Abstracts

In Order of Presentation

 

Friday Afternoon

The Mystery of the Missing Hammerstones: Lithic Production Implements in Western Belize
Rachel A. Horowitz (Tulane University)

In lithic studies, much attention is devoted to analyses of production processes and finished tools while little attention is paid to production implements.  Hammerstones present an interesting problem as many areas with readily available lithic raw material sources lack sources of high-quality hammerstones.  This paper uses a case study from a chert-rich area, the upper Belize River valley of western Belize, to examine how the Late Classic Maya dealt with the shortage of materials for hammerstones.  This paper finds that lithic producers recycled and reused tools imported for other purposes and used poor quality materials to overcome resource shortages.

Biface Analysis from the Plaza of the Seven Temples, Tikal: Ritual, Use, and Highland Interaction
Nathan J. Meissner (University of Southern Mississippi), Oswaldo Gómez (IDEAH), Cameron L. McNeil (City University of New York), Edy Barrios (Independent Scholar)

This study presents new lithic data from the elaborate political-ritual complex of the Plaza of the Seven Temples, Tikal, Guatemala. Focusing on the Early Classic through Terminal Classic periods (A.D. 250-950), archaeological data show that bifaces were used in a variety of important social contexts,
including primary deposits, secondary deposits, special offerings, and burials suggestive of Teotihuacan interaction. Analysis revealed patterned
technological traditions, the importation of Belizean cherts, and distinctive impact damage to projectiles that could relate to increasing conflict toward the end of the Terminal Classic period.

Molding Culture Patterns: Standardization and Trade of Maya Figurines and Molds
Terance Winemiller and Virginia Ochoa-Winemiller (Auburn University at Montgomery)

One intriguing question for archaeologists studying clay artifacts concerns manufacturing technologies and whether standardization can be
demonstrated through traditional ceramic analysis. Using a laser multi-line scanner and software developed to quantify Hausdorff distances in 3D
surfaces, we analyzed sample collections of figurines and molds from Belize, Mexico, and Honduras. The results indicated that metrological analysis is an accurate indicator of common source and standardization in molded clay
artifacts. This method provided data relevant to inferring the scope of ancient trade networks and the nature of cultural and economic exchange that
existed throughout Mesoamerica and beyond.

Seeing Through Garden Soils: Assessing the Viability of Soil Phosphate
Analyses in the Archaeological Identification of Ancient Maya Kitchen
Gardens
Cheryl M. Foster (Louisiana State University)

Ancient Maya kitchen gardens are difficult to identify by traditional archaeological techniques due to their lack of material remains. Consequently, various chemical tests are being used to positively identify specific anthropogenically modified spaces, such as kitchen gardens. However, there has been little research conducted to prove that these methods are reliable. In response to this lack of research, this project investigates the viability of soil phosphate analysis through a comprehensive literary review of previous and current research and an analysis of the data presented within it. My findings are that soil phosphate is a good indicator of agricultural land, but does not distinguish kitchen gardens from agricultural fields.

The Archaeological Application and Analysis of Anthrosoils in the Maya
Region
Kobi Weaver (Louisiana State University)

In this paper, I examine the impact of the chemical analysis of anthrosoils in the Maya region and the field of archaeology over the last 100 years. I review the use of different methods of chemical testing as well as the interpretation of the chemical analysis. The application of chemical analysis will be discussed in conjunction with my research in Blue Creek, Belize and my current research using inductively coupled plasma (ICP) chemical analysis of underwater Site 74 at the Paynes Creek Salt Works, Belize.

Identifying Itza Maya Trade, Mobility, and Identity at Early Colonial Mission San Bernabé using Biological Affinity, Archaeology, and Isotopes
Carolyn Freiwald (University of Mississippi) and Katherine Miller Wolf (Indiana University East)

Northern Guatemala was the last Maya region to come under Spanish control, entering the Colonial system only after AD 1697. The Mission San Bernabé was rediscovered in 2010 by the Itza Archaeological Project and investigated during two subsequent field seasons. Excavations of residential structures, the mission church, and the burials within it show significant changes in animal use and acquisition, as well as artifact assemblages. However, isotope assays and biodistance analyses suggest more population continuity than change, even as Spanish accounts describe significant disruption in nearly every aspect of Itza and Kowoj Maya lives in the region.

Ineluctable Motion: People and Water at Wari Camp
Laura J. Levi, Christian Sheumaker, Sarah Boudreaux (University of Texas at San Antonio)

At the archaeological site of Wari Camp in northwestern Belize we have
begun to investigate the centrality of movement in the creation of community and the production of landscape. We understand movement to be an
experiential force and a source of social power. Our paper will examine how the movement of people and water converged at Wari Camp, the symbolic elements and ritual practices that marked their pathways, and the
organizational processes they served.

 

Poster Abstracts

Comparison of PXRF Sourced Obsidian from the Classic to Postclassic Period Trading Port at Wild Cane Cay, Belize
April A. Belleau and Heather McKillop (Louisiana State University)

Wild Cane Cay is a Classic to Postclassic period trading port site located off the coast of southern Belize. In the summer of 2017, obsidian from 2 out of 6
excavation units, unit 4d and unit 2d, were sourced using a portable XRF
machine in the LSU Digital Imaging and Visualization in Archaeology (DIVA) lab. The sourced obsidian from Units 2d, 4d was spatially and stratigraphically compared. The results for over 400 obsidian items will be presented. The
majority of obsidian was from Ixtepeque sources with a small concentration from El Chayal, Source Z, and SMJ.

A Study of the Obsidian Trade Among Coastal Maya at Frenchman’s Cay, Belize
Emily Cook and Heather McKillop (Louisiana State University)

Obsidian from the ancient Maya trading port on Frenchman’s Cay, Belize was assayed using a Bruker portable XRF machine in the Digital Imaging and
Visualization (DIVA) lab. Spectra of different source obsidian were overlain on assayed samples to determine each obsidian item’s source. The majority of the obsidian was from Maya highland sources of Ixtepeque and El Chayal, with a small number from Mexican sources. The results link Frenchman’s Cay to the nearby trading port of Wild Cane Cay and the larger trade network of the Maya highlands and Mexico.

 New Evidence for Obsidian Trade at Moho Cay, Belize
Valerie Feathers and Heather McKillop (Louisiana State University)

We report on sourcing of obsidian from stratigraphic excavations on the
island trading port at Moho Cay located in the mouth of the Belize River. Ninety-eight pieces of obsidian were sourced using a handheld portable X-ray
fluorescence machine in the DIVA Lab at Louisiana State University. Most pieces were El Chayal, with Ixtepeque and Rio Pixcaya also represented. This new information supports published results of XRF and NAA on a smaller
sample by Healy, McKillop, and Walsh that El Chayal obsidian was transported to the coastal sites during the Classic period.

Fighting the Four Winds: Hurricane Resistance in Ancient Maya Architecture
Zach Lindsey (University of Leister)

The ancient Maya lived in some of the same areas as contemporary Mexican cities like Cancún, areas today routinely disrupted by hurricanes. The southern coast of Yucatan, the mainland region in the western hemisphere most
impacted by tropical storms, contains a number of ruins, including Postclassic ruins which seem designed to resist hurricanes. This poster examines views of hurricanes by the ancient Maya, hurricane resistance such as architectural innovations at El Castillo in Tulum and El Rey and San Miguelito in Cancún, and Postclassic-era issues with food storage.

Iconography and Modern Constellations
Fernando Arturo Rodriguez (Independent Scholar)

Research into Mesoamerican iconography has yielded many separate
correlations with naked-eye astronomy objects. These correlations often rely on an interpretation of ethnographic information and historical astronomical data.  This work is an entirely artistic interpretation of Mesoamerican
iconography as modern constellations. Mesoamerican artwork is
superimposed over more than 36 modern constellations and 400 individual stars presented as 13 monthly astronomy maps.  For the first time, most of the night sky serves as a stage for Mesoamerican icons. Icons in the form of modern constellations appear to interact through their movement as they play out major scenes from the Popul Vuh and Codex Borgia.

 

Friday Afternoon Continued 

Pondering the Palma: Proposed Anatomy and Hidden Iconographies
Cierra Frances Linander (Independent Scholar)

This presentation examines the palma object type after extensive thesis work. Palmas have remained anomalous throughout the years despite being linked to the ballgame and other stone accoutrements, yokes and hachas, found across Classic Veracruz culture. After compiling a database of nearly 300
palmas, I created a proposed anatomy to more accurately and consistently speak about the highly varied corpus. Furthermore, a significant number of the objects in my database feature hidden deities and other symbols- a realization previously undiscussed. I will explore the potential significance of these icons while relating them to the iconographic programs found at El Tajín.

The Pulque Vessels from the Sacred Precinct of Tenochtitlan
Diego Matadamas (Tulane University)

In some artifacts, as well as codices, symbolically affiliated with the Aztec
iconography was a particular symbol, the representation of the ritual pulque vessel. In addition, the symbol was represented on some pieces made with ceramic and greenstone, which were discovered in many offerings in the
archaeological zone of the Templo Mayor. The advantage of analyzing these objects in their original contexts is that it allows us to infer their meaning. I will present the analysis of 12 vessels recovered from six offerings excavated in and around the Templo Mayor.

Archaeology and Oil in El Tajín: Pozo Ojital-1, 1935-1940
Sam Holley-Kline (Stanford University)

For more than a century, both archaeological research and oil production have been features of everyday life in north Veracruz. Rarely, however, have the interactions between these two processes been investigated in detail. In this paper, I examine the case of the Compañía Stanford’s Ojital-1 well. Drilled a scant 400 meters from El Tajín’s Pyramid of the Niches in 1936, archival and ethnographic research offers the opportunity to examine the social relations between site guards, administrators, oil workers, and company executives. I conclude by discussing the implications of these relationships for archaeology in contemporary Veracruz.

Architecture and Socio-Spatial Organization at Tlalancaleca: Implications for the Formative-Classic Transition in Central Mexico
Tatsuya Murakami (Tulane University), Shigeru Kabata (Universidad de las Americas Puebla), Julieta M. López J. (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), and Alexander Jurado (Tulane University)

Our research over the last six field seasons indicates that Tlalancaleca was urbanized with a significant population growth during the later Middle
Formative period (ca. 650-500 BC) and experienced large-scale urban
transformation during the Late Formative (ca. 500-100 BC).  Monumental
construction and reconstruction was heightened during the Terminal
Formative period (ca. 100 BC-AD 250) and was likely associated with urban expansion after the eruption of Popocatepetl around AD 50. This paper
presents preliminary results regarding the timing and spatial organization of monumental structures and discusses the nature of sociopolitical
transformation in the Formative-Classic transition leading to state formation at Teotihuacan.

 

Saturday Morning

Mapping La Milpa North Chico in the Low-Land Bajo Margins
Michael Maddox (Programme for Belize Archaeology)

The examination of Maya land-use in low-lying inundated swamps or bajos continues to serve an important role in understanding the agency of
hinterland sites and their relationship to the greater community. Preliminary settlement survey and mapping results from the site of La Milpa North Chico reflect an intensively modified low-land Maya landscape with local and
regional patterns of behavior.

A Settlement Ranking System for the Maya Hinterlands: Contextual Analysis of Architecture at the Medicinal Trail Community
David M. Hyde (Western State Colorado University)

Various methods have been developed that provide quantitative comparison between Maya centers. The assumption behind these systems is that the size and configuration of a site is a reflection of the political authority that a site possesses. These methods utilize features typically not found at hinterland sites and are not suited to questions of internal socio-political dynamics. This paper presents a system that analyzes individual residential groups using a dual approach: construction method and settlement location. A point system is applied that will provide an estimation of a specific group’s social status within the community.

Least Cost Routes in the Kaq’chik’el Maya Highlands
Eugenia Robinson and Francisco Estrada Belli (Tulane University) 

Least Cost Routes analysis of the Geographic Information Systems in the Kaq’chik’el highlands shows the potential paths of movement of peoples in prehistoric times. A newly explored site, Cakhay, sits at the intersection of routes on the western edge of the Chimaltenango plain; trade in San Martin Jilotepeque obsidian is routed through Comalapa.  The presence of
Teotihuacan style Middle Classic artifacts and Cotzumalguapan style sculpture at this elite and religious center indicate interregional interaction with elite centers on the Pacific coast, potentially through a north-south route. The
lacuna of sites in some locations shows where archaeological work needs to take place.

LiDAR in the Northwest Petén, Guatemala: Settlement and Geopolitics in the La Corona – El Achiotal Region.
Luke Auld-Thomas, Marcello A. Canuto, David Chatelain, Jocelyne Ponce (Tulane University)

The La Corona – El Achiotal region in Northwest Petén, Guatemala, links the elevated karstic interior of the Yucatan Peninsula with the low-lying swamps and rivers of the Laguna del Tigre National Park. Airborne LiDAR survey
carried out in 2016 over a 427 sq km portion of this zone revealed a strikingly low density of settlement, organized in a complex pattern that links previously-identified “sites” into two larger settlement systems without clear internal boundaries. This paper will present the results to date of our ongoing analysis of the LiDAR data and argue that the new vantage on settlement patterns that LiDAR affords will require archaeologists to consider larger units of analysis in seeking to understand sites, landscapes, and settlement histories in the Maya lowlands.

A Test of LiDAR Data to Detect Ancient Maya Settlement in the Mopan River Valley, Belize
Bernadette Cap, Jason Yaeger, M. Kathryn Brown (University of Texas at San Antonio)

LiDAR data can revolutionize the way archaeologists view and understand ancient settlements, but recognition of the limitations of this new technology is important for building accurate interpretations. In this paper, we discuss the success rate in detecting ancient settlement in the Mopan River valley Belize in LiDAR derived visualizations when compared to ground surveyed data. We found that vegetative cover, modern land use, and height of mounds affected our ability to detect known settlement. With this knowledge, we explore settlement patterns in relation to information about the landscape also available with LiDAR data.

Independent Invention or Diffusion
D. M. Urquidi (Independent Scholar)

A fallout from a comet created a “sheer thrust” that split Mexico from the Puerto Rican Trench to Baja California. Those who fled the destruction,
migrated westward across the Pacific. Their journey took them on a split path across Russia; south into China, across the Silk Road to Spain, where they
discovered the Atlantic Ocean a physical end to their journey, The East
continued supplying gold to the migrants who had long forgotten their origins even though they left science, art and history along their trails. This is but a small view of the life of the travelers.

A Possible Ehecatl Figure from West Mexico
Christopher Kilgore (University of Houston)

This presentation focuses on a particularly sophisticated example of Late
Preclassic West Mexican ceramic sculpture: a dancing figure with complex zoomorphic headdress. While West Mexican sculpture was once seen as
illustrative of everyday activities, it is now seen as embodying certain religious practices. I hope to create a more specific iconographical reading, based on Mesoamerican deity systems, for the object in question. I hope that the presentation will provide new insights into the religious and cultural practices in the object’s particular social and political context.

Iconography and Modern Constellations
Fernando Arturo Rodriguez (Independent Scholar)

Research into Mesoamerican iconography has yielded many separate
correlations with naked-eye astronomy objects. These correlations often rely on an interpretation of ethnographic information and historical astronomical data.  This work is an entirely artistic interpretation of Mesoamerican
iconography as modern constellations. Mesoamerican artwork is
superimposed over more than 36 modern constellations and 400 individual stars presented as 13 monthly astronomy maps.  For the first time, most of the night sky serves as a stage for Mesoamerican icons. Icons in the form of modern constellations appear to interact through their movement as they play out major scenes from the Popul Vuh and Codex Borgia.

 

Saturday Afternoon

Polished Greenstone Caches from Middle Preclassic Paso del Macho,
Yucatan
Evan Parker (Tulane University), George J. Bey III (Millsaps College), Tomás Gallareta Negrón (INAH)

Excavations in the plaza of the Middle Preclassic village of Paso del Macho in the Puuc region have yielded a series of offerings dating to the Middle
Preclassic. The forms of the nine pottery vessels recovered are quite unique compared to types normally encountered in Middle Preclassic contexts from the Puuc region, and include a bucket, miniature bowls and dishes, and cacao serving vessels. Upon reaching sterile soil, a massive pile of basalt was found, under which three large east-oriented greenstone axes were recovered. This greenstone cache bears strong resemblance to other Middle Preclassic
place-making deposits from the Maya lowlands.

Preclassic Ritual Construction and its Relationship to Sociopolitical Shifts at the Site of Actuncan, Belize
Borislava Simova (Tulane University)

This paper examines a Preclassic ritual complex known as an E-group in
relation to sociopolitical shifts occurring at the Maya site of Actuncan. The activities and beliefs associated with E-groups were integral to shaping
Preclassic societies and reorganizing them in the Classic period. Three seasons of investigation within the structures and plaza of Actuncan’s E-group
demonstrate important changes in the architecture and use of the space; however, the nature of ritual performance appears to remain essentially
unchanged. This trajectory diverges from other reported E-groups in the
Lowlands, which speaks to persistent focus on community oriented displays over exclusionary practices at Actuncan.

Making Memories and Ancestors: Public Space in the Hinterland Community of San Lorenzo, Belize
Victoria Ingalls (University of Texas at San Antonio)

Public structures throughout the Maya region materialize the sacred and
create landscapes charged with power and import. Historically, public
structures and spaces within large civic-ceremonial centers have received more attention from archaeologists than similar but smaller structures in
hinterland or rural communities. This study presents data from a public
structure group at the community of San Lorenzo, Belize to explore the ways that small hinterland communities may have articulated with larger seats of power. Finally, this discussion offers preliminary interpretations related to the creation of social memory, the role of ancestors, and how communal ritual practices shifted over time.

A Categorization and Comparative Analysis of Maya Body Part Caches
Brandy N. Norton (University of Chicago)

The aim of this paper is to examine a particular type of ritual deposit of the ancient Maya called a body part cache. Based on the examination of the body part caches which have been recorded in numerous archaeological site
reports, I created a categorization system of eight types of body part caches. These are skull pits, skull rows and deliberately arranged skulls, single skull caches, skull pairs and skull trios, tooth caches, phalange caches, infant and juvenile caches, mixed caches, and a category of questionable caches. Further study of religious ideology, modern ethnographies, and sixteenth century sources aided in the interpretation of the cache deposits. It was suspected that each type of deposition was the result of a different ritual and served different religious or ceremonial aims for the Maya. Each category of body part caches revealed at least one possible particular purpose. The
interpretation of these cache types will allow future archaeologists to identify the cache types during excavation and understand what rituals or ceremonies were possibly being performed at the site.

The Last Palace, Stones, Bones, and Feasts: Recent Excavations at
El Perú-Waka’, Guatemala
Keith Eppich (Collin College)

Recent excavations at El Perú-Waka’ have revealed the large-scale expansion and elaboration of a palace compound at the Chok Group. It is the date of the expansion that is exceptional, occurring the in the 8th, 9th, and 10th |centuries. This is during a period of unprecedented political transformation and crisis. The Chok Group is the last palace, the apparent Terminal Classic seat of governance for the city. This paper presents recent excavations in the Chok Group, detailing post-royal political strategies that appear to involve architectural expansion, funerary ritual, production of prestige lithic tools, and feasting on a massive scale.

The Politics of Remembering and Forgetting: The Role of Collective Memory in Identity Construction on the Southeastern Maya Frontier in Western
Honduras during the Classic Period

Erlend Johnson (Tulane University)

Narratives of the past play an important role in politics situating the origins of and conferring legitimacy upon the political structure of society. The past can also provide cautionary tales against past excesses.  This paper explores memory and forgetting in the Cucuyagua and Sensenti valleys of Western Honduras. The inhabitants of the Cucuyagua valley preserved abandoned
Protoclassic architecture despite its location in a desirable location near the center of the site.  Classic period inhabitants of the Sensenti valley left an
earlier Protoclassic center vacant despite its favorable location and forged a new society with few structural links to earlier traditions.

A More Domestic Life: Reutilization of a Ceremonial Space at La Corona, Guatemala
Jocelyne Ponce (Tulane University), Erin Patterson (Tulane University), and Clarissa Cagnato (Université de Paris)

Excavations in the Coronitas Group at La Corona, Guatemala provide an
opportunity to examine responses to a shifting sociopolitical landscape among the Classic Maya (A.D. 250-900). Throughout the Classic period, the area was a locus of ritual and ceremonial activities by the royal court, and a place of significant ancestral ties. At the end of the Classic period, however, material culture and paleoethnobotanical data indicate that this area was used for subsistence activities for the first time. The inhabitants of this group
commemorated a historical narrative as a response to drastic sociopolitical changes during this final phase of occupation.

Investigating Pedagogical Practices of the Ancient Maya: An Example from Xunantunich
M. Kathryn Brown (University of Texas at San Antonio), Leah McCurdy (University of Texas at Arlington), Kit Nelson (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts)

Investigations at Xunantunich, Belize uncovered a series of Late Classic rooms on the eastern side of the site’s acropolis (El Castillo).  Excavations of the
easternmost room and the exterior wall of the central room revealed over 200 incised images and designs, ranging from graffiti to more formal
renderings.  An incised glyph on a wall reads Itz’at (wiseman or sage).
Additionally several of the incised images depict sages and scribes. Using the analogy of the Aztec Calmecac, we argue that these rooms may have been a location where adolescent Maya nobles were trained in the arts, history, and sacred knowledge.  In this paper, we present new data from El Castillo and a group located to the south that may have served as the living quarters for young nobles participating in formal instruction at El Castillo.  We believe that these new discoveries at Xunantunich may provide a rare glimpse into
pedagogical practices of the ancient Maya.

K’inich Ajaw: The Subterranean Galleries and the Revival of Sacred Kingship at Palenque
Kendyll Gross (University of Texas at Austin)

The Palace of Palenque—a series of range-like structures commissioned by Pakal on the k’atun ending—projected an image of the king as a supreme
military strategist. Arguably the most significant elements of the Palace are the subterranean galleries. If Maya architecture served as “the stages on which the rituals of rulership were enacted,” then the Subterraneos allowed Pakal to embody the ideals of sacred kingship, returning autonomy to a site whose court and gods were plundered decades earlier. This paper explores how the Subterraneos allowed Pakal to embody important mythological
actors during a pivotal point in Palenque’s history.

Winds of Change: The Stylistic Development, Implications and Sequence of Stone Monuments at Copan and Quirigua
Amina Fakhri (Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences)

Typological sequence of stone monuments presented shows a mutual trade-off of modelling techniques in the stone stelae and altars during the centuries of the tumultuous relationship between Copan and Quirigua. The founding events presented on Quirigua’s zoomorph P inspired reverential mimicry of Copan’s major monuments, in turn the impact of K’ahk’ Tiliw Chan Yopaat’s victory over Copan’s Waxaklajuun Ubaah K’awiil had not only devastated the city but triggered a new style formation in Quirigua’s monumental evolution, an eloquent abundance of relief that was transformed through imitation into the lattermost monuments of Copan.

Construction and Its Context: The Built Environment of La Cariba, Guatemala
David Chatelain (Tulane University)

Investigations at the site of La Cariba have revealed three major phases of construction, in the Late Preclassic, Early Classic, and Late Classic periods. Each phase was unique in terms of construction technology, architectural knowledge, and organization of labor. This paper presents the details of each major construction phase, situating each in the demographic, political, and historical context within the region. These details reflect the consequences of major sociopolitical transitions and inform us of the nature of these
transitions. Ultimately, construction technology and labor are demonstrated to be important dimensions of analysis within a complete interpretive framework.

Preliminary Results of Excavations in a Late Classic Residential Courtyard Group at Chan Chich, Belize
Gertrude Kilgore (Texas Tech University), Claire Novotny (Kenyon College) and Alyssa Farmer (University of Kentucky)

Investigations of Courtyard D-4 during the 2017 field season of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project were the first to explicit study of domesticity and
everyday life at Chan Chich. This Late Classic residential group consisted of three structures centered around a shared courtyard approximately 550 m east of the Main Plaza. We analyzed the use of structural, courtyard, and
extramural spaces by using soil chemistry, artifactual, and architectural data. This research contributes some of the first information about the functional and sociocultural relationship between domestic spaces, activities, and
individuals at Chan Chich.

Finding Afro-Yucatecans in the Archaeological Record
Zach Lindsey (University of Leicester)

As Mexican scholasticism becomes more willing to discuss the influence of Africans on contemporary Mexico, we are beginning to get tantalizing
glimpses of interactions between Africans and indigenous Maya. Historical documents, however, focus on the elites or show narrative bias; it’s up to
historical archaeologists to catch up. This paper includes methods of study, such as surveying certain towns of freed slaves mentioned in Restall and using our knowledge of Maya family dynamics to explore relations between African men and Maya women, which appear to be more common than colonial-era relations between African women and Maya men.

Contemporary Maya Ritual and Socio-Ecological Resilience
Michael P. Saunders (Tulane University)

My research into contemporary Maya religion, especially as concerns
ecological management, encompasses investigations into environmental
sustainability as coupled with agricultural and agroforestry practices. The communities in which I work have persisted for centuries, and it appears the long-term ecological knowledge embedded in ritual provides a highly resilient and adaptive means to absorb disturbance, environmental or otherwise. This
paper discusses how documenting such systems of socio-ecological resilience not only provides insight into both contemporary issues and archaeological understanding, but highlights the need for researchers across disciplines to embrace the knowledge indigenous communities offer in times of
environmental peril.

Ruffles and Lace and Buttons and Chaps: Some Spanish Influences on Highland Maya Men’s Traje
Robert Hill (Tulane University)

Traditional Maya men’s traje (clothing) has received much less attention than its female counterparts. Styles of men’s traje have typically been attributed to vague Spanish “influences” and thus dismissed in favor of women’s traje, with its clear continuities from deep prehispanic times. Yet, from the point of view of cultural dynamics, the development of men’s traje is at least as interesting as the continuity of women’s. This presentation will examine a few of the Spanish influences, where they derived from, when they were adopted, and why.

 

 

 

 

 

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