Under the Hills: Archaeology of the Quetzaltenango Valley

Author(s): Maria Belen Mendez Bauer

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.

In prehispanic times the tops of the mountains and volcanoes were used as natural markers of geographical

spaces; many of these points served as referents in the construction of cultural landscapes based on the sacred.

The valley of Quetzaltenango, in western Guatemala, is surrounded by ten prominent hills and volcanoes.

In addition, the western highlands has more references in colonial literature to land titles than other areas.

In this paper, the history written in ancient documents and the Popol Vuh are taken up, to locate the

Postclassic populations of the area and their relationship to their landscape. Special emphasis is put on the

conflict reported between Mam and K'iche'ib in the north of the valley in the Ostuncalco area, which began in the

early Postclassic period and continued until 1785. During this time, a spring of water was being disputed, which,

besides being considered a natural limit, had a symbolic charge. This study exemplifies the close relationship

between landscape, history and archaeology.

Cite this Record

Under the Hills: Archaeology of the Quetzaltenango Valley. Maria Belen Mendez Bauer. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451213)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24738