chronology of K'iche'an Dominance in the Guatemalan Highlands. Thomas Babcock. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451212)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23133