Alternative Interpretive Lenses for Landscape at Mulch’en Witz, La Milpa, Belize

Author(s): Toni Gonzalez

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Archaeology as an Engine or a Camera?" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

This paper discusses ongoing archaeological investigations at the Late Classic Period (CE 600-800) Maya site of Mulch’en Witz, La Milpa, Belize. Survey and excavation at the site have revealed an unconventional geographical density of man-made subterranean spaces ("chultuns") in association with provocative architectural and geological features. While ‘utilitarian’ interpretive frameworks are available to make sense of this modified landscape, this paper recognizes that such an approach may be over-constrained. The possibility will be explored using an ahegemonic archaeological interpretation, which can present new perspectives on relationships between landscapes and cultural processes. By introducing artistic representations of landscape such as ‘Wasp Mountain’ in the Mixtec Codex Zouche-Nuttall, this presentation incorporates attested indigenous perspectives into the realm of archaeological interpretation. Not only do we begin exploring alternate relationships between ritual and utilitarian practices and activities, we also allow for different kinds of questions to emerge during archaeological excavation.

Cite this Record

Alternative Interpretive Lenses for Landscape at Mulch’en Witz, La Milpa, Belize. Toni Gonzalez. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452565)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.197; min lat: 16.004 ; max long: -86.682; max lat: 21.984 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 26116