Power from the Periphery: 40 Years of Insight on the Maya Lowlands from Southeast Mesoamerica

Author(s): Ellen Bell

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "I Love Sherds and Parasites: A Festschrift in Honor of Pat Urban and Ed Schortman" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

For more than 40 years, Pat Urban, Ed Schortman, and their student-colleagues have toiled long and hard in the blazing heat of Northwestern Honduras to understand the "non-Maya" populations resident in Southeast Mesoamerica. Their work stretches from the beginnings of complexity in the Middle Preclassic period (600 B.C.E.) through the Contact and Early Colonial periods (C.E. 1550) in the Naco Valley, Cacaulapa Valley, and Santa Barbara region of Honduras. Through this exposition of more than 2,000 years of human experience, Urban and Schortman have produced results that not only bring Southeast Mesoamerica and its peoples into sharp focus, but also provide insights into practices linked to craft production, political organization, systems of ritual and belief, interregional interactions, and daily life in the "high-culture" Maya Lowlands to the north. In this paper, I explore their contributions to Maya studies, and archaeology more broadly, by posing the question, "What wouldn’t we know about the Maya if Pat and Ed hadn’t spent so much time studying the "non-Maya?" I complement a review of their published work with reflections from their colleagues on the "other" side of the Motagua River.

Cite this Record

Power from the Periphery: 40 Years of Insight on the Maya Lowlands from Southeast Mesoamerica. Ellen Bell. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451966)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23593