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Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Volume 2

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Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Volume 2
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Archaeological Investigations in the Eastern Maya Lowlands: Papers of the 2004 Belize Archaeology Symposium. Papers cover three main areas: The Early Classic Period as an issue for discussion, the archaeology of the Historic Period (1400-1900), and findings of the 2003-2004 field season.
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Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Volume 2 Archaeological Investigations in the Eastern Maya Lowlands: Papers of the 2004 Belize Archaeology Symposium Edited by Jaime Awe, John Morris, Sher ilyne Jones, and Christophe Helmke Institute of Archaeology Nati onal Institute of Culture and History Belmopan, Belize 2005 i

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Editorial Bo ard of the Institute of Archaeology, NICH John Morris, Jaime Awe, Sherilyne Jones, and Christophe Helmke The Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize Jaime Awe, Director John Morris, Associate Director, Research and Education Brian Woodye, Associate Director, Parks Management George Thompson, Associate Director Planning & Policy Management Cover design: Yasser Musa Frontispiece: Early Classic bichrome tr ipod cylinder from Santa Rita Corozal. (photograph by Tony Rath, Na turalight Productions) Back cover: Upper portion of th e Stela 20 of Caracol (A.D. 400). (photograph by Sherry Gibbs) Layout and Graphic Desi gn: Christophe Helmke and Sherilyne Jones ISBN 976-8111-86-0 Copyright 2005 Institute of Archaeology, National Institute of Culture and History, Belize. All rights reserved. Printed by Print Belize Limited. ii

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In memory of Douglas Weinberg iii

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This publication marks the second volume of the Re search Reports in Belizean Archaeology. Its successful production could only have been made possi ble by the unselfish efforts of family, friends, colleagues, and associates; too many, in fact, to men tion in the following few paragraphs. If we fail to acknowledge any of you by name, forgive us for our omission, and know that we sincerely appreciate your invaluable contribution. We must first extend a special thank you to all our sponsors. To the staff and management of the Princess Casino and Hotel, thank you for your assistan ce and for graciously hosting the 2004 symposium. We are grateful to the Belize Tourist Board, Esso Standard, Cruise Solutions, PACT, the Belize Social Security Board, BEL, Femagra, Print Belize Lim ited, DFC, BCSL, The Wood Depot, COURTS, DFC, Sea Sports, Belize Roaring River Adventure Tours, James Brodie and Co. Ltd, Madisco, Angelus Press, First Caribbean, and various other institutions th at provided financial and logistical assistance. Christophe Helmke has been included as an ed itor not only because of his technical assistance with the graphics, production layout and formatting of the papers, but because of his particular editorial contributions with papers that deal with Mayan languages and epigraphic information. Several other editors and anonymous reviewers gave of their time and made constructive criticisms that enhanced our end product. A special thanks to Sherilyne Jones who, despite the challenges of late term pregnancy, worked tremendously hard to complete the publication of this volume. Thanks also to Victoria Olesky, a volunteer who assisted in checking bibliogra phic references and did line editing. We are particularly grateful to the Honourable Francis Fonseca, Attorney General, and Minister of Education, Culture and Sports, whose dedi cation to education and the pursuit of knowledge continuously encourage us to learn more of our past. Thank you Mr. Yasser Musa, President of the National Institute of Culture and History, for your co nstant support, assistance, a nd encouragement in this and other programs that have allowed us to reach out scientifically to the people of Belize, and to colleagues in foreign academia. Thanks also to Mr. Vi ctor Espat, NICH Administrator, and the Board of Directors of NICH whose unwavering support has helped us with acquiring the necessary funding for the symposium and the subsequent publication of this volume. Our foreign colleagues merit special recognition for many of them sacrificed other professional responsibilities in their effort to attend the 2nd Symposium. It is their contributions that form the heart of this new volume, and that provide Belizeans with a be tter understanding of our past. Thanks also to our guest speaker, Francisco Estrada-Belli from Vanderbilt University, for the stimulating account of ancient Maya society at Holmul, Guatemala. Once again, this symposium would have never gotte n off the ground had it not been for the unselfish efforts of the entire staff of the Institute of Arch aeology. Special thanks must be given to Antonio Beardall, Mellisa Badillo, Jason Bliss, Darci Corea, Yashin Dujon, David Griffith, Claudia Elena, Nathaniel Shanklin, George Thompson, Joyce Tun, Wayne Moore and Brian Woodye, Executive Chairperson of the symposium. Thanks also to Th erese Batty, who is now working with the Museum of Belize. We are grateful for your patience, expe rtise and invaluable help. The second volume of the Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology is once ag ain a testimony to the commitment, dedication and perseverance of the entire staff of the Institute of Archaeology, and to the philanthropic vision of the National Institute of Culture and History. Jaime Awe and John Morris Belmopan, Belize, June 2005 iv

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J. Morris et al. CONTENTS page Introduction and Synthesis of the 200 4 Belizean Archaeology Symposium John M. Morris and Jaime J. Awe 1 SECTION ONE: THE EARLY CLASSIC 15 1. The Early Classic Period at Caracol, Belize: Transitions, Complexity, and Methodological Issues in Maya Archaeology Arlen F. Chase and Diane Z. Chase 17 2. Alive and Kicking in the 3rd to 6th Centurie s A.D.: Defining the Early Classic in the Belize River Valley Jaime J. Awe and Christophe G.B. Helmke 39 3. The Role of Public Architecture and Ritual in the Rise of Complexity: An Example from Blackman Eddy, Belize M. Kathryn Brown and James F. Garber 53 4. The Actuncan Early Classic Maya Project: Pr ogress Report on the Second Field Season Lisa J. LeCount and John H. Blitz 67 5. Early Classic Manifestations at Mountain Cow and El Pilar John M. Morris and Anabel Ford 79 6. Early Classic Manifestations in Northern Belize Palma J. Buttles, Lauren A. Sullivan and Fred Valdez, Jr. 99 7. The Early Classic Period at Santa Rita Coroza l: Issues of Hierarchy, Heterarchy, and Stratification in Northern Belize Diane Z. Chase and Arlen F. Chase 111 8. The Early Classic Period at the Maya site of Blue Creek, Belize Thomas H. Guderjan 131 9. Complex Deposits at Chau Hiix K. Anne Pyburn 143 10. Explorations of an Early Cla ssic Community at Chau Hiix A. Sean Goldsmith 155 11. The Early Classic in Southern Belize: A Regional View from Uxbenka and Ek Xux Keith M. Prufer 169 v

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page 12. Epigraphic Evidence of Macro-Poltical Organi zation in Southern Belize: A View from the Early Classic Per iod Phillip J. Wanyerka 179 13. Cival, La Sufricaya, and Holmul: The Long History of Maya Political Power and Settlement in the Holmul Region Francisco Estrada-Belli 193 SECTION TWO: HISTORICAL & COLONIAL PERIOD 209 14. Identifying the Late Postclassic-Colonial Tr ansition in Belize: Resu lts of the 2003 Field Season at the Site of La manai in Northern Belize Darcy Lynn Wiewall 211 15. Late Postclassic-Colonial Period Maya Settlement on the West Shore of Progresso Lagoon Maxine H. Oland and Marilyn A. Masson 223 16. Investigations in the Church Zone: Maya Archaeometa llurgy at Spanish Colonial Lamanai, Belize Scott E. Simmons 231 17. Investigating the Spanish Colonial Frontier in the Sibun River Valley Steven Morandi 241 18. A Tale of Three Rivers: European and Africa n Settlers in the New, Belize and Sibun River Drainages Daniel Finamore 247 19. Investigating Historic Households: The 2003 Season of the San Pedro Maya Project Jason Yaeger, Minette C. Church, Jennifer Dornan, and Richard M. Leventhal 257 20. Bottles, Buttons, and the BEC: The Historical Record at Yalbac Andrew Kinkella 269 SECTION THREE: GENERAL RESEARCH REPORTS 277 21. Classic Maya Workshops: Ancient Salt Works in Paynes Creek National Park, Belize Heather McKillop 279 vi

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J. Morris et al. page 22. Hidden Landscapes of the Ancient Maya on the South Coast of Belize: Discovering Invisible Settlement at Arvins Landing Bretton Somers and Heather McKillop 291 23. Life at the C rossroads: New Data from Pusilha, Belize Cassandra R. Bill and Geoffrey E. Braswell 301 24. Desire and Political Influence: The Arc haeology of the Sibun River Valley Patricia A. McAnany, Eleanor Harri son-Buck, and Satoru Murata 313 25. The Construction of Social Space and Production in the Sibun River Valley Sandra L. Lpez Varela and Christopher D. Dore 329 26. Household and Community Rit ual in a Maya Farming Co mmunity: The 2003 Season at the Chan Site, Belize Cynthia Robin, Chelsea Blackmo re, and Michael Latsch 339 27. Exploring the Role of Ancien t Maya Temples at Yalbac Lisa J. Lucero 349 28. The Political Organization of the Belize Va lley: Evidence from Baking Pot, Belize Carolyn M. Audet and Jaime J. Awe 357 29. Act Locally, Think Internationally: The Pottery of Baking Pot, Belize Dorie Reents-Budet, Ronald L. Bishop, Carolyn Audet, Jaime Awe, and M. James Blackman 365 30. Classic Maya Political Ecology in Upper Northwestern Belize Jon C. Lohse, Timothy Beach, Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, and Nicole Little 387 31. Life and Livelihood of the Prehistori c Maya of Northwestern Belize Fred Valdez, Jr. 405 32. In the Shadow of La Lucha: Modeling An cient Maya Non-Urban Complexity in Northwest Belize Richard K. Meadows and Kay S. Sunahara 413 33. The Terminal Classic to Postcl assic Ceramics from Saktunja, a Coastal Site in Northern Belize Shirley Boteler Mock 425 34. Preceramic Occupations in Belize Jon C. Lohse 441 vii

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viii 35. Community Integration and Adaptive Management at El Pilar Anabel Ford, Melanie C. Santiago Smith, and John M. Morris 459

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INTRODUCTION AND SYNTHESIS OF THE 2004 BELIZEAN ARCHAEOLOGY SYMPOSIUM John Morris and Jaime Awe Introduction This set of papers marks the second volume of the Belize Archaeology Symposium devoted to archaeological research on the ancient Maya civilization in Belize. The papers included in this volume were all presented to the general public at the Belize Archaeology Symposium 2004, with the exception of Tom Guderjan paper. The 2004 symposium was designed to address three areas of concern: The Early Classic Period as a topical issue for discussion; the archaeo logy of the Historic Period (1400-1900); and Archaeological Research Reports that highlight current findings of the 2003-2004 archaeological field season carried out by principal investigators working in Belize. The volume is therefore divided into three sections. Section One: The Early Classic Period In section one, scholars emphasize that the problems in identifying the Early Classic Period of ancient Maya civilization are twofold. First, traditionally the Early Classic has been defi ned chronologically by certain material culture but the specific makeup of the period remains somewhat obscure. Secondly, a decline in population and economic activities during this period is often assumed but not archaeologically demarcated. These papers address the aforementioned concerns and also offer important resolutions to these issues. The volume commences with Arlen and Diane Chase discussion of how the Early Classic was traditionally defined in the past and how theoretically and methodologically this construction presents difficulties for researchers today. They discuss the transitions between the Early Classic and Late Classic at Ca racol highlighting complex and methodological topics that are of paramount concerns in the Early Classic Period. They note that although not the huge sprawling metropolis that it became in the Late Classic Period, Caracol had a fairly substantial population during the Early Classic Period. The archaeological data demonstrate that major shifts in ritual patterns occurred between the two periods at the site both in residential groups and in the site epicentre. Cera mic distribution patterns found in the Early Classic mirror those found later in the Terminal Classic in that status-linked pottery appears to have been employed; this practice however, creates methodological problems for the identification of the time period in the archaeological record. The authors expound however, that contextually recovered materials and deposits found over 20 years of research at the site have helped in mapping the precise nature of the Early Classic Period at Caracol. Similarly Jaime Awe and Christophe Helmke argue that in the Belize Valley misconceptions about the Early Classic abound. They maintain that in the past, a number of archaeologists conducting research in the upper Belize River Valley have proclaimed that few sites contain evidence for continued growth and development during the Early Classic Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 1-14. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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Introduction and Synthesis period. In some instances researchers working in the Belize Valley and elsewhere have suggested that many sites may have experienced high levels of depopulation and a concentration of the populace in a few centres. Awe and Helmke assert that recent investigations by the Belize Valley Archaeological Research project do not concur with the aforementioned conclusions. In contrast, the BVAR research suggests that there is substantial Early Classic data for the upper Belize Valley, and that the Early Classic was actually one of the most dynamic periods in the prehistory of western Belize. In addition, Awe and Helmke also negate that the impact of Teotihuacan was as dramatic as has been espoused. Nevertheless, in the Belize Valley, few sites exhibit Early Classic material remains and some researchers suggest a severe depopulation of the area and aggregation of the remaining population into a few centres such as Actuncan and El Pilar. Further evidence for these suggestions/contentions are provided by two other case studies in the Belize Valley presented below The first paper by Lisa LeCount and John H. Blitz at the site of Actuncan shows that preliminary investigations has confirmed that the Early Classic period was indeed a time of significant demographic shifts. Only one out of three households that were sampled in the northern portion of the site showed evidence of long-term habitation that spans the Formative and Classic periods. This seasons research at Actuncan sampled a wider array of elite and commoner house mounds, as well as a previously identified Early Classic ceramic dump, in the northern ci vic area. This paper reports their findings co ncerning the spatial and contextual extent of Early Classic deposits from this important centre. The authors also put forward views about factors that gave rise to institutionalized kingship at Actuncan, and contend that the processes that gave rise to the systemic state ( sensu Blanton) in the Belize Valley may have done so under circumscribed conditions. The second paper by Kathryn Brown and James Garber also focus on the rise of complexity at Blackman Eddy, a small site in the Belize Valley. They utilize data on architecture and ritual to buttress their arguments but note that the nature of Middle Preclassic architecture and associated ritual deposits has been difficult to study due to overlying Classic Period remains. This has caused a sampling bias with respect to any understanding of this critical time period. The recent investigations at the site of Blackman Eddy have however, revealed a developmental sequence of Middle Preclassic public architecture and associated ritual deposits. Evid ence suggest that the consolidation of wealt h, prestige, and power by an emerging elite over time, culminated in the use of public architecture and material culture as mediums to transmit ideologically related messages pertaining to the social order of the community. The architectural sequence from Blackman Eddy indicates that the function of public architecture changed dramatically through time. Low, broad platforms dating to the early Middle Preclassic functioned as integrative features within the community, which served multiple functions including the location for communal ritual feasting activities. The evidence suggests that through time public architecture became mo re elaborate while ritual deposits shifted towards a more restrictive form. The pyramidal architecture style appears for the first time at the end of the late Middle Preclassic, which also corresponds to the introduction of sub-floor cache deposits. The Blackman Eddy data also suggest that the new architectural form and ritual caching behaviour reflects a change in social order in which emerging elites restrict access to both the architecture and associated ritual activities. 2

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J. Morris and J. Awe To sort out regional connections and sim ilarities between the Early Classic in the Belize Valley and the same time period in the Chiquibul, John Morris and Anabel Ford combined paper examined the Early Classic period at Mountain Cow in the Chiquibul and the site of El Pilar, which lies just outside of the Belize Valley. Similarities in architecture, ceramic styles and urban developments were charted and they have proposed that we shoul d either abandon the idea of a ceramic trait list for the Early Classic or establish new defining criteria. Evidence also indicates continuity in population increases from the Late Preclassic to the Early Classic. At both sites similarities suggest the emergence of new integrating architectural forms such as EGroups and the apparent development of structured settlement patterns, resulting in population concentration around an epicentre. Shifting our focus to the northern half of the country, Pa lma J. Buttles et al. expounds on Early Classic manifestations for northern Belize. These scholars argue, along the same vein, that the questions pertaining to the Earl y Classic posited for the Chiquibul and the Belize Valley are similar for their region. They elucidate that the Early Classic period has been often defined chronologically and by emphasis on certain material culture but likewise no systematic classification of the period has been put forward. They observe that archaeological research from north and northwest Belize may provide some new insights for describing and defining the Early Classic in Belize. Buttles et al. points out that landscape patterning as well as material culture can serve as significant indices of Early Cl assic life and that technological development and the contexts in which they are found for the Early Classic serve to define activities for the period. Ceramics, lithics, architecture, etc. indicate a rather robust Early Classic that has been poorly understood or perhaps more specifically, inadequately identified. Several categories of Early Classic material culture, the context(s) of the remains, and the interpretations of thes e findings are reported. The implications of these interpretations are also addressed for northern Belize and the surrounding regions. The subsequent four papers seek to advance our understanding of the Early Classic by providing specific case studies that illustrate different methodologies and strategies, specifically designed to identify and classify precise categories of Early Classic material culture. Diane Z. Chase and Arlen F. Chase study of the Early Classic at Santa Rita Corozal is one such example where material culture is well defined. The Early Classic Period is well represented in the excavations undertaken at Santa Rita Corozal. The archaeological data from this site are worthy of note because Santa Rita was a relatively small site throughout the Classic Period; yet, it is a site that had access to many long-distance trade goods. There was also a marked difference between the upper level and all other levels of Santa Rita Corozal society during the Early Classic Period. Contextual and spatial patterns at Santa Rita also suggest that the Early Classic would be methodologically difficult to identify without a stratified excavation sample. The data recovered from the site also raises broader questions with regard to regional interaction in northern Belize during the Early Classic Period. Tom Guderjan work at the Maya site of Blue Creek, Belize also uncovered substantial deposits of Early Classic material. Blue Creek is a medium-sized Maya center in northwest Belize that has been investigated annually since 1992. This long-term approach to a single site has yielded a massive a nd detailed database, only part of which is included in this 3

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Introduction and Synthesis summary of the Early Classic period at Blue Creek. The first investig ations at Blue Creek focused on the site core and yielded a series of important discoveries. Not the least of these was that much of the public architecture at Blue Creek was constructed in the Early Classic period. As the project expanded into new research domains, it was also found that the settlement zone offered equally important data about the period. Additionally, it is now documented that the occupational history of Blue Creek begins in the early Middle Cl assic period at approximately 900 B.C. and ends with the Terminal Classic period in the mid-9th century AD. Ann Pyburn rather eclectic paper draws on extensive research conducted at the site of Chau Hiix where complex deposits create a methodological nightmare. Nevertheless, Pyburn argues that the Early Classic Period appears to be underrepresented in the archaeological record of Northern Belize. Originally this was thought to indicate a population decline, but more recently several competing hypotheses have been advanced to account for this anomaly. In this paper she discusses the complexity of the formation processes that resulted in the archaeological record of Maya habitation at the site of Chau Hiix, Belize. Although focused on later deposits at the site, the discussion has relevance for understanding the visibility and defining the parameters of the Early Classic, sandwiched as it is between two much more manifest eras. Sean Goldsmith working at the same site but examining the rural areas of the site has documented a community that dates principally to the Early Classic period. Fieldwork strategy utilized a large-area spatial approach, which uncovered several house lots within this community, and has also enabled data collection at a scale appropriate to understanding household activity. The comparison of data derived from these house lots suggests that economic strategizing was not homogenous across the community, and may have led to the differential accumulation of wealth by individual households. At the same time, these diverse economic strategies were socially integrated at the community level through public architectural construction and shared material values. Why it was important to build and maintain local ties is not immediately clear, but it is proposed in this paper that the development of strong non-elite community stru ctures in the Early Classic was a strategi c counterpoint to burgeoning elite power in the site centre during the same period. In this way, the Early Classic commoners of Maya society are viewed as more self-empowering than traditional models allow. Such a view is contrasted with evidence that suggests the solidification of centrali zed elite authority in the Late Classic at Chau Hiix, and thus offers a glimpse into the social underpinnings of the early Maya state. The Early Classic period in southern Belize has rarely ever been discussed, much less properly defined, and to some extent was deemed to not have existed. The Early Classic in southern Belize is an unsettled topic. Keith Prufer attempts to rectify this omission by providing a critical regional view from the site of Uxbenka, Toledo. Despite nearly a century of investigation the cultural landscape of the 3rd through the 6th centuries in this region remains poorly defined. Epigraphic data now emerging indicate that two sites, Uxbenka and Pusilha were formidable centers linked to dominant polities in the Peten, and Uxbenka appears to be the earliest known center in southern Belize. This paper discusses the status of Early Classic in southern Belize, the role of Uxbenka in regional developments, and the goals for current research at the site. 4

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J. Morris and J. Awe Another researcher Phil W anyerka using epigraphic evidence also discuss the sociopolitical landscape in Southern Belize during this critical period. His paper focuses on recent epigraphic findings of the Southern Belize Epigraphic Project and its work on the hieroglyphic inscriptions of Uxbenka, a small emblem glyph-bearing polity located in the southern foothills of the Maya Mountains, Belize. The article aims to highlight and reveal new historical insights that will demonstrably show that previously unrecognized iconographi c motifs featured on three Cycle 8 monuments at Uxbenka provide clear and convincing evidence that strong political and ideological ties had existed between the royal dynasties of Uxbenka and Tikal during the later half of the 4th century. These new findings strengthen the assumption that Uxbenkas emergence and rise to prominence during the Early Classic may have been the result of Tikals prosperity as the pre-eminent hegemonic power of this era. The epigraphic evidence demonstrate that Uxbenkas Stela 11 may have been created as a contemporary funerary monument to commemorate the death of the 14th ruler of the Tikal dynasty Chak Tok Ichaak I and it may provide additional historical data concerning the aftermath at Tikal during perhaps the most turbulent era in Maya Lowland history; that be ing the arrival of the Teotihuacanoes to the central Peten in A.D. 378 (see Awe and Helmke this volume for a contrasting view of the role Teotihuacan has played in Early Classic developments in the Maya lowlands). We conclude this section by an article that serves to provide additional background for the Early Classic, especially given the fact that th e site of Holmul was central for the development of an initial understanding of the Earl y Classic. EstradaBelli points out that despite its anthropological significance; the Early Classic is one of the least understood archaeological periods in Maya prehistory. What archaeologists know about the Early Classic period is based predominately on excavations at large si tes such as Tikal and Holmul. This paper summarizes results of ongoing research in the Holmul region on a Maya kingdom strategically located between the central Peten and the Belize coastal areas. The beginning of ritual and political activity at the newly found site of Cival reaching back to the Middle Preclassic period attests to a surprisingly early development of Lowland Maya civilization in this area. Early patterns of monumental sculpture, iconography and public architecture are among the earliest evidence of centralized power an d an initial ideology of Lowland Maya kingship. Excavations of an Early Classic palace at La Sufricaya and a small temple at Holmul, document the emergence of Holmul as a Classic Maya dynastic center and its participatio n in the Maya-Teotihuacan relationships with Tikal and Uaxactun. Finally, Holmuls palace and main plaza reveal a Late Classic florescence and ensuing demise during the Terminal Classic period and may li nk the sites fate to major war events in the late history of the Maya Lowlands. Section Two: Historical and Colonial Period Archaeology This section deal with the nascent emergence of historical archaeology, an area of research sporadi cally carried out by archaeologists working in Belize over the previous decades, but recently emerging as a critical area of concern, especially for the period where evidence exist for transitions from the Maya Postclassic to the Colonial era. Two papers shed new light on this period. Darcy Wiewall attempts to identify the late Postclassic-Co lonial transitions at the Maya site of Lamanai in Northern Belize. The 2003 field season comprised a 5

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Introduction and Synthesis two-part research s trategy designed to identify house lots occupied in the Late Postclassic (A.D. 1450 1545) and Spanish Colonial (A.D. 1546 1650) periods. Two field strategies were employed to locate house lots. The first consisted of systematic survey and mapping, which sought to locate house lots by examining visible low platforms and artefact scatters. The second consisted of a posthole sampling strategy, which sought to locate house lots and their components by identifica tion of sub-surface features, artefacts, and soil chemical residues. Overall, the three-part research strategy integrated traditional methods of survey with methods appropriate to the location and identifica tion of sub-surface platforms, activity and refuse deposits, such as an intensive posthole excavation program combined with recovery of non-observable remains through soil chemical residues. The survey resulted in the identification of a number of previously unidentified features that have potential for understanding the Late Postclassic-Colonial transition. Variation in the fre quency and distribution of artefacts and phosphate levels throughout the survey area, revealed in the posthole excavations, appear to indicate the location of potential house lots and their associated activity and refuse areas. Maxine H. Oland and Marilyn A. Masson present the result s of four seasons of archaeological work on the Late Postclassic/Colonial period Maya settlement and occupation of the Western shore of the Progresso Lagoon. They profess that this site corresponds to th e historically known encomienda of Chanlacan, known for its role in the early Colonial Maya resistance movement. Excavations at the shore settlement were concentrated in a residential area, in which three household structures were horizontally excavated, as well as in an upper status residentia l/ritual area close to the lagoon shore. Results from these excavations contribute to the Belize Postclassic Projects st udy of the long-term political economy of the Progresso Lagoon area, and more generally, to understanding the Late Postclassic-Colonial period transition in northern Belize. Scott Simmons also working at Lamanai provides direct evidence of Spanish influence in metallurgy manufacturing during the Contact Period. This paper reports on the results of the recent findings of his Maya archaeometallurgy project during the Spanish Contact Period. Simmons has documented that more copper and alloyed copper artefacts have been recovered from controlled archaeological excavations at Lamanai than at any other Maya site. An important goal of his Maya Archaeometallurgy Project is to assess how this technology was integrated into Maya social, economic and political systems during the centuries just before and during Spanish Colonial times. The recent excavations have focused on Str. N11-18, the residence of Lamanais ruler during Spanish Contact period. Seventy-six of the 164 (46%) copper and alloyed copper artefacts recovered thus far from Lamanai come from Str. N11-18, as well as a number of pieces of scrap sheet metal, along with miscast copper bells, prills and four copper ingots. These artef acts provide us with rather compelling evidence that the Maya at Lamanai were crafting copper objects. The analyses of artefact chemistries indicate that ingots, along with other copper objects dating to Spanish Contact times, were made of stock metal deri ved from melting down copper artefacts. The re sults of other, more recent chemical compositional analyses are also presented. A most exciting outcome of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project (XARP), headed by Dr. Patricia McAnany of Boston University, ha s been the discovery 6

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J. Morris and J. Awe of Spanish colonial presence in Maya communities along th e Sibun River of central Belize. Steven Morandi, one of McAnany graduate student has been investigating the Spanish Colonial Frontier in the Sibun River Vall ey, Belize as part of his doctoral dissertation. For the first time, the historical record of the Sibun River Valley left by Spaniards, though scant, can be compared against the archaeological record to provide a more complete and less Euro-centric view of cultural changes that occurred there during the period 1540 to 1630. While the centers of Spanish control were located in northern Yucatan, their influence was felt as far south as the Sibun River in Belize. An ar chaeological site near the village of Cedar Bank has yielded a mixture of Maya and Spanish artefacts that are just now being an alyzed, and which are providing the first glim pses of Maya life on this Spanish colonial frontier. One interesting possibility is that the site of Cedar Bank may represent the town known in the historical reco rd as Xibun. Overall, the Spanish colonial period provides a crucial link between the pre-contact Maya societies of Belize and the succeeding British and African-Caribbean influence in the region. Cedar Bank represents only the third known site in central Belize with a Spanish colonial component, and so offers a rare window into this critical period of Belizean history. Belize was settled by the British logwood cutters and thei r slaves and Daniel Finamore in his paper A Tale of Three Rivers: European and African Settlers in the New, Belize and Sibun River Drainages compares and contrasts the settlements in these areas. Investigations in three major river drainages of Beliz e have established an archaeological framework for studying settlements associated with British settlers and African labourers involved in timber exploitation. The si tes in each area correspond to different populations, activities, and type s of occupation, representing distinct and little-known facets of the nations history. Different patterns of preservation add to the distinctiveness of the archaeological record in each region. A site on the lower Belize River known as the Barcadares was probably the first semipermanent settlement by migrants from the British Isles. From about 1680 to 1730, a community of mariners lived in crude huts and worked cooperatively to extract logwood to sell to passing ships. Further downriver is the site of Convention Town, formed in the late 18th century to accommodate evacuees from the Mosquito Shore, many of whom were relatively prosperous. In contra st, seventeen sites along the New River have yielded information regarding the lives of enslaved and free labourers of African-Caribbean heritage, who spent months each year living in forest labour camps isolated from the coastal population. These sites provide information about the poorest inhabitants of the settlement, many of who were involuntary occupants of communities that were organized corporately for economic efficiency. Research currently under way in the Sibun valley has yielded evidence of significant British colonial occupation, some predating officially sanctioned settlement there. Hence, histori cal and archaeological sources offer insights into the mahogany trade not encountered elsewhere, from the mechanics of extraction to aspects of the international social ne tworks through which business was conducted. When the British and their slaves settled in Belize they encountered indigenous Maya peoples in the forest living away from the coast. In the ensuing struggles for dominion over the lands that now comprise the modern political boundaries of Belize, the Maya fought both the British and Spanish conquerors over 7

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Introduction and Synthesis several centuries. Other Maya and Mestizo imm igrants from Yucatan, who were fleeing the Caste war, joined the Maya of Belize. Jason Yaeger et al. di scuss the fate of one such group, the San Pedro Maya in British Honduras, during 1855-1936. The immigration of thousands of Maya and Mestizo people from Mexico during Yucatans Caste War transformed the demography, economy and society of British Honduras. The San Pedro Maya Project examines the strategies and practices by which colonial officials and merchants on one hand, and a group of Maya immigrants, the San Pedro Maya, on the other, negotiated their changing relationships within the emergent political and economic institutions of British Honduras. The project employed archaeological materials, oral narratives, and archival documents to reconstruct daily life and domestic activities at the village of San Pedro Siris, examining the role that villagers daily decisions and practices played in the dynamic processes that resulted ultimately in their incorporation within a new colonial society. The project specifically targeted the intersecting realms of the local economy ( milpa agriculture, local non-agricultura l production, extraction of forest products, and the participation in barter and marketplace exchanges) and domestic life (vernacular architecture, cuisine and meal service), arguing that the San Pedro Maya rapidly became active and integral participants in the colonial economy, but that they maintained a high degree of effective autonomy in village decision-making and resisted cultural assimilation and colonial political domination. As mahogany logging operations expanded, however, changes in land tenure laws and the growth of extractive forest industries undermined their autonomy, leading to more active resistance to colonial institutions and, eventually, their forced removal from their villages. We conclude this section with Andrew Kinkella paper on the archaeological findings at the historic period site of Yalbac. He notes that the ancient Maya stone architecture that permeates the landscape of the Yalbac area will forever define it as land inhabited by the ancient Maya. Yet although the impressive temples and acropolis may dissuade us, it is important to remember that the ancient Maya left Yalbac a thousand years ago and that in the intervening years, the area has not lain dormant, but has been redefined by the various human groups that have come to inhabit this same spot. Since the arrival of the Spanish, the land and environs where Yalbac stands have been home to slaves, loggers, and even confederate soldiers fleeing retribution from the American Government. Their stories are small in comparison to that of the ancient Maya, but just as significant. The Yalbac project has recovered a small collection of historic artefacts at Yalbac, most from Site 14 in the Yalbac site core. The collection consists of 17 glasses, metal, and ceramic objects dating from approximately 1880 to 1930. These artefacts, combined with the written history of the area, tell us about the early logging efforts of the Belize Estate and Produce Company (BEC) as well as the lifestyles of the loggers and other communities located at Yalbac. Section Three: General Research Papers Southern Belize: Toledo District In this s ection we have placed the special reports of archaeological research carried out by foreign funded projects in Belize. As in the previous volume we present the papers by region, first commencing with the southernmost part of the country, the Toledo district, followed by the central/coastal Beli ze district area. We then shift focus to western Belize and 8

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J. Morris and J. Awe conclude with the archaeological reports from northern Belize. The first paper by Heather McKillop, a lo ng-time contributor to Belizean archaeology, presents an analysis of the role of salt workshops and her re-examination of the political economy of the ancient Maya. The discovery in 2003 of eight new salt work shops in Paynes Creek National Park brings the total known to twelve. Sea-level rise had inundated the workshops, preserving pots in situ in Punta Ycacos Lagoon. The salt works were workshops where seawater or brine was boiled in pots over fires to produce loose salt or salt cakes, as indicated by ethnographic analogy. The salt works are non-domestic, specialized workplaces of people who lived elsewhere, as indicated by the artifactual remains and quantitative analysis of the artefacts. Mckillop indicates that essential to the biological functioning of the human body, salt was a scarce commodity for the urban Maya. In order to maintain a supply of salt, the urban Maya at such nearby cites as Lubaantun, Nim Li Punit and cities in adjacent Guatemala, created marriage, trade, and other alliances with the coastal Maya of southern Belize. Her paper questions the centralized model of th e Late Classic Maya economy in which the urban royal Maya and their courtiers controlled the production and distribution of goods and resources. She argues that notwithstan ding the presence of attached specialists pr oducing highly crafted goods in lowlands cities, there was considerable variabili ty in the production and level of elite contro l of other, including more utilitarian goods. The existence of independent salt workshops not associated with household production in Paynes Creek National Park is one such type of workshop production. McKillop s uggests that the salt works indicate that the Classic Maya political economy was diverse, supporting a less centralized, even segmentary model of Maya society. She continues her work in the Port Honduras area of southern Belize. As a component of the same project, Bretton Somers and Heather McKillop introduced the novel concept of invisible settlements. These sites have been located along the coastal region s in the area known as Port Honduras Marine Reserve. They contend that despite th e virtual absence of modern coastal settlement in Port Honduras Marine Reserve, there was significant ancient Maya settlement that is invisible, buried by landscape changes. The extent of invisible settlement is startling and begs the questions: How much settlement evidence is unknown due to emphasis on mounds as evidence of settlement? By how much have scholars underestimated ancient Maya population from sites without mounded remains? To provide answers to these questions transect exca vations in the forest at Arvins Landing in 2003 were used to investigate the presence and extent, if any, of invisible settlement evidence, where there were no mounded remains of houses and no surface artefacts. Th is method of shovel testing along transect s was successful in defining the extent of ancient settlement in other areas such as in the Port Honduras Marine Reserve, including the offshore area around Wild Cane Cay, at Frenchmans Cay, Tiger Mound, and previously at Arvins Landing. For the 2003 Arvin's Landing transect survey, 18 ro ws of shovel tests, placed 10 meters apart, were excavated off a main transect. Every row of shovel tests in the 2003 the Arvins transect uncovered artefacts. The value of this technique in uncovering a more accurate view of ancient Maya settlement and population was discussed. As we move inland to the remote site of Pusilha, Cassandra R. Bill and Geoffrey E. Braswell present new data that raise stimulating inquiries concerning the culture history of the region. Recent excavations at 9

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Introduction and Synthesis the site of Pusilha, Belize have revealed a diverse m aterial culture assemblage that raises more questions than answers with regard to the occ upational history and development of the Southern Belize subregion, located in the southeastern periphery of the Maya lowlands. In this paper the authors describe significant findings from investigations conducted in 2004, as well as the major components of a provisional ceramic typology. The majority of ceramic material excavated so far date to the Late Classic period and reveal clear links to contemporary complexes from various parts of the Maya area, as well as to non-Maya regions in Honduras. Central Coastal Region: Belize District The following two papers presented here deal with the central coastal areas, particularly along the Sibun drainage and the areas associated with its headwaters and its subsequent meander towards the Caribbean Sea. McAnany et al. have documented a rich historical profile for the area. Their focus in this paper is on Terminal Classic sites in the Sibun Valley. The local history of a cacao (chocolate) producing valley in the Sibun in Central Belize is juxtaposed against the political turbulence incumbent upon the collapse of the Lowland Maya Classic dynasties. New data from recent excavations-closely dated through radiocarbon analyses-indicate that political influence over the valley was actively contested at the end of the Classic period. The influence of the Pe ten dynasties-attested in ceramics and architecture-appears to have been challenged by the influence and power exerted by the northern Yucatec region, likely Chichen Itza. Changing patterns of ceramics, ritual architecture, and mortuary practices reveal the po litical re-orientation of the Sibun valley inhabitants. In general, the Sibun Valley is strategically located relative to the active trade routes of the Caribbean inner channel and the Terminal Classic Maya farmers of the Sibun Valley enjoyed ready access to a market for their highly desired cacao crop. Details of Sibun Maya daily practice provide a textbook example of survival and continuity in the face of political upheaval. Sandra L. Lpez Varela, a ceramic expert from Mexico, working on the Sibun Valley project has examined and concisely discusses the chronology and distribution of Maya pottery of the area. Her studies of the pottery found in the caves and settlements of the Sibun River Valley explore potters' life and behaviours from the Middle Formative to Colonial times. Resu lts from type: variety studies and distributio n analysis of Sibun pottery reflect the multi-level dimensions of social practice. In this exercise, the combined methodology illustrates that pottery expresses the so cietal needs of the very early settlers of the Sibun River Valley and also expressed the worldview of the first Europeans that settled into Belize. Western Region: Cayo District The western region of Belize especially the Cayo District has seen a tremendous growth in archaeological research in the last de cade. The four papers that follow examine a wide range of social and political analyses including the lives of ancient Maya farmers a nd the activities of the Maya elites. Cynthia Robin et al. examined household and community ritual at Chan, an ancient Maya farming community located in west-central Belize, which was occupied continuously from the Middle Preclassic to Early Postclassic periods (ca. 900 B.C. A.D. 1250). This article presents the results of the second season of a multi-year archaeological research project at Chan. In 2003 a survey of the site identifying 583 mounds and 1258 agricultural terraces in a 3.29 square kilometre area were completed. Research in 10

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J. Morris and J. Awe both dom estic and public plaza areas revealed new insights into the ritual practices of Maya farmers, from the humblest farmer to the leaders of the farming community. Given Chan's lengthy occupation, excavations data on rituals provides evidence concerning both the nature and changes in farmers' ritual practices over the expanse of Pre-Columbian Maya history. Ritual and worship play an important role in peoples lives and whether these are conducted at private shrines, in public or in grandiose churches or temples, these behaviours reflect relig ious expression and experiences. Lisa Lucero argues that scholarly interpretations of Late Classic Maya temples are relatively vague on their role and function except that they are stages for royal ceremonies. She claims that at secondary centers such as Yalbac, Belize, which do not have written or obvious iconographic records, charting temple attributes can reveal their histories especially given the crucial role temples played in daily social and religious life. The analysis of evidence from looters trenches found on temples at Yalbac, while preliminary, has exciting implications regarding the role of temples and the potential for these buildings to serve as textual information as we strive to understand Classic Maya society? Regional interaction and sociopolitical development in the Belize Valley is the focus of the next two papers. Carolyn Audet and Jaime Awe examine the Middle to Late Postclassic occupation at Baking Pot, Belize. They revisit the importance of Baking Pots role in the political hierarchy of the region. Recent excavations by the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project have yielded evidence of early to Middle Postclassic occupation at the site of Baking Pot. This evidence includes a refuse deposit containing partially complete ceramic vessels, a ceramic mask, crystal beads, chert and obsidian arrowheads, and complete obsidian blades. Three copper bells were also found around the structure in association with Postcl assic ceramics. This new evidence suggests that the quality of material possessions by the Valley occupants had not diminished as was previously thought and that trade routes remained intact in this region. More importantly, these findings remind us that we cannot continue to ignore the Postclassic Maya. Despite the oftenephemeral nature of Postclassic activity, it is equally as vital as evidence from the Maya Preclassic and Classic periods. Dorie Reents-Budet et al. also discusses sociopolitical interconnections and provide an excellent analysis of pottery from Classic period (A.D. 250 850) burials and other special contexts in Group 1 at Baking Pot, Belize, located in the western Belize River Valley. The multi-disciplinary research addresses questions of the nature, direction, and degree of interaction between Baking Pot and its neighbours both near and far. The investigations combined neutron activation analysis of the vessels pastes with traditional archaeological type: variety assessments and art historical analyses of style and iconography. The combined research indicates that Baking Pot developed vigorous ceramic traditions in-step with those sites in its immediate cultural vicinity. The pottery also implies relatively strong and consistent relations with Buenavista del Cayo and other centers in western Belize. Long distance relations are indicated with Caracol and sites in southern Belize as well as with Holmul and other centers in the eastern Peten. The most distant relationship indicated by the pottery is with a site either in the Guaytan area of the middle Motagua River Valley of southern Guatemala or one in Veracruz, Mexico. 11

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Introduction and Synthesis Northern Belize: Orange Walk and Corozal District Research in northern Belize has focused primarily on large-scale settlement pattern studies over a wide area known as the Three Rivers Region. Jon Lohse et al. portray an overview of the political ecology of the upper northwestern Belize These authors argue that evidence in this area indicate dramatic changes in the fabric of Maya social and political organization over the transition from the Early to Late Classic (from ca. A.D. 450 onward). These transitions are visible in the material record through altered growth trajectories of site centers, shifting rural settlement, and in patterns of regional ceramic production. Evidence for differences in the ways certain natural resources came to be utilized and for important environmental changes, including rising water tables and, later on, droughty conditions were also documented. In marshalling these data, they note that the Late Classic (ca. A.D. 600 850) organization of that study area to be the result of combined inputs from and requirements of multiple quarters of society, including both urban a nd rural residents as they responded to natural forces as well as the well-documented political developments across the Maya Lowlands. Fred Valdez, Jr., adds to this general overview by discussing the ancient Maya settlements in the Programme for Belize lands. Twelve seasons of archaeological research in northwest Belize allow for analysis and interpretation of many ancient Maya activities. The Programme for Belize Archaeological Project (PfBAP) has continued the difficult tasks of survey, mapping, and excavation in an attempt to understand the social, political, and economic interrelations hips between minor and major settlement areas. While large site investigations have been generally assigned to specific research agendas, the PfBAP continues a significant push to researching small sites and rural settlements. Research concerning the smaller settlements and general landscape manipulation is the focus of this presentation. Where and how were the Maya utilizing the NW area of Belize for their livelihood? What kind of life did these activities provide for most of the Maya? Settlement locations, artefacts (production and consumption), and general patterns of land use all serve to help define ancient Maya life in NW Belize. In a superbly written paper Kay S. Sunahara and Richard Meadows propose that the focus of the Formalized Landscape Project (FLP) is to discover how the ancient Maya altered and modelled the landscape. Investigation into ancient Maya non-urban social complexity in the Three Region of Northwestern Belize is also affiliated with the Programme for Belize Archaeological Project. The FLP over the past two field seasons (2003-2004) has located and documented over 20 ancient Maya building groups with associated agricultural and water management features along a 10 km east west transect in the southwest zone of the Programme for Belize Land. Preliminary excavations at three of these groups suggest a high level of variation and complexity in settlement and social organization during the Late Classic Period. Both authors suggest that the cultural features visible ac ross the landscape crystallized during a time when communities were engaging in intensive cultivation of the land, as well as complex political economic and social activities. Sunahara and Meadows argue that the political economy was also influenced by physiographic and environmental location, as well as resource appropriations. In turn the landscapes that are viewed in the present are refractions of ancient systems and structures. The communities who occupied the diversity of structures groups identified 12

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J. Morris and J. Awe by the FLP certainly had political econom ic agendas of their own that crosscut formalized political economic or social hierarchies and cemented socioeconomic and political ties. Investigations along the Blue Creek escarpment in northern Belize have yielded information on archaic periods in Belize. Jon Lohse stimulating overview of the preceramic evidence from Paleo-Indian and archaic time periods in Belize is a timely exposition. This paper compiles much of the available data in an effort to bring the hunting and gathering and itinerant horticultural millennia of Belize prehistory into a broader, more accurate, and more comprehensive perspective than has been presented to date. The Paleo-Indian period sees influences from No rth as well as South America, with settleme nt preferences shown for river valleys and perhaps near-coastal margins. Cave sites hold promise for yielding new and well-pr eserved data from this early period. Lo hse proposes that the Archaic begins around 6000 B.C., but the evidence is lacking a nd the period is poorly dated until 3400 B.C., and was probably characterized by mobile hunter-foragers throughout the early an d middle Holocene. By 3400 B.C., however, he points out that there is more evidence available to demonstrate habitat modification and early maize horticulture. The period beginning around 1500 B.C., called the Early Formative elsewhere in Mesoamerica but referred to in Belize as the Late Preceramic, shows intensifying maize cultivation, apparently mobile populations, and also the appearance of well-defined stone tool traditions that trend into the early Middle Preclassic. Shirley Mock continues her work on the daunting northern Belize coastal areas documenting Maya Postclassic transitions and ideology by examining ceramic deposits. During the period (A.D. 1000 1300) Mock suggests that mercantile elite rose to control newly organized coastal trading works at Saktunja and connected to Yucatan. Maya elites de veloped strategies to reaffirm and reinforce their claims to status and these involve a melding of mythological and historic components. Mock demonstrates how ceramics, as portable objects, became an increasingly flexible media that could enhance and forge wider commercial linkages. Examined within the context of other media and models, she notes that ceramics also provide crucial indices in illuminating new styles of ideological messaging pertinent to profound social changes during the Maya Post Classic period (A.D. 1000 1400). We end this volume by presenting a paper that can be aptly termed applied anthropology, where the authors have combined archaeological research, environmental studies, and community development to demonstrate how these disciplines have come together to create the Maya Forest Garden at El Pilar. Anabel Ford et al. in an innovating perspective address the matter of adaptive management and community participation at El Pilar. Resource management and conservation are more keenly required for the Maya forest especially where population growth is threatening the integrity of the tropical ecosystems by contemporary development projects. Curiously, the Maya forest was home to the Maya civilization with 3 to 9 times current populations of the region. The forest survived, demons trating resilience to human expansion across millennia, and the El Pilar Program suggests there are lessons to be learned from the past. Over the past decade, innovations of the El Pilar Program have forged new ground for community participation in the conservation development of the El Pilar Archaeological Reserve for Maya Flora and Fauna, joining themes of global importance tourism, 13

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Introduction and Synthesis 14 natural resources, foreign affairs, rural development, and education with traditional forest gardening impacts agriculture, rural ente rprise and capacity building. Today the program embraces partnerships in Beli ze and Guatemala with alliances in the international NGO community. The El Pilar Program has collaboratively bu ilt an innovative community participatory process, in creating a unique management planning design, and in developing a new tourism destination. The success of local out reach is seen in the growth of the community organization Amigos de El Pilar that has worked together with the El Pilar Program to build a participatory relationship between the community and the reserve that is mutually beneficial. This dynamic relationship lies at the heart of the El Pi lar philosophy, resilient and with the potential to educate communities, transform local-level resource management, and inform conservation designs for the Maya Forest. To conclude, and as promised, the Institute of Archaeology has published the second volume of research papers on archaeological findings in Belize. The diverse nature of topics discussed in this volume underscores the complexity of archaeological research both theoretical and methodological. Archaeological res earch in Belize has grown tremendously over the last decade and it is the mandate of Institute of Archaeology to publish the findings of these scholarly presentations in a scientific journal, to provide knowledge not only for the Belizean public, but to all those interested in the past histories of ancient civilizations.

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SECTION ONE: THE EARLY CLASSIC PERIOD

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The Early Classic Period is difficult to define for a variet y of reasons, not the least of which is a widespread preconception that can be found among many Maya archaeologists that the Early Classic either does not exist at some sites or that it represents a drastic reduction in terms of population numbers. Why and how this myth came into existence is partially a result of historical accident an d partially a result of excavation and analytic methodology that does not take into account the very real cultural changes that occurred during the onset of the Early Classic Period. We tend to look at the Early Classic Period through a Late Classic lens. In general, this lens works fairly well in terms of excavation methodology for the later part of the Early Classic Pe riod, at least in terms of elite remains. However, this Late Classic lens tends to cloud our vi ew of the first half of the Early Classic, where the excavation methodology needs to be substantially altered in order to encounter these earlier remains. Much like the Terminal Classic era (D. Chase and A. Chase in press), the transition from the Late Preclassic to Early Classic followed different frames of reference frames that are only barely understood, but that do not lend themselves to being found with excavation methodology honed in the Late Classic Period. Analytically, the Early Classic has some similarities to the Terminal Classic Period in the use of status-linked ceramic materials (see Lincoln 1985, A. Chase and D. Chase 2004, in press). Given the conjoined problems of excavation and analytic methodology, it is not surprising that many scholars have had difficulty isolating, let alone finding, the Early Classic era. 1 THE EARLY CLASSIC PERIOD AT CARACOL, BELIZE: TRANSITIONS, COMPLEXITY, AND METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES IN MAYA ARCHAEOLOGY Arlen F. Chase and Diane Z. Chase Although not the huge sprawling metropolis that it became in the Late Classic Period, Caracol had a fairly substantial population during the Early Classic Period. The archaeological data demonstrate that major shifts in ritual patterns occurred between the Early and Late Classic Periods at the site both in residential groups and in the site epicenter. Ceramic distribution patterns found in the Early Classic mirror those found later in the Terminal Classic in that status-linked pottery appears to have been employed; this practice creates methodological problems for the identification of the time period in the archaeologi cal record. However, contex tually recovered materials and deposits found over 20 years of research at the site have helped us begin to understand the nature of the Early Classic Period at Caracol. Background Identificatio n of Early Classic remains and the transformation from the Preclassic to the Classic Period is not solely a modern concern. It was very much an interest of initial Carnegie researchers at Uaxactun, the site that came to form the baseline of later definitions of the Early Classic Period. The transition into the Early Classic was notoriously difficult to define at Uaxactun. Robert Smith (1955), the ceramic analyst at Uaxactun, was unsure of the nature of continuities from the Late Preclassic into the Early Classic. Aware of Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 17-38. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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Early Classic Caracol earlier trans itional ceramics from Holmul, Guatemala (Merwin and Vaillant 1932), he suspected that an entire ceramic phase, one he called Matzanel, was missing from the Uaxactun sequence. Although he subdivided his Early Classic phase into three parts, he had trouble defining its earlier two subdivisions (Tzakol 1 and Tzakol 2). Temporally, he saw the Early Classic as running from A.D. 278 to A.D. 593, largely defined on the basis of his understanding of hieroglyphic texts and stone monuments at Uaxactun. Thus, while Uaxactun clearly had substantial deposits dating to Tzakol 3 (his latest subdivision of the Early Classic), the transition out of La te Preclassic Chicanel ceramics was problematic; and, importantly, most of the Tzakol 3 materials at Uaxactun derived from high status tombs. Sequencing problems recognized in the ceramics at Uaxactun were also indirectly extended to other analytic realms. Uaxactuns E Group was thought to have functioned as an architectural complex for measuring solstices and equinoxes. Even though a Late Precla ssic building was stratigraphically related to this function, because 8th cycle stelae were associated with a later rebuilding of this complex, Uaxactuns E Group came to be defined as an architectural hallmark for the Early Classic Period. However, subsequent work on E Groups (or architectural commemorative complexes) at other sites demonstrated that these complexes all had Preclassic origins (A. Chase and D. Chase 1995; Hansen 1998; La porte and Fialko 1995). Subsequent archaeological projects widely used the Uaxactun ceramic sequence, but did not substantiall y refine its complexes or dating. Fourteen ye ars of excavation at Tikal by the University of Pennsylvania largely replicated and amplified the Early Classic sequence seen at Uaxactun. The earlier parts of the Early Classic at Tikal (Manik 1 and 2) were curiously underrepresented in the archaeological record recovered by the University of Pennsylvania team (later recognized as a sampling problem) while the latest Early Classic facet (Manik 3) was especially well represented in elite tombs (e.g. Culbert 1993). A focus on these elite tombs resulted in rampant speculation that the great central Mexican site of Teotihuacan had directly impacted the southern lowland site of Tikal in some way based largely on similarities in ceramics and iconography (Coe 1972; Coggins 1975). Sanders and Price (1968), in fact, argued that Teotihuacan intervention in the Southern lowlands, either directly from Teotihuacan or indirectly through the site of Kaminaljuyu, gave rise to the first true Maya state. While epigraphers have perpetuated this view of interven tionist history (Schele and Freidel 1990; Stuart 2000; Martin 2003), the archaeological record argues strongly against any forcible impact from Teotihuacan (Demarest and Foias 1993; Iglesias 2003; Laporte 2003; White et al. 2000, 2001). The more recent Tikal excavations by Juan Pedro Laporte (2003; Laporte and Fialko 1995) and his colleagues have better defined th e Early Classic Period at that site and substantially filled in ceramic gaps relevant to Tika ls earlier phases. These investigations suggest a Maya, rather than Teotihuacan, tempor al priority for key ceramic types and architectural styles. While Early Classic materials could be defined in most excavations at the various sites that were excavated in the 1950s and 1960s, the analysts usually commented that the full spectrum of what should have been there was absent. For Barton Ramie (Willey et al. 1965), Altar de Sacrificios (Adams 1971), and Altun Ha (Pendergast 2003:244), this meant that few of the hallmark cylinde r tripods were found, although other materials could be assigned to this temporal era. At Seibal, however, 18

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A. Chase and D. Chase there were problem s finding and defining any Early Classic occupation. Secure Early Classic occupation could only be assigned to the site epicenter and a temple 2 kilometers distant. Based on these data, Sabloff (1975:233) argued that Seibal was virtually abandoned for several hundred years between the Late Preclassic and the Late Classic Period. This idea of an Early Classic population depression or abandonment was subse quently popularized (Willey et al. 1975:41; Willey 1977:395396) and adopted by later researchers (e.g., Sidrys 1983:397-399) who also had difficulty locating the Early Classic remains within their archaeological samples. Based on his archaeological data and in accord with this viewpoint, Freidel (1978, Freidel et al. 1982) argued that Cerros was almost completely abandoned at the end of the Late Preclassic Period (although subsequent reanalysis did in fact identify Early Classic remains within the Cerros structures [Walker 1998]). The accumulated publications led to a widespread belief that there was little or no Early Classic Period occupation in large portions of the Southern lowlands, presumably because of some sort of larger societal d ecline. Lincoln (1985) provided an alternative solution to the dilemma of the missing Early Classic by postulating that Preclassic ceramics continued to be used by the bulk of Early Classic populations at many sites and were thus not easily distinguishable by the ceramic analyst. While initially not widely accepted, Lincolns (1985) work in fact provided part of the resolution to the Early Classic problem. The above being said, we should note that we have frequently looked in bewilderment at those who postulated Early Classic abandonment or had difficulty in finding Early Classic archaeological remains for the Early Classic Period has been well represented at each of the major sites at which we have worked. Both Tayasal and Cenote in the central Peten of Guatemala produced burials and tombs dating to the Early Classic. And, the conjunction of E Groups, the advent of stela, and Protoclassic ceramics were all in evidence at Cenote (A. Chase 1985). Thus, ceramically, a clear transition was manifest ed in intertwined ceramic modes that spanned the Late Preclassic into the Ea rly Classic; another transition was seen in ceramic modes conjoining the Early and Late Classic eras (A. Chase and D. Chase 1983). However, exactly when these transitions occurred was somewhat hazy. In fact, it was in examining the Tayasal data that we started to understand some of th e analytical problems involved in the Early Cla ssic, for if one used the standard temporal frame for the Early Classic then current of A.D. 250 to A.D. 600, it would appear as if there was a population decline in the archaeological record. But, if one re duced the upper end of this phase from A.D. 600 to A.D. 550, as archaeological sequenci ng and cross-dating dictated (see A. Chase 1990), then the population curve reversed itself and the Early Classic demonstrated a population upswing. Thus, a 50-year shift in timeframe drastically restructured analytic perceptions of the same data (A. Chase 1990:158). Methodologically, the Tayasal data further demonstrated that Early Classic remains were not often encountered in random settlement test-pits, but were rather more likely to appear deeply buried in larger architecture. Thus, sampling was clearly a key issue in the recovery of Early Classic Period remains. Santa Rita Corozal also produced a sizeable amount of Early Classic material including tombs, burials, caches, and onfloor refuse (see D. Chase and A. Chase, this volume). Analytically, these data again demonstrated ceramic continuity between the Late Preclassic and Early Classic, but 19

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Early Classic Caracol also suggested an Early Classic exuberance that far exceeds th e central Peten materials. Unlike the central Peten, the continuities in certain forms in northern Belize between the Early and Late Classic eras sometime made an ascription to the Late Classic difficult (e.g. Pring 1976). These same data showed a highly stratified society and demonstrated that a few people could accomplish great architectural feats (D. Chase 1990:207), something later expounded upon in terms of ergonomics by Abrams (1994) for Copan. Like the Tayasal-Paxcaman Zone and Santa Rita Corozal, Caracol also has blessed us with plen tiful Early Classic remains. Analytically, we have several deposits that permit us to examine both the Late Preclassic and Early Classic articulation and the Early Classic to Late Classic transition. Methodologically, Caracol has also allowed us to note that our traditional excavation techniques i.e., axial trenches on mounded architecture may be fine for identifying remains from the late Early Classic onwards, but that they are not well-suited for finding ear lier Early Classic remains. Many Early Classic primary deposits tend to be inside elevated plazas and not on structural axes Thus, part of our inability to find Early Classic remains can be ascribed to an excavation methodology that is conditioned to find Late Classic deposits. The Early Classic Period at Caracol To understand the Early Classic Period at Caracol, one needs to first define the known Preclassic remains at the site. Preclassic Caracol was quite precocious. Caracols Preclassic ceramics may go back as far as 600 B.C. based on form and decorative seriation. However, most Preclassic occupation at Caracol is deeply buried and difficult to access. In the epicenter, Preclassic architecture has been investigated in three loci. Caana, Caracols main epicentral complex, had been built to a height of over 38 meters by the end of the Late Preclassic era. In the A6 locus was a Late Preclassic version of Caracols E Group (or commemorative architectural complex; see A. Chase and D. Chase 1995). Finally, two Preclassic building platforms have been partially excavated deep beneath the elevated plaza in front of Structure B34. Preclassic caches also are known from both the Caracol epicenter and from some of the outlying sites that were engulfed by Caracols Late Classic settlement. J. Eric S. Thompson (1931) recovered Preclassic caches from both Hatzcap Ceel and Cahal Pichik. The Caracol Archaeological Project also encountered looted cache vessels of probably Late Preclassic date at Cahal Pichik. In the Caracol epicenter, two Late Preclassic caches were found in the core of Structure A6-2nd. Both consist of pottery containers with only a few contents; however, one was bedded on hundreds of broken greenstone beads. The transition between the Late Preclassic and the Early Classic to some extent representing the earlier end of the Early Classic is exceedingly well represented at Caracol in terms of ceramics contained in burials, caches, and refuse deposits. These data substantially augment Brady et al.s (1998) discussion and faceting of ceramic typologies for the Protoclassic. Brady and his colleagues argue that Protoclassic ceramics can subdivided into two temporal facets, on e that is essentially Late Preclassic and represented by Usulutan material and tetrapod nubbin supports and a second that is essentia lly Early Classic and is characterized by orange-gloss polychrome mammiform tetrapods and pot-stands; the earlier facet is dated from 75 + 25 B.C. to A.D. 150 and the later facet is dated from A.D. 150 to ca. A.D. 400. Unlike much of the data examined by Brady et al. (1998), the Caracol archaeological data on this 20

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A. Chase and D. Chase transition com es mostly from primary deposits. Part of the problem in dealing with this transitional era is perceptions about what Preclassic ceramics as opposed to Early Classic ceramics look like. Simply put, Preclassic ceramic materials were viewed as being monochrome red, black, or cream, were often portrayed as being fairly thick and heavy, and were perceived as having waxy finishes; Early Classic ceramics were considered as being more finely made, as having forms that included basal flanges, z-angles, lids, and cylinder tripods, and as being decorated with polychrome or with gou ging and incising on blackwares. In th e past, many of our contexts for these early materials came from fill, and the ceramic analyst had little choice but to sort materials into what were perceived as being Preclassic as opposed to Early Classic types. Assumptions were made as to what went with what, and it was believed that waxy wares and glossy wares were temporally sequent. In the absence of good radiocarbon dates, dating was based on comparisons to other sites (where other analysts had supposedly already resolved these issues). What this meant is that our understanding of the Late Preclassic and Early Classic transition, an era difficult to find archaeologically, was reified in terms of analytic preconceptions. After 20 years of research at Caracol, we are only now starting to break out of this analytic straightjacket At this point we have a number of deposits that can be dated to the Preclassic end of this transition. Two burials have been recovered from Caracol that combines Preclassic and Protoclassic forms and a third is known from Tzimin Kax (Thompson 1931: 286287). The first Caraco l transitional burial came from a chultun in the settlement area and contained six vess els (see A. Chase 1994:165) combining Preclassic and Protoclassic modes (3 Laguna Verde Incised bowls [1 with faint Usulutan decoration], 1 Sierra Red labial flange bowl, 1 groovehooked rim nubbin-footed Sacluc Black-onOrange bowl, and 1 incised deep incurved orange bowl with missing mammiform supports). The second Caracol transitional interment is from a very rich cist placed to the front of Structure B34 (Figure 1); here a woman was buried with an elaborate mantle composed of some 7,000 shell and jadeite beads fringed with dog-teeth as well as with minimally 32 vessels combining Preclassic, Protoclassic, and Early Classic modes (see Figure 1). The combination of modes and decorations found on th e ceramics within these contexts makes it clear that these two interments date to the cusp of the transition to the Early Classic. But, there are also indications that vessels placed within burials during this era were more conservative and traditional in their contents than ceramics contemporaneously used in other social realms. Thus, it was only in viewing the total assemblage that dating could be ascribed. During our 2003 field season, a collapsed chultun was excavated in the southern portion of the South Acropolis. At the bottom of this chultun was a single lens of refuse that contained some twenty-five reconstructable ceramic vessels (Figure 2). Finewares from the deposit exhibited an admixture of Late Preclassic and Protoclassic forms and surface treatments. But, unlike the recovered burials noted above, these finewares were in association with other utilitarian and ceremonial ceramics that included large slipped waterjars, large unslipped ollas with handles, and various kinds of censerware. Both glossy orange-wares of various forms (including large mammiform supports [not illustrated here]) and large waxy re d-ware dishes were present in the reconstructable ceramics, as well as a mammiform blackware plate, a 21

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Early Classic Caracol Figure 1. Burial plan of a woman at Caracol Structure B34 ca A.D. 150. She was accompanied by 32 vessels, 10 of which are shown here: (a, b) Laguna Verde Incised; (c) Sacluc Black-on-Orange; (d) Alta Mira Fluted; (e) Flor Cream; (f, g) Mojara Orange Polych rome; (h) Sierra Red; (i) Accordian Incised; ( j) Mut Red-on-Brown 22

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A. Chase and D. Chase Figure 2. a: Vessels from a refuse deposit at the bottom of a collapsed chultun in the South Acropolis (excv. C164D), representing transitional ceramic material at the beginning of the Early Cl assic era (ca. A.D. 200). 23

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Early Classic Caracol Lagartos Punctated m ushroom pot, and 2 Sacluc Black-on-Orange bowls (1 with mammiform supports and the other with a groove-hook lip). This admixture was much richer than that which occurred in the interments, conjoining forms that would normally be dated only to the Late Preclassic with forms that are clearly knocking on the A.D. 150-facet transition in the Brady et al. (1998) dating scheme. The overlap between the Late Preclassic and Early Classic ceramics and the problems in burial ceramics and sampling became even clearer during our 2004 field season. Excavations in the platform north of Structure B36 produced three burials that are quite early in the Early Classic sequence. Two of these interments were placed directly within the fill of the platform and approximately half a meter Figure 2. b: Vessels from a refuse deposit at the bottom of a collapsed chultun in the South Acropolis (excv. C164D), representing transitional ceramic material at the beginning of the Early Cl assic era (ca. A.D. 200). 24

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A. Chase and D. Chase below the modern ground surface. Each buria l was associated with two vessels (Figure 3). One was accompanied by a basal-flange polychrome bowl and a polychrome pot-stand; the other was accompanied by a miniature handled olla and a small collared bowl with lug-handles. The stratigraphy indicates that both interments had to have been deposited within a very short time span relative to each other. However, tradit ional ceramic analysis would make one interment Preclassic and the other Early Classic, thus to some extent mirroring the admixture seen in the earlier deposits discussed above. The third interment recovered immediately east of the other two was a re-entered tomb (see D. Chase and A. Chase 2004a) containing six vessels (including two basal-flanged bowls) and an incised blackware lid, all dating this interment to the Early Classic Period. Thus, these excavations also confirm the difficulty in dating isolated ceramics outside of contextual assemblages and stratigraphic relationships. Besides the above deposits, 15 other Caracol interments can be assigned to the Early Classic Period. Eight Early Classic tombs are known from Caracol: five come from the site epicenter (Figure 4), one comes from the Retiro termini, and two were recovered in the settlement area (Figure 5). Two other Early Classic interments come from chultuns excavated within the settlement area (Figure 6). Two more Early Classic interments were recovered in settlement test excavati ons and at least three other Early Classic interments are cursorily known from settlement looting. Most of the Caracol Early Classic interments have basalflange bowls. Interestingly, however, cylinder tripods only co me from three tombs in the site epicenter. Five Early Classic interments have hourglass incensarios in them: one tomb has an effigy-face censer; a chultun burial has a spiked censer with its base removed (see Figure 6a); three other tombs have plainer forms (1 in the site epicenter and 2 in residential settlements). The Early Classic burials with these incensarios date from the later part of the Early Classic, and the hour-glass incensario can be considered to be a transitional form as it continued to be placed in other burials dating to the early part of the Late Classic Period. At minimum, four excavated caches fall within the transitional Late Preclassic to Early Classic era at Caracol. This includes materials from both with in and outside the site epicenter. Prim ary among these are two caches that were deposited during the construction of Structure A6-1st. One cache was in a barrel-shaped vessel; it contained color-coded directional shells set about a central earflare asse mblage on a bed of malachite; also included in the urn were carved shell and jadeit e figures (including human Charlie Chaplins [Moholy-Nagy 1985]), pine needles, pumpkin seeds, a beehive, and sharks teeth. Carbon within this urn yielded a date of 1980 + 80 (B.C. 190 [A.D.15] A.D. 210; Beta 18060). A second cache in the core of Structure A6-1st was located in a stone geode. It too contained a central jadeite earflare above a pair of Spondylus shell that held a jadeite mask; the whole had been enclosed in a cloth that contained malachite pebbles and had been set above 664.7 grams of liquid mercury. Extensive burning on structure floors that sealed these two caches were dated and yielded a series of three dates that confirmed the transitional placement of these caches, presumably as early as A.D. 60 (A. Chase and D. Chase 1995:96-97). The early placement of this cache pattern at Caracol anticipates similar patterns found at Tikal almost 250 years later (see Coe 1990:926-930) and again emphasizes the importance of sampling and the difficulties in cross-dating. The other two transitional 25

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Early Classic Caracol Figure 3. Interment plans and vessels from two roughly coeval burials deposited within the Structure B36 platform (excv. C168H). 26

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A. Chase and D. Chase Figure 4. Early Classic vessels from a tomb in a residential (excv. C95B). 27

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Early Classic Caracol Figure 5. Early Classic vessels from tomb at Caracol settlement area (excv. C116D). 28

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A. Chase and D. Chase Figure 6. Vessels associated with a burial inside a chultun in the Caracol settlement area (excv. C67A). 29

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Early Classic Caracol caches at Caraco l come from an outlying housemound group (an urn with shells and an obsidian Charlie Chaplin) and from within the Structure B34 plaza (lip-to-lip bowls containing Pomacea shells and a miniature carved mica stingray spine). Besides the above transitional caches, fourteen additional caches in enclosed ceramic containers may be assigned an Early Classic date, six from the settlement area and eight from the epicenter (see Figure 7). All are on presumed structural axes, a lthough half of the settlement caches are non-structural and were recovered from within plazas. While there are differences among the contents of these caches, Charlie Chaplins shells, and carved jade are especially noticeable. Face caches first appear at the transition between the Early and Late Classic in the middle of the sixth century, but finger caches would appear to have a long er history, perhaps spanning the entire Early Classic Period (D. Chase and A. Chase 1998). Because the ceramic form of small-unslipped dishes does not vary all that much over time, it is difficult to date isolated finger caches without good stratigraphic control. Apart from ritual deposits, it is also possible to briefly co mment on architecture and settlement patterns Most Early Classic remains are deeply buried within Caracols extensive Late Classic constructions. However, the majority of Caracols A Plaza was constructed by the end of the Early Classic Period. Not only was the Late Preclassic commemorative complex further extended and elaborated on the western and eastern sides of this plaza during the Early Classic Period, but the platform mass of the temples known as Structures A1 and A3 were also built during this era. As previously mentioned, Caanas Structure B19 reached a height of at least 38 meters prior to the Early Classic Period, and evidence exists for a buried Early Classic version of Structure B20 that was on a more northerly axis during this era. Apart from these scant data, little has actually been recovered on Caana proper relative to the true Early Classic. Outside of epicentral construction, what can be noted is that the Early Classic landscape about Caracol was quite different than the Late Classic one. Residential groups were sparser, although agricultural terracing was probably being constructed (Healy et al. 1983). Sizeable architectural complexes (such as Talking Trees, Tulaktuhebe, and Saraguate) some elaborations of earlier Preclassic constructions were regularly spaced over the terrain at distances of approximately 2 kilometers from each other. Most of these groups were later engulfed by the more dense Late Classic population (e.g. D. Chase and A. Chase 2002). However, the amount of Early Classic construction activity visible throughout Caracol, when combined with evidence from burials and caches, bespeaks an active and presumably prosperous site one that was well positioned for growth and development in the Late Classic. A note needs to be made concerning Caracols hieroglyphic record and the Early Classic Period. Ballcourt Marker 3, dating to A.D. 798, makes reference to Caracols founding ruler, Te Kab Chaak, and his probable accession to the throne in 8.14.13.10.4 or A.D. 331. Clearly identifiable events related to Caracols early history are, however, few and far between in the texts. A badly broken Stela 23, set beneath a later altar at the summit of Structure A2, records a late 8 Baktun ISIG (Grube 1994:91-92) somewhere between A.D. 361 and A.D. 429. The Caracol Tourism Development Project recovered the upper half of Stela 20 under a side stairway for the A Plazas eastern platform (Figure 8). The full date on this monument can now be read as 8.18.4.4.12 or A.D. 400, but again little else can be garnered historically, 30

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A. Chase and D. Chase Figure 7. Part of Special Deposit C141C-1, which was placed in a small structure appended to the rear of Caracol Structure A1 (excv. C141C). Positioni ng of associated artifacts within the cache vessel is shown in four levels. Also illustrated is the central jadeite figurine and 22 Char lie Chaplins from within the urn (far left one is jadeite; the other 21 are of shell). 31

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Early Classic Caracol although bo th the A Plaza and the South Acropolis are loci of activity at this time. Two tombs from the South Acropolis may be dated from before (Structure D7) and after (Structure D16; e.g. A. Chase 1994) this monument. The double-decker tomb recorded by Satterthwai te (1954) in front of Structure A6 also was placed subsequent to Stela 20. While many early 9th cycle monuments exist at Caracol (e.g. Stelae 2, 4, 13, 14, 15, and 16 as well as in Giant Ahau Altars 2, 3, and 4), these texts are largely eroded and, thus, only th e briefest parts of Caracols Early Classic history have been decoded. Apart from the founder, the next Caracol ruler, Yajaw Te Kinich I, is noted as acceding to the throne in A.D. 484 (9.2.9.0.16; Martin and Grube 2000:86). His father was named Kak Ujol Kinich I and his son, Kan I, acceded to power in A.D. 531 (9.4.16.13. 3) near the transition to the Late Classic Period; in turn, Kan Is son, Yajaw Te Kinich II, acceded in A.D. 554 (9.5.19.1.2) under the auspices of a Figure 8. Upper section of Caracol Stela 20 dating to 8.18.4.4.12. (drawing by A. and D. Chase). Tikal lord (Martin and Grube 2000:89). Caracols independence from any relationship with Tikal resulted from the A.D. 562 star war re corded on Altar 21 (A. Chase 1991). Although no rulers interments have been unequivocally documented, monuments and dated chambers help anchor the Caracol sequence. Caracols ample archaeological record helps us to interpret the later transition to the Late Classic Period. While the population of early 6th century Caracol was nowhere near Late Classic size, displays of opulence in Caracols Early Classic burials and caches suggest that the site must have been relatively well established prior to the war with Tikal. That this was, in fact, the case can be seen in the earliest tomb from Structure B20. Dated to A.D. 537 (9.5.3.1.3) by a text painted on the east wall of the tomb, this chamber is large and impressive (D. Chase 1994:fig. 10.3), measuring 3.62 m in length, by 1.95 m in width, by 3.2 m in hei ght. It housed the remains of a single individual accompanied by 15 pottery vessels (A. Chase 1994:fig. 13.1), 2 Spondylus shells, a carved jadeite pendent, jadeite earflar es, and 14 limestone spindle whorls (among other items). The contents, size, and location of this chamber suggest that members of Caracols ruling dynasty prospered prior to the war with Tikal. The impact of the successful warfare with Tikal also can be seen in the substantial construction undertaken in the Structure B20 locus between the use of this chamber in A.D. 537 and the use of the sequent chamber in A.D. 577 (9.7.3.12.15). The A.D. 537 tomb was sited behind an earlier stairway mask. Some time later this first mask and its associated stair was covered by a new set of steps and a small shrine room or building that was elevated directly above the tomb chamber. After extensive use, this second stair was disassembled and the rear of the shrine was cut away to place the tomb used 32

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A. Chase and D. Chase in A.D. 577 as well as two addition al chambers that were encased in Structure B20-2nd (D. Chase and A. Chase 1998). A similar intensification in residential construction is also visible throughout the site at the transition from the Early to Late Classic Period following the A.D. 562 war (A. Chase and D. Chase 1989; D. Chase and A. Chase 2003). Conclusion Transitions are far more intriguing than stable blocks of time. Yet, transitions are also notoriously difficult to identify in the archaeological record because of their fluid (and fleeting) nature. We archaeologists tend to define blocks of time and to look for horizons that can be identified through specific modes and markers. In spite of a widespread dearth of appropriate contexts and deposits for analysis, modes and markers have tended to be used in Maya archaeology to make temporal subdivisions, thus actually reifying and obfuscating a very fluid situation. Most Maya archaeologists know what basic Early Classic ceramics look like and can identify them and sort them out of mixed fill collections. At least for the later part of the Early Classic Period, we have used these markers to assess connections to and interaction with central Mexico and elsewhere (e.g. Braswell 2003). However, it has only been with Laportes (2003) successful recovery of numerous primary deposits from the Mundo Perdido area of Tikal that we have begun to get a handle on what transpired in the earlier part of the Early Classic Period and how this era articulated with Protoclassic modes and markers. Yet, even with Laportes extensive work, the articulation of the Late Preclassic and Early Classic at Ti kal was and is still not fully resolved. Thus, the Caracol materials are important to understanding this early transition and, as at Tikal, reveal that the vagaries of sampling can very much condition interpretations. Much of our understanding of the past itself results from historical events and activities. Thus, the Uaxactun and Tikal excavations have come to condition our view not only of the earlier transition, but also of the later transition from the Early Classic to the Late Classic. The extensive archaeological excavati ons at Tikal did not recover voluminous materi als that related to this later ceramic transition from the Early Classic to the Late Classic Period. The lack of identifiable material for this later transition at Tikal may quite possibly have been a result of the hi storically noted A.D. 562-war event involving Caracol that disrupted the Tikal elite order for 130 years. Tikal entered into a monument hiatus between A.D. 562 and A.D. 692; elite burials from this transitional era were both difficult to find and to date (e.g. Culbert 1993). An inverse situation occurs at Caracol during this same time; there was an inscriptional apogee accompanied by plentiful archaeological deposits and remains. Again, the Caracol sequence is able to define this transition with well-dated ceramic assemblages and with the onset of new site-wide ritual practices (A. Chase and D. Chase 1994; D. Chase and A. Chase 2004b) that continued throughout the rest of the Late Classic Period. Even though research at Caracol has focused predominantly on its Late Classic occupation, during the 20 years of the Caracol Archaeological Project, there has been an increase in discoveries relevant to the sites early history. Exactly why Caracol initially developed where it did is probably never knowable, although Caracols emergence as a city can be seen in the archaeological record (A. Chase et al. 2001). In spite of a lack of water, a series of areas in the Caracol region were occupied by at least 600 B.C. By A.D. 100 all of Caracols 33

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Early Classic Caracol m ajor epicenter groups were the loci of massive constructions; C aana rose 38 meters above the jungle floor. The presence of several E Groups within the site boundaries and the many elaborate ritual offerings dating to the 1st century A.D. and later suggest that Caracol was well established before the formal advent of the Classic Period. It would appear that Early Classic Caracol continued to grow and to embellish the already established Preclassic patterns. During the 6th and 7th centuries Caracol expanded to become larger and more centralized; it became a giant site with a substantial population and massive public works projects. Giant sites often have humble beginnings; however, the archaeological data indicate that prepubescent Caracol was always substantial, even in the Preclassic era. Just as the Late Classic architecture covers earlier construction, so has Late Classic Caracol obscured what is now being revealed as a formidable earlier history. The combined work of various researchers has made the Early Classic far more understandable, but at the same time we now know the impact that sampling, cross-dating, type and mode markers, and preconceived notions can have on interpretations of the past. Acknowledgements: Parts of this paper were adapted from an earlier article prepared for the stillborn Journal of Belizean Archaeology entitled The Prepubescent Giant: Caracol before the Late Classic Period. However, the new Caracol data gathered since the original piece was formulated in 1996 have proved particularly informative with regard to the early transition into the Early Classic Period. Funding for the majority of the more recent research has come from the Ahau Foundation, the Stans Foundation, and the University of Central Florida Colbourn Endowment. References Cited Abrams, E.M. 1994 How the Maya Built Their World: Energetics and Ancient Architecture University of Texas Press, Austin. Adams, R.E.W. 1971 The Ceramics of Altar de Sacrificios, Guatemala, Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, vol. 63(1), Harvard University, Cambridge. Brady, J.E., J.W. Ball, R.L. Bishop, D.C. Pring, N. Hammond, and R.A. Housley 1998 The Lowland Maya Protoclassic: A Reconsideration of Its Nature and Significance, Ancient Mesoamerica 9:1738. Braswell, G.E. (ed.) 2003 The Maya and Teotihuacan: Reinterpreting Early Classic Interaction University of Texas Press, Austin. Chase, A.F. 1985 Archaeology in the Maya Heartland: The Tayasal-Paxcaman Zone, Lake Peten, Guatemala, Archaeology 38(1): 32-39. 1990 Maya Archaeology and Population Estimates in the Tayasal-Paxcaman Zone, Peten, Guatemala, in T.P. Culbert and D.S. Rice, Eds., Prehistoric Population History in the Maya Lowlands pp. 149-165, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 1991 Cycles of Time: Caracol in the Maya Realm, with an appendix on Caracol Altar 21 by Stephen Houston, in M.G. Robertson, Ed., Sixth Palenque Round Table, 1986, Vol. VII pp. 32-42, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 1994 A Contextual Approach to the Ceramics of Caracol, Belize, in D. Chase and A. Chase, Eds., Studies in the Archaeology of Caracol, Belize pp. 157182, Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute Monograph 7, San Francisco. 34

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A. Chase and D. Chase Chase, A. F. and D. Z. Chase 1983 La Ceramica de la Zona TayasalPaxcaman, Lago Peten Itza, Guatemala privately distributed by The University Museum, The University of Pennsylvania, 165 pages (separately bound publication). 1989 The Investigation of Classic Period Maya Warfare at Caracol, Belize, Mayab 5: 5-18. 1994 Maya Veneration of the Dead at Caracol, Belize, in Merle Robertson, Ed., Seventh Palenque Round Table, 1989 pp. 55-62, Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco. 1995 External Impetus, Internal Synthesis, and Standardization: E Group Assemblages and the Crystallization of Classic Maya Society in the Southern Lowlands, Acta Mesoamericana 8:87-101 (special issue edited by N. Grube entitled The Emergence of Lowland Maya Civilization: The Transition from the Preclassic to Early Classic), Markt Schwaben, Verlag A. Saurwein, Germany. 2004 Terminal Classic Status-Linked Ceramics and the Maya Collapse: De Facto Refuse at Caracol, Belize, in A. Demarest, P. Rice, and D. Rice, Eds., The Terminal Classic in the Maya Lowlands: Collapse, Transition, and Transformation pp. 342-366, University of Colorado Press, Boulder. in press Contextualizing the Collapse: Terminal Classic Ceramics from Caracol, Belize, in C. Varella and A. Foias, Eds., Terminal Classic Socioeconomic Processes in the Maya Lowlands through a Ceramic Lens BAR Monograph Series, Oxford (in press). Chase, A. F., Chase, D. Z., and C. White 2001 El paisaje urbano Maya: la integracin de los espacios construidos y la estructura social en Caracol, Be lice, in A. Ciudad Ruiz, M.J. Iglesias Ponce de Len, and M. del Carmen Martnez Martnez, Eds., Reconstruyendo la Ciudad Maya: el urbanismo en las sociedades antiguas pp. 95-122, Sociedad Espaola de Estudios Mayas, Madrid. Chase, D. Z. 1990 The Invisible Maya: Population History and Archaeology at Santa Rita Corozal, in T.P. Cu lbert and D.S. Rice, Eds., Prehistoric Population History in the Maya Lowlands pp. 199-213, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 1994 Human Osteology, Pathology, and Demography as Represented in the Burials of Caracol, Belize, in D. Chase and A. Chase, Eds., Studies in the Archaeology of Caracol, Belize pp. 123-138, PreColumbian Art Research Institute Monograph 7, San Francisco. Chase, D. Z. and A. F. Chase 1998 The Architectural Context of Caches, Burials, and Other Ritual Activities for the Classic Period Maya (as Reflected at Caracol, Belize), in Stephen D. Houston, Ed., Function and Meaning in Classic Maya Architecture pp. 299-332, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. 2002 Classic Maya Warfare and Settlement Archaeology at Caracol, Belize, Estudios de Cultura Maya 22:33-51. 2003 Texts and Contexts in Classic Maya Warfare: A Brief Consideration of Epigraphy and Archaeology at Caracol, Belize, in M.K. Brown and T. Stanton, Eds., Ancient Mesoamerican Warfare pp. 171-188, Alta Mira Press, Walnut Creek. 2004a Patrones de enterramiento y ciclos residenciales en Caracol, Belice, in R. Cobos et al., Eds., Culto Funerario en las Sociedad Maya, pp. 255-278, IV Mesa Redonda de Palenque, INAH, Mxico, D.F. 2004b Archaeological Perspectives on Classic Maya Social Organization from Caracol, Belize, Ancient Mesoamerica 15:111-119. in press Framing the Maya Collapse: Continuity, Discontinuity, Method, and Practice in the Classic to Postclassic Southern Maya Lowlands, in G. Schwartz and J. Nichols, Eds., After the Collapse: The Regeneration of Complex Societies University of Arizona Press, Tucson. 35

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Early Classic Caracol Coe, W. R. 1972 Cultural Contact between the Lowland Maya and Teotihuacan as seen from Tikal, Peten, Guatemala, in Teotihuacan: XI Mesa Redonda A. Ruz Lhuillier, Ed., Tomo 2, pp. 257-271, Sociedad Mexicana de Antropologa, Mexico City 1990 Excavations in the Great Plaza, North Terrace, and Acropolis of Tikal, Tikal Report 14, University Museum Monograph 61, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Coggins, C.C. 1975 Painting and Drawing Styles at Tikal: An Historical and Iconographic Reconstruction, Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Fine Arts, Harvard University. Culbert, T.P. 1993 The Ceramics of Tikal: Vessels fro the Burials, Caches, and Problematic Deposits, Tikal Report 25, Part A, University Museum Monograph 81, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Demarest, A. and A. Foias 1993 Mesoamerican Horizons and the Cultural Transformations of Maya Civilization, in D. Rice, Ed., Latin American Horizons, pp. 147-191, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. Freidel, D.A. 1978 Maritime Adaptation and the Rise of Maya Civilization: A View from Cerros, Belize, in B.L. Stark and B. Voorhies, Eds., Prehistoric Coastal Adaptations: The Economy and Ecology of Maritime Middle America pp. 239-265, Academic Press, New York. Freidel, D.A., R. Robertson, and M.B. Cliff 1982 The Maya City of Cerros, Archaeology 35(4): 12-21. Grube, N. 1994 Epigraphic Research at Caracol, Belize, in D. Chase and A. Chase, Eds., Studies in the Archaeology of Caracol, Belize, pp. 83-122, Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute Monograph 7, San Francisco. Hansen, R. 1998 Continuity and Disjunction: The PreClassic Antecedents of Classic Maya Architecture, in S.D. Houston, Ed., Function and Meaning in Classic Maya Architecture pp. 49-122, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. Healy, P.F., J.D.H. Lambert, J.T. Arnason, and R.J. Hebda 1983 Caracol, Belize: Evidence of Ancient Maya Agricultural Terraces, Journal of Field Archaeology 10:397-410. Iglesias Ponce de Leon, P. 2003 Problematical Deposits and the Problem of Interaction: The Material Culture of Tikal during the Early Classic Period, in G. Braswell, Ed., The Maya and Teotihuacan: Reinterpreting Early Classic Interaction, pp. 167-198, University of Texas Press, Austin. Laporte, J.P. 2003 Thirty Years Later: Some Results of Recent Investigation at Tikal, in G. Braswell, Ed., The Maya and Teotihuacan: Reinterpreting Early Classic Interaction, pp. 281-318, University of Texas Press, Austin. Laporte, J.P. and V. Fialko 1995 Un reencuentro con Mundo Perdido, Tikal, Guatemala, Ancient Mesoamerica 6( 1):41-94. Lincoln, C. 1985 Ceramics and Ceramic Chronology, in G.R. Willey and P. Mathews, Ed., A Consideration of the Early Classic Period in the Maya Lowlands, pp. 55-94, Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, State University of New York at Albany. Martin, S. 2003 In Line of the Founder: A View of Dynastic Politics at Tikal, in J. Sabloff, Ed., Tikal: Dynasties, Foreigners, and Affairs of State, pp.3-45, School of American Research Advanced Seminar Series, Santa Fe. Martin, S. and N. Grube 2000 Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya Thames and Hudson, London. 36

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A. Chase and D. Chase Merwin, R.E. and G.C. Vaillant 1932 The Ruins of Holmul, Guatemala Memoirs of the Peabody Museum 3(1), Harvard University Press, Cambridge. Moholy-Nagy, H. 1985 The Social and Ceremonial Uses of Marine Molluscs at Tikal, in M. Pohl, Ed., Prehistoric Lowland Maya Environment and Subsistence Economy pp. 147-158, Paper of the Peabody Museum 77, Harvard University Press, Cambridge. Pendergast, D. 2003 Teotihuacan at Altun Ha: did It Make a Difference? in G. Braswell, Ed., The Maya and Teotihuacan: Reinterpreting Early Classic Interaction, pp. 235-248, University of Texas Press, Austin. Pring, Duncan 1976 Outline of the Northern Belize Ceramic Sequence, Ceramic de Cultura Maya et al. 9: 11-51. Robertson, R. 1983 Functional Analysis and Social Process in Ceramics: The Pottery from Cerros, Belize, in R.M. Leventhal and A.L. Kolata, Eds., Civilization in the Ancient Americas: Essays in Honor of Gordon R. Willey, pp. 105-142, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Sabloff, J. 1975 Excavations at Seibal, Department of the Peten, Guatemala: The Ceramics Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology 13(2), Harvard University, Cambridge. Satterthwaite, L. 1954 Sculptured Monuments from Caracol, British Honduras, University Museum Bulletin 18:1-45. Schele, L. and D. Freidel 1990 A Forest of Kings: Untold Stories of the Ancient Maya, William Morrow, New York. Sidrys, R. 1983 Archaeological Excavations in Northern Belize, Central America, Institute of Archaeology Monograph 17, University of California, Los Angeles. Smith, R. E. 1955 Ceramic Sequence a Uaxactun, Guatemala, Middle American Research Institute Publication 20, Vol. II, Tulane University, New Orleans. Stuart, D. 2003 The Arrival of Strangers: Teotihuacan and Tollan in Classic Maya History, in Carrasco, et al. Eds., Mesoamericas Classic Heritage: From Teotihuacan to the Aztecs, pp 465-513, Colorado University Press, Niwot. Thompson, J.E.S. 1931 Archaeological Investigations in the Southern Cayo District, British Honduras Field Museum of Natural History Publication 302, Anthropological Series 17(3), Field Museum, Chicago. Walker, D. 1998 Smashed Pots and Shattered Dreams: The Material Evidence for an Early Classic Maya Site Termination at Cerros, Belize, in S. Mock, Ed., The Sowing and the Dawning: Termination, Dedication, and Transformation in the Archaeological and Ethnographic Record of Mesoamerica pp. 81 -99, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. White, C.D., F. Longstaff, and K. Law 2001 Revisiting the Teotihuacan Connection at Altun Ha: Oxygen-Isotope Analysis of Tomb F-8/1, Ancient Mesoamerica 126572. White, C.D., F. Longstaff, M. W. Spence, and K. Law 2000 Testing the Nature of Teotihuacan Imperialism at Kamnaljuyu Using Phosphate Oxygen-Isotope Rations, Journal of Anthropological Research 56(4):535-558. Willey, G.R. 1977 The Rise of Maya Civilization: A Summary View, in R. E.W. Adams, Ed., The Origins of Maya Civilization pp. 383423, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Willey, G.R., W.R. Bullard, J. Glass, and J. Gifford 1965 Prehistoric Maya Settlements in the Belize Valley Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and 37

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Early Classic Caracol 38Ethnology 54, Harvard University, Cambridge. Willey, G.R., A.L. Smith, G. Tourtellot, and I. Graham 1975 Excavations at Seibal: Introduction: The Site and Its Setting Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology 15(1), Harvard University, Cambridge.

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2 ALIVE AND KICKING IN THE 3rd TO 6th CENTURIES A.D.: DEFINING THE EARLY CLASSIC IN THE BELIZE RIVER VALLEY Jaime J. Awe and Christophe G.B. Helmke It has been expounded upon that the Early Classic Period is one of the least understood archaeological periods in Maya civilization. What archaeologists know about the Early Classic is based predominantly on excavations at large sites such as Tikal and Holmul In the Belize Valley some researche rs suggest a severe depopulation of the area and aggregation of the remaining populace into a few centers. This paper reviews the data available from the sites of Barton Ramie, Buenavista, Pacbitun, Cahal Pech and selected cave sites (Chechem Ha, Actun Chapat, Uchentzub) along the Macal valley charting a number of diagnostic features which can be used to define the nature of the Early Classic Maya, and confirming that the Early Classic was actually one of the most dynamic periods in the prehistory of Belize. Significantly, this article exposes the apparent absence of architectural and iconographic diagnostic aspects of the material culture of Teotihuacan in western Belize, which indicate that the Belize Valley sites may have formed a more cohesive network of interaction, and one less exposed to sites under hypothesized Teotihuacan influences. Introduction In a paper published in the first volume of the Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology, LeCount (2004:27-28) accurately noted that the Early Classic is one of the least unde rstood archaeological time periods in the Maya lowlands. She added that much of our understanding of this critical time period is based on the tomb and temple excavations at a few large sites, such as Tikal, Uaxact un, Holmul and Copan. Furthermore, when Early Classic remains are identified outside of the central Peten, they are usually associated with elite contexts. In the Belize Valley and western Peten, this assumed rarity of Early Classic remains has led some researchers to suggest a severe depopulation of the area and aggregation of the remaining populace into a few centers such as Actuncan (LeCount 2004:27). In contrast with this view, other researchers (Awe 1992, Demarest 1992, Lincoln 1985) have suggested that the paucity of Early Classic diagnostics in some regions may simply reflect the continuity of Late Preclassic assemblages beyond the third and fourth centuries A.D. Some of us (cf. Audet and Awe 2004:52) also believe that because previous investigators have tried to define the Early Classic on the basis of a few Peten-centric diagnostic ceramic types, they have generally failed to record evidence for local development during this time. By reviewing the data available for selected sites in the Belize River valley, we want to demonstrate two points: first, that there are a number of diagnostic features which can be used to define the nature of Early Classic Maya culture in the Belize Valley, and secondly, that the available data serves to confirm that the Early Classic was actually one of the most dynamic periods in the prehistory of western Belize. Barton Ramie At Barton Ramie Willey et al. (1965:350) and Gifford (1975) designated the Early Classic period as the Hermitage Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 39-52. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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Early Classic Belize River Valley phase. Overlapping Herm itage with the slightly earlier Floral Park phase, their Terminal Preclasssic Early Classic periods were dated from A.D. 100 to 600 and correlated with the Matzanel-Tzakol phases at Uaxactun. The settlement survey and excavations conducted by Willey and his colleagues noted that the Hermitage phase at Barton Ramie was characterized by a considerable increase in population. They (Willey et al. 1965:350) report that 76.9% or 50 out of the 65 mounds that were tested produced evidence of occupation during the Hermitage phase. In 30 mounds there was also evidence of platform construction. Most of the platforms were rectangular in form, except for BR 190, which was circular in plan and had an attached ramp and rectangular terrace. At least eight burials at Barton Ramie were dated to the Hermitage phase (Willey et al. 1965:545-558). The orientation of these burials was extended with head to the sout h, and in prone or supine positions. A few individuals were also placed in seated positions (Willey et al. 1965:565-566). Non-ceramic artifacts of the Hermitage phase at Barton Ramie included small and large varieties of metates bark beaters, obsidian cores, pyrite mosaic mirrors, Olivella shell tinklers, plus shell pendants and beads. Willey et al. (1965:566) further suggested that stemmed projectile points or knives were likely first introduced during the Hermitage phase. The Floral Park-Hermitage phases at Barton Ramie also witnessed the introduction of new ceramic innovations (Figure 1). New Floral Park ceramic types included pottery designated as Aguacate Orange and Ixcanrio Polychrome. The most diagnostic form of this pottery is a large bowl with mammiform tetrapodal supports. The diagnostic pottery of the subsequent Hermitage phase was found to be closely related with the glossy wares and polychromes that are found in the northeastern Peten. The two principal polychrome types for Hermitage were Actuncan Orange and Dos Arroyos Orange, both produced in basal-flanged bowl forms (Willey et al. 1965:566). Furthermore, The Aguacate Ceramic Group of the previous Floral Park Phase is not extinguished but continues in a variety known as Privacion. Also, the old resident red monochrome tradition has its descendant in the Minanha Red type which is also made in the basal-flange bowl form. Striated utility pottery, which has a long and more or less continuous history throughout the Barton Ramie sequence is particularly plentiful in the Hermitage Phase. Finally, Early Classic modes of Teotihuacan inspiration are seen in the slab-footed tripod jars most frequently occurring in the Balanza Black Ceramic Group. These Teotihuacan-like forms are not as common as at ceremonial centers of Uaxactun or Tikal, but they are definitely present in the house mound detritus at Barton Ramie. (Willey et al. 1965:566). Despite obvious cultural changes, the Barton Ramie ceramic data thus reflects clear continuities from the Protoclassic Mount Hope phase to the Hermitage phase. As Willey et al. (1965:565) accurately concluded, The picture is that of a definite mingling and fusion of the new with the old. Pacbitun At Pacbitun, Paul Healy (1990a) employed a chronology that closely resembles that of Willey et al. (1965) at Barton Ramie. Here the Terminal Preclassic or Protoclassic peri od, which was designated as the Ku phase, extends from 100 BC to AD 300. This is followed by the Early Classic Tzul phase that spans from AD 300 to 550. 40

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J. Awe and C. Helmke Excavations in the site core at Pacbitun revealed considerable construction activity during the Early Classic. Healy et al (2004:210) note that by the middle of the Ku phase, the in-line tripartite eastern buildings reached heights of between 3 and 6 meters above plaza level. To the southwest of Plaza A, construction of the palace complex (Str. 23) began in the Late Preclassic /Early Classic transition (Healy et al. 2004:211). The first phase of the Plaza E ballcourt was also constructed during the latter part of the Ku phase (Healy 1992). A cache in the eastern structure of th e ballcourt contained two ceramic vessels placed lip to lip. Within the vessels were approximately 200 shells of the freshwater snail known as jute Other objects in the deposit included the following: polished celt; jadeite bead; large, finely chipped green obsidian bipoint; large, stemmed, plano-convex chert point; stingray (Rajiformes) spine, fitting valves of a small thorny oyster (Spondylus americanus ), and six small (< 3 cm) flat, notched, lozengeshaped objects (possibly abstract human forms) made of slate (2), white shell (2); and orange/pink shell (2). The discovery of the green, Pachuca obsidian, leaf-shaped bi-point, and the stemm ed, plano-convex point in the same context is particularly important because it provides evidence that both projectile forms were being produced in Early Classic times. At Altun Ha, Pendergast (2003) also discovered several eccentrics made from green Pachuca obsidian, suggesting that settlements along the Belize River may have participated in a trade network that had expanded considerably following the end of the Late Preclassic period. 41

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Early Classic Belize River Valley Investigatio ns at Pacbitun recorded 20 stone monuments. These include 13 stelae and 7 altars. Three of the monuments, Stela 6 (Figure 2), as well as Altars 3 and 4, bear evidence of carving and were dated to the Early Classic Tzul Phase. Based on their interpretation of the inscriptions, Healy (1990b; also Healy et al. 2004:214) proposed that Stela 6 commemorated an event celebrated about A.D. 475 (or 9.2.5.?.?). A more recent re-examination of this monument by Christophe Helmke, Nikolai Grube, and Jaime Awe recorded many more details of the glyphic text on Stela 6, and secured a Long Count placement of A.D. 485 (or 9.2.10.0.0), obviously at odds with Healy et al.s (2004) proposition. Our recent illustration also produced considerable more detail than was captured by the earlier field drawing of the monument. Deciphered portions of the text appear to refer to a mythological episode as a prelude for the historical event commemorated by the erection of the stela itself (Helmke et al. 2004). In addition, the lord of Pacbitun depicted on the stelae may be titled as a yajaw kahk or Lord of Fire. The subsidiary text that serves as a caption to the iconographic program refers to an accession ceremony (perhaps to the rank of Lord of Fire?), which may have taken place under the agency of an overlord; though on account of erosion this interpretation must remain tentative (Helmke et al. 2004). This evidence indicates that, as a seat of royal power, Pacbitun played an active role within wider networks of elite inte raction, a point also highlighted by the cohesiveness and broad geographic distribution of shared ceramic modes and forms at the time. Despite these relations, the absence of any Teotihuacan iconographic elements or themes on the carved monuments of Pacbitun is notable a feature also shared by contemporary monuments at Blackman Eddy and Caracol. This absence indicates that the Belize Valley sites, and perhaps Caracol, may have formed a more localized and cohesive network of interaction, and were less exposed to central Mexican influences like the sites under hypothesized Teotihuacan control. Figure 2. Pacbitun Stela 6 as found in situ (photograph by J. Awe) Buenavista del Cayo At Buenavista Ball and Taschek (2004:156) report that There is little evident change in the overall archaeological material record from the Terminal Preclassic Xakal to the Protoclassic Madrugada (ca. 100-50 B.C.A.D. 150) ceramic phases, but those changes that did occur were culturally profound. They add that: while there is overall a smooth continuity in the material cultural record of the valley, 42

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J. Awe and C. Helmke analytically noticeab le (Preclassic/ Protoclassic) changes did occur, and while some of these likely were no more than natural local evolutions in ceramic technology and style, some may have had considerable local, social or political significance (e.g. the limited importation of Peten Gloss Ware black Balanza and polychrome Dos Arroyos group dishes, bowls, and other vessels.) In contrast to the Terminal Preclassic/Protoclass ic phases, Ball and Taschek (2004:157) argue that the subsequent Early Classic Ahcabnal ceramic phase (ca. A.D. 240-420-540) was marked by dramatic discontinuities in longestablished ceramic types, groups, wares, and functional forms in use at both elite and commoner levels.... Ceramic discontinuities that occur between A.D. 240 and A.D. 420 at Buenavista ranged from replacement of the Tumbac and Chan Pond unslipped domestic utility ceramic tradition by the Uax actun Unslipped Ware Triunfo-Cayo tradition. Likewise, the Early Classic witnessed the complete disappearance of the longstanding waxy tradition and its replacement by the new Peten gloss ware tradition. The Ahcabnal phase also sees the production of polychrome pottery and high quality blackware and brown-ware vessels in forms that included basal-flanged dishes and bowls, tripod cylinder vases, and flat-base cylinder vases and bowls. Ball and Taschek (2004:157) claim that there is considerable evidence for Early Classic architectural activity in the Buenavista site core and sustaining area. They (Ball and Taschek 2004:157) argue that there is marked augmentations in the size and distribution of the resident zonal population and with a proliferation in the numbers of new suburban residential patio groups. They also re port that in the site center finding evidence for major surges in the construction of monumental public and residential buildings. Baking Pot At Baking Pot a substantial body of data has been recorde d, both within the site core and the periphery, which provides evidence for Early Classic developments at the site (Aimers et al. 2000; Audet 2000, 2004; Audet and Awe 2004; Bullard and Bullard 1965; Colas et al. 2002; Conlon and Powis 2004; Conlon et al. 1994; Powis 1993; Ricketson 1931). In Group 1 of the site core, excavations at the base of the inline triadic eastern shrine uncovered two crypts containing slab-footed (Teotihuacan inspired) Balanza Black and Pucte Brown cylinder vases. The presence of these Early Classic pottery types and forms suggests that this, E-Group-like, architectural configuration was likely formalized by at least the 6th century A.D. Other excavation in the main plaza recovered a variety of Early Classic ceramic types and forms, indicating that one or more of the plaza floors were constructed during this time. At the base of Str. E, a sub-stela cache containing the remains of two infants and lip to lip Hewlett Bank unslipped vessels, provide additional evidence for Early Classic ritual activity in the site core. Within the sites sustaining area investigations recorded Early Classic components in two plazuelas and at a sacbe terminus complex. At the Yaxtun Group, located northeast of Group 1, Audet (2000, also Audet and Awe 2004) reported that ceramic remains below the sealed floor of Str. 198/3rd contained a mixture of Late Preclassic and Early Classic pottery. The ceramic types identified included vessels of Sierra Red, Polvero Black, Dos Arroyos Orange Polychrome, Balanza Black, Lucha Incised and Minanha Red Groups. Approximately two kilometers southwest of the site co re, investigations at 43

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Early Classic Belize River Valley the Bedran Group (Audet and Awe 2004, Colas et al. 2002, Conlon et al. 1994, Powis 1993) have also uncovered considerable evidence for Early Clas sic development. On Structure 2, the eastern shrine of this formal plazuela group, excavations revealed that the first construction phase was represented by a circular platform. The discovery of a cache containing an Aguacate Orange vessel helps to date this construction phase to the Protoclassic Early Classic transition. Within the subsequent architectural phase, another cache and a burial contained a Balanza Group Lucha Incised vessel and an Urita Gouged Incised bowl. Both of these Early Classic vessels were decorated with Primary Standard Sequences just below their rims. The presence of these glyphicinscribed vessels is notable because they bear some of the earli est examples of PSS texts in Belize and certainly in the Belize Valley. The texts further point to the crystallization of ri tual practices and expressions apparently developing over the course of the Late Preclassic with which vessels were dedicated. Equally important is the fact that the vessels make reference to royal patrons or owners holding Emblem Glyphs and, if the vessels were locally produced, as they seem to be, they mark Baking Pot as the central node of a royal realm. More recent investigations on Structure 190, an architectural complex at the terminus of a sacbe that originates at Group 2 in the site core, has produced additional new data for Early Classic activity at Baking Pot (Audet 2004). Excavations in the mound revealed that Str. 190/1st was represented by a low rectangular platform with a large circular altar at its summit. Associated with the platform were two stelae (Figure 3), one axially located at the northern base of the platform, and a second at the northwestern base of the structure. Excavations below the floors of the altar and platform uncovered more than a hundred lip to lip vessels of the Early Classic Hewlett Bank Unslipped type. Most of the vessels within the altar contained human phalanges, constituting the earliest reported example of finger bowl caches in the Belize Valley. At the base of the northwestern Stela we also uncovered numerous ceramic vessels, including several censers with some affinities to Late Early Classic Candelario Appliqud specimens from Caracol (A. Chase 1994:163, fig. 13.2 f). Figure 3. Stela 2 associated with Structure 190 at Baking Pot. Note th e exposed sub-stela cache (photograph by C. Audet). Cahal Pech Several years of research at Cahal Pech by Awe (1992) and his colleagues (Cheetham 1995, 2004, Healy and Awe 1995, 1996, Iannone 1996, Powis 1996) has recorded evidence for dynamic growth at this site between A.D. 300 and 600. As 44

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J. Awe and C. Helmke Table 1 indicates, this growth was also not lim ited to the site core for there is substantial evidence for coeval developments throughout the sites periphery. Within the central precinct just about every excavation revealed evidence for architectural modifications and cultural activity during the Early Classic (Awe 1992). In Plaza A, Structure A1, A2 and A4, all contained Early Classic period components, and the courtyard were resurfaced at least once. In the more public Plaza B, Structure B4-11th and B5 Sub were both constructed during Early Classic period. The latter building has a small vaulted room with a narrow, low doorway and unusually high bench. It is possible that this room may have served as a sweat bath. Within the eastern half of the central acropolis, the floors of Plazas C, D, F and G were resurfaced, one of the first phases of the Eastern Ballcourt was constructed, and at least Structures F1, G1 and G2 were modified. On the western half of the acropolis, excavations also exposed a large vaulted and painted building deep below the present floor of Plaza D. Table 1. Early Classic Architectural Modifications and Cultural Activity at Cahal Pech. STRUCTURE # DATE COMMENTS A1 Sub EC Looted tomb with Balanza Black slab-foot Vase A2 Sub2 LP-EC Residential range type building A4 Sub LP-EC Residential range type building Plaza EC Resurfacing of Plaza floor (Floor 3) B1 Sub EC Formalization of In-line triadic eastern shrine B2 EC Structure modified twice. Fl at top temple with aproned terraces and central stairway B4/11th LP-EC Flat top temple with aproned terraces and central stairway B5 Sub EC Vaulted building with possible sweathouse East Ballcourt EC Earliest phase of ballcourt constructed Plaza C EC First plaza wide surfacing of courtyard floor Plaza D EC Large vaulted building with pa inted (red) walls below terminal phase plaza floor F1/2nd EC Long raised platform that probably supported perishable superstructure Plaza F EC Plaza floor resurfaced Plaza G EC New plaza floor (Floor 3) replaces Preclassic surface G1 LP-EC First two architectural phases constructed G2/1st EC First architectural phase constructed. Sub floor cache containing 5 (Hewlet Bank Unslipped) ceramic vessels nested on each other Tzinic Group EC Architectural modification on Structures 1,2 and 5 Zotz Group EC Structure 2/3rd constructed Tolok Group EC At least 90% of all structures modified Cas Pek Group LP-EC Platforms 3 and 4 constructed. Sub floor burials with Balanza Black and Chan Pond Unslipped vessels Zubin Group EC Early phase of Structure 1 is erected. Sub floor crypt containing several Early Classic ceramic vessels (including effigy vessel and enema pot) Investigations outside the site core recorded Early Classi c components at the Tzinic, Zotz, Tolok, Cas Pek, Zubin and Zopilote Groups. Except for Cas Pek and 45

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Early Classic Belize River Valley Zopilote, a ll these settlements contain formal patio clusters and all of them have relatively large architecture. At Tzinic, Structures 1, 2 and 5 were modified during the Early Classic. Structure 1 was subsequently transforme d into an imposing, vaulted, eastern shrine. Coeval changes at the Tolok Group resulted with modifications in at least 90% of all the structures, and similar activity was noted at Zopilote, Zubin, and Cas Pek. Evidence for Early Classic burials and caches at Cahal Pech has a similar distribution to that of architecture. Within the core and periphery they were discovered in both elite and non-elit e domestic contexts. One cache within Structure G2 contained five Hewlett Bank Unslipped bowls nested on each other. In the site core, burials are reported from a tomb in Str. A1 Sub and possibly in structure B1 In the periphery they were recorded in a crypt at Zubin (Ianonne 1996) and in a simple, sub-floor, burial at Cas Pek (Lee and Awe 1995). One of the vessels from the A1 burial was a Balanza Black slab-footed cylinder vase and the Zubin burial contained a Pucte Brown, effigy enema pot. Non-ceramic cultural remains at Cahal Pech reflect a similar repertoire of objects as that recorded for the Hermitage phase at Barton Ramie and Pacbitun (see above for details). The latter include stemmed projectile po ints, bark beaters, turtle back metates, and green, Pachuca obsidian, blades. The po ttery at both sites is also relatively indistinguishable. The Cahal Pech assemblage includes basal flange bowls of the glossy Actuncan and Dos Arroyos Orange polychrome types, as well as monochromes of the Minanha Red Group. Other Peten Gloss Wares are present in specimens of Balanza Black and Pucte Brown, occasionally in the so-called Teotihuacan inspired slab-footed cylinder vase form. Unslipped types are represented by jars of the Mopan and Succotz Groups, and bowls of the Hewlett Bank Group. At Cahal Pech, the ceramics from the Hermitage phase Mopan and Sucotz Unslipped Groups were relatively indistinguishable from Barton Ramies Floral Park Stumped Creek and Old River Unslipped Groups. These similarities at the latter site led Willey and his colleagues (1965:337, 350) to classi fy the unslipped pottery from both phases as Uaxactun Unslipped. Caves in the Macal Valley Cave sites in western Belize contain a rich body of data that has rarely been incorporated in previous assessments of local cultural development. This neglect is unfortunate for the materials within them shed important light on synchronic and diachronic ritual activity in the Belize River valley (Awe 1998). On this premise the Western Belize Regional Cave Project (WBRCP) spent several seasons conducting intensive research at Chechem Ha Cave, Actun Chapat, Actun Halal, Stela Cave and Uchentzub, all located within the hills flanking the western banks of the Macal River. Ongoing analysis of cultural remains from these sites indicates that, at least in Actun Halal, prehistoric human utilization of these subterranean sites began as far back as pre-ceramic times. The other sites contain evidence for ancient Maya use spanning from the Middle Preclassic to the Terminal Classic Period. Of all the subterranean sites investigated by the WBRCP, Chechem Ha presently provides the best picture of prehistoric Maya ca ve use in the upper Belize Valley. Spatial analysis of the cultural materials at this site indicates that the entrance to the cave began to be used from Middle Preclassic time, while utilization of the deeper dark zones increases in the Early Classic to Terminal Classic 46

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J. Awe and C. Helmke periods (Ishihara 2000) In terestingly, Protoclassic and Early Classic remains were concentrated in Chambers 1 and 2 and on Ledge 10 (See Table 2). These activity areas are located near the entrance to the cave, and approximately midway between the entrance and furthest accessible point in the site respectively. In contrast, ceramic remains within the deepest sections of the cave only date to the Terminal Classic period. Analysis of the ceramic remains in Chechem Ha suggests that more than 300 pottery vessels may have been taken into the cave. The vast majority of the vessels were large, Late Classic, Cayo unslipped jars and Mount Maloney Black bowls. Early Classic vessels predominantly included basal flanged polychromes with a few red and black monochromes and unslipped jars. The Early Classic Polychromes included specimens of Dos Arroyos and possibly Actuncan Orange types, and the monochromes were primarily represented by vessels of the Balanza Black Group. Discussion Table 2. Diachronic usage of various areas of Actun Chechem Ha (Table by R. Ishihara). The preced ing study of cultural remains for selected sites in western Belize serve to demonstrate that there is considerable data for Early Classic Maya settlements, artifacts, architecture and ritual activity in the upper Belize River Valley. The settlement data for at least Barton Ramie, Baking Pot and Cahal Pech indicate that throughout the valley there was a substantial increase in population. This is clearly borne out by Willey et als. (1965) settlement survey, which noted that 50 of the 65 mounds tested at Barton Ramie produced evidence for occupation at this time. It is further supported by the increase of construction activity within the site cores of Cahal Pech, Buena Vista and Pacbitun. In the case of non-ceramic artifacts, the Early Classic period witnesses a continuity of certain Late Preclassic forms, such as manos and metates, and the introduction of several new types and modes. At Barton Ramie, for example, 47

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Early Classic Belize River Valley W illey et al. (1965) suggest that there is an increase in the popularity of bark beaters and stemmed projectile poi nts. At Pacbitun, the discovery of a Pachuca obsidian, laurel leaf-shaped point alongs ide a stemmed point in Early Classic context suggests that both of these forms were contemporaneous. At the same time, the presence of Pachuca obsidian (at Pacbitun, Cahal Pech and Altun Ha) suggests that local elite were seeking new sources from which to acquire and appropriate exotic status symbols. Furthermore, the eccentric forms of the green obsidian artifacts from Altun Ha may likely indicate the incipience of the eccentric lithic tradition at sites in the Belize River drainage. In the case of ceram ic artifacts, there is considerable evidence for typological continuities and discontinuities in the Belize Valley. For at least Barton Ramie, Cahal Pech and Baking Pot, it appears that pottery from the Sierra and Aguacate Groups may have continued into the early facet of the Hermitage Phase. Comparison between unslipped Protoclassic pottery with specimens of Early Classic date at the three sites demonstrates that the ceramics are relatively indistinguishable. This situation led Gifford (1976) and Willey et al. (1965:337, 350) to classify pottery of the Mount Hope, Stumped Creek and Old River Ceramic Groups and the Hermitage, Mopan, Sucotz and White Cliff Groups as Uaxactun Unslipped Ware. Noteworthy ceramic innovations are reflecte d by the introduction of glossy wares such as pottery from the Balanza Black and Pucte Brown Ceramic Groups, and the Actuncan and Dos Arroyos Orange Polychromes. The Early Classic, monumental, architectural tradition of the Belize Valley also reflects some divergence from Preclassic architecture forms and styles. By the end of the fourth century there appears to be a cessation of circular platforms with their appended rectangular ramps, and we see the introduction of the first vaulted buildings and tombs. Despite the latter, however, flat-topped, terraced pyramids remain the predominant form of most temples. Other Early Classic changes may have resulted with the formalization of inline triadic structures, which appear to have functioned as eastern family shrines in the central precincts of si te cores and in many formal (i.e. Plaza Plan 2) plazuela groups. Perhaps of greater architectural significance in the Belize Valley is the apparent absence of Teotihuacan-like TaludTablero architecture. While Peten sites such as Tikal and some of its neighbors appear to embrace this style with relative eagerness, there are simply no examples reported in western Belize (Figure 4). Interestingly, the introduction of the Talud-Tablero form of architectural terraces has been correlated with the appearance of certain historical figures on the inscript ions of some Peten monuments. One such character is Sihyaj Kahk or Smoking Frog, an elite character who is assumed to have had Teotihuacan connections (Martin and Grube 2000:30-32). Recent investigations at La Sufricaya, close to th e Peten-Belize border, by Francisco Estrada-Belli (this volume) have also brought to light a monument (Stela 6) that makes contemporary mentions to Sihyaj Kahk. These references, coupled with other evidence, suggest that the furthest eastern extent of the influence of this individual, and the as sociated Teotihuacan symbolism, was the Peten-Belize border. This dividing line of sorts is significant as none of the monuments from Pacbitun, Blackman Eddy, or Caracol exhibit Teotihuacan motifs in their iconography or make reference to that site in their glyphic texts. Indeed, evidence for connections between the Belize Valley and Teotihuacan is limited and is primarily evidenced by 48

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J. Awe and C. Helmke portable objects that we re likely acquired by direct or indirect contact. Early Classic ritual activity in the Belize Valley appears to follow the same developmental trajectory as that of other cultural characteristics. Burial patterns continue to be predom inantly represented by extended burials with he ad to the south, but there appears to be greater differentiation in grave goods (in both qual ity and quantity). Figure 4. Examples of round structures in the upper Belize Valley, at the sites of Barton Ramie and Cahal Pech (Tolok). 49

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Early Classic Belize River Valley Dedicato ry caches appear to increase in number, but innovations include the introduction of finger bowls and eccentric flints. There is also an apparent increase in the dedication of inscribed monuments, followed by a cessation of these carved monuments at the end of the Early Classic period. At the same time, the two Hermitage Phase ceramic vessels from burials at Baking Pot suggest that the Primary Standard Sequence dedicatory formulae on ceramics was introduced at this time, and that this tradition continued well into the Late Classic period. Finally, data from several of the subterranean sites in the lower Macal drainage provide a growing body of data that reflect increasing Early Classic ritual activity in caves. Conclusion In the past, a number of Mayanists have reported that few sites in the eastern lowlands appear to have been occupied during the Early Classic period. In some cases, these claims were even made for sites that were unequivocal ly thriving during the Late Preclassic. In an effort to address this apparently enigmatic issue, we decided to conduct a study of publishe d data for several sites in the region. Ra ther than confirming the lack of Early Cla ssic occupation at the sites in question, our an alysis indicates that the Early Classic was actually one of the most dynamic periods in the development of the Belize Valley. There is overwhelming evidence for a substantial increase in population, the introduction of inscribed monuments, considerable production of monumental architecture, growing complexity in ritual activity, and clear evidence for cultural continuities and discontinuities. Despite this improved vision of the Early Classic Belize Valley, however, there still remain important questions that require further scientific attention. One of the mo st crucial topics is the reason for the limited nature of Teotihuacan-inspired cultural traits in western Belize. We believe that the Teotihuacan connection has very likely been overstated in the Central Peten, but only future research will confirm or negate this assessment. References Cited Aimers James J., Terry G. Powis and Jaime J. Awe. 2000 Preclassic Round Structures of the Upper Belize Valley. Latin American Antiquity 11(1): 71-86 Audet, Carolyn 2000 Excavations of the Yaxtun Group at Baking Pot. Honors Thesis, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey. 2004 Excavations of Structure 190, Baking Pot, Belize. In The Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project: Report on the 2003 Field Season pp. 35-55. Edited by Carolyn M. Audet and Jaime J. Awe. Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. Audet, Carolyn M. and Jaime J. Awe 2004 Whats Cooking at Baking Pot: A Report of the 2001 to 2003 Field Seasons. In Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology, Vol. 1, pp. 49-60 Awe, Jaime J. 1992 Dawn in the Land between the Rivers: Formative Occupation at Cahal Pech, Belize and its Implication for Preclassic Developments in the Maya Lowlands. Ph.D. dissertation, Institute of Archaeology, University of London, England. 1998 The Western Belize Regional Cave Project: Objectives, Co ntext, and Problem Orientation. In The Western Belize Regional Cave Project: A Report of the 1997 Field Season Edited by Jaime J. Awe, pp.1-22. Occasional Paper No. 1, Department of Anthropology, University of New Hampshire, Durham. Ball, Joseph W. and Jennifer T. Taschek 2004 Buenavista del Cayo: A Short Outline of Occupational and Cutlural History at an 50

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J. Awe and C. Helmke Upper Belize Valley Regal-Ritual Center. In The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley edited by James Garber, pp. 149-167. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. Bullard, William R., and M. R. Bullard 1965 Late Classic Finds at Baking Pot, British Honduras Occasional Papers 8, Art and Archaeology, Royal Ontario Museum, The University of Toronto, Toronto. Chase, Arlen F. 1994 A Contextual Approach to the Ceramics of Caracol, Belize. In Studies in the Archaeology of Caracol, Belize edited by Diane Z. Chase and Arle n F. Chase, pp. 157183. Monograph 7, Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco. Cheetham, David 2004 The Role of Terminus Groups in Lowland Maya Site Planning: An Example from Cahal Pech. In The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley edited by James Garber, pp. 125-148. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. Colas, Pierre Robert, Christophe G.B. Helmke, Jaime J. Awe, and Terry G. Powis 2002 Epigraphic and Ceramic Analyses of Two Early Classic Maya Vessels from Baking Pot, Belize. Mexicon Vol.XXIV. Conlon, James 1993 Corporate Group Structure at the Bedran Group, Baking Pot, Belize: Preliminary Comments on Excavation Results from the 1992 Season of Investigations. In The Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project: Progress Report of the 1992 Field Season. Edited by Jaime J. Awe. Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. Conlon, James M. and Terry G. Powis 2004 Major Center Identifiers at Plazuela Group Near the Ancient Maya Site of Baking Pot. In The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley edited by James Garber, pp. 70-85. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. Demarest, Arthur A. 1992 Ideology in Ancient Maya Cultural Evolution: The Dynamics of the Galactic Polities. In Ideology and Pre-Columbian Civilization edited by A. A. Demarest and G.W. Conrad, pp. 135-158. University of Washington Press, Seattle. Gifford, James C. 1976 Prehistoric Pottery Analysis and the Ceramics of Barton Ramie in the Belize Valley Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, vol. 18. Harvard University, Cambridge. Healy, Paul F. 1990a The Excavations at Pacbitun, Belize: Preliminary Report on the 1986 and 1987 Investigations. Journal of Field Archaeology 17(3):247-262. 1990b An Early Classic Maya Monument at Pacbitun, Belize. Mexicon 12 (6):109-110. 1992 The Ancient Maya Ballcourt at Pacbitun, Belize. Ancient Mesoamerica 3:229-239. Healy, Pa ul F. and Jaime J. Awe (eds.) 1995 Belize Valley Preclassic Maya Project: Report on the 1994 Field Season Occasional Papers in Anthropology No. 10. Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. 1996 Belize Valley Preclassic Maya Project: Report on the 1995 Field Season Occasional Papers in Anthropology No. 12. Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario Helmke, Christophe G.B., Jaime J. Awe and Harri J. Kettunen 2004 Hieroglyphic Inscriptions of the Belize Valley: Implications for Socio-political Landscape and Dynastic Interactions. Paper presented at the XXVIIIth Texas Maya Meetings, University of Texas at Austin, March 11th 2004. Iannone, Gyles 1996 Problems in the Study of Ancient Maya Settlement and Social Organization: Insights from the Minor Center of Zubin, Cayo District, Belize. Ph.D. Dissertation, Institute of Archaeology, University of London. Ishihara, Reiko 1999 Ceramics from the Darkness: An Investigation of the Ancient Maya Ritual Cave Activity at Actun Chechem Ha, Cayo 51

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Early Classic Belize River Valley 52District, Belize. Honors Thesis, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Japan. Lee, David F. and Jaime J. Awe 1995 Middle Formative Architecture, Burials, and Craft Specialization: Report on the 1994 Investigations at the Cas Pek Group, Cahal Pech, Belize. In Belize Valley Preclassic Maya Project: Report on the 1994 Field Season edited by Paul F. Healy and Jaime J. Awe, pp. 95-115. Occasional Papers in Anthropology Number 10, Trent University, Peterborough. Lincoln, Charles E. 1985 Ceramics and Ceramic Chronology. In A Consideration of the Early Classic Period in the Maya Lowlands edited by Gordon R. Willey and Pete Mathews, pp. 55-94. Publication No. 10. Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, State University of New York, Albany. Martin, Simon and Nikolai Grube 2000 Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya Thames & Hudson, London. Pendergast, David M. 2003 Teotihuacan at Altun Ha: Did it make a Difference. In The Maya and Teotihuacan: Reinterpreting Early Classic Interaction edited by Geoffrey E. Braswell, pp. 235248. University of Texas Press, Austin. Powis, Terry G. 1992 Special Function Structures within Peripheral Groups in the Belize Valley: An Example from the Bedran Group at Baking Pot. In The Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project Progress Report of the 1992 Field Season. Edited by Jaime J. Awe. Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. 1996 Excavations of Middle Formative Round Structures at the Tolok Group, Cahal Pech, Belize. Unpublished Masters Thesis, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. Ricketson, O. G., Jr. 1931 Baking Pot, British Honduras. Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication no. 403, Contributions to American Archaeology no. 1. Washington, D. C. Willey, G. R., W. R. Bullard, Jr., J. B. Glass, and J. C. Gifford 1965 Preh istoric Settlement Patterns in the Belize Valley. Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology No. 54. Harvard University, Cambridge.

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3 THE ROLE OF PUBLIC ARCH ITECTURE AND RITUAL IN THE RISE OF COMPLEXITY: AN EXAMPLE FROM BLACKMAN EDDY, BELIZE M. Kathryn Brown and James F. Garber The nature of Middle Preclassic architecture and associated ritual deposits has been difficult to study due to overlying Classic Period remains. Recent investigations at the site of Blackman Eddy have revealed a developmental sequence of Middle Preclassi c public architecture and associated ritual deposits, which suggests that the function of these buildings change dramatically through time. Low, broad platforms dating to the early Middle Preclassic functioned as integrative features within the community, which served multiple, functions including the location for communal ritual feasting activities. The pyramidal architecture style appears for the first time at the end of the late Middle Preclassic, which also corresponds to the introduction of sub-floor cache deposits. The elaborate architectural form and associated sacred rituals reinforces the adoption of new ideological concepts to legitimize a changing social order and uneven wealth distribution within the community. Evidence suggests that the consolidation of wealth, prestige, and power by emerging elite over time, culminated in the use of public architecture and material culture as mediums to transmit ideologically related messages pertaining to the social order of the community. Introduction The study of public architecture and defined sacred space is of great importance to the understanding of the developm ent of complex societies because it provides physical manifestations of labor and resources. This, in tu rn, reflects aspects of the social order of a society. As the society becomes more complex, architecture plays a role in perpetuating the new ideology of order, which legitimizes status differences. Ritual associated with special architecture sanctifies status differences within the community, allowing these differences to be socially accepted. The nature of Middle Preclassic architecture and associated ritual deposits, however, has been difficult to study due to overlying Classic Period remains. This has caused a sampling bias with respect to our understanding of this critical time period. Recent investigations at the site of Blackman Eddy have revealed a developmental sequence of Middle Preclassic public architecture and associated ritual deposits. Evidence suggests that the consolidation of wealt h, prestige, and power by emerging elite over time, culminated in the use of public architecture and material culture as mediums to transmit ideologically related messages pertaining to the social order of the community. The architectural sequence from Blackman Eddy suggests that the function of public architecture ch anged dramatically through time. Low, broad platforms dating to the early Middle Pr eclassic functioned as integrative features within the community and served multiple functions including the location for communal ritual feasting activities (Brown 2003). The excavation evidence from Blackman Eddy suggests that through time public architecture became more elaborate while ritual deposits shifted towards a more restrictive form. The pyramidal architecture style appears for the first time at the end of the late Middle Preclassic, which also corresponds to the introduction of sub-floor cache deposits Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 53-65. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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Public Architecture at Blackman Eddy (Brown 2003). The construction history of Structure B1 spans over 2000 years and is associated with numerous ritual deposits, which change in form through time. Through the analysis of this early public architecture and associ ated ritual deposits, we argue that the basis for late Preclassic kingship and ritual acti vity in legitimizing the role of the king developed out of an earlier communal ritual and feasting tradition associated with early public architecture. We sugge st that the role of ritual and public architecture changes through time and reflects the rise of social/political complexity within the community. We also suggest that early public platforms functioned as integrative facilities, while later more elaborate pyramidal structures functioned as ritual performance space restricted to use by elite members of the society. Schele and Mathews (1998:23) state that Maya architects designed their buildings to encompass motion and performance so that they operated like stage sets in which drama and ritual unfolded. During the Maya Classic period access to the elaborate pyramidal buildings was limited to the elite segment of the population, which in turn reinforced their exalted position. The community may not have had physical access to the monumental buildings; however, visually these buildings would continue to integrate the community by merging the supernatural and natural landscape thus maintain ing a sense of place that was established early in the community's history (Brown 2003). Architectural Sequence from Structure B1 at Blackman Eddy The site of Blackman Eddy is located on a hilltop overlooking the first alluvial terrace of the Belize River. It is a fairly small ceremonial center, although it exhibits all the features of a major ceremonial center including, large monumental architecture, a number of stelae, and a ballcourt (Figure 1) (Garber et al. 2004a). Unauthorized bulldozing activities during the 1980s partially destroyed Pl aza B at the site. Structure B1 was literally cut in half. The bulldozer cut profile was cleaned and mapped (Figure 2). The remaining portion of the mound was at risk of complete destruction due to erosion. At the request of the Department of Archaeology, the Belize Valley Archaeology Project redirected the project goals and began excavating Structure B1 down to bedrock (Brown and Garber 2000). Structure B1 presented a rare Figure 1. Blackman Eddy site core. 54

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M.K. Brown and J. Garber opportunity to investigate Maya architecture using extensive horizontal/clearing excavation m ethods. This allowed an examination of the depositional context of ritual remains in association with early public architecture. The initial occupation at the site, designated the Kanocha Phase (1100-900 B.C.), began towards the end of the Early Preclassic and lasted into the early Middle Preclassic (Garber et al. 2004). The sequence began with a series of bedrock level constructions that are evident through postholes carved into bedrock (Figure 3). One of these, Structure B1-13th had a plaster floor surface. Evidence suggests that the first occupants modified bedrock by leveling and filling in low areas. The presence of the posthole patterns within the Structure B1 sequence indicates a number of wattle-and-daub constructions. A number of domestic features were cut into bedrock including a two-chambered chultun Although it is clear that chultuns had a domestic function within household groups, these features appear to have symbolic ideological meaning as well. Brady and Ashmore (1999:138) argue that Figure 2. Profile of Structure B1. Figure 3. Plan view of bedrock features, Structure B1, Blackman Eddy. 55

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Public Architecture at Blackman Eddy chultuns could plausibly be an artificial cave, next to the dom estic mountain of a household platform. Both archaeological and iconographic evidence suggests that caves were symbolically viewed as portals to the otherworld and figure prominently in Maya ideology. Puleston (1965) notes that chultuns are a common feature within residential household groups at Tikal as well. The early chultun found within the B1 sequence may be a symbolic representation of a cave or portal, which established the sacred nature of this location from the Early Preclassic. Similar bedrock features were also found at the site of Uaxactun. These included pit-like features cut into bedrock which were filled with domestic artifactual debris including conc h fragments and clam shells, bone needles, carved bone, grooved stones, figurines, a bird whistle, and chert flakes and bifaces (Hendon 1999). Numerous artifacts were encountered associated with the Kanocha Phase occupation at the site including; bone needles, stone spheres, lithic debris, a stone tecomate manos, a complete colander vessel, as well as numerous Kanocha ceramic sherds. Remains of marine shell beads were found in various stages of production and numerous small chert drills and awls were also located, which suggests early craft specializ ation (Brown 2003; Garber et al. 2004). Household level ritual activities are evident at Blackman Eddy from the numerous figurines found associated with the early deposits. These figurines are similar in style to Early and Middle Preclassic figurines found in other regions of Mesoamerica including Central Chiapas, Honduras, and the Northern Guatemala Highlands (Garber et al. 2004). Early structures at Blackman Eddy appear to be associated with numerous exotic items that include obsidian, greenstone, and marine shell. The evidence of equally numerous exotics from the nearby site of Cahal Pech indicates that the early inhabitants of the Belize River Valley were tied into a larger long-distance trade network (Awe 1992; Garber et al. 2004). The early ceramics of the Kanocha phase are very similar in form and surface decoration to early Cunil Phase ceramic material uncovered at Cahal Pech. The Kanocha phase ceramic material comprises two wares, one utilitarian with calcite and quartzite temper, and the other a dull-slipped ware characterized by ash temper (Brown 2003; Garber et al. 2004). Two apsidal or circular-shaped platforms were encountered above the early bedroc k constructions at Blackman Eddy and appear to be domestic in function, as suggested from comparative data at other Middle Preclassic sites. During this time period, new ceramic types appear in the re cord including Savana Orange types and the first appearance of spouted chocolate pots. Residue analysis conducted by Powis et al. (2002) on a Middle Preclassic spouted vessel from the site of Colha suggests that this form of vessel was used to serve chocolate at this early date. This establishes the use and importance of this commodity early in the Prehistory of the Maya and may be associated with early ritual feasting activities. The early inhabitants erected low rectangular platforms over the earlier domestic apsidal plat forms and perishable structures (Brown 2003; Garber et al. 2004). Structures B1-7th and B1-6th were larger and more finely constructed than other structures dating to the early Middle Preclassic and represent a considerable increase in labor investment. The platforms appear to be public in function. Structure B1-7th had an interesting feature built into the summit surface that consisted of a plaster-lined, bathtub shaped basin which may have held water for some 56

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M.K. Brown and J. Garber special purpose. Taube suggests that in Mesoam erica, water-filled bowls were symbolically related to mirrors and were often used for divinatory scrying (1992:189). Similar water basins were found at the Middle Precl assic site of San Jos Mogote in Oaxaca associated with domestic households. One basin there had a diameter of 1.2m, and was covered in lime plaster and painted red. Marcus (1999) suggests that these basins may have been used for ritual divination similar to ethnohistorically documented water basins. Although the San Jose Mogote examples appear to be related to household ritual behavior, the feature from Structure B1-7th may have been used fo r public rituals within the community. Located on the summit of Structure B1-6th was the basal wall of a circular platform. Although this feature had been almost completely dismantled in antiquity, making it impossible to determine its dimensions, the placement of a circular platform on top of a well-constructed and plastered rectangular platform suggests a ritual function. Similar Middle Preclassic circular platforms interpreted as ritual structures have been uncovered at Cahal Pech (Powis 1996), Rio Azul (Hendon 1989), and Uaxactun (Smith 1950). The circular platform at Rio Azul not only was heavily plastered but also was painted red on its surface (Hendon 1999). Hendon (1999:112) suggests that the energetic investment, decoration, and lack of a superstructure point to these round platforms as having a different purpose from houses. She suggests that round structures without superstructures may have been a form of Middle Preclassic ceremonial architecture possibly functioning as performance space (Hendon 1999). Structures B1-7th and B1-6th appear to represent an increased emphasis on communal ritual activity within the community. This is reflected in the ritual deposits associated with these low rectangular platforms. Evidence of feasting was located west of the platforms in the form of a deposit that consisted of smashed vessels, numerous riverine bivalve and jute shells, faunal remains, lithic flakes and debris, as well as small amounts of exotic items such as marine shell and obsidian. The deposit extended over a wide area and appears to be the debris left from a feasting event (Brown 2003). Another ritual deposit encountered south of the platforms consists of a basinshaped depression cut into the bedrock. This feature was cut into the bedrock and layered with approximately 15,000 riverine shells. Other artifacts present consisted of marine shell fragments, faunal remains, lithic material and numerous ceramic sherds, consisting mostly of broken water jars. This deposit indicates the importance of water symbolism to the early inhabitants (Brown 1998). The following construction phase, Structure B1-5th, clearly served a public non-domestic function as can be seen through its size complexity and associated ritual deposits (Brown 2003; Garber et al. 2004a). Structure B1-5th had a linear triadic arrangement consisting of a central platform flanked by two lower platforms to the west and east (Figure 4). The eastern platform did not support a perishable structure, as no postholes were located. The platform appears to have functioned as performance space, and may represent an early version of a dance platform. The openness and unrestricte d nature of this platform arrangement suggests that this structure may have functioned as both a special ceremonial location and as an integrative feature within the community (Brown 2003). This is further supported by an elaborate ritual deposit which was 57

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Public Architecture at Blackman Eddy encountered within the core of the central platform This deposit was placed horizontally across the inner base of the platform. The deposit was spread ov er the base of the building indicating that the ritual act occurred after the construction of the building had started but before the building was finished. The variability of the material remains suggests a communal ritual event that coincided possibly with the construction effort. It is conceivable that the local inhabitants participated in a communal feasting ceremony which corresponded with the construction of the building, as numerous faunal remains, smashed ceramics, and carbon were encountered. Wealth and labor from the community were invested in the constr uction of the building which in turn reinforced group identity and solidarity and increased the prestige of the individual sponsoring the event (Brown 2003). Figure 4. Isometrics of Structure B1-4th and Structure B1-5th. The ceremonial and public function of Structure B1-5th is further supported by the physical layout of the platforms. The inline triadic arrangement appears to reflect the Maya worldview and may symbolize the three-stone place of creation (Brown 2003; Garber et al. 2004a). Two ritual deposits were encountered above Structure B1-5th. The first deposit was encountered in the alley between the central and eastern platforms of B1-5th and consisted of smashed vessels, faunal remains, riverine bivalve and jute shells, lithic debitage, and carbon (Brown 1998; Garber et al. 2004). Only a few sherds could be refitted and only one complete vessel was present. A polished deer metapodial bone implement, possibly a bloodletter, was placed at the base of the deposit. Also, several small marine shell beads and a bone bead fragment were found scattered throughout the lens. Several mammal species have been identified by Norbert Stanchly from this deposit including domestic dog, rabbit, white-tailed deer, brocket deer, peccary, and armadillo. This ritual deposit at Blackman Eddy may represent a ceremonial feasting event, which corresponds to the termination, or ritual ending, of the structure. Dumped as it was in the alleyway, the ritual feasting debris would symbolically represent the termination of the us e of the structure. An elaborate offering was encountered above and to the east of the termination deposit between the two platforms. This offering appears to be a consecration or dedication feasting deposit related to the subseque nt construction phase, Structure B1-4th. The deposit extended over several square meters and consisted of four restorable vessels, several partial vessels, a jade bead, a deer ma ndible and scapula, numerous ceramic sherds, a broken mano, and the inner core of a conch shell (Brown and Garber 1998; Brown et al. 1998, 1999). The jade bead was placed upon a partial 58

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M.K. Brown and J. Garber ceram ic plate, which appears to have been broken in half. Se veral other partially restorable vessels were excavated including two unusual Savana Orange: Rejolla Variety stirrup-spouted vesse ls. Overall, the ceramic data from the deposit constitutes an assemblage dating to the break between the early and late Middle Preclassic (700-600 B.C.). It is interesti ng to note that all of the restorable and partial vessels were serving vessels (Brown 2003). Constructed above Structure B1-5th is Structure B1-4th, a Middle Preclassic single-tiered rectangular platform with an inset staircase and an extended basal platform which was decorated by a stucco mask faade (Figure 4). This is the earliest documented architectura l mask found within the Maya Lowlands as of yet, dating to the Late Middle Preclassic (Brown and Garber 1998; Brown et al. 1998). The summit surface of Str. B1-4th was heavily burned and the mask facade was desecrated in antiquity possibly indicating warfare activity at this time and unfortunately, no iconographic evidence could be recovered from the mask faade (Brown and Garber 2003; Brown et al. 1998). However, the ideological implications of a god mask flanking a Middle Pr eclassic platform include emerging elitism and the use of public architecture to legitimize the elevated status of the elite (Brown 2003). The origins of mask facades in the Maya Lowlands have been difficult to understand due to the lack of evidence for an earlier mask tradition. The discovery of a Middle Preclassic mask indicates that Late Preclassic and Classic architectural decoration actually evol ved out of an earlier mask tradition and, hen ce that the material symbol system of kingship had antecedents in the Middle Preclassic (Brown and Garber 1998; Brown et al. 1998). This is not to suggest that the inst itution of kingship was present at this early date, but rather that the ideological concepts which would have allowed the transition to, and acceptance of, the institution of kingship were in the early stages of development at this time. Structure B1-3rd was erected above Structure B1-4th and marks a shift in construction materials a nd architectural style involving an increase in labor and material investment. Structure B1-3rd, involved six additions to the original structure, four of which date to the Late Preclassic (Figure 5). The earliest three sub-phases, B1-3rd-g, B13rd-f, and B1-3rd-e, date to the late Middle Preclassic and indicate a dramatic increase in rebuilding activities. The basal platform of Structure B1-3rd is a large rectangular structure with outset platforms that flank an inset staircase. These platforms were constructed of large monolithic cut limestone blocks and appear to have functioned as formal performance space (Brown 2003). Located on the summit of the basal platform was a deposit of several whole and partial vessel s dating to the late Middle Preclassic, numerous riverine bivalve and jute shells, a chert blade, faunal remains including rodent bones, and carbon fragments. This deposit represents the last event of this nature within the Structure B1 sequence. Above it, a small cache was found associated with the addition to the summit platform. It c onsisted of a single carved shell pendant and an obsidian blade placed within the fill of the platform that appears to represent a modest dedication deposit. Structure B1-3rd-d signals a change in architectural style to a more pyramidal form (Brown 2003). Evidence discussed below also indicates a sh ift in ritual behavior as well. A single Joventud vessel was placed in front of the building intrusive into the associated plaza surface and appears to be associated with Structure B1-3rd-d. The single-vessel dedication cache is important because it signals a change in ritual behavior 59

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Public Architecture at Blackman Eddy Figure 5. Construction phases of Structure B1-3rd. from communal ritual activity to a more restrictive form of caching behavior that appears for the first time at the end of the Late Middle Preclassic (Brown 2003). Caches placed within buildings and under associated plaza surfaces become the dominant form of ritual deposits during the Late Preclassic and Classic periods, as opposed to deposits placed on top, between, and in front of platforms. Baines and Yoffee (2002) argue that many symbolic and aesthetic items produced solely for elite use were often deposited in restrictive places. It is interesting to note that this pattern is also seen at other sites in the Belize Valley. For example, at Las Ruinas de Arenal, a plaza dedicatory cache dating to the Late Preclassic was found beneath the plaza surface in front of Structure 1-3rd. It consisted of 19 ceramic dishes, one of which had a single jade bead placed inside (Taschek and Ball 1999). Awe (1985) notes that at the site of Caledonia ceramic vessels were the central objects in Classic period caches and Thompson (1931) noted a similar pattern at the site of Mountain Cow. Structure B1-3rd was modified repeatedly in order to increase the height of the ceremonial structur e, suggesting that the inhabitants of Blackman Eddy needed to invest more labor an d material goods in order to compete with neighboring communities. There does appear to be substantial expansion in labor costs due to the increased size of the structure and the quarrying and transportation of the monolithic stones used in the construction. Larger architecture begins to appear elsewhere in the Belize Valley during the transition from Middle to Late Preclassic as seen at Actuncan, Cahal Pech, Pacbitun, El Pilar, Buenavista del Cayo, and possibly Xunantinich. It becomes apparent that the inhabitants of Blackman Eddy were struggling to compete with several sites within the Belize Valley that may well have been gaining power during this time. The construction of Structure B1-2nd marks a significant change in the sequence, with the addition of large stucco mask facades flanking the central staircase of the pyramid (Figure 6). Structure B1-2nd has two sub-phases, of which the earlier version dates to the Late Preclassic/Protoclassic time period and the later version dates to the Figure 6. Isometric of Structure B1-2nd. 60

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M.K. Brown and J. Garber Early Classic tim e period. The central section of the mask on Structure B1-2nd represents a head of an anthromorph. The basal section of the mask is well preserved and iconographic elements are present. A bowl is seen in cross-section with an outwardly flaring rim. Three dots are depicted on the bowl (Garber et al. 1995). The face of the mask is poorly preserved and very little detail could be ascertained, but the face does appear to have featured some form of helmet or headgear given the double course of outset stones that were encountered above it (Garber et al. 1995). The iconographic theme of the mask facade exhibits a head emerging from a bowl in profile. Garber et al. (2000, 2004) suggests that the central head represents a prominent figure within the Maya creation story, the father of the hero twins, who was sacrificed by decapitation by the lords of the underworld. The mask facade illustrates the head of first father emerging from a bowl or a portal place. This emergence or symbolic birth reflects the transformation of the severed head into the Maize God (Garber et. al 2000). The bowl represents a bloodletting bowl from which the head is emerging. Bowls with bloodletting paraphernalia placed inside are common within the corpus of Classic Maya iconography (Freidel et al. 1993). Also of importance, three stucco dot elements reflecting the three stones of creation are located on the bowl beneath the head. The three stones of creation symbolically reflect the hearthstones at the center of a Maya household, which, in turn, represents the centering of the cosmos and the separation of the earth and sky at the moment of creation (F reidel et al. 1993). Maize god insignia are intricately tied to the instituti on of kingship and are seen throughout the Classic period on a variety of media, which indicates the importance of this ic onographic display on Structure B1-2nd. Such decoration on the architecture clearly communicates the significance of sacrif ice and bloodletting rituals, which in turn helps maintain the social order (Brown 2003). The ruler would perform sacred rituals on this building, linking himself to the supernatural and therefore legitimizing his role within the community. The ritual deposits associated with Structure B1-2nd further illustrate the restricted nature of th e newly defined sacred space. An interesting cache consisting of an infant burial and a Protoclassic vessel was encountered beneath the plaza surface in front of Structure B1-2nd. This cache was most likely a dedication deposit associated with the initial construction of the pyramid, Structure B1-2nd-b. The burial was housed in a partial crypt and the vessel was placed in the lap of the infant. The infant remains were poorly preserved and the cause of death could not be determined. However, infant sacrifices are commonly used in dedication rituals durin g the Classic period and therefore it seems probable that the infant was sacrificed during the consecration of the building. A single-vessel cache was also encountered intrusive through the lower tier summit surface and contained a Santa Elena Orange: Dos Arroyos Variety polychrome basal flange vessel. The vessel had a kill hole slightly off center, and was associated with freshwater shells and carbon. Other evidence at Blackman Eddy such as the erection of a ballcourt and the flurry of construction activities in Plaza A indicates an emphasis on reinforcing sacred power at the site. That Early Classic inhabitants were attempting to compete for power within the Belize Valley is suggested by the addition to B1-2nd. Early Classic monuments including a carved stela were also found in Plaza A indicating the acknowledgment of its prominence. This is 61

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Public Architecture at Blackman Eddy the earliest stela with a long count date within the Belize Valley. The monum ent was carved in an earlier tradition (Garber and Brown 2000), which may be an effort to deliberately reflect on a previous time when Blackman Eddy was a relatively powerful center within the valley. However, it is quite apparent that Blackman Eddy was unable to compete with several major polities located in the upper end of the valley. The political and social landscape within the valley was transformed during the transition from the Protoclassic to the Early Classic and a number of more powerful centers emerged and erected massive monumental architecture. There does appear to be a short hiatus in construction on Structure B1 during the latter part of the Early Classic and the early part of the following Late Classic period. The Late Classic at Blackman Eddy witnessed the continuation of construction within Plaza A and th e ballcourt was also modified at this time, so it seems that the focus of activity at the site shifted to the southern section of the site core. Several problematic deposits were encountered in associ ation with the Late Classic construction phase, but appear to have been dumped on the side of Structure B1-2nd during the short hiatus of construction (Pagliaro et. al 2000). These deposits may reflect ceremonial rituals occurring at the source of ideological power located at the norther n end of the site (Structure B1). These deposits contain large quantities of broken ceramic sherds and an array of other cultural materials in various stages of use. Preliminary analysis of the ceramic material indi cates a Late Classic date, which suggests that this deposit was placed in the alleyway after Structure B12nd was no longer in use but prior to the construction of Structure B1-1st. The final construction phase of Structure B1 (B1-1st) was erected hastily. Due to deterioration and poor preservation, little is known about th is final phase. The dimensions and position of the intact remains of Structure B1-1st relative to the contours of the mound suggest that it was probably a two-tiered structure reaching a height of approximately 4.2 meters from the associated plaza surface. Seven partially preserved steps were encountered although excavations at the top of the structure clearly showed that more steps would have been necessary to reach the summit of the building. The building was constructed of finely cut limestone masonry of variable sizes. This may indicate that the pyramid was erected so quickly that building stones were borrowed from previous construction phases. Another interesting deposit was encountered at the base of Structure B1-1st. Here, a dense deposit of ceramic sherds was uncovered which is similar to terminal deposits found at Blackman Eddy Group 1 (Garber et al. 1992) Ontario Village (Garber et al. 1994) and Floral Park (Brown et al. 1996; Glassman et al. 1995). This deposit appears to be the final ritual act at the site and may represent an abandonment termination ritual which in essence deactivated the sacred space of the site. No further constructi on was encountered on Structure B1 or elsewhere at the site. By the Late Classic it is evident that the inhabitants of Bl ackman Eddy played only a minor role in the sociopolitical landscape of the Beli ze Valley although the final construction of Structure B1 may reflect a futile last-ditch effort to proclaim their authority (Brown and Garber 2000). Shortly thereafter, during the Terminal Classic period, the site was abandoned. Summary and Conclusions In this paper we examined the role of public architecture, defined sacred space, and ritual in the rise of complexity at the site 62

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M.K. Brown and J. Garber of Blackm an Eddy. The examination of architectural styles and associated ritual deposits from a diachronic perspective provides insight into the transformation of ideological concepts which support developing social ranking within the society. Ancient Maya ritual behavior may be inferred not only from the direct material remains of ritual acts, but also from the attributes of architectural features such as the arrangement of structures, architectural decoration, and performance space. The recent investigations of Structure B1 at Bl ackman Eddy have provided an unprecedented database of Preclassic architecture and ritual activity. This new evidence suggests that emerging elites initially used low platforms to host communal feasts, which bolstered their prestige within the community. As certain individuals gained support and more power, new architectural forms and ritual caching behavior were introduced which reflect a change in social order. This manifests itself in the archaeological record as limited access to both public architecture and associated ritual activities. The introduction of new elaborate architectural forms, such as the pyramid, reinforces the adoption of new ideological concepts to legitimize a changing social order and uneven wealth distribution within the community. References Cited Awe, Jaime J. 1985 Archaeological Investigations at Caledonia Cayo District, Belize. Unpublished Masters thesis. Department of Anthropology, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. 1992 Dawn in the Land Between the Rivers: Formative Occupation at Cahal Pech, Belize and its implications for Preclassic Development in the Maya Lowlands. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Institute of Archaeology, University of London, London, UK. Baines, J. and N. Yoffee 2000 Order, legitimacy, and wealth: setting the terms. In Order, legitimacy, and wealth in ancient states. Edited by Janet Richards and Mary Van Buren:13-20. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Brady, James E. and Wendy Ashmore 1999 Mountains, Caves, Water: Ideational Landscapes of the ancient Maya. In Archaeologies of Landscape: Contemporary Perspectives. Edited by Wendy Ashmore and A. Bernard Knapp: 124-148. Blackwell Publishers Ltd., Malden, Massachusetts. Brown, M. Kathryn 2003 Emerging Complexity in the Maya Lowlands: A View from Blackman Eddy, Belize. Unpublished PhD dissertation. Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. 1998 Investigations of Middle Preclassic Public Architecture at the site of Blackman Eddy, Belize. Report submitted to the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies Inc. (FAMSI). Http:www.famsi.org/reports/brown/brown96 .htm Brown, M. Kathryn and James F. Garber 1998 The Origin and Function of Mask Facades in the Maya Lowlands. Paper presented at the 63rd annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Seattle. 2000 1800 Years of Construction: 10 Years of Excavation: A Summary View of the Past Decade of Research at Blackman Eddy, Belize. In The Belize Valley Archaeology Project: Results of the 1999 Field Season. Edited by James F. Garber and M. Kathryn Brown. Report submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. 2003 Evidence of Conflict During the Middle Preclassic in the Maya Lowlands: A View from Blackman Eddy, Belize. In Ancient Mesoamerican Warfare. Edited by M. Kathryn Brown and Travis W. Stanton. Altamira Press, New York. 63

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Public Architecture at Blackman Eddy Brown, M. Kathryn, David M. Glassman, Owen Ford, and Stephen Troell 1996 Report on the 1995 Investigations at the site of Floral Park, Belize. In The Belize Valley Archaeology Project: Results of the 1995 Field Season. Edited by James F. Garber and David M. Glassman. Report submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. Brown, M. Kathryn, James F. Garber, and Christopher J. Hartman 1998 A Middle Preclassic Mask, Triadic Architectural Arrangement, and Early Ritual Deposits at Blackman Eddy, Belize: Implications for Social Complexity During the Middle Formative. In The Belize Valley Archaeology Project: Results of the 1997 Field Season. Edited by James F. Garber and M. Kathryn Brown. Report submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. 1999 Middle Preclassic Ritual Behavior in the Maya Lowlands: An Example from Blackman Eddy. In The Belize Valley Archaeology Project: Results of the 1998 Field Season. Edited by James F. Garber and M. Kathryn Brown. Report submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. Freidel, David and Linda Schele 1988 Kingship in the Late Preclassic Maya Lowlands: The Instruments of Places of Ritual Power. American Anthropologist 90:547-567. Freidel, David, Linda Schele, and Joy Parker 1993 Maya Cosmos: Three Thousand Years on the Shaman's Path. Morrow, New York. Garber, James F., M. Kathryn Brown, Jaime J. Awe, and Christopher J. Hartman 2004 Middle Formative Prehistory of the Central Belize Valley: An Examination of Architecture, Material Culture, and Sociopolitical Change at Blackman Eddy. In The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley: Half a Century of Archaeological Research. Edited by James F. Garber, University Press of Florida, Gainesville. Garber, James F, and M. Kathryn Brown 2000 A Baktun 8 Carved Stela from the Lowland Maya Site of Blackman Eddy, Belize. In The Belize Valley Archaeology Project: Results of the 1999 Field Season. Edited by James F. Garber and M. Kathryn Brown. Report submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. Garber, James F., W. David Driver, Lauren A. Sullivan, and Sean Goldsmith 1992 The Blackman Eddy Archaeology Project: Results of the 1991 Field Season. Edited by James F. Garber. Report submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. Garber, James F., David M. Glassman, W. David Driver, and Pamela Weiss 1994 The Belize Valley Archaeology Project: Results of the 1993 Field Season. Edited by James F. Garber. Report submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. Garber, James F., F. Kent Reilly, and David Glassman 1995 Excavations on Structure B1 at Blackman Eddy. In The Belize Valley Archaeology Project: Results of the 1994 Field Season. Edited by James F. Garber. Report submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. Garber, James F., M. Kathryn Brown, and F. Kent Reilly 2000 Skulls, Bowls, and Ritual Contexts: Resurrecting the Maya Maize God. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Philadelphia, April 2000. Glassman, David M., James M. Conlon, and James F. Garber 1995 Survey and Initial Excavations at Floral Park. In The Belize Valley Archaeology Project: Results of the 1994 Field Season. Edited by James F. Garber. Report submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. Hendon, Julia A. 1989 The 1986 Excavations at BA-20. In Rio Azul Reports, no. 4: the 1986 Season. Edited by Richard E.W. Adams:88-135. Center for Archaeo logical Research, University of Texas at San Antonio. 64

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M.K. Brown and J. Garber 1999 The Pre-Classic Maya Compound as the Focus of Social Identity. In Social Patterns in Pre-Classic Mesoamerica. Edited by David C. Grove and Rosemary A. Joyce:97126. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection Washington, D.C. Marcus, Joyce 1999 Men's and Women's Ritual in Formative Oaxaca. In Social Patterns in Pre-Classic Mesoamerica. Edited by David C. Grove and Rosemary A. Joy ce. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. Pagliaro, Jonathan, James F. Garber and Travis W. Stanton 2000 Evaluating the Archaeological Signatures of Maya Ritual and Conflict. In The Belize Valley Archaeology Project: Results of the 1999 Field Season. Edited by James F. Garber and M. Kathryn Brown. Report submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. Powis, Terry G. 1996 Excavations of Middle Formative Round Structures at the Tolok Group, Cahal Pech, Belize. Unpublished Masters thesis. Department of Anthropology, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. Powis, Terry G., Fred Valdez, Jr., Thomas R. Hester, W.J. Hurst, and S.M. Tarka 2002 Spouted Vessels and Cacao Use Among the Preclassic Maya. Latin American Antiquity. Puleston, D.E. 1965 The Chultuns of Tikal. Expedition, 7 (3):24-29. Schele, Linda and Peter Mathews 1998 The Code of Kings: The Language of Seven Sacred Maya Temples and Tombs. Scribner, New York. Smith, A. Ledyard 1950 Uaxactun, Guatemala: Excavations of 1931-1937 Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publication 588. Washington, D.C. Taschek, Jennifer T. and Joseph W. Ball 1999 Las Ruinas De Arenal: Preliminary report on a subregional major center in the western Belize Valley (1991-1992 excavations). Ancient Mesomarica. 10:215235. Taube, Karl, A. 1992 Iconography of mirrors at Teotihuacan. In Art, Ideology, and the city of Teotihuacan. Edited by J.C. Berlo:169-204. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. Thompson, J.E.S. 1931 Archaeological Investigations in Southern Cayo District, British Honduras. Field Museum of Natural History Anthropological Series Vol. 7, no. 3. Chicago. 65

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4 THE ACTUNCAN EARLY CLASSIC MAYA PROJECT PROGRESS REPORT ON THE SECOND FIELD SEASON Lisa J. LeCount and John H. Blitz Our preliminary investigations at Actuncan in 2001 confirmed that the Early Classic period was indeed a time of significant demographic shifts. Only one out of three households that we sampled in the northern portion of the site showed evidence of long-term habitation that spans the Formative and Classic periods. It is intriguing that the processes that gave rise to the systemic state ( sensu Blanton) in the Belize Valley may have done so under circumscribed conditions. This seasons research at Ac tuncan sampled a wider array of elite and commoner house mounds, as well as a previously identified Early Classic ceramic dump, in the northern civic area. This paper reports our findings concerning the spatial and contextual extent of Early Classic deposits from this important center and presents ideas about factors that gave rise to institutionalized kingship at Actuncan Our research at Actuncan attempts to understand the processes associated with the institutionalization of Maya kingship during the Early Classic period from A.D. 250 to 600. Actuncan is an excellent location to study the maturation of Maya statecraft since its occupation spans the Late Formative and Early Classic periods (Figure 1). According to Joyce Marcus (1993:115), part of the process by which Maya rulers institutionalized their positions involved severing the bonds of kinship that had once linked leaders to community members. This action resulted in a two class-endogamous society and a welldeveloped ideology of stratification by which upper-stratum nobles claimed separate descent from lower-stratum commoners. According to Quigley (1993:127), kingship is the denial of kinship, an assertion that not all men are brothers, and that kins hip does not have the power to operate throughout social life. This said, the dominance of state administration over kinship does not mean that kin relations are no longer a source of power in state-level so cieties. Maya kings cajoled and coerced kin leaders, who were immersed in community relations, to organize hinterland tribute and labor, just as they called on their own kin to provide sumptuary goods and loyal courtiers (see Inomata and Houston 2001). An equally important process was the creation of hierarch ies; a characteristic that Marcus (1993:11 6) has concluded exemplifies archaic states. This organizational mode is lacking in middle range societies such as chiefdoms where power is concentrated in the hands of an elite lineage whose paramount leader is at the head of the political, social and religious orders. These individuals wield great personal power, very similar to kings in state-level societies, but in state-level societies the sources of power increasingly are centralized and segmented. We believe hierarchies developed when expanded state responsibilities at the local and regional level forced Maya rulers to delegate decisions and authority to individuals outside hi s or her immediate family, in essence creating new positions within a growing political apparatus (LeCount 2004). This pr ocess results in the promotion and linearization of political positions into a hierarchical arrangement of Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 67-77. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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Early Classic Actuncan relationships and in stitutions (F lannery 1972). For instance, kings required loyal office holders, who could be trusted to enforce the laws of the state. Certainly, some office holders may have been recruited from cadet lines within the leaders extended family; however, thes e people also would have been the kings most potent rivals. Promotion of non-kin might have been the safest and most effective way to install officers. Households, therefore, should hold a key to understanding the processes associated with the institutionalization of political power. Many large households, especially those asso ciated with founding families, might have had the most to lose in the political and social transformations associated with Maya statecraft. If kings effectively instigated strategies that limited control over land, labor, and wealth by traditional kin-based leaders, then the influence of many previously powerful lineages would have contracted rather than expanded during the Early Classic period. On the other hand, some upstart households may have gained auth ority and wealth as officer holders and supporters of the state by siding with the ruling lineage rather than traditional kin-based leaders. If this is indeed the case, the Early Classic period should be marked by the appearance of what Figure 1. Map showing the location of Actuncan in relation to nearby archaeological sites. 68

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L. LeCount and J. Blitz we m ight think of as nouveaux riches households that look larger than expected given normal developmental cycles. Support for this hypothesis come from this years conference participants (Pyburn this volume; D. Chase this volume; and Sullivan this volume), who comment that the Early Classic period is marked by conspicuous differences in accumulated wealth among households and the app earance of a striking gap between rich and poor households. In sum, the difference between Formative leaders and Classic rulers might have hinged upon the ru lers ability to delegate at least so me modicum of power and privilege to non-kin officers. Therefore, the archaeological evidence for the Maya state will be written not only in the institutionalization of Maya kingship as an aristocratic position with all its hereditary privileges and trappings of royal power, but in the promotion and proliferation of new houses and new wealth among commoner families. Research Design and Previous Research Actuncan is arguab ly the most impressive Late Formative center in the upper Belize valley as it contains 14 ha of civic and domestic structures. In comparison, Xunantunich, 2 km to the south, covers 14.9 ha. The site is situated on a long, low ridge overlooking the Mopan river valley, and is divided into two sections: Actuncan South (the well-known Formative temple complex) and Actuncan North (the Classic period civic center). Actuncan South is dominated by a massive triadic temple complex, which is 72 by 120 m in size and rises 32 m above the surrounding terrain. The temple complex rests on an expansive Middle Formative basal platform that forms the elevated surface of Plaza A. S itting on this basal foundation are three pyra mids placed in a Capitoline arrangement (von Faulkenhausen 1985:120), the largest of which is Structure 4 located to the south. Structure 4 is surmounted by a second set of three pyramids arranged in a U-shaped pattern. According to von Faulkenhausen (1985:120), this arrangement is diagnostic for the Early Classic period and is found throughout the Maya lowlands. The Formative ritual center was connected to a northern civic center, Actuncan North, by a wide causeway, and it is here that we have focused our efforts. The large formal civic zone is complete with a ball court, range stru ctures, and pyramids, some as tall as eight meters. Plazas D, E, and F to the north and east contain small pyramidal structures and elite residential compounds. Small plaza-focused house mounds are located to the extreme north and west of the civic center. We began limited testing small plaza-focused house mounds at the northern end of Actuncan in 2001 (LeCount and Blitz 2001; LeCount 2004). Only one out of three households that we sampled showed evidence of long-term habitation that spans the Formative and Classic periods. Actuncan Plazuela Group One (AP-1) is the largest multi-mound group (Structures 59, 20, 61, and 62) in this area. A patio unit excavation (Op. 1A) revealed a long occupational history be ginning in the Late Formative period and ending in the Terminal Classic period. Three major construction episodes are exemplified by thick plaster floors and their associated sub-floor fills: Plaza Floor 1 dates to the Classic period, Plaza Floor 2 dated to the Terminal Late Formative (approximately A.D. 0 to 250), and Plaza Floor 3 dates to the Late Formative period date (approximately 300 B.C. to 0 A.D.). Floor 3 is underlain by a compact yellowish brown living surface also dated to the Late Formative. Two other plazuela groups appear to have been built predom inately in the Late 69

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Early Classic Actuncan Classic period with only ephem eral early occupation. Actuncan Plazuela Group Two (AP-2) is a three-mound group (Structures 50, 51, and 52) located on the southern periphery of Plaza G. AP-2 is open to the south and thus, its inhabitants face the largest range structure (Structure 19) in Actuncan North, presumed to be the royal palace. A single one-by-two meter test pit (Op. 2A) in the patio re vealed that Structure 51 and patio was constructed entirely in the Late Classic. Underlying this patio is a 20cm thick occupation surface of compact brown clay that contains a few basal flange bowl fragments and a possible Balanza black sherd. These sherds lead LeCount to suggest that this init ial occupation surface dates to the Early Classic. Actuncan Plazuela 3 (AP-2) is a northwest to southeas t trending pa tio group located on the northeastern periphery of Plaza G. It consists of three low mounds (Structures 45, 46, and 47) around a patio. A single one-by-two meter plaza test pit (Op. 3A) revealed that most of the patio was built in the Late Classic period. However, sitting on the lowest plaza floor is a thin layer of occupation material possibly dated to the Early Classic period. Below it lies in situ occupation debris containing Late Formative and possibly Early Classic materials used as ballast for the initial plaza floor. Apparently, many of the small plazuelas on the extreme northern end of the site present a Late Classic expansion into this previously underutilized area of the ridge top. New Excavation Data from Actuncan This season we sa mpled a wider set of archaeological cont exts in order to recover Early Classic remains from a broader set of social strata. The Palace (Structure 19) and Its Northern Courtyard The most likely candidate for an early palace is a complex of buildings, Structures 19, 20, 21, and 22, defining the northern boundary of Plaza C. Structure 19 exhibits the high, long substructure that supports a set of masonry rooms typical of a rulers residence. Abutting the northern exposure of Structure 19 is a set of low platforms that form an elevated plaza and enclosed courtyard. James McGovern (1994:114) tested the southern faade of Structure 19 and found an Early Classic staircase overlaying a Formative plaza floor. We excavated a 2-by-2 meter unit (Op. 4A) near the southwest corner of the northern courtyard and found three floors: one Tiger Run floor and two floors containing Floral Park materials, which in Giffords (1976) chronology would be assigned to the Protoclassic period. However, in this paper, we use the term Protoclassic to signify a ceramic assemblage that contains Floral Park or Holmul I-like ceramics, rather than a general developmental stage between the Formative and Classic eras or a chronological period extending from approximately 50 B.C. to A.D. 250 (see Brady et al. 1998:18). We also trenched across the top of Structure 20, the small western platform in the northern courtyard (Op. 4B, C, D and E). Here, the terminal phase architecture dates to the Late Classic Hats Chaak phase (A.D. 660-780). We did not conduct penetrating excavations below the first plaza floor or into platform fill to find earlier materials. However, looters dug into the platform during the last weekend of the 2004 field season. Based on inspection of the looters trench profile, we know that the terminal platform was constructed using large boulder wall foundations and small cobble core material. Above these boulder wall foundations, faced limestone blocks were used to construct the masonry superstructures. Behind Structure 20, a 70

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L. LeCount and J. Blitz thick lens of cobbles packed against the rear wall bolstered the platform itself. One wonders if the ancient Maya covered this crude sloping rear faade with plaster. These architectural construction techniques were also encountered at Structure 41, an elite residence described below. Elite Residences Two elite residences bordering Plaza D and the eastern edge of the site were tested: Structures 41 and 29. We excavated either behind or beside the actual residences in an attempt to locate stratified trash deposits and to date plaza floors. Both these structures are large tie red buildings built on cobble terraces. Structure 41s substructure is 5.25 meters high an d likely supported a corbelled arched superstructure since key stones were found tumbled down the rear of the building. An elevated (> 4 m) front terrace faces the major temple at Actuncan; while in the back there is a low (< 2 m) Lshaped terrace. Structure 29s substructure stands only 2.6 meters above the present ground surface at the back of the building; however, the dwelling presents an imposing faade since the front terrace takes advantage of the rise of the hill slope. The lower eastern terrace completes the Cshaped dwelling. Like Structure 41, Structure 29s staircase orients the dwelling toward Actuncan South. At the rear of Structure 41, the main platform was built on two, closely spaced floors. The top floor (Op. 6A6, 6B4, & 6C4) dates to the Ea rly Classic period and terminates at a small midden (Op. 6D2 & 6D3) of the same age off the back end of the patio floor. This midden contained many obsidian blades, an expended core, and a large, slightly chipped cylindrical jade bead. It is surprising that the ancient Maya would have intentionally discarded such a large piece of jade, but its presence in the trash may be indicative of how the Maya may have seen such items as disposable wealth during the Early Classic period. Sometime during the Late Classic Hats Chaak phase, the Maya built a low foundation wall of large limestone blocks on top this floor that might have acted to contain the cobble buttressing at the rear of th e building. It may also have served to restrict access to the building itself. Below the first floor is a patchy sascab floor (Op. 6A7, 6B5, & 6C5) dating either to the initial part of the Early Classic period or sligh tly earlier. Plaza Floor 2 rests atop a sterile stratum of yellowish clay. Given our limited testing, it is possible that am earlier Formative platform is deeply buried under the substructure at the southern end of the dwelling. At Structure 29, the eastern terrace was built of massive river cobbles during the Early Classic period (Op. 7E1-7). This construction engulfs an earlier platform that can be seen running diagonally across the southern most portion of the unit at 1.30 meters below present ground surface. Unlike the cobble archite cture of the eastern terrace, the wall of this earlier platform was constructed of large cut-limestone blocks. Given its distinctly different orientation and construction materials, it is unclear at this time if this wall represents an earlier construction phase of th e terrace or a deeply buried structure. It is possible that this deeply buried platform represents the earlier, Formative period occupation of this area. Actuncan Plazuela 1 We continued our excavations at AP1 begun in 2001. At that time, we encountered two impressive stone crypts cut into Plaza Floor 2, both of which contained Protoclassic materials. These crypts were located 25 cm apart along a north/south axis just one meter east of the western platform (LeCount and Blitz 2001). We excavated only the southern crypt (1A7B1) due to time 71

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Early Classic Actuncan constraints that year. This year we excavated the second stone lined crypt (Op. 1D25B4). In order to reach Burial 4, we excavated a portion of the small northern structure, which covered at least half this burial. Structure 59 was a wattle-and-daub house that spanned the early and late phases of the Late Classic period and contained at least three floors. Abundant trash was tossed in the alleyway between it and the western platform (Str ucture 62). Beneath the western wall of Structure 59-3rd was a modest burial (1D20B3) of an individual marked only by the presence of a single upright limestone slab. This individual may have been an offeri ng to the house at the time of its initial construction during the Early Classic period. The house was built on top large rock fill 40 cm above Plaza Floor 2. We did not excavate below Plaza Floor 2 this field season, but rather, concentrated our efforts around the second crypt (Op. 1D25B4). Like the individual in crypt 1 (Op. 1A7B1), the person interred in crypt 2 lay face down, with the head what little remained of it to the south. Only small fragments of the occipital plate and a few teeth were found in a ssociation with the body; however, more cranial fragments were found in the pot placed over the persons head. Three pots (Figure 2) were positioned in the crypt with this individual: 1) a Chan Pond jar placed over the knees; 2) an Aguacate Orange Z-angled dish with four broken hollow supports, presumably mammiform in shape, covered the missing head and contained cranial fragments; and 3) an Aguacate Orange effigy chocolate pot situated to the right of the individuals missing cranium. This pot may have acted as a symbolic substitute for the missing head. Both Aguacate Orange vessels exhibit hard, glossy slips and fine light colored pastes; however, ne ither exhibits the distinctive white to buff undersurface of Early Classic types. According to James Giffords (1976) Barton Ramie scheme, these pots belong to the Floral Park subcomplex; however, LeCount is reluctant to assign a Protoclassic date (approximately 50 B.C. to A.D. 250) to these burials. Alt hough these pots taken by themselves appear to be good examples of Protoclassic types, they lie at the same stratigraphic level as the brown-ware effigy lid associated with crypt 1 (Figure 3). As LeCount (2004) has suggested before, this pot appears similar to Tzakol 1 effigy lids at other sites. Thus, lik e other Protoclassic assemblages across the eastern periphery of the Peten (Brady et al. 1998), Classic and Formative ceramic modes co-occur in vessels from the same excavation lot at Actuncan. According to Brady and colleagues (1998:34), however, Protoclassic assemblages chronologically overlap the Late Formative and Early Classic periods as traditionally defined. Given the ambiguities in defining the Protoclassic, more detailed ceramic analysis and radiocarbon dating are needed to securely place these pots into a ceramic complex. This will require additional excavation at this stratigraphic level to retrieve a larger sample of pottery, preferably from domestic middens, in order to better understand a ssemblages associated with the transition from the Formative to Classic period. What is interesting about these crypts is their impressive size and construction techniques and the richness of their burial goods. Apparently this household was influential during that transitional period from the Terminal Formative to the Early Classic period, later, however this family seemed to have lost much of its authority since we have yet to find evidence of those highly diagnostic basal flange bowls so characteristic of the later phases of the Earl y Classic. Nor did 72

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L. LeCount and J. Blitz the Late C lassic plazuela members bury their ancestors in the same plaza location as earlier members had, although it is entirely possible that they might have buried them nearby. These patterns ar e indicative of the types of processes we associate with the Figure 2. a: Chan Pond jar (1D25B4SA3); b: Aguacate Orange Z-angled dish (1D25B4SA1); and c: Aguacate Orange effigy chocolate pot (1D25B4SA2).. 73

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Early Classic Actuncan Figure 2: Unspecified brown-ware effigy lid (1A7B1SA1). shift away from kin-based authority and the widening gap in wealth among households in early state-level societies. Off-plaza Trash Deposit Two 2-by-2 units were placed off the edge of Plaza C in a ravine below Structure 15, a pyramidal structure that defines the nexus between Actuncan North and Actuncan South. Here, a 60-cm deep Early Classic trash deposit was encountered beneath a small residential platform, Structure 18, and spreading down slope into the ravine. Structure 18 s platform dates to the early part of the Late Classic and a single floor caps this trash deposit. The ancient Maya interred at least two individuals in simple side-by-side graves lined with small limestone slabs and river cobbles (Op. 5A6B2 and 5A7B2) into this trash deposit. Parts of a third individual were encountered immediately above these graves in and around a cairn of three limestone slabs (Op. 5A4B2). Other human bones were found randomly scattered throughout the Early Classic deposit. These individuals do not app ear to be directly associated with the Late Classic platform above them since they were clearly interned underneath the platform and did not intrude through it. The origin of the Early Classic material in this trash deposit is an important question to address because the crux of hypotheses concerning th e nature of elite and common Early Classic pottery assemblages hinge on context. We suggest that this material originated from activities on the civic plaza rather than those associated with Structure 18. Structure 18 is a low platform built in a ravine below the northern civic center. Although we originally assumed it represented a commoner house, it is also possible that this platform served a specialized function, such as a kiosk for a gatekeeper or temple guard. None of these interpre tations are congruent with the materials found underneath it because the Early Classic deposit contains mostly elite materials, such as large basal flange bowls and painted plaster, and little household trash, such as manos and metates Jason Yaeger (pers. communication 2004) suggests that this deposit might be the result of temple or civic building remodeling because large chunks of painted plaster are rarely found in domestic trash. Thus at this juncture, we suggest this material represents the remains of elite activities, although we cannot specify what kind s of activities they represent. Discussion and Conclusions In summary, we excavated in three types of residential groups a palace courtyard, elite residences, and commoner 74

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L. LeCount and J. Blitz residen ces associated with the Early Classic period. Materials recovered from these contexts clearly indicate that Actuncan was a major site during the Late Formative and Early Classic peri ods; nonetheless, the Late Classic component of the site represents Actuncans population maximum. Non-royal residences at Actuncan appear to fit into tw o architectural layouts: plazuela (plaza-focused mounds) and terraced dwelling. In general, we associate plazuelas with Havilands (1988) and Tourtellots (1988) rendition of the developmental model in which a founding family grows from living in a single structure to a descent group whose members live in multiple buildings around a patio. Unlike these plaza-foc used groups, terraced dwellings appear to be more akin to LeviStrauss model of a house, recently revisited by Susan Gillespie (2000). According to Gillespie (2000:468), houses are corporate, long-lived units that ut ilize relationships of consanguinity and affin ity, real and fictive, to express unity and perpetuity for specific ends. Examining these two kinds of household organizations at Actuncan is beyond the scope of this talk, but what we may be looking at here is not only differences between elite and common modes of living, but also differences between agrarian and urban families. Our guess is that these households are fundamentally different in the way family labor is organized. But it is important to note at this juncture that the architectural layouts plazuelas and terraced dwellings need not conform exclusively to a single organizational model. Based on our excavations, it is clear that the historical trajectory of AP-1 spanned many centuries, but it is nearly impossible to envision how the entire use-life of this plazuela which was occupied for over a 1000 years, could be attributed to the developmental cycle of a single localized patrilin eage. Later residents may have ritually constituted themselves as the descendants of AP-1 founders in order to anchor themselves to this specific place, but if this was indeed the case, then we must evoke the concept of the house to explain the later history of this plazuela It is equally interesting to note that AP-1 pre-dates Structures 29 and 41, both of which were built during the Early Classic expansion of the site. It could be suggested that Structures 29 and 41 were the houses of nouveaux riches families, which, at least archaeologically, appear to have had no antecedents at the site. Yet these families prospered during the time in which kingship became institutionalized, whereas the fortunes of AP-1 members waxed and waned through the Classic period. Clearly, some founding families did not gain status because of their long-term standing in the community as kingship became more entrenched during the Early Classic period. The off-plaza trash deposit contains the best sample of Early Classic material we have excavated to date. Sherds are large and abundant, and there are many rims representing domestic forms such as large striated jars, simple bowls and bolstered cauldrons. Characterization of domestic wares is critical for better recognizing Early Classic components in commoner households where basa l flange bowls are less abundant. Pottery from this trash deposit is not only impressive because of the quantity of standard Early Classic types, such as Balanza Black and Dos Arroyo Polychrome, but also because Sierra Red sherds are so scarce in these lots. Although detailed analysis has yet to be performed on this collection, LeCount would estimate that less than 10 percent of the sherds can be classified as such. There is a healthy amount of waxy wares, but they do not appear to be Sierra Red varieties. Rather, the Paso Caballo waxy wares in this 75

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Early Classic Actuncan collection look less mottled an d more homogeneous in color, display more orange than red slip colors, and have simpler lips and thinner bodies than those indicative of the Sierra Ceramic Gr oup. Further analysis of this assemblage should help broaden our understanding of the Early Classic pottery assemblage in the upper Belize valley. Acknowledgments: Funding for this project was provided by the Research Advisory Committee of the University of Alabama and private funds. We would like to acknowledge the hard work and expertise of my field crew: Luis Godoy (foreman), Tony Chan, Leonel Panti, Luis Godoy Jr., Carlos Cocom, and Habel Mael Chan. Nazario Puc and Elmer Martinez drafted the original artwork. In addition, this work would not have been possible without my field director, John Blitz, and University of Alabama graduate students, Becky Scopa and Dan Wyman. References Cited: Brady James E., Joseph W. Ball, Ronald L. Bishop, Duncan C. Pring, Norman Hammond, and Rupert A. Housley 1998 The Lowland Maya Protoclassic: A Reconsideration of its Nature and Significance. Ancient Mesoamerica 9:1738. Flannery, Kent V. 1972 The Cultural Evolution of Civilizations. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematic 3:399-426. Gillespie Susan 2000 Rethinking Ancient Maya Social Organization: Replacing Lineage with House. American Anthropologist 102(3): 467-484. Gifford James 1976 Prehistoric Pottery Analysis and the Ceramics of Barton Ramie in the Belize Valley. Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Vol. 18. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Haviland William 1988 Musical Hammocks at Tikal: Problems with Reconstructing Household Composition. In Household and Community in the Mesoamerican Past edited by Richard R. Wilk and Wendy Ashmore, pp. 121-134. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Tourtellot Gair 1988 Developmental Cycles of Households and Houses at Seibal. In Household and Community in the Mesoamerican Past edited by Richard R. Wilk and Wendy Ashmore, pp. 97-120. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Inomata Takeshi and Stephen D. Houston (editors) 2001 Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya Westview Press, Boulder. Marcus Joyce 1993 Ancient Maya Po litical Organization. In Lowland Maya Civilization in the Eighth Century A.D., edited by Jeremy A. Sabloff and John S. Henderson, pp. 111-183. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC. McGovern James O. 1994 Actuncan, Belize: The 1994 Excavation Season. In Xunantunich Archaeological Project: 1994 Field Season edited by R. M. Leventhal, pp. 108-122. Los Angeles, and Belmopan. LeCount Lisa J., and John H. Blitz 2001 The Actuncan Early Classic Maya Project: the 2001 Field Season. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and Belmopan, Belize, Central America. LeCount Lisa J. 2004 Looking for a Needle in a Haystack: The Early Classic Period at Actuncan. Institute of Archaeology Conference Papers Vol. 1. Belmopan, Belize. Quigley Declan 1993 The Interpretation of Caste Clarendon Press, Oxford. von Faulkenhausen Lothar 1985 Architecture. In A Consideration of the Early Classic Period in the Maya Lowlands edited by Gordon R. Willey and Peter 76

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L. LeCount and J. Blitz Mathews, pp. 111-134. Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, Publication No. 10. State University of New York at Albany. 77

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5 EARLY CLASSIC MANIFESTATIONS AT EL PILAR AND MOUNTAIN COW John Morris and Anabel E. Ford Defining the Early Classic is problematic and many scholars have argued for a population decrease, decline in settlement, and a general cessation in construction activities across the eastern Maya lowlands. This paper is an attempt to shed new light into our inquiries of the Early Classic and to portray how traditional models relied too much on ceramics defined in the central core area of Tikal and Uaxactun. Se ttlement based on one type of ceramics has obscured and prevented researchers from exploring ot her strategies outside these established parameters to redefine the Early Classic period. In addition, researchers often argue that the lack of the stela cult in other areas is symptomatic of a decline or lack of sophistication and relegation to the periphery. Data from two sites, El Pilar and Mountain Cow, particularly architectural styles, which are unexplored as a criterion is utilized to buttress our arguments. Introduction: How is the Early Classic traditionally defined? To address the problem of the makeup of the ancient Maya society Early Classic period in the Belize River area we will focus on two centers along with their settlement zones, El Pilar and Mountain Cow (Figure 1). These centers represent the northern and southern boundaries of the Belize River catchments and exemplify the development progression that underscores the issues of delimiting the Early Classic Period in this region. Both El Pilar and Mountain Cow were established in the Preclassic, have long building sequences that continue through to the Late Classic, clearly identified E-Group complexes, yet the ceramic assemblages of both sites have not been adequately documented to demonstrate definite Early Classic occupation especially when based on the traditional ceramic assemblage used to demarcate the Early Classic period. What are the main issues with the identification of Early Classic in the Belize River area? To begin with, the Early Classic has been defined based on developments in the Uaxactun-Tikal area, where the ceramic assemblage involved an incremental, yet total replacement of all types and shapes, both utilitarian and decorated of an earlier period (Culbert 2003:59) Characteristics of the more elaborated vessels include the Zangle and basal flange bowls, which dominated the initial facets of the Early Classic and the Teotih uacan style cylinder tripod appearing in the later facet (Figure 2), (Culbert 2003:59-60). Interestingly, the transition from the Late Preclassic to the Early Classic at Tikal has been described as gradual, with the a ddition of many Early Classic characteristics along with the Preclassic forms (Culbert 2003:59, emphasis ours). The complete replacement of the Preclassic Chicanel tradition is known to be concentrated in the interior core area, with no parallels in the east into Belize or the west along the Pasion (LaPorte 2003:289290). What is the significance of the Early Classic Tzakol ceramic assemblage and its distribution? And why has it been assumed that its absence at sites in the Belize region implies abandonment? Bearing in mind the trajectory of consistent use of the same locales and centers from Late Preclassic to the Late Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 79-97. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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Early Classic El Pilar and Mountain Cow Figure 1. Map of the eastern Peten and adjoining western Belize showing the location of El Pilar and Mountain Cow. Classic, this begs the question of continuity. All major archaeological investigations within eastern Maya lowlands periphery demonstrate a broad distribution in both periods and a more intense occupation for the Late Classic in the same zones, buildings and plazas that were occupied earlier. Construction sequences at centers evince clear building continuity over the same time frame, consistency of place for centers and settlements. The anomaly however, is in the Early Classic where the core area assemblage at Belize River area centers and settlements is recorded as barely a minor component of the coll ections. Inscriptions and the Stela Cult are rare? Do we have a complete ceramic assemblage defined for the Early Classic period in the area? Are we satisfied with the evidence for inscriptions and if there is a lack what alternative explanations might be offered, rather than embracing the idea of retarded development or abandonment? Taking into account architectural continuity is one way to scrutinize the question of abandonment. The establishment of centers in the Preclassic and their continuity of use over the next 1500 to 2000 years suggest a long-term investment in urban planning and use (see von Falkenhausen 1985). Growth and accretion are outstanding features of all Maya centers. Plazas established in the Late Preclassic are still plazas in the Late Classic. Thus architectural construction and use do not support for the interpretation of abandonment. Architecture styles such as corbelled vaulted buildings and the ubiquitous Teotihuacan talud tablero and subsequent imitations abound. Let us examine in detail the E-Group complex. This set of buildings is identified as a diagnostic architectural style commemorating ritual, perhaps associated astronomical observations or the beginnings of a definitive pattern of social and economic hierarchy (Chase and Chase 1995). The E Group complex, identified at Calakmul (Lundell 1933) and first excavated at Uaxactun, has been identified at many major centers throughout the Maya lowlands (Ruppert 1940; Chase and Chase 1995; Aveni and Hartung 1994; Wernecke 1994; Laporte 2003). Argued to serve as public ritual areas to commemorate or observe astronomical events, these complexes generally initiate in the Late Preclassic and their forms are elabor ated, enlarged and superimposed with later constructions evidently conserving the same essential forms from the earliest times (Chase and Chase 1995). This demonstrates how early architectural forms are integrated into new forms of the successive constructions, and implies significant continuity and maintenance of ritual systems across the Preclassic and Classic periods. But at the same time can obscure Early Classic representations unle ss the methodology is fine grained to tease out lesser inconsequential differences. We need to 80

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J. Morris and A. Ford explore the ram ifications presented by the architectural evidence but do so outside the established paradigms ascribed to the Early Classic period by the Tikal/Uaxactun data. For instance, when correlating the architectural order to the chronology, important architectural construction technique, the corbelled vault, is widely adopted in the Early Classic Period (von Falkenhausen 1985; see Hansen 1998). While it is clear that building with thatched roofs as well as platforms continues to be Figure 2. Representative sample of Early Classic basal fl ange bowls and Teotihuacan-inspired tripod vessels from Uaxactun and Tikal, respectively. 81

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Early Classic El Pilar and Mountain Cow built in the Classic Period (von Falkenhausen 1985:124), the elaboration of the simple thatched model can be traced as a feature of accretion, building upon the last construction in the limited defined spaces of the Preclassic. This is observed dramatically at Tikal, for example at the central acropolis (H arrison 2003). The development of the vaulted architecture is seen as a functional ar chitectural evolution (von Falkenhausen 1985). Interestingly too, the development of mo rtars is associated with the Early Classic vaulted architecture, required to retain the superstructure mass that was used in finishing of the Maya vault (von Falkenhausen 1985). The use of dry fill is universally encountered in the substructure of mounds (von Falkenhausen 1985:129; Miguel Orrego and Rudy Larios pers. comm.) is still a part of the Early Classic construction suite (see Valdez 2000). These constructions styles are know from all over the Maya region, and are not restricted to the Tikal core area. Examination of other construction techniques and creating a checklist of other criter ia to define the Early Classic period is therefore necessary. What, then, are the implications for settlement patterns and land use from the Preclassic to the Classic Period? Settlement centralization models are also based on Tikal data. Can we interpret continuity in settlement in the Belize Valley area? Once again, relying on the strict Early Classic ceramic diagnostics, more anomalies appear for the Belize River area. In the core area around Tikal, settlements are distributed in all central zones in the Early Classic. Between 65-75% of th e 135 residential unit excavations exhibited Early Classic, more than double that of the Late Preclassic at Tikal (Haviland 2003:1176). This contrasts to the occupation of the rural zones where 92% were occupied in the Late Preclassic and 77 % were occupied in the Early Classic, and these are all at minor center locations (Ford 1986 2003). Although there appears to be less growth the evidence indicates as much a sh ift in organization (Ford 1986, 2003). We argue that the wide distribution in the Prec lassic is consolidated with more nucleation around centers, which is noted for the Tikal peripheries where the major Early Classic assemblages are from the minor centers (Fry 2003:148). The growth of Early Classic in the vicinities of Tikal, then, are more a re-organization of settlement from the rural to the central zones, perhaps because of the overt strife recorded in the stela of that time (Ford 1985:81-82). In sum, the seed of the problems of the Early Classic can be detected from relying too much on the core area of Tikal and Uaxactun, where the period diagnostics were defined. Planning and construction of centers date to the Preclassic, when massive plaza foundations were founded and established. Plaza systems, such as the EGroup date also to the Preclassic, and the fundamental forms are built upon from the inception to the collapse, thus obscuring developments in the Early Classic period. In terms of ceramics, there is the acknowledgement that there is a gradual replacement of the Precl assic forms with the Early Classic forms, and this interpretation could be more pronounced as one moves more distance from the trend setters of Tikal. Amorphous characterization of Tzakol 1 and 2 ceramics also created significant problems fo r researchers trying to document the Early Classic period in their area. Finally the continuity of place, of plans, and of spaces initially defined in the Preclassic through the La te Classic period suggest that the arch itectural signals are significant in determini ng the investments in the Early Classic. 82

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J. Morris and A. Ford Location, Chronology, Construction and Settlement El Pilar El Pilar is a major Maya center comparable to many of the centers of the interior Peten. El Pilar is larger than Uaxactun, but smaller than Yaxha. The monuments of the core center cover more than fifty hectares (120 acres), one-third the size of Tikal. This size makes El Pilar among the largest in the region with more than seventy major structures situated around a minimum of twenty-five plazas. The monumental architect ure area is divided into three majors sect ors, the restricted Xaman in the north and two large public areas in the south: Nohol and the western Poniente connected by a causeway from Nohol. The core zone of monumental architecture in eastern El Pilar is approximately 800 m by 300 m and includes seventeen major plazas with another 200 by 300 area on the west (Figure 3). Today, the site straddles the adj acency zones of Belize and Guatemala and is embraced by protected areas in both countri es incorporating 2000 hectares (Ford and Wernecke 2002). Pilar is located in the northern catchment area of the Belize River. Numerous small creeks and springs in this region provide, for the Maya lowlands, an unusually plentiful fresh water supply. El Pilars water supply forms the upper reaches of the Belize River, the most important river in the country that effectively cuts Belize in two as it winds its way from the Guatemalan Peten to the Belizean Caribbean. El Pilars location is within 20 km of Naranjo and 50 km of Tikal at the eastern margin of the greater Peten region. The proximity of Naranjo to El Pilar may prove to be very significant as it is generally accepted that Naranjo was an important regional capital with ties to Tikal. Situ ated with a view from the escarpment of the northwest to an unobstructed east, this site commands a vast area of the eastern pe riphery of the Maya lowlands. From the Spanish Lookout and Yaloch area, El Pilar dominates the skyline and certainly would have been awesome in its day. Figure 3. Map of the monumental architecture of eastern El Pilar. The center has a long chronological sequence of construction and occupation beginning in the Midd le Preclassic and extending uninterrupted over 18 centuries through the Terminal Classic Period. Settlement in the Belize Valley region is recognized by BC 1200 (Awe 1993) and the construction at El Pilar follows that presence. By the Late Preclassic we found evidence for intensive construction at the center of El Pilar (Ford and Fedick 1992). 83

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Early Classic El Pilar and Mountain Cow The constructions continue without inte rruption from that time forth. The chronology of El Pilar is based on ceramic data from looters trench profiles (1986), test excavations and soundings across the plazas of the site (1993-94), a major temple tunnel (1995), and excavations in the acropolis area of Jobo. Th ese investigations have found that construction of El Pilar began in the Middle Preclassic and continued with major remodeling into the Terminal Classic. This long sequence is evidence of a local commitment to the importance of the place (cf. McAnany 1995) and for the continuity of the occupation in the area (Ford 1992). Based on the sequence of construction at El Pilar, construction was continuous and uninterrupted from the Middle Preclassic through the Terminal Classic, circa 800 BC to AD 1000. The chronologies of the constructions of El Pilar are based on relative associations of the ceramics. Preclassic constructions are found in all the major soundings around Plaza Copal. Middle Preclassic building phases include a fine limestone faced foundation base located below the Ball Court alley on the south, a clay core structure at the lowest levels of the eastern temple Xikna (EP7) in the middle, and a round structure below the SE corner of Xbalanque (EP9) in the north of Plaza Copal (Figure 3). The Late Preclassic period is recognized from examina tions of data that came from over the entire site. The base of looters trench profiles provides evidence of Late Preclassic constructions from Plaza Axcanan in the south to the Hmena in the north. Further, cumulative sequence of Late Preclassic throughout the multiple sequence of the severely looted Ball Court, south of EP7 on the southeast of Plaza Copal, was examined before stabilizing the gaping holes left there by the looters. Investigations in Plaza Axcanan and Plaza Copal reveal a long sequence of Late Preclassic construction, beginning with small structures that are periodically remodeled and culminating with the latest efforts that establish the expansive plaza foundations that were the base of all the Classic Period construction. This begins a trend towards massive plaza construction that encases, or preserves earlier constructions and crea tes new relationships between structures, such as with EP7 and EP10. The final Late Preclassic constructions are massive and fundamental, suggesting a long-term planning for the monumental and civic ceremonial spaces of El Pilar. The major plaza extension dates to Late Preclassic and is characterized with construction cells filled with what the El Pilar team calls clean cobble fill, a fill that is dominated by chert cobbles and boulders, with plenty of Late Preclassic ceramics and little or no soil or marl matrix. This is comparable to the Late Preclassic and Early Classic dry fill referenced by von Falkenhausen (1985) and recognized from the greater Maya area (Freidel 1986; Ellis and Dodt-Ellis 2000; Fo rsyth 1993). This construction style typifi es the southern areas of the El Pilar, including Axcanan, the Ball Court, the foundations of Plaza Copal, as well as the early constructions of the western temple EP10 and fits the construction typology of von Falkenhauser (1985). Construction appears to continue unabated with maintenance and major remodeling in the Late Classic, along with Terminal Classic construction capping the Late Classic in most excavations of the south and a few in the north. There are only a few locations where Early Classic ceramics are collected in association with constructions. Noteworthy in the assessment of the Classic Period construction is that constructions dating to the Late Preclassic are directly below ceramic associated constructions dating to 84

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J. Morris and A. Ford the Late Classic. Ex cep tions are from Plaza Faisan, where looters trenches on an eastern structure revealed an early remodeling that included basal flange bowls and the first major range-palace structure at Plaza Jobo in the Hmena. The Jobo construction represents the first Classic construction in the areas that were later enveloped with sequential remodeling, whic h filled in all the open spaces and was limited to the existing space defined in the Early Classic. The final buildings at El Pilar date to the Late and Terminal Classic. There are several areas, including the eastern temple of EP7, Xikna, where Terminal Classic constructions were interrupted in process and there are areas, specifically in the north, where Postclassic ceramic debris was collected on the Classic Period floors. The fact that Terminal Classic remodeling efforts were arrested before completed, as seen in the profile at EP7 of Plaza Copal, is strong evidence for continuity in occupation at El Pilar from the Preclassic through the final throes of the Classic Period. Settlement areas related to El Pilar show significant development across the same long temporal sequence. Residential occupation from the BRASS surveys and in the Belize River area in general demonstrates a solid occupation by c. 1200 BC, supporting the early occupation evidence form other excavations in the Belize River area (Awe 1993). Residential settlements are known from all major resource zones from the earliest time periods, yet the overall density and intensity is low. Expanded occu pation intensity dates to the Late Preclassic, when the settlements of the area extend over the whole river area. Early Classic data are, no surprise, problematic. Comparative ceramic diagnostics for this period are limited making an appreciation of settlement distribution difficult. The comparative dating relies on the key features of basal flange bowls, a decorated form with limited distribution even in the core Peten area. Despite the paucity of Early Classic materials, data are present in about half of the residential excavations of the BRASS surveys. These are generally the residential units with the longest sequence, beginning in the Middle Preclassic, and the largest extent, before abandonment in the Late/Terminal Classic. Interestingly, nearly all excavations yield ceramics of the Late Classic, and most are in the same areas occupied in the Late Preclassic. Expansion is identified in terms of occupation of agriculturally more marginal lands, which does imply growth. Late Classic ceramics are represented in high density at the majority of residential sites and intensity of land use concentrates on the same resources occupied and used in the Preclassic. This suggests a continuity of occupation and land use until the dramatic interruptions that followed the Terminal Classic. Architecture, Site Plans and Settlement at Mountain Co w The Mountain Cow sites are located in an area of upland plateau in the Maya Mountains that dominates the southwestern Cayo District (Figure 1). The site is located at latitude 16o 47 North and Longitude 89o 00 West, 12 kilometers east of Caracol and 22 kilometers from the Belize-Guatemala border and is situated on the Macal River drainage, on the highland watershed between the Macal and the Rio Chiquibul, the eastern tributary of the Mopan River. Mountain Cow consists of four groups that are relatively in close proximity to each other, and have been designated names such as Tzimin Kax, Cahal Cunil, Cahal Pichik, and Hatzcap Ceel. Since all the groups are close together, the enti re area was given the name Mountain Cow, which is the English translation of the Mayan word Tzimin Kax (Thompson 1931:238-248). Recent research 85

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Early Classic El Pilar and Mountain Cow and survey has indicate d that all four groups are part of one m ajor s ite herein referred to as the Mountain Cow sites. When reference to the entire site is made the term Mountain Cow sites will be used. Where reference to a particular group within the site is made we will retain Thompsons designation for each of the groups located within. A new survey has amplified the site parameters. Whereby Thompson (1931) had described that there were four sites, two ceremonial centers, Hatzcap Ceel and Cahal Pichik, and two domest ic residential groups, Tzimin Kax and Cahal Cunil the survey has demonstrated that all four groups are part of one large center with two major ritual/administrative complex connected by a causeway (Figure 4). The group of Cahal Pichik is an elite resi dential/ritual acropolis that is connected to Hatzcap Ceel by a tenmeter wide, 1800 meter long causeway. The unmapped features encompassed both public and private architecture, including pyramidal structures of varying sizes, rangetype structures with possible administrative functions, secondary and tertiary residences, and one major causeway. Several other courtyards were mapped and a small causeway or Via identified. The following is a description of the Mountain Cow sites as recorded in our recent survey. The group that is known as Cahal Pichik is an elite residential/ ritual acropolis, which connects to another group Hatzcap Ceel by a twelve-meter wide, 1.9 kilometers long causeway (see Figure 4). Cahal Pichik is approximately 550 meters west of the Mountain Cow Water Hole ( aguada). At the point where the causeway commences at Cahal Pichik there are two parallel parapets and on the raised platform that extends thirty meters out, a residential plazuela group was located. The site epicenter consists of a raised elite residential ritual acropolis on the southern end that co mprises of eleven structures, including an E-Group complex (CP-Plaza 1). This plaza extends 65 meters east to west and 57 meters north to south. Outside the epicenter, bu t still within the site core is CP-Plaza II that is situated to the north and five meters above CP-Plaza I which comprises of seven structures, a series of residential and administrative buildings, of which pyramid Q was excavated by Thompson (1931). The newly surveyed CPPlaza III is located about 30 meters east from Plaza II and forms part of the causeway. CP-Plaza III comprises of a large eastern pyramid (11m high), with two smaller buildings (5m, and 6m) on the north and south side. The western building is a small three-meter high structure. Approximately 7 meters east is a solitary range-type building. In addition, approximately 500 meters along the causeway is another courtyard group located on the south side of the causeway (CP-Plaza IV). In this area settlement extends southward towards the Tzimin Kax courtyards. A causeway not recorded by Thompson connects Caracol to Cahal Pichik (A. Chase and D. Chase 2001). This causeway, 7.6 km long enters from the northwestern end of the main complex and runs through an elaborate courtyard. The Caracol causeway also connects to the Hatzcap Ceel causeway near the Cahal Pichik ball court. Another small formally constructed roadway (via) connects Cahal Pichik to the resident ial courtyard groups of Cahal Cunil that lies to the north. This roadway has not been systematically surveyed to define the degree of settlement or the actual parameters of the Via. At Cahal Pichik Thompson (1931) recorded the existence of pyramids, platforms, a ball court, and stelae. Seven of the nine unsculptured stelae found at the Mountain Cow sites were located at Cahal Pichik, the most important plaza for the group in the Late 86

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J. Morris and A. Ford Figure 4. Map of the Mountain Cow sites. 87

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Early Classic El Pilar and Mountain Cow Classic. Five of the plain stelae flanked Pyram id A and two were placed on a small platform labeled G that fronts the E-Group complex in the site epicenter. The survey has identified all locations. About halfway along the causeway, settlement extends southward towards the Tzimin Kax courtyards. Where this main causeway enters the raised platform on which the Hatzcap Ceel complex is located, there are several structures th at Thompson did not document, through which the central courtyard at Hatzcap Ceel is entered. Hatzcap Ceel (cold dawn) This complex is located 1.9 kilometer in a south-southeasterly direction from Cahal Pichik and connected to it by an intra-site causeway. The main causeway enters the raised platform on which the Hatzcap Ceel complex is located near the ball court. Hatzcap Ce el comprises of ritual, administrative and residential components. Twelve mounds are built around a large ceremonial plaza (HC-Plaza 1). A flight of steps is situated on the northwest corner of the terraced pyramid A, which at one time supported a stone superstructure on the west side of the plaza. The stairway at the back of this building leads down to an aguada. A small platform B is attached to the southwestern end of Pyramid A. This small annex was added to this building at a later date. A 4.25-meter high substructure H occupies the north side of the plaza. On the western side of H is a smaller platform building that runs parallel to it. On the eastern side of the pl aza is a long platform that contains substructure F with a single chamber superstructure, and pyramid E which, sits on the south end of the platform, forming the eastern building of the sites EGroup complex. In a formation similar to that of the main plaza at Cahal Pichik, pyramid F is flanked to the west by low platform G, in front of which stood two plain stelae and three rectangular plain altars. On the southern border of the plaza are three structures. Structure D, which faces north, combines with Structure C to form Hatzcap Ceel ball court. A small annex D1 was added in the Late Classic to form this ball court. Behind Structure D and C lies Structure L, which was built in the Late Classic to complement the ball court and also to restrict access to the main plaza. Of the five altars f ound at Hatzcap Ceel two are carved, which date to A.D. 810 and A.D. 835 (Morley 1937-38: 218; Grube 1994; Simon and Grube 2000) (Figure 5). These altars are significant because they contain information on Lord Kan III ( Tum? Ohl Kinich ), the same ruler depicted on Caracol Stela 17. Approximately 125 meters to the southeast of Hatzcap Ceel main ceremonial complex is a small acropolis of five mounds upon a low natural hilltop. These mounds form two plazuela groups (designated Group 11 in Thompson 1931). The first plaza comprises of one pyramid on the east side, Mound M; a lowlying platform, labeled O to the west, and a 4 meter high structure, Mound N, on the south. The second plaza comprises of a terraced pyramid Q and a small two meter by two meters long square platform mound. This second plaza is separated from the first by a rectangular platform on the south side that had a stairway, which allowed for access. Tzimin Kax (Mountain Cow) The mounds and courtyards that Thompson designated as Tzimin Kax are a series of courtyards all located in a continuous and dense settlement along terraces and hilltops. He identified thirteen courtyards but there are over thirty although in no instances are any tall pyramids located on any of these courtyards comparable to the 88

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J. Morris and A. Ford Figure 5. The carved altars of Hatzcab Ceel. 89

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Early Classic El Pilar and Mountain Cow site center at Cahal Pichik. The plazuela groups range in size from as few as two to as m any as six buildings arranged around a single, central plaza. Seventy-eight (78%) percent of the groups have between three and six structures. The terraces at Tzimin Kax were used for intensive agriculture rather than for settlement defense. The terraces were integrated with the residential settlement. These terraces are readily identified by retaini ng walls ranging from 0.4 meters to approximately 1.50 meters tall. The Tzimin Kax group reveals the widespread distribu tion of burials in plazuela groups, which varied in size and complexity. The majority of the plazuela groups were built an d occupied between A.D. 550 and A.D. 700, although there is significant evidence of Late Preclassic occupation. This confirms well with an increased population posited by A. Chase and D. Chase (1987, 1994) that documents a rapid 325 % increase in population of Caracol, 150 years after Caracol defeated the city of Tikal in A.D 562. Many of the terraces and courtyards at Tzimin Kax were built during this time and exhibit burial and ritual activities similar to Caracol. Cahal Cunil This re sidential area was named after one of the workmen on Thompsons 1930 field season. Cahal Cunil is smaller than Tzimin Kax but was occupied the earliest by the Maya. Thompson (1931:290) dates several caches and burials he located here to the Middle and Late Preclassic (Pring 2003). In addition, a corbelle d vault burial chamber as well as other deposi ts, revealed tetrapod bowls, pot stands, chocolate pots, Aguacate ceramic group, and Orange polychrome, all indicative of a Protoclassic ceramic phase. The area comprises of eight courtyards ranging from two to five buildings surrounding a plaza area. Unlike the Tzimin Kax settlement, at Cahal Cunil there are many single, isolated mounds and paired mound groups. These mounds are not uniformly dispersed throughout the area and no settlement pattern could be discerned except for the fact that they tend to be located near the top of the ridges. Unfortunately, our block survey has not been completed in this area to determine the density of these isolated mounds and paired mound groups. Test excavations reveal Late Preclassic to Early Classic middens as well as a Late Classic peri od of occupation. Architecture and Monuments: E-Groups and Inscribed Celt There are two E-G roups at the Mountain Cow sites. The E-Group at Cahal Pichik is located in CP -Plaza I at the sites epicenter. It is characterized by an eastern platform structure (L ) oriented north-south that is 3 meters tall, and divided into three parts; a central pyramid (E) is 9.7 meters high, flanked by two lateral platform constructions, Structure D on the north end of the platform and a smaller Structure F (2.5 meters) that flanks the southern end, but faces to the east (Figure 6). The western pyramidal structure that encloses the EGroup is 13.5 meters high and had an eastern stairway and rounded corners. The southern structure pyramid A is 12 meters tall. Structure G, a small building in front of the eastern platform, had two plain stelae erected on it. The E-Group at Hatzcap Ceel is located in the main plaza HC-1. The center of the eastern configuration of this E-Group is a long platform on th e eastern side of the central precinct, surmounted with a large pyramidal building Structure F that was 10 meters tall. On the north end of this platform a long range-type Structure I is located and flanking the F structure on the southern end is another pyramidal type building Structure E, 6.3 meters tall. In front of this long eastern platform is a small 90

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J. Morris and A. Ford Figure 6. Comparison between the eastern tripartite structures (E-Group type groups) at Uaxactun, El Pilar, and Mountain Cow. building G, similar to the one at Cahal Pichik on which severa l altars were placed. A long terrace/platform (K) runs the entire length of the eastern platform at the back. The western structure (A) that encloses the plaza is a 10.3 meters high pyramid. Inscribed Celt A highly polished celt made from hard green and black diorite found by Thompson (1931) in Cache 1 from Hatzcap Ceel reveals interesting information (Figure 7). The celt is carve d with a hieroglyphic inscription and was broken into three pieces so that it could be inserted into the tall cylindrical cache vessel. The cache was found in Pyramid Q of Group 11 at Hatzcap Ceel below five floors that showed no sign of the floors having been broken to allow the insertion of the cache (Thompson 1931:270). Thompson suggested a tentative Terminal Classic date for the inscription based on the fact th at the other dated monuments from Mountain Cow are from the Terminal Classic. But based on the style Figure 7. Glyph-inscribed celt from Hatzcab Ceel Cache 1. Silverprint from Thompson 1931:Plate 33, drawing by Nikolai Grube. 91

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Early Classic El Pilar and Mountain Cow of the hieroglyphs, the inscription can be attributed to the earlier Preclassic period (N. Grube pers. comm.). Characteristic features of the inscriptions from the Late Preclassic and Early Classic periods are single column texts, the use of depictive signs as main signs, the small number of affixes and therefore, an absence of grammatical representation, and an odd spacing of signs (Coe 1976; Houston 1989). The use of polished celts as a medium for inscriptions is also widespread in the Late Preclassic (Schele and Miller 1986:83). The left column ends with the yakil his tongue, a compound, which is found often in bloodletting contexts. This glyph is fairly common in final position of Late Preclassic and Early Classic hier oglyphic inscriptions (Schele and Miller 1986 :120). The celt is a typical example of a La te Preclassic portable object, which was probably used as a kind of elite currency with an inscription referring to the donor and the ritualistic use of the object. Hatzcap Ceel, where the celt was found, had an important occupation in the Late Preclassic period. West of Group 11 Thompson excavated Hatzcap Ceel EGroup, which seems to date into the same time as the inscribed celt (A. Chase and D. Chase 1995:93). Chronology The excavations Thompson conducted at the Mountain Cow site revealed simple burial patterns in the residential centers such as chultuns, cist, and funeral chambers. Funerary offerings are described as devoid of wealth and quality ceramics. An important element in the artifactual assemblage however, is the presence of pottery that date to the Late Preclassic or Holmul 1 Phase (400 B.C to A.D. 250). A corbelled vault burial chamber at Cahal Cunil as well as ceramics that date to the Early Classic (A.D. 250A.D. 350) present evidence of continuity and a continuous population into the Classic period at these domestic centers as evidenced by ceramics of the Tepeu period (A.D. 600A.D. 900) accompanying burials. Thompson also noted that the ceremonial centers at Cahal Pichik and Hatzcap Ceel indicate much later ceramic phases. No evidence exists for Early Preclassic remains at these two ceremonial centers. Thompson (1931) has posited that the sites of Mountain Cow date from the Late Preclassic and as population increased and expansion occurred, the site in the Early Classic functioned as a unit with domestic and civic components. This was evidenced by ceramic materials and supported by carved altar inscriptions. A modified chronological time frame for the Mountain Cow sites indicates that occupation commenced sometime in the Middle Preclassic at the Cahal Cunil and Hatzcap Ceel groups (Table 1.1; after Pring 2000). Ceramic evidence at both locations however, suggests that Mountain Cow saw its first large-scale occupation during the Terminal Preclassic period (ca. A.D. 100250). But, the presen ce of Middle Preclassic sherds (ca. 900-400 B.C. ) in the construction fill from later contexts does support an earlier date for the initial occupation of the area. Late Preclassic types of ceramics are: Sierra Red, Polvero Bl ack, Sapote Striated, and Society Hall Red waxy surfaces. Sierra Red is the most common type with a high percentage (68%) of sherds recovered (Gifford 1976). A variety of forms dominate, such as shallow flaring-walled dishes, plates with wide everted and thickened rims, and spouted vessels. In the so called Protoclassic and the Terminal Late Preclassic ceramic assemblages include mammiform supports bowls, spout and vessels, basal flange bowls, ring base jars, and basal angle bowls (Brady et al. 1998). The Protoclassic presence at Mountain Cow however, consists solely of grave goods or 92

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J. Morris and A. Ford caches. In terms of construction styles, thick plastered architecture with squared corners and edges and no rounded corners are in contrast to Late Precl assic architecture at Caracol, where rounded corners are prevalent. With regards to stone tools, lithics such as large oval bifaces, tranchet tools, and stemmed macroblades are plentiful in the Late Preclassic/ Early Classic period, clearly part of the widespread trade and interregional communication networking throughout the Maya Lowlands. Temporally diagnostic ceramics were collected at ( 60%) of mound groups identified in the 1999-survey area. The dates given below for temporal periods at Mountain Cow are approximate and based upon relative dating with the exception of the early Late Classic (A.D. 600-700) and late Late Classic (A.D.700-800, and Terminal Classic (A.D. 780-890). Dates from these three temporal periods are absolute based on radiometric research conducted by A. Chase and D. Chase (1987, 1994) at Caracol. Vessels or sherds possessing characteristics of the Floral Park Horizon at Mountain Cow are similar to those found at Nohmul, Barton Ramie, Holmul, Altar de Sacrificios, El Pozito, Kichpanha, and the Upper Belize Valley. As Pring (2003) has noted, these eastern sites possess evidence of Holmul 1 style ceramics, whilst in the Peten and Pasion river drainage, the reverse is true, with the Holmul style virtually excluded. Perhaps the most significant differences in ceramics between the two sites are the Late Preclassic to Early Classic assemblages. The Mountain Cow sites exhibit many Protoclassic forms that were found in burial chambers beneath plaza floors and burials within vaulted chambers (Thompson 1931, 1939; Pring 2000). At Caracol, the few Late to Terminal Preclassic caches that have been found were in a chultun burial belonging to the same period, and in an outlying group that contained Late Preclassic vessels (A. Chase 1994:163). Early Classic residential settlements at the site do not gene rally have the same east-structure focus as occurs throughout Caracol during the Late Classic. Only the Tzimin Kax area demonstrates the same pattern although to a lesser degree than at Caracol. Late Classi c burials at Mountain Cow show more utilitarian ceramics and not prestige types. This pattern of utilitarian types used in elite contexts in the Late Classic is a pattern not observed in the Early Classic and significantly it appears to be distributed across a nu mber of different contexts (i.e., not just elite) in the region ranging from small rural sites, to ritual use in large centers (see A. Chase 1994 and D. Chase 1988; King and Potter 1994; LeCount 1999). Based on surface collection and test pit data, occupation begins at the Mountain Cow sites in the Middle Preclassic period (ca. 900-600 B.C.) when 20% of mound groups were initially occupied. Occupation increases substantially in the Late Preclassic/ Protoclassic (ca. 600-B.C.--A.D. 250) and Early Classic (ca. A.D. 250-600) periods when 50-60% of mound groups, respectively, were occupied. There is a dramatic increase to 90% occupation in the early Late Classic period (A.D. 600-670) coeval with the rise of political authority at Caracol and with a leveling off to 75% in the late Late Classic period. A sharp decline occurs in the Terminal Classic period (A.D. 780-890) to about 40%, leading to abandonment during this period. With regards to settlement the distribution of groups show a sparsely settled area between Cahal Pichik and Hatz cap Ceel, but this might be an impressi on based on the survey and not necessarily a real representation of the settlement distribution. I surmise that the causeway built in the period just around 93

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Early Classic El Pilar and Mountain Cow 600 A.D. reflects a transform ation of the area seat of administration from Hatzcap Ceel to Cahal Pichik. Although the placement of the carved stelae suggests that the ruling elite still resided at Hatzcap Ceel. Conclusions To conclude, in the Late Preclassic the sites of Mountain Cow were autonomous and the main public ceremonial center was at Hatzcap Ceel; settle ments at Cahal Cunil and at Tzimin Kax were dispersed. During the Late Preclassic and moving into the Protoclassic, Mountain Cow sites experienced a marked increase in populations as well as cultural, social, ideological, economic and settlement complexity characterized by monumental constructions such as temples, E-Group structures, ball courts, and trade in exotics such as jade, obsidian, and shells. These developments are similar to El Pilar. It is illuminating to compare Mountain Cows two main plazas, Cahal Pichik and Hatzcap Ceel, with El Pila r E-Group. Plaza 1 at Hatzcap Ceel and the E-Group at El Pilar resemble one another, which is not surprising given the fact that both have their origins in the Late Preclassic/ Early Classic. These communities became part of a complex ideological system fully integrated with that seen throughout the Maya area (Coe 1993; Freidel 1992; Pring 2000; Thompson 1931; Coe 1993). Additionally, when we examine both sites architecture, the similarities allows us to suggest that new integrating architectural forms such as EGroups abound and with its concurrent artifact assemblages can be used to demarcate the Early Classic. Given the dependency on ceramics, such as Z angles forms and Teotihuacan-inspired styles, a much more context specific and clearly defined ceramic trait list is required that takes into consideration that same ceramic styles are equally repr esented in the Late Preclassic and in the Early Classic and that there may be no clear cut break in the ceramic traditions. As we find new evidence and data in the Belize valley and more settlement patterns are mapped patterns emerge that argue for strong continuity in population from the Late Preclassic to the Early Classic period, a time of increasing development across the Maya lowlands. References Cited: Adams, Richard E.W. and R.C. Jones 1981 Spatial Patterns and Regional Growth Among Classic Maya Cities. American Antiquity 46:301-322. Aimers James J., Terry G. Powis and Jaime J. Awe. 2000 Preclassic Round Structures of the Upper Belize Valley. Latin American Antiquity 11(1): 71-86 Andrews, E. Wyllys V 1990 The Early Ceramic History of the Lowland Maya. In Vision and Revision in Maya Studies ed. by F. S. Clancy and P. D. Harrison. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Arnold, J.A. and Anabel Ford 1980 A Statistical Examination of Settlement Patterns at Tikal, Guatemala. American Antiquity 45:713Ashmore, Wendy 1981 Lowland Maya Settlement Patterns Editor. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque Awe, Jaime J. 1992 Dawn in the Land Between the Rivers: Formative Occupation at Cahal Pech, Belize and its Implication for Preclassic Developments in the Maya Lowlands Ph.D. Dissertation, Institute of Archaeology: University of London, England. 1985 Archaeological Investigations at Caledonia, Cayo District, Belize Unpublished M.A Thesis, Trent University, Peterborough. 94

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J. Morris and A. Ford Ball, Joseph 1993 Pottery, potters, palaces, and polities: some socioeconomic and political implications of Late Classic Maya ceramic industries. Lowland Maya Civilization in the Eighth Century A.D Dumbarton Oaks, pp. 243-272, Washington, D.C. Ball, Joseph W., and Jennifer T. Taschek 2003 Reconsidering the Belize Valley Preclassic: A Case for Multiethnic Interactions in the Development of a Regional Cultural Tradition. Ancient Mesoamerica Brady, J.E., J.W. Ball, R.K. Bishop, D.C. Pring, R.A Housley and N.D. Hammond 1988 The Lowland Maya Protoclassic: A Reconsideration of its Nature and Significance. Ancient Mesoamerica Vol. 9: No.1. Spring. Bullard, William R. 1960 Maya Settlement Patterns in Northeastern Peten, Guatemala. American Antiquity 25:355-372. 1964 Settlement pattern and social structure in the southern Maya lowlands during the Classic period. Actas y memorias of the 35th International Congress of Americanists 1: 279-287. Bullard, William R., and M. R. Bullard 1965 Late Classic Finds at Baking Pot, British Honduras Occasional Papers 8, Art and Archaeology, Royal Ontario Museum, the University of Toronto, Toronto. Chase, Arlen F. 1992 Elites and the Changing Organization of Classic Maya Society. In Mesoamerican Elites: An Archaeological Perspective edited by D. Chase and A. Chase, pp. 30-49. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 1994 A Contextual Approach to the Ceramics of Caracol Belize. In Studies in the Archaeology of Caracol, Belize Edited by D.Z. Chase and A.F. Chase, Chapter 13, 157-182. Pre-Columbian Art research Institute, Monograph 7. San Francisco, California. Chase, A. F., and D.Z. Chase 1 987 Investigations at the Classic Maya City of Caracol, Belize 1985-1987. Monograph 3 San Francisco: Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute. 1995 External Impetus, Internal Synthesis, and Standardization: E Group Assemblages and the Crystallization of Classic Maya Society in the Southern Lowlands. In The Emergence of Lowland Maya Civilization. Edited by Nikolai Grube. Pp. 87-101. Acta Mesoamerica 8. Verlag Anton Saurwein, Mckmuhl, Germany. 1996a More than Kin and King: Centralized Political Organization among the Ancient Maya. Current Anthropology 37 (5): 803810. 1996b A Mighty Maya City: How Caracol Built an Empire by cultivating its Middle Class. Archaeology 49(5): 66-72. Chase, Diane and Arlen Chase 1992 Mesoamerican Elites: an Archaeological Assessment. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 1994 Studies In the Archaeology of Caracol Belize. Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, Monograph 7. San Francisco. 1998 The Architectural Context of Caches, Burials, and Other Ritual Activities for the Classic Period Maya (as Reflected at Caracol, Belize). In Function and Meaning in Classic Maya Architecture, edited by Stephen D. Houston, pp. 299-332. Dumbarton Oaks: Washington. Coe, William R. 1988 Tikal: A Handbook of the Ancient Maya Ruins. 2nd.edition. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, University Museum. Colas, Pierre Robert, Christophe G. B. Helmke, Jaime J. Awe, and Terry G. Powis 2002 Epigraphic and Ceramic Analyses of Two Early Classic Maya Vessels from Baking Pot, Belize. Mexicon Vol.XXIV. Culbert, T. Patrick 1977 Early Maya Development at Tikal, Guatemala. In Origins of Maya Civilization 95

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Early Classic El Pilar and Mountain Cow ed. by R. E. W. Adams, pp. 27-43. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque 1993 The Ceramics of Tikal: Vessels From the Burials, Caches and Problematical Deposits, series editors, W. Coe and W. Haviland. University Museum Monograph 81. University Museum, University of Pennsylvania. Culbert, T. Patrick and Don S. Rice eds. 1990 Precolumbian Population History in the Maya Lowlands University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Demarest, Arthur A. 1987 Recent Research on the Preclassic Ceramics of the Southeastern Highlands and Pacific Coast of Guatemala. In Maya Ceramics: Papers from the 1985 Maya Ceramic Conference ed. by P. M. Rice and R. J. Sharer, part ii, pp. 329-39. BAR International Series 345(ii). Oxford, England. Fedick, Scott. L. 1989 The Economics of Agricultural Land Use and Settlement in the Upper Belize Valley. In Research in Economic Anthropology: Prehistoric Maya Economies of Belize edited by P. A. McAnany and B. L. Isaac, 315-54. JAI Press, Greenwich, Conn. Ford, Anabel 1986 Population Growth and Social Complexity: An Examination of Settlement and Environment in the Central Maya Lowlands Anthropological Research Papers no. 35. Arizona State University, Tempe. 1990 Maya Settlement in the Belize River Area: Variations in Residence Patterns of the Central Maya Lowlands. Prehistoric Population History in the Maya Lowlands edited by T.P. Culbert and D.S. Rice, pp. 167-181. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 1991a Evidence of Economic Variation of Ancient Maya Residential Settlement in the Upper Belize River Area. Ancient Mesoamerica 2:35-45. 1991b Problems in the Evaluation of Population from Settlement Data: An Examination of Residential Unit Composition in the Tikal-Yaxh Intersite Area. Estudios de Cultura Maya 18:157186, UNAM. Ford, Anabel, and Scott Fedick 1992 Prehistoric Maya Settlement Patterns in the Upper Belize River Area: Initial Results of the Belize River Archaeological Settlement Survey. Journal of Field Archaeology 19:35-49. Gifford, James C. 1976 Prehistoric Pottery Analysis and the Ceramics of Barton Ramie in the Belize Valley Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, Vol. 18. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Grube, Nikolai 1994 Epigraphic Research at Caracol, Belize, in Studies in the Archaeology of Caracol, Belize, edited by A. and D. Chase, 83-122, PARI, San Francisco. Healy, P.F., J.J. Awe, and H. Helmuth 1998 An Ancient Maya Multiple Burial at C aledonia, Cayo District, Belize. Journal of Field Archaeology 25:261-274. Henderson, John S. 1996 The World of the Ancient Maya. Second Edition. Ith aca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. Iannone, Gyles 1 999 Minanha: Some Preliminary Observations. In Archaeological Investigations in the North Vaca Plateau, Belize: Progress Report of the First (1999) Field Season, ed. by G. Iannone, J. Seibert, and N. Gray, pp.1-28. Social Archaeology Research Program, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. LeCount, L.J. 1998 Polychrome Pottery and Political Strategies in Late and Terminal Classic Lowland Maya Society. Latin American Antiquity 10:239-258. LeCount, Lisa, Jason Yaeger, Richard M. Leventhal, and Wendy Ashmore 96

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J. Morris and A. Ford 2002 Dating the Rise and Fall of Xunantunich, Belize: A Late and Terminal Classic Lowland Maya Secondary Center. Ancient Mesoamerica. 13(1):41 63. C ambridge, England. Lincoln, Charles E. 1985 Ceramics and Ceramic Chronology. In A Consideration of the Early Classic Period in the Maya Lowlands edited by Gordon R. Willey and Peter Mathews, pp. 5594. Publication No.10. Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, State University of New York at Albany. McAnany, Patricia 1995 Living with the Ancestors: Kinship and Kingship in Ancient Maya Society Austin: University of Texas Press. Merwin, R. E., and G. C. Vaillant 1932 The Ruins of Holmul Guatemala Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Vol. III. No. 2. Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Pring, Duncan 2000 Protoclassic in Maya Lowlands. British Archaeological Reports (BAR) International Series 908. Oxford, England Powis, Terry G. 1993 Special Function Structures within Peripheral Groups in the Belize Valley: An Example from the Bedran Group at Baking Pot. In The Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project Progress Report of the 1992 Field Season. Edited by Jaime J. Awe. Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario Reents-Budet, Dorie 1994 Painting the Maya Universe: Royal Ceramics of the Classic Period Duke University Press. Ricketson, Oliver, and E. Ricketson 1937 Uaxactun, Guatemala, Group E, 19261937. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publication 477. Sanders, William 1 977 Environmental Heterogeneity and the Evolution of Lowland Maya Civilization. In The Origins of Maya Civilization, ed. R.E.W. Adams, pp.287-297. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Schele, Linda and David Freidel 1990 A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya. New York: William Morrow and Co., Inc. Smith, A. Ledyard. 1950 Uaxactun, Guatemala, Excavations of 1931-1937 Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publication 588. Smith, Richard E. 1955 Ceramic Sequence at Uaxactun, Guatemala 2 Vols. Middle American Research Institute, Pub. 20, Tulane University, New Orleans. Thompson, J. Eric 1931 Archaeological Investigations in The Southern Cayo District, British Honduras Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago Publication 310, Anthropological Series Vol. XV11, No. 3. 1939 Excavations at San Jose, British Honduras Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publication 506: Washington D.C. Willey, G. R., W. R. Bullard, Jr., J. B. Glass, and J. C. Gifford 1965 Preh istoric Settlement Patterns in the Belize Valley. Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology No. 54. Harvard University, Cambridge. Willey, Gordon 1987 Essays in Maya Archaeology University of New Mexico Press: Albuquerque Von Falkenhausen, Lothar 1986 Early Classic Architecture of the Maya Lowlands, with a note on the Comparison between Maya and Chinese Architecture. In A Consideration of the Early Classic Period in the Maya Lowland: Edited by Gordon Willey and Peter Matthews, Institute For MesoAmerican Studies, State University of New York at Albany, Publication No.10. Pp. 111-33. 97

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Early Classic El Pilar and Mountain Cow 98

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6 EARLY CLASSIC MANIFESTATIONS IN NORTHERN BELIZE Palma J. Buttles, Lauren A. Sullivan, and Fred Valdez, Jr. The Early Classic has been often defined chronologically and by certain material culture. The specific make-up of the period remains somewhat obscure. Archaeological research from north and northwest Belize may provide some new insights for describing and defining the Early Classic in Belize and more generally for the lowlands. Landscape patterning as well as material culture serves as significant indices of Early Classic life. Techno logical developments and the contexts found for the Early Classic serve to defi ne activities for the period. Ceramics, lithics, architecture, etc. indicate a rather robust Early Classic that has been poorly understood or perhaps more specifically, poorly identified. Several categories of Early Classic material cultur e, the context(s) of the remains, and the interpretations of these findings are reported. The implications of these interpretations are also addressed for northern Belize and the surrounding regions. Introduction/Background Early Classic Manif estations in Northern Belize provides an overview of some significant markers of the Early Classic Maya in northern Belize. The patterns observed and presented are taken primarily from the sites of Colha and Kichpanha combined with findings from sites in the Rio Bravo Management and Conservation Area (RBMCA, Figure 1). The RBMCA is a protected area under ownership and management by the Programme for Belize, a non-profit organization. While some exceptions to the general descriptions provided may exist, the patterns resulting from this analysis are significant and appropriate. This paper does not pretend to cover in any comprehensive manner the Early Classi c as represented or assessed for every site in northern Belize, but represents our current understanding of this enigmatic period in Maya prehistory. Each area, Colha-Kichpanha and the RBMCA, are discussed in terms of locality (physical and cultural environment) as well as material representations of the Early Classic. A generalized picture of the Early Classic is then presented as understood across this north to northwest area of Belize. Archaeological research from north and northwest Belize may provide some new insights for describing and defining the Early Classic in Belize and more generally for the lowlands. Colha and Kichpanha are located south-southeast of Orange Walk in northern Belize (Figure 2). Colha is approximately 20 km from the Caribbean Sea and bisected by Rancho Creek. The Rancho Creek drains east into the wetland area of Cobweb Swamp. By the Early Classic the physical environment is an open savanna that prevails along side patches of high forest, dry forest, and bajo forest (Vaughan et al. 1995:82). Early Classic sites, located in the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area, are on a 260,000-acre parcel of land in northwestern Belize bordering Peten, Guatemala. There are approximately 60 known archaeological sites found on the property. This conservation area is located within the Three Rivers Region (Figure 3), a geographically defined area bounded by the Rio Azul and its associated features on the northern and western margins, the Booths Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 99-109. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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Early Classic Northern Belize River on the eastern e dge, and the site of Chan Chich which arbitrarily marks the south border (Adams 1995:5). Three relatively steep escarpments, the Rio Bravo, Booths River, and La Lucha escarpment, form the dominant topographic features of the RBMCA. The vegetation of the region is defined by a varied tropical forest environment, shallow soils, and a high topographical diversity (Lundell 1937; Hartshorn et. al. 1984; Brokaw and Mallory 1993; Scarborough et. al. 2003). Recognizing the Early Classic: North and Northwest Belize Figure 1. Map of Belize with archaeolog ical sites (after Houk 1996). The Early Classic has been often defined chronologically and by certain m aterial culture. The specific make-up of the period, however, remains somewhat obscure. The north Belize Colha and Kichpanha area Early Classic is first described followed by the northwest RBMCA material. 100

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P. Buttles et al. 101 Figure 2. Map of the Colha-Kichpanha area (after Shaw 1991). Figure 3. The Three Rivers Region (after Houk 2003).

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Early Classic Northern Belize The Early Classic for north and northwest Belize is here dated at approximately A.D. 250 600, similar to many other lowland sites. During the Early Classic at Colha-Kichpanha, as determined from ceramic studies and settlement patterning, there is an apparent decrease in population, lithic production, mortuary practices, and in genera l, material culture. Due to little evidence of construction and no lithic workshops identified as Early Classic, this is one of the least understood periods of occupation at Colha as well as Kichpanha. Early Classic ritual and construction activities were identified by Potter (1982) at a stepped pyramid and temple platform (known as Operation 2012). Potter (1982:104) defined a stairway, a floor, and three associated features to the Early Classic. Two of the features comprised limestone capped circular cache pits containing basal flange bowls, one Dos Arroyos Orange-polychrome (Figure 4) and one Actuncan Orange-polychrome inverted over large Aguila Orange jars. Each jar contained the possibly human remains of an immature individual. No other artifacts were recovered with these f eatures that clearly date to the Early Classic. Kelly excavated a Colha interment that may date to the Early Classic (at Operation 3017). This interment consisted of an individual skeleton that was relatively well preserved, several tools of generic Classic temporal assessment, and two ceramic vessels. The ceramic vessels were tripod cylinders that had their upper sections sawed creating shallower bowls and both had the tripod supports cut off and projecting segments smoothed flat. Both vessels are of the Early Classic and typical of what is often referr ed to as Teotihuacan style. Because of the odd treatment of the vessels and the more generic Classic lithic tools, the burial was deemed as likely Late Classic and the Early Classic vessels Figure 4. Dos Arroyos Orange-polychrome bowl from Colha (after Valdez 1987). declared heirloom items. More discussion on this assessment and the need for a new evaluation is presented in an interpretive section below. A small crypt excavated at Kichpanha revealed an orange polychrome jar (Figure 5) and an Aguila Orange vessel as well. Little other material culture was found with this burial. In both the Colha and Kichpanha cases, the mortuary practices provided minimal surviving artifact data although enough to clearly identify them as Early Classic. Excavation and ceramic data from the RBMCA originally suggested a population decline for the Early Classic period even though the ne arby site of Rio Azul was flourishing. Investigations outside of ceremonial centers and into rural areas have indicated that what originally appeared to be a population decrease was partly a misunderstanding of what ceramic types 102

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P. Buttles et al. Figure 5. Dos Arroyos Orange-polychrome jar from Kichpanha. were being utilized du ring the Early Classic (Lincoln 1985:73; Valdez 1987:246; Sullivan and Valdez 1996, 2004). The location of Early Classic occupation, both commoner and elite populations, outside of ceremonial centers (Pyburn 1998; Sullivan and Valdez 1996, 2004; Sullivan 2002; Adams et al. 2004) is another aspect previously not defi ned in the RBMCA. Lithic tool forms, just as with some ceramic types, continue with li ttle or no change into the Early Classic making it equally difficult to utilize this material culture as markers of the Early Classic versus the end of the Preclassic. Sullivan and Valdez (n.d.) have recently completed a more detailed analysis of this chronological issue that includes data from ceramic thin-sections. It has become evident that the successful development and adaptation of certain tools during the Preclassic are continued in use well into the Early Classic. It is this successful development and use of certain material culture that obscures the beginning of the Early Classic at many sites in northern Belize and elsewhere. Settlement and Landscape Utilization While Early Classic ceram ics do occur throughout the site (cf. Eaton 1994:104), the numbers represent or at least indicate the smallest ceramic complex at Colha (Valdez 1994a:13). However, as noted above, it has been suggested that some of the Late Preclassic/ Protoclassic material culture including the ce ramics may actually continue in style and form into the Early Classic (Valdez 1987, Buttles 2002, Sullivan and Valdez 2004). Colha is a site where the occupants through manipulation of the landscape and harvesting of its natural resources, especially cherts, sustained a society and enabled the development of craftspecialization (Hester 1985b, 1982; Hester and Shafer 1984; Shafer 1982b, 1994a; Shafer and Hester 1983). The Early Classic as presently viewed shows a shift in settlement adaptation. While certain ritual materials are present in selected cont exts, it seems that the population is more consistently represented in areas outside of the ceremonial center including for example, the southwest (3000) sector of Colha. Kichpanha similarly has produced Early Classic data of significance outside of the ceremonial precinct. The location of Early Classic occupation for the RBMCA as noted previously, and as observed for the Colha and Kichpanha area, seems more common outside of the major site centers. Early Classic elites as well as commoners may be located outside of ceremonial centers (Adams et al. 2004). No t surprising, several of the test excavations in these outlying areas have encountered Early Classic architecture. Consequently, the best evidence for Early Classic construction and elite occupation is found away from the main centers. A settlement on top of the Rio Bravo escarpment named the Barba Group (Hageman 1999), smaller sites such as Guijarral (Hughbanks 2004), El Intruso 103

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Early Classic Northern Belize (Muoz 1997; S agebiel personal communication 2003), and groups just west of the Dos Hombres center provide significant evidence for Early Classic settlement. An intriguing find about these outlying areas, customarily associated with non-elite populations, is that they are providing evidence for elite populations. Evidence for elite presence is in the form of tombs with a wealth of grave goods rich with symbolism and possible ties to large Early Classic centers outside of the Three Rivers Region including Tikal and Uaxactun (Durst 1998; Sullivan 2002; Sullivan and Sagebiel 2003). There are two deposits of special interest: a small raised platform group at Dos Hombres located 75 meters west of the ball court and sacbe and not part of the ceremonial precinct (Durst 1998) and another deposit located atop the edge of the Rio Bravo Escarpment, about 2.5 km northwest of the site of Dos Hombres (seemingly in the middle of nowhere) (Hageman 1999). Pottery recovered from these deposits indicates that the region is clearly tied to the Tz akol ceramic sphere (Sullivan 1998; 2002). Material Culture and Early Classic Manifestation Technological developments and the contexts found for the Early Classic serve to define certain activities for the period. Ceramics, lithics, architecture, etc. indicate a rather robust Early Classic that has been poorly understood or perhaps more specifically, poorly identified. While lithic workshops identified as belonging to the Early Classic have not been identified at Colha, the greater issue remains the continuance of successful adaptations that may obscure the cultural transition between the end of the Preclassic and the following Early Classic. As in the case of the ceramics, it is likely that the production of Late Preclassic/Protoclassic chipped stone tools may have continued unchanged in style and form into the Early Classic. However, it is interesting that Early Classic intensification of lithic manufacturing has been identified for the site of Altun Ha (Meadows 2001), just south of Colha. Thus, is may be that our ability to materially identify the onset of the Early Classic is in many cases limited to elite items (polychrome vessels, ecce ntrics, etc.) and/or elite contexts (caches, tombs, etc.). In the RBMCA, a Dos Hombres tomb was located in a structure, approximately two meters high, and part of a small raised platform group of four structures (Houk 1996; Durst 1998). Prior to excavation, this courtyard was defined as a residential area (Houk 1996). A Dos Arroyos Orange-polychrome basal flange bowl covered by a Yaloche Creampolychrome scutate lid (see Sabloff 1975: 27) with a modeled macaw head handle (Figure 6) were among the vessels recovered from this burial. The Dos Arroyos bowl has been identified as very similar to a vessel recovered from Burial 1 at Uaxactun (Smith 1955: Fig. 76b5). The images on the vessel interiors from both s ites depict a man in profile wearing a headdress. The individual is also depicted in a prone position on vessel exteriors (Figure 7) with what may be described as striped pants. This design on the vessel exterior, portraying a similar male figure laying his stomach with bent knees, also marks the Uaxactun connection: (Smith 1955: Fig. 3e). A similar design was also observed on a sherd from a looted tomb at Chan Chich (B. Houk, pers. comm. 1999) and on a sherd from San Jose (Thompson 1939). The macaw head handle from the lid is also similar to a handle from Uaxactun (Smith 1955: Fig. 69b4) and this imagery type was typically us ed by elites to link themselves with supernatural forces, in this case, the Principal Bird Deity (Schele and 104

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P. Buttles et al. Miller 1986; Kappelm an 1997; Carmean 1998). A second Early Classic tomb on top of and at the edge of the Rio Bravo Escarpment about 2.5 km northwest of Dos Hombres was excavated by Hageman (1999). A Teotihuacanstyle cylinder tripod with a modeled human head handle (Figure 8) that is similar to a lid recovered from Burial A 22 at Uaxactun (Smith 1955: Fig. 1j) and several from Rio Azul (Hall 1989) was among the ceramic finds. There were also three effigy vessels in this interment including a zoomorphic shell vessel with a human head (old man) that might represent God N (Pawahtun) who is often shown emerging from a shell. The shell and God N interpretation may be associated with connections to the Otherworld through the primordial sea (Schel e and Miller 1986: 54; Freidel et. al. 1993: 139). The second effigy vessel is a zoomorphic jaguar that is polyFigure 6. Yaloche Cream-polychrome lid with modeled ceramic macaw head handle (by Ashlyn Madden). Figure 7. Dos Arroyos Orange-polychrome bowl exterior band (by Ashlyn Madden). 105

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Early Classic Northern Belize Figure 8. Human (Maya) modeled ceramic head as a lid handle (by Ashlyn Madden). chrome. This ceramic offering highlights an elite association since the jaguar is generally associated with kings (Schele and Freidel 1990). The third effigy vessel recovered from the small tomb resembles an oscillated turkey often associated/used as an offering (Freidel et. al. 1993: 40). An Early Classic tomb was also unearthed from the site center of La Milpa. The La Milpa tomb was not, however, associated with any major Early Classic construction. Sagebiel (Sullivan and Sagebiel 1999a, 1999b, 2003) has reported on the ceramics from this tomb and the possible ties with Tikal, Uaxactun, and Teotihuacan (the latter in the form of a cylinder tripod). Overview & Current Perspective Having presented an array of inform ation about the Early Classic for both the Colha-Kichpanha area and from the RBMCA it seems that the traditional view of the Early Classic should be modified. Both areas of north and northwest Belize discussed share a number of attributes assigned to the Early Classic. It is from these common manifestations that we may derive broader implica tions for the entire region, other areas of Belize, and perhaps the Maya lowlands in broadest terms. Many scholars have addressed the issue of ceramic traditions continuing through time. Certainly, it is this issue that makes it harder to identify some Early Classic ceramic types. We may have originally caused th e underestimation of Early Classic populations because of the difficulty in differentiating Sierra Red of the Late Preclassic as it continues in use into the Early Classic. The same applies to the various lithic tool forms that continue in production and use from the Preclassic into the Early Classic. The discovery of elite deposits in unanticipated areas, i.e. areas where we werent necessarily expecting to find evidence for elite occupation has shown that several areas outside of centers was thriving in the Early Classic and that the elite were maintaining connections with established and powerful sites nearby as well as distant. As this kind of new data has been increasing, we are left with a concern over the misunderstood dynamics of population and settlement for the Early Classic. There may, in simplest terms, have been a settlement shift in the Early Classic that has been misinterpreted as a population decline. This is not to say that there wasnt a drop in population numbers, but rather that the degree of decline may have been overstated. In sum, one general pattern currently discernable for the north to northwest Belize area is that the Early Classic continued without disruption, but in a more dispersed presence. Material culture that had been successfully adapted during the Preclassic generally continued in use into the Early Classic in many parts of several sites. With 106

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P. Buttles et al. recen t research into site areas not often explored we are finding not that the population was greatly diminished, but that they were perhaps more dispersed and chose to live in areas away from the previous site centers. While much speculation about the reasons for these changes could be posited it is clear that the new patterns remain to be investigated and defined. References Cited Adams, Richard E. W. 1995 Programme for Belize Regional Archaeological Proj ect: 1994 Interim Report, Introduction. In The Programme for Belize Archaeological Project, 1994 Interim Report edited by R. E.W. Adams and F. Valdez, Jr., pp. 1-14. The Center for Archaeology and Tropical Studies and The University of Texas at San Antonio Adams, Richard E. W., Vernon Scarborough, Laura Levi, Stanley Walling, Nicholas Dunning, Brandon Lewis, Leslie Shaw, Eleanor King, Lauren Sullivan, Kathryn Reese-Taylor, and Fred Valdez, Jr. 2004 Programme for Belize Archaeological Project: A History of Archaeological Research. In Archaeological Investigations in the Eastern Maya lowlands: Paper of the 2003 Belize Archaeology Symposium, edited by Jaime Awe, John Morris, and Sherilyne Jones. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Volume 1 Belmopan. Brokaw, Nicolas V.L., and Elizabeth P. Mallory 1993 Vegetation of the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area. Manomet Bird Observatory, Massachusetts and the Programme for Belize, Belize City. Buttles, Palma J. 2002 Material and Meaning: A Contextual Examination of Select portable Material Culture from Colha, Belize. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Anthropology, The University of Texas at Austin. Carmean, Kelli 1998 Leadership at Sayil. Ancient Mesoamerica 9(2): 259-270. Durst, Jeff 1998 Early Classic Iconographic Connections of Dos Hombres and Other Lowland Maya Sites. Paper presented at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. Seattle, Washington. Eaton, Jack D. 1994 Archeological Investigations at the Main Datum Mound, Colha Belize. In Continuing Archeology at Colha, Belize edited by T.R. Hester, H.J. Shafer, and J.D. Eaton, pp. 99-108. Studies in Archeology 16. The University of Texas at Austin, Texas Archeological Research Laboratory. Freidel, David, Linda Schele, and Joy Parker 1993 Maya Cosmos: Three Thousand Years on the Shamans Path William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York. Hageman, Jon 1999 Ideology and Intersite Settlement Among the Late Classic Maya. Paper presented at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, March 24-28, Chicago, Illinois.Hall, Grant Realm of Death: Royal Mortuary Customs and Polity Interaction in the Classic Maya Lowlands. Unpublished Ph.D. thesis, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, Massachusetts. Harstorn, Gary, Lou Nicolait, Lynne Hartshorn, George Bevier, Richard Brightman, Jeronimo Cal, Agripino Cawich, William Davidson, Random DuBois, Charles Dyer, Janet Gibson, William Hawley, Jeffrey Leonard, Robert Nicolait, Dora Weyer, Hayward White, Charles Wright 1984 Belize: Country Environmental Profile: A Field Study. USAIS Contract No. 5050000-C-00-3001-00. Robert Nicolait and Associates, Ltd., Belize City, Belize. Hester, Thomas R. 1982 The Maya Lithic Sequence in Northern Belize. In Archaeology at Colha, Belize: The 1981 Interim Report edited by T.R. Hester, H.J. Shafer, and J.D. Eaton:39-59. Center for Archaeological Res earch, The University of Texas at San Antonio. 1984 The Maya Lithic Sequence in Northern Belize. In Stone Tool Analysis Essays in H onor of Don E. Crabtree edited by M.G. 107

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Early Classic Northern Belize Plew, J.C. Wood, and M.G. Pavesic:187210. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Hester, Thomas R. and Harry J. Shafer 1982 Exploitation of Chert Resources by the Ancient Maya of Northern Belize. World Archaeology 16(2): 157-173. Houk, Brett A. 1996 The Archaeology of Site Planning: An Example from the Maya Site of Dos Hombres, Belize. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, The University of Texas at Austin. Hughbanks, Paul J. 2004 Guijarral Settlement and Excavations. Ph.D, dissertation in progress. Tulane University. New Orleans. Kappleman, Julia G. 1997 Of Macaws and Men: Late Preclassic Cosmology and Political Ideology in Izapanstyle Monuments. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas at Austin. Lincoln, Charles E. 1982 Ceramics and Ceramic Chronology. In A Consideration of the Early Classic period in the Maya Lowlands edited by Gordon R. Willey and Peter Mathews. Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, Publication No. 10. State University of New York at Albany. Lundell, Cyrus 1937 The Vegetation of Peten. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publication Number 478 Washington D.C. Meadows, Richard 2001 Crafting Kawil: A Comparative Analysis of Maya Symbolic Flaked Stone Assemblages from Three Sites in Northern Belize. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin. Muoz A. Ren 1997 Excavations at RB-11: An Ancient Maya Household in Northwestern Belize. Unpublished Masters thesis, University of Texas at San Antonio. Potter, Daniel R. 1982 Some Results of the Second Year of Excavation at Op. 2012. In Archaeology at Colha, Belize: The 1981 Interim Report edited by T.R. Hester, H.J. Shafer, and J.D. Eaton, pp. 98-123. Center for Archaeological Research, The University of Texas at Austin. Pyburn, Ann 1997 Albion Island Settlement Pattern Project: Domination and Resistance in Early Classic Northern Belize Journal of Field Archaeology 25(1): 37-62. Sabloff, Jeremy A. 1975 Excavations at Seibal, Department of Petn, Guatemala: Ceramics. Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology Vol. 13(2) Harvard University, Cambridge. Sagebiel, Kerry 1997 The La Milpa Ceramic Sequence: Evidence of Renewal and Growth in the Early Late Classic. Paper presented at the SAA 64th Annual Meetings, Chicago. Sagebiel, Kerry and Laura J. Kosakowsky 1997 On the Frontier: The Ceramic History of La Milpa. Paper presented at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology Nashville, Tennessee. Scarborough, Vernon, L, Fred Valdez, Jr., and Nicholas P. Dunning 2001 The Engineered Environment and Political Economy of the Three Rivers Region. In Hetera rchy, Political Economy, and the Ancient Maya: The Three Rivers Region of the east -central Yucatan Peninsula edited by Vernon L. Scarborough, Fred Valdez, Jr. and Nicholas P. Dunning. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. Schele, Linda and David Freidel 1989 A Forest of Kings William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York. Schele, Linda and Mary Ellen Miller 1986 The Blood of Kings: Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art Kimbal Art Museum, Forth Worth 108

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P. Buttles et al. Shafer, Harry J. 1982 Maya Lithic Craft Specialization in Northern Belize. In Archaeology at Colha, Belize: The 1981 Interim Report edited by T.R. Hester, H.J. Shafer and J.D. Eaton, pp. 31-39. Center for Archaeological Research, The University of Texas at San Antonio. 1994 Community-wide Lithic Craft Specialization in the Late Preclassic Lowland Maya: A Case for Northern Belize. In Continuing Archeology at Colha, Belize edited by T.R. Hester, H.J. Shafer, and J.D. Eaton, pp 25-30. Studies in Archeology 16 Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin. Shafer, Harry J. and Hester, Thomas R. 1982 Ancient Maya Chert Workshops in Northern Belize, Central America. American Antiquity 48:519-43. Smith, R. E. 1955 Ceramic Sequence at Uaxactun, Guatemala Middle American Research Institute Publication 20. Tulane University, New Orleans. Sullivan, Lauren A. 1997 Ceramic Analysis in Northwestern Belize: Chronology and Typology. Paper presented at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. Seattle, Washington. 2002 Evidence for Chan ging Dynamics in the Regional Integration of Northwestern Belize. In Ancient Maya Political Economies edited by Marilyn Masson and David Friedel. Altamira Press. Walnut Creek. Sullivan, Lauren A. and Kerry L. Sagebiel 1999a The Power of Pottery: A Contextual Analysis of Pottery from Northwestern Belize. Paper presented at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. Chicago, Illinois. 1999b Pottery: A Dynamic Expression of Ideology. Paper presented at the 98th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Chicago, Illinois. 2003 Changing Political Alliances in the Three Rivers Region. In Heterarchy, Political Economy, and the Ancient Maya: The Three Rivers Region of the east-central Yucatan Peninsula edited by Vernon L. Scarborough, Fred Valdez, Jr. and Nicholas P. Dunning. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. Sullivan, Lauren A. and Fred Valdez, Jr. 1996 Late Preclassic Maya Ceramic Traditions in the Early Classic of Northwestern Belize Paper presented at the 61st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. New Orleans, LA. 2004 Late Preclassic Maya Ceramic Traditions in the Early Classic of Northwestern Belize. Submitted for publication to Latin American Antiquity. Thompson, J. E. S. 1939 Excavations at San Jose, British Honduras Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publication no. 506. Carnegie Institution, Washington, D.C. Valdez, Jr., Fred 1987 Ceramics of Colha. Unpublished Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge. 1994 The Colha Ceramic Complexes. In Continuing Archeology at Colha, Belize Studies in Archeology 16 Thomas R. Hester, Harry J. Shafer, and Jack Eaton, editors, pp 9-16. Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin. Vaughan, Hague H., Edward S. Deevy, Jr., and S.E. Garrett-Jones 1982 Pollen Stratigraphy of Two Cores from the Peten Lake District, with an Appendix on Two Deep-water Cores, pp 73-89. In Prehistoric Lowland Ma ya Environment and Subsistence Economy Mary Pohl, editor. Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (77). Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts 109

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7 THE EARLY CLASSIC PERIOD AT SANTA RITA COROZAL: ISSUES OF HIERARCHY, HETERARCHY AND STRATIFICATION IN NORTHERN BELIZE Diane Z. Chase and Arlen F. Chase The Early Classic Period is well represented in the excavations undertak en at Santa Rita Corozal. The archaeological data from this site are particularly interesting because Santa Rita was a relatively small site throughout the Classic Period; yet, it is a site that had access to many long-distance trade goods. There also was a marked difference between the upper and other levels of Santa Rita Corozal soci ety during the Early Classic Period. Contextual and spatial patterns at Santa Rita suggest that the Early Classic would be methodologically difficult to identify without a stratified excava tion sample. The data recover ed from the site also raise broader questions with regard to regional interaction in northe rn Belize during the Early Classic Period. Investigations by the Corozal Postclassic Project at Santa Rita Corozal from 1979-1985 provide ample evidence of Early Classic Period occupation (D. Chase and A. Chase 1988, 2004a). Early Classic special deposits (burials and/or caches) were encountered in 8 out of 43 operations at the site or in nearly 20% of excavation locales. A total of 13 interments of Early Classic Period date were recovered. The structures containing Early Clas sic deposits include epicentral monumental architecture as well as low mounded and vacant terrain constructions. Thus, while Santa Rita Corozal is most noted for its abundant Late Postclassic Period remains, there is an appropriate amount of data from these excavations for consider ations of hierarchy, heterarchy, and stratif ication, as well as methodological issues that arise in the dynamic modeling of ancient Maya society. Santa Rita Corozal was a relatively small site during the Early Classic Period; we have previously suggested that its population was only somewhat over 1400 people (D. Chase 1990). Elite interments at Santa Rita Corozal clearly indicate prosperity during the Early Classic. The contrast between elite and non-elite interments and residences indicates marked status differentiation an d stratification of the population. The dichotomy in statuses is far greater than in earlier or later time horizons even though there may have been an increased number of status levels in later periods. Early Classic materials recovered from the sites deposits suggest further that Santa Rita Corozal was well tied into longdistance trade networks. In fact, elite Early Classic interments from Santa Rita Corozal are far more impressive in their offerings than their counterpart s from some larger sites such as Caracol, underscoring the need to look at multiple lines of data when making interpretations. Early Classic Santa Rita Corozal: Structure 7 The most impressive Early Classic remains at Santa Rita Corozal were encountered in Structure 7. The earliest occupation found by our investigations in this locus dated to the Late Preclassic Period. Twentieth century remains attributable to Thomas Gann were also recovered from the front of the structure (D. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 111-129. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize

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D. Chase and A. Chase Chase and A. Chase 1986). However, the bulk of construction activity and special deposit placem ent was Early Classic in date. During the Early Classi c Period, one version of Structure 7 (-3rd) is known to have been a full masonry corbel-vaulted construction with five rooms; there were three tandem central rooms and two end rooms (Figure 1). Early Classic stucco ornamentation from a fragmentary roof-comb on Structure 7-3rd and from the summit platform of Structure 7-2nd was also recovered. The images in this stucco work directly portray underworld iconography through the use of a skeletal jaw on the earth monster associated with -3rd and through the use of a prominent shell in the iconography associated with -2nd (Figure 2); this imagery is consistent with the use of Structure 7 as a mortuary building, as can be documented archaeologically. Figure 1. Plan of Santa Rita Corozal Structure 7-3rd. Investigation of St ructure 7 included both axial trenching and extensive areal clearing. The axial trench was 60 m in length by 1.5 m in width and was accompanied by extensive areal excavation over the course of 4 field seasons. Extensive damage had been caused to the various construction episodes evident in the Structure 7 sequence (construction sequence and special deposit location is best viewed in the axial section of the building [Figure 3]). At the beginning of the 20th century, Thomas Gann (1900:686-686; 1918:67-70) removed the majority of what remained of Structure 7-1st, finding a burial, possibly associated with -1st, and a cache, possibly associated with -2nd. At the beginning of the Corozal Postclassic Project in 1979, very little remained of -1st; only the lowest course of a single step associ ated with a small patch of floor were located off-axis. The combination of Ganns excavations and Belizean road building crews had resulted in the removal of much of the front of the mound and had similarly damaged Structure 7-2nd; only the stucco mask that had once flanked the western side of the summit substructure platform for -2nd was recovered. However, much of Structure 7-3rd was recovered fairly intact. The remains of -3rds roof-comb stucco ornamentation was recovered and drawn in 1979 (Figure 2), along with an Early Classic cist burial (S.D. P2B-1) that was associated with -2nd. In 1984 and1985, all of the interior rooms of Structure 7-3rd were exposed and the axial trench was continued into the core of this construction, resulting in the recovery of 2 tombs (S.D. P2B-2 and S.D. P2B-5) and 2 caches (S.D. P2B-3 and S.D. P2B-4). Structure 7-3rd was stabilized by the project during the 1985 field season. The earliest interment recovered in Corozal Postclassic Project excavation of Structure 7 was a small Early Classic Period tomb on axis to the building, directly below the central room of Structure 7-3rd. This tomb was constructed within a cut in the building floor that was subsequently resealed, allowing continued use of Structure 7-3rd. The tomb was orie nted east-west and 112

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Early Classic Santa Rita Figure 2. Stucco Ornamentation associated with Santa R ita Corozal Structure 7-2n d and Structure 7-3rd. 113

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D. Chase and A. Chase contained the supine rem ains of an elderly adult female whose head was at the east end of the chamber (Figur e 4). Accompanying her were 5 pottery vessels, a carved Spondylus shell that had been placed over her face, a pair of ja deite and shell mosaic inlaid earflares portraying clawed birds with human faces and wings of overlapping jadeite mosaic pieces, jadeite ornaments, and shell beads from a necklace (Figure 5). Ceramics included 2 basal flange dishes, 2 annular base bowls, and a composite form vessel with lid. A similar composite form vessel is noted from an Early Classic Copan tomb (Bell et al. 2004). Subsequent to the deposition of the first chamber, but still within the Early Classic Period, a second tomb was placed on axis below the front ro om of the building. This tomb was oriented north-south and was substantially larger in size (measuring 4.25 meters in length, 1.5 meters in width, and 2.0 m in height). A single supine adult male was inside the chamber with his head to the north (Figure 6). Numerous offerings were placed with the body inside the chamber (Figure 7); all attest to the fact that this individual was of the highest status (e.g. A. Chase 1992). A stone bowl, carved with hieroglyphs and depict ions of god N that were highlighted through the use of red cinnabar, was located at the north end of the chamber along with a variety of other items. These offerings included a jadeite mosaic Figure 3. Section detail of Santa Rita Corozal Structure 7 showing locations of recovered special deposits. 114

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Early Classic Santa Rita Figure 4. Plan of Special Deposit P2B-2 in Santa Rita Corozal Structure 7. mask, 8 ceramic vessels, three complete Melongena shells, a Spondylus shell, a composite blue jadeite bird with wings affixed through the use of green stucco, the remains of 3 stuccoed wooden disks, and stucco pieces from what was thought to have been a fragmentary codex. A large chert ceremonial bar was in the vicinity of the chest. Three jadeite tinklers were below the waist and a single stingray spine was in the area of the pelvis. Three chert spear-points also overlay the pelvis area. Numerous flamingo-tongue shells were located in and around a vessel in the leg area, presumably the remains of a garment into which the shells had been sewn. Other offerings included flower-like jadeite and hematite earflares, jadeite and Spondylus beads, a cowry shell, and the remains of 3 turtles. The tomb contained indicators of elite status, rulership, and rebirth (e.g. A. Chase 1992:34-37); there was also emphasis on the number (apparent in the Melongena shells, spear points, jadeite tinklers, stucco disks, and turtle remains). The ceramic vessels included one jar, one miniature olla, two basal flange dish es, one annular ring base bowl, one small copa-shaped vase (cream pitcher), and two cylinder tripods (one red and gold bichrome with effigy lid). At approximately the same time as this tomb was sealed, a cache was placed in the fill above the chamber towards its southern end, behind a series of frontal building steps. This cache consisted of three pairs of ceramic vessels and lids (Figure 8). Each of the lids had a single distinct hieroglyph painted on it; these have been interpreted as titles and the name of the individual (Great Sc rolled Skull) placed within the tomb below (A. Chase 1992; D. Chase and A. Chase 1986). Within the lidded vessels were a series of offerings. Each set contained burned stingray spines, natural sea shells, and some modified shells and jadeite. Each set also contained at least one small flat worked shell or jadeite piece with deity heads painted on them perhaps representing the gods G1, G2, and G3. Other black line work was apparent on some of the smaller pieces of shells, but was more abstract and did not appear to form recognizable portraits. Subsequent to the placement of the cache and the two tombs in its coring, the 115

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D. Chase and A. Chase plaster floors of Structure 7-3rd were burned, either through regular use or through purposeful termination activities. Then, large parts of Early Classic vessels (including basal-flanged bowls) were left broken on the interi or building floors, incense burners with plainware dishes stacked on them were crammed into an interior central wall niche (Figure 9), and the building rooms were infilled and encased within Structure 7-2nd. The incense burners are nearly identical to one of the Early Classic Period stacked censer sets encountered at nearby Cerros (Walker 1998:92-93) as well as two sets uncovered from much further away at Uaxactun, Guatemala (Ricketson and Ricketson 1937:95, 281, Pl. 85e-g). Walker (1990:356) has suggested that stacked censers served as portals to the otherworld. Their central location in the buried Structure 7-3rd niche could support this notion. Figure 5. Ceramics and artifacts from Santa Rita Corozal S.D. P2B-2 (mosaic earflares and smaller artifacts not illustrated). As a resu lt of Ganns summit investigations and subsequent stone-robbing, the remains of Structure 7-2nd and 7-1st were not well preserved; t hus, the building form cannot be easily or clearly identified. What is known is that the basal platform for the summit building was flanked on each side of its stair by stuccoed portrait masks. A final 116

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Early Classic Santa Rita Figure 6. Plan of Special Deposit P2B-5 in Santa Rita Corozal Structure 7. Early Classic burial, a simple cist, oriented north-south was eventually cut into the core of Structure 7-2nd. An adult was placed supine in this grave with the head to the north (Figure 10). The sex of the poorly preserved skeleton coul d not be established; however, artifactual associations in the form of carved bone pins sugg est that it may have been the remains of a woman. In spite of the fact that this interment was a cist rather than a tomb and that many of the burial offerings were broken, the contents were nonetheless impressive. There was one small stone vessel, nine ceramic vessels, several carved bone pins, jadeite and shell beads, an earflare, a bone spindle whorl, and a cowry shell (Figure 11). Ceramics consist of three basal flanged dishes, one calabash bowl, one footed plate with spout, one annular base bowl, one cylinder tripod, one basal flanged bowl, and one two-part effigy vessel (Figure 4). The two-part effigy vessel, a pregnant looking pisote resembles those known from Uaxactun (Smith 1955: Fig. 5; Burial A 22). Sherds similar to the bichrome cylinder tripod were encountered at Caledonia by Sidrys (1983: 79, Fig. 54). The basal-flanged bowl is similar to one found in an Early Classic tomb at Dzibanche, Quintana Roo (Campana 1995: 30). Ganns (1900:685-6:1918:67-70) excavations also recovered what appears to have been an Early Classic cache set into Structure 7-2nd above this burial; it is possible that Ganns cache was meant to accompany this burial, much like the cache placed above and in the fill covering the earlier tomb in Structure 7-3rd. Early Classic Santa Rita Corozal: Other Deposits The remains recovered from within Structure 7 sharply c ontrast with Early Classic Period constr uction and deposits found elsewhere at Santa Rita Corozal. The most elaborate of the other Early Classic Period burials recove red at Santa Rita Corozal contained no more than two ceramic vessels; none contained more than a single jadeite or Spondylus shell bead. Several contained no preserved offerings. Some of the human skeletal remains consisted solely of a skull set within a single ceramic vessel. These were presumably skull caches, although the distinction between cache and burial is not always clear (see D. Chase 1988; M. Becker 1992). Other than these 117

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D. Chase and A. Chase Figure 7a Ceramics and artifacts from Santa Rita Corozal S.D. P2B-5 (jadeite mask and most small artifacts not illustrated). 118

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Early Classic Santa Rita Figure 7b. Plans, ceramics, and shells related to Special Deposit P2B-4 in Santa Rita Corozal Structure 7 (most small artifacts not illustrated). 119

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D. Chase and A. Chase Figure 8. Plans, ceramics, and shells related to Special Deposit P2B-4 in Santa Rita Corozal Structure 7 (most small artifacts not illustrated, including a deity head on jadeite). 120

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Early Classic Santa Rita Figure 9. Plan, elevation, and ceramics from Special Depo sit P2B-3 in Santa Rita Corozal Structure 7. 121

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D. Chase and A. Chase Figure 10. Plan of Special Deposit P2B-1 in Santa Rita Corozal Structure 7. skull caches, no other Early Classic caches were encountered outside the Structure 7 locus. In contrast to the masonry Structure 7, other excavated Early Classic constructions had no more than one or two courses of stone preserved above floor level. Thus, status different iation is evident not only in the number and kind of material offerings made in burials, but also in the effort expended in constructions and graves. A brief survey of the other Early Classic Period deposits recovered at Santa Rita Corozal serves to emphasize the disparity between the Structure 7 interments and those from the rest of the site. Special Deposit P6E-2 was located just above bedrock within Santa Rita Corozal Platform 2. This interment consisted of a partial skull and incomplete ceramic vessel. It was located immediately above bedrock and likely was the remains of a disturbed skull cache. The ceramic vessel was a partial red slipped flanged bowl with vertical rim, round lip, and exterior groove that probably dates to the early part of the Early Classic. Special Deposit P4B-1 consisted of a single flexed adult burial with head to north, located inside a cist in Santa Rita Corozal Structure 69. The only offering with the interment was a single shell bead. Special Deposit P10B-9 located in Santa Rita Corozal Structure 35 consisted of a flexed adult buried in a crypt. The individual was accompanied by a single basal-flange bowl and one jadeite bead. Special Deposits P12B-2 and P12B-3 were located in Santa Rita Corozal Structure 134; each of these consisted of a skull and a ceramic vessel. They could be considered skull caches, possibly deposited in association with another burial, Special Deposit P12B-4 (Figur e 12). Special Deposit P12B-4 was also located in Structure 134 and was the most elaborate Early Classic interment known from Santa Rita Corozal outside of Structure 7. It contained an extended individual with head to the north and two ceramic vessels (Figure 12a and 12b). Special Deposit P13B-4 was located immediately east of the Early Classic version of Santa Rita Corozal Structure 135 (this version, Structure 135-2nd, had a squared exterior with an eastern antechamber, but its interior was circular with a medial wall and an offset doorway; Figure 13), was a cist containing one individual with head to the south and a 122

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Early Classic Santa Rita Figure 11a. Ceramics and artifacts from Santa Rita Corozal S.D. P2B-1 (many smaller artifacts not illustrated). 123

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D. Chase and A. Chase single basal flange bowl (Figure 13a). Two other interm ents can be stratigraphically dated to the Early Classic at this locus. Special Deposit P13B-5, associated with the same building, was also located in a cist. It contained two flexed individuals, one with the head to the north and the other with the head to the south, but no remaining permanent offerings. Special Deposit P13B6 contained one flexed individual in a cist with the head to the south, also with no preserved offerings. Special Deposit P19A-5, from within Santa Rita Corozal Structure 159, consisted of a single flexed buria l with basal-flange bowl that had been badly disturbed by a Late Classic interment which had been placed directly on top of it. Figure 11b. Ceramics and artifacts from Santa Rita Corozal S.D. P2B-1 (many smaller artifacts not illustrated). Finally, S.D. P20A-2 was located at the bottom of a deep tr ench in Santa Rita Corozal Structure 39. As most of the body lay beyond the excavation limits, the interment was not completely recovered. In addition to the human remains, one flanged ceramic vessel was encountered. Discussion One of the most striking aspects of the Early Classic Period archaeological remains at Santa Rita Corozal is the existence of marked stratification. There are clear haves and have nots. Effort 124

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Early Classic Santa Rita Figure 12. Illustration of special deposits in trench in Santa Rita Corozal Stru cture 134. Special Deposits P12B-2 and P12B-3 are skull caches on either side of Early Classic interment Special Deposit P12B-4; the two vessels associated with S.D. P12B-4 are also illustrated. expended in construction, creation of burial locations, and the nu mber and kinds of offerings in Structure 7 far exceeds that from other investigated areas of the same date. Furthermore, the only kinds of Early Classic caches encountered in other Santa Rita Corozal buildings were skull caches. No elaborate Early Classic caches were uncovered outside of Structure 7. While there are no stone monuments with inscriptions at Santa Rita Corozal, the status differentiation apparent in material remains at Santa Rita Corozal shows an emphasis on elite individuals and is in accord with interpretations of Early Classic monument history as focused on individual people and individual specific historic events as opposed to Late Classic celebrations of anniversaries and/or periods of time (e.g. D. Chase and A. Chase 2004b). Similar evidence for stratification is evident at other sites such as Caracol (A. Chase and D. Chase 1996; A. Chase et al. 2001, D. Chase and A. Chase 2004c). Also significant are the relationships among Early Classic, Protoclassic, Preclassic, and Late Classic materials and occupations at Santa Rita Corozal, as well as comparisons of occupation and material culture similarities and differences among other sites in northern Be lize. At Santa Rita Corozal, Protoclassic occupation and interments are generally encountered in the same locations as the Early Classic. A revision of population hi story at Santa Rita Corozal that realigns the Protoclassic with more current dating (A.D. 150-300) shows steady population in the Late Preclassic and Protoclassic followed by increased population numbers in the Early Classic Period with even more growth in the subsequent Late Classic (e.g. D. Chase 1990). By far the largest populations at Santa Rita Corozal, however, existed in the Late Postclassic Period. Protoclassic occupation and material remains at Santa Rita Corozal are viewed as an (identifiable) extension of the Late Preclassic. Protoclassic interments, while not abundant, are notable for combining Late Preclassic and Protoclassic ceramic markers in a single context. These interments suggest smooth, rather than abrupt, temporal divisions and the probability that ceramics may be differentially distributed in accord with status (see below). Investigations at Santa Rita Corozal point toward difficulties in the identification of Early Classic remains. Research at the site further indicates the significance of and problems with sampling. Early Classic remains are easily apparent at some sites, such as Santa Rita Corozal, but are difficult to document or are absent at others. One of the issues is the way in which Early Classic Period occupation is identified. Generally, 125

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D. Chase and A. Chase Figure 13. 13. Illustration of the Early Classic plan of Santa Rita Corozal Structure 135. Also illustrated is a ceramic vessel associated with Special Deposit P13B-4, a burial placed in front of this version of Structure 135. 126

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Early Classic Santa Rita tem poral placement in the Early Classic is established by use of ceramic markers that are often found in burials and elite contexts, but that may be absent in other contexts. Early Classic ceramics thus appear to be status linked (A. Chase and D. Chase 2004; see also A. Chase for a similar discussion of Terminal Classic status-linked ceramics at Caracol). Thus, Earl y Classic occupation may be missed if special deposits are not encountered and if el ite contexts are not investigated or if th ere is not a substantial excavation sample especially as Early Classic remains are often not as abundant and may be more deeply buried than those of subsequent periods. Uncritical comparisons of burial assemblages among sites also may be problematic. The relative wealth of the Structure 7 interments at Santa Rita Corozal compared with contemporary ones at Caracol, ignoring the distinctions in scale between the two sites, might erroneously suggest a greater importance to Santa Rita Corozal than the site merits. The artifactual wealth in the Structure 7 tombs is due to a host of other factors, primary among them being more direct access to trade and an elite desire to stress their importance of an area peripheral to the Maya heartland. The complete context as well as contents of assemblages is clearly important. A regional consideration of northern Belize suggests the existence of many similarly sized, small, politically independent, but inter-connected, centers during the Early Classic Period. Louisville, Aventura, and Caledonia are not very distant from Santa Rita Corozal and were roughly equivalent in size during the Early Classic Period (see Sidrys 1983). Relations among these centers during the Early Classic were likely to some degree heterarchical rather than hierarchical (Crumley 1998), in contrast to later periods. Unfortunately, however, with certain exceptions, the economics of the Early Classic are unclear. Excavated Santa Rita Corozal Early Classic households do not provide detailed information on local production and workshops. Non-local trade items were prominent in elite contexts, but exceedingly limited in other households again suggestive of the marked status differences at the site. While it is appealing to argue for a series of economically specialized Early Classic sites conjoined by regional trade, the proximity of sites to each other in northern Belize and the current lack of evidence for specialization or environmental differentiation among site locales suggest that this was not entirely the case. Santa Rita Corozal likely prospered due to its location on Corozal Bay with easy access to trade much like Colha, further south, prospered because of it s location with easy access to chert. However, it is unclear what different economic specializations would have been undertaken at the nearby inland sites of Aventura, Caledonia, Chan Chen, or Louisville. Many of these sites, while not overtly trade centers like Santa Rita Corozal, may have been economically redundant in function relative to each other. These sites could coexist only due to their relatively small Early Classic Period population sizes. Santa Rita Corozal was among the largest sites in the area during the Early Classic and its postulated populatio n is less than 1500 occupants (D. Chase 1990). Thus, the heterarchical relationships postulated here for Early Classic nor thern Belize would likely have fractured and become hierarchical with fu rther population growth in the Late Classic and Postclassic eras. Conclusion In summary, investigations at Santa Rita Corozal provide important pieces in the reconstruction of ancien t Maya prehistory in Belize. While best known for its Late Postclassic remains, archaeology at Santa 127

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D. Chase and A. Chase Rita Corozal poin ts to an exceedingly long sequence that includes occupation from the earliest part of the Maya Preclassic Period to modern times. Early Classic remains at the site are noteworthy bot h in suggesting the existence of two-tier stratification in spite of small population numbers and in showcasing Santa Rita Corozals access to exotic trade items. This research points to significant methodological issues in identifying and comparing Early Classic Period remains, including the possibilities of status-linked materials, the interpretational problems caused by inadequate sampling, and the significance of context in interpretation and comparison. Excavations underscore the need to explore func tional relationships among Maya sites and the changing variations among them. It would appear that the Early Classic in northern Belize was characterized by heterarchical as opposed to hierarchical relationshi ps among sites. The Santa Rita Corozal data show that the Early Classic was a period of growth as well as a time span of political and economic differentiation, trends that were expanded and further modified in the subsequent Late Classic Period. References Cited Becker, M. 1992 Burials as Caches; Caches as Burials: A New Interpretation of the Meaning of Ritual Deposits among the Classic Period Lowland Maya, in E Danien and R. Sharer, Eds., New Theories on the Ancient Maya, pp. 185-196, University Museum Monograph 77, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Bell, E. B, Canuto, M. A. and Sharer, R. J. (eds.) 2004 Understanding Early Classic Copan, University Museum Publications, Philadelphia Campana, L. 1995 Una tumba en el Templo del Bho Dzibanch, Arqueologa Mexicana 3(14):28-31. Chase, A. F. 1992 Elites and the Changing Organization of Classic Maya Society, in D. Z. Chase and A. F. Chase, Eds., Mesoamerican Elites: An Archaeological Assessment pp. 30-49, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. Chase, A. F. and D. Z. Chase 1996 A Mighty Maya Nation: How Caracol Built an Empire by Cultivating its Middle Class, Archaeology 49(5):66-72. 2004 Terminal Classic Status-Linked Ceramics and the Maya Collapse: De Facto Refuse at Caracol, Belize," in A. Demarest, P. Rice, and D. Rice, Eds., The Terminal Classic in the Maya Lowlands: Collapse, Transition, and Transformation pp. 342-366, University of Colorado Press, Boulder. Chase, A. F., D.Z. Chase, and C. White 2001 El Paisaje Urbano Maya: La Integracin de los Espacios Construidos y la Estructura Social en Ca racol, Belice, in A. Ciudad Ruiz, M. Josefa Iglesias Ponce de Len, and M. Del Carmen Martnez Martnez, Eds, Reconstruyendo la Ciudad Maya: El Urbanismo en las Sociedades Antiguas pp. 95-122, Sociedad Espaola de Estudios Mayas, Madrid. Chase, D. Z. 1988 Caches and Censerwares: Meaning from Maya Pottery, in C. Kolb and L. Lackey, Eds., A Pot for all Reasons: Ceramic Ecology Revisited, pp. 81-104, Temple University, Philadelphia 1990 The Invisible Maya: Population History and Archaeology at Santa Rita Corozal, in T. Culber t and D. Rice, Eds. Pre-Columbian Population History in the Maya Lowlands, pp. 199-213 Chase, D. Z. and A. F. Chase 1986 Offerings to the God: Maya Archaeology at Santa Rita Corozal University of Central Florida, Orlando. 128

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Early Classic Santa Rita 1998 A Postclassic Perspective: Excavations at the Maya Site of Santa Rita Corozal, Belize, Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute Monograph 4. 2004a Santa Rita Corozal: Twenty Years Later, Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 1:243-255. 2004b Patrones de Enterramiento y Cclos Residenciales en Caracol, Belice, in R. Cobos, Ed., Culto Funerario en la Sociedad Maya: Memoria de la Cuarta Mesa Redonda de Palenque pp. 203-230, INAH, Mexico, D.F. 2004c Archaeological Perspectives on Classic Maya Social Organization from Caracol, Belize, Ancient Mesoamerica 15:111-119 Crumley, C. 2003 Alternative Form s of Social Order, in V. Scarborough, F. Valdez, and N. Dunning, Eds., Heterarchy, Political Economy, and the An cient Maya: Three Rivers Region of the East-Central Yucatan Peninsula, pp. 136-145, University of Arizona Press, Utah. Gann, T. 1900 Mounds in Northern Honduras Nineteenth Annual Report, 1897-1898, Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, Part 2:661-692, Washington, D.C. 1918 The Maya Indians of Southern Yucatan and Northern British Honduras, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin No. 64, Washington, D.C. Ricketson, O.G. and E. B. Ricketson 1937 Uaxactun, Guatemala, Group E, 19261937, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publication 477. Sidrys, R. 1983 Archaeological Excavations in Northern Belize, Central America, Monograph XVII, Institute of Archaeology, University of Califor nia, Los Angeles. Smith, R. E. 1955 Ceramic Sequence a Uaxactun, Guatemala, Middle American Research Institute Publication 20, Vol. II, Tulane University, New Orleans. Walker, D. 1990 Cerros Revisited: Ceramic Indicators of Terminal Classic and Postclassic Settlement and Pilgrimage in Northern Belize, PhD. Southern Methodist University. 1998 Smashed Pots and Shattered Dreams: The Material Evidence for an Early Classic Maya Site Termination at Cerros, Belize, in S. Mock, Ed., The Sowing and the Dawning: Termination, Dedication, and Transformation in the Archaeological and Ethnographic Record of Mesoamerica, pp. 81-100, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 129

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8 THE EARLY CLASSIC PERIOD AT THE MAYA SITE OF BLUE CREEK, BELIZE Thomas H. Guderjan Research at Blue Creek in northwestern Belize provides a case example of how archae ologists can understand the structure and temporal dynamics of a Maya community through intensive, long-term investigations. During the Early Classic period, Blue Creek was a thriving, vibrant an d wealthy community. The rulin g elite of the site core was surrounded by a many geographically discrete and socially varying residential groups, most of which had origins in the Late Preclassic period. The ruling elite also accumulated one of the largest collections of jade in the Maya area and accomplished numerous construction projects in the site core. This wealth was certainly based upon the large-scale agricultural resources that they controlled and the export of agricultural products. Despite the disparity in power, legitimacy and wealth among the Blue Creek Maya, we can demonstrate that they bound by shared fundamental concepts of cosmology and religion. Introduction Blue Creek is a medium-sized Maya center in northwest Belize that has been investigated annually since 1992 (Figure 1). This long-term approach to a single site has yielded a massive a nd detailed database, only part of which is included in this summary of the Early Classic period at Blue Creek. Our first investig ations at Blue Creek focused on the site core and yielded a series of important discoveries. Not the least of these was that much of the public architecture at Blue Creek was constructed in the Early Classic period. As the project expanded into new research domains, we also found that the settlement zone offered equally important data about the period. Additionally, we now ha ve an occupational history of Blue Creek th at begins in the early Middle Classic period at approximately 900 BC and ends with the Terminal Classic period in the mid-9th century AD. Late Preclassic-Early Classic Continuities The earliest construction of public architecture occurred much later, in the Terminal Preclassic, Linda Vista period, approximately AD 100/150 to AD 250. This first building was a low platform at Structure 4, on the sout h end of what would soon become Plaza A. This construction was celebrated by a ritual that resulted in the caching of 425 obsidian blades and flakes with 27 obsidian cores, jade earflares and beads as well as other materials and has been interpreted as a massive bloodletting ritual celebrating the installation of Blue Creeks first king (Guderjan 1996: 8; see Schele and Freidel 1990). Also, early constructions were soon built at Structures 1 and 9. So, the public sector of Blue Creek was already established by the Early Classic period. The transition from the Terminal Preclassic, Linda Vista period to the Early Classic, Rio Hondo period was virtually seamless1 Ceramics, including dozens of whole vessels from burials and caches, grade stylistically from one to the other. It is often difficult to assign a particular vessel to either time period without strong stratigraphic and contextual information, challenging the long-held assumption that there is a well-defined change in ceramic attributes in the region. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 131-141. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize

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Early Classic Blue Creek Public Architecture in the Early Classic The record from the central precinct (Figure 2) shows that Blue Creek was a wealthy and architecturally innovative community during the Early Classic period. The central precinct consists of two large plazas on top of the Bravo Escarpment overlooking the highly fe rtile agricultural lands and the headwaters of the Rio Hondo. Plaza A covers approximately 100,000 square meters and was surrounded by only four buildings in the Early Classic. The plaza was open to the east where it overlooked the lowlands below the Bravo Escarpment. Structure 1, more than 11 meters tall, dominated the plaza on the north side (Figure 3). Structure 1 was a pyramid with a columned super-structure covered with a perishable roof (Driver 2002). Dale Pastrana has suggested that this superstructure functioned as a viewing gallery for activities in the plaza. This innovative building is the earliest columned pyramid in the Maya lowlands with the possible exception of the pyramid at Ake in northern Yucatan (Roys and Shook 1966). Figure 1. Location of Blue Creek. The west side of the plaza was bounded by a 75 m eter long range building, Structure 5, which supported a single room superstructure that wa s 50 meters long with seven doors facing the plaza and doors on each end, for a total of nine doors, and a relatively small central staircase. This was built in the Early Cla ssic period in a single construction phase (Pastrana 1996). The south side of the plaza was defined by Structure 4, which was expanded in the Early Classic to become a 5-meter tall 132

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T. Guderjan Figure 2. Central Precinct of Blue Creek. The Early Classic Buildings are highlighted. substructure supporting a single vaulted room superstructure. The most interesting feature of the building was a stone lined shaft, capped with a banner stone, immediately in front of the central entrance to the building (Guderjan 1998). As best we can tell, this shaft was created at about AD 350 and remained open until approximately AD 500. Wear marks on the interior of the banner stone indicate both vertical and horizontal activity as though the banner stone and shaft served as a base for a pole and, literally, a banner flying in front of this building. When the shaft was constructed, a significant portion of Structure 4 was removed and then replaced. At the base of the shaft, a four-pointed chert eccentric was placed, oriented to the cardinal directions. Further up the shaft, four vessels were placed outside of the shaft in the cardinal directions. All were Early Classic, basal flanged vessels and two were lidded polychromes with sacrificed pre-natal or neo-natal infants in them. The other two vessels may also have contained sacrificed infants, but without lid s, their remains were not recoverable. Aside from the public display involved, this architectural arrangement clearly re flects tree of life symbolism and marks Structure 4 as the true center of Blue Creek during the Early Classic period. Behind and just north of Structure 1 was an oversized platform supporting a ballcourt. Another of the surprising aspects of Blue Creek is that this was the only known Early Classic ballcourt in northwestern Belize. Based upon the presence of lithic workshop deposits in such locations at other sites, such as Chan Chich (Guderjan 1991: 44-46), we tested the entire platform looking for evidence of such workshops or other evidence regarding the use of the rest of the platform. However, we found nothing outside of the ballcourt except construction fill. Figure 3. Structure 1, Reconstruction Drawing. Approximately 200 meters north of Plaza A is the Plaza B complex, a linear array of buildings centered on Plaza B and bounded by two pyramids, Structures 9 and 24. In the Early Classic, Plaza B itself did not exist. Instead, Structures 12 and 13 bounded a small public plaza. At some point 133

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Early Classic Blue Creek in the Early Classic, Structu re 13 was reoriented to face north, and Structure 15, a low ramada style range building was constructed to bound Plaza B. At the same time, the former public space in front of Structures 12 and 13 was secularized and bounded by the construction of two small buildings. Finally, the platform on which those buildings stood was expanded and Structure 10, a small pyramid, was added. Figure 4. Early Classic Masks at Structure 9. Perhaps the most interesting building in the Plaza B complex is Structure 9 (Figure 4). In the Earl y Classic period it was a Peten style pyramid, with a steep central staircase terminating with a small, single room, vaulted superstructure (Grube, Guderjan and Haines 19 95; Haines 1996). In front of the doorway of the superstructure was a staircase outset with a five-paneled plaster faade. About half of the faade had been destroyed by looting, but more than two panels were intact. The panel on the left is in the best condition and it depicts and individual wearing a la rge jade earflare, a bib-type garment and a headdress in the form of a foliated ajaw Our initial interpretation was that this was the representation of an ac tual ruler of Blue Creek and that its presence reinforced the idea that Blue Creek was an independent kingdom in the Early Classic. However, more recent interpretati ons of similar images lean to the idea that this is a representation of the maize god. Of course, that interpretation does not rule out that the image on Structure 3 is of a ruler of Blue Creek as the maize god, a common kind of redundancy in Maya art. Wealth and Resources at Blue Creek in the Early Classic In the Maya world, there is no more clear reflection of wealth than the presence of jade. We have now recovered 1311 jade artifacts securely dated to the Terminal Preclassic and Early Classic periods at Blue Creek (Guderjan n.d.a). While the majority of these derive from predictable contexts such as caches and burials in public architecture, a surprising number do not. For example, 148 artifacts derive from some of Blue Creeks most humble, non-elite residences. The implications of the distribution of jade at Blue Creek are beyond the scope of this paper. However, it is important that jade was so abundant that it was distributed across all social classes. While the fecundity and currency of jade is a debatable topic, I have taken the position that jade was a royal currency and was only distributed to non-roya ls through a process of gifting for rewards for service (Guderjan, n.d.a). In addition to jade, numerous other exotic goods such as obsidian (Haines 2000) and granite grinding ston es were imported in large quantities, further supporting the notion the Early Classi c Blue Creek was a wealthy community. Blue Creek acquired such wealth due to the economic resources at its disposal. The first and most important of these was access to highly productive agricultural lands (Guderjan, Baker, and Lichtenstein 2003). The Bravo Escarpment divides two 134

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T. Guderjan m ajor physiographic zones; the Eastern Peten and Coastal Belize zones. At the base of the escarpment and eastward to the Rio Bravo are the lowlands of the Coastal Belize zone, which provide some of the deepest and richest soils in Central America. However, they are prone to seasonal inundation, resulting in a high risk of crop failure. In order to control for such events, the Blue Creek Maya dug networks of drainage ditches (ditched fields). At this time, we have a reasonable estimate that at least six square kilometers of the area were incorporated into such field systems. West of the escarpment, the Eastern Peten zone is composed of karstic hi lls interspersed with highly fertile, low-lying areas. When these are large, flat and poorly drained, they are known as bajos Given the karstic nature of area around Blue Creek, they may be better termed minibajos While the soils in these minibajos are not as deep or rich as those at the base of the escarpment, they are also among the most productive agricultural soils in Central America. We estimate that approximately five square kilometers of these soils around the Blue Creek site core were also under regular cultivation. Additionally, the farm ers of Blue Creek implemented a wide variety of smallscale agricultural systems including farming the rich soil of escarpment rejolladas as well as terrace and check dam systems that further expanded the agricultura l base. In summary, approximately 10 of the 20 square kilometers around the Blue Creek site core were under cultivation, providing a tremendous agricultural and economic output, obviously far beyond what was needed to supply Blue Creeks relatively small local population. Blue Creek additionally benefited from its setting at the headwaters of the Rio Hondo. Immediately east of the Bravo Escarpment, the Rio Azul (Blue Creek) and the Rio Bravo merge to create the Rio Hondo. This confluence and the several miles of the Rio Bravo above the confluence are well within the administrative control of Blue Creek. Further, upstream from the confluence, near the end of the navigable Rio Azul, the people of Blue Creek built a dam and dock facility which would also be able to facilitate trade (Barrett and Guderjan n.d.). Consequently, this riverine trade system linked their agricultural products into the circum-Caribbean coastal trade system and onward to communities of northern Yucatan (i.e., Andrews 1983, 1990; Guderjan 1995; Guderjan and Garber 1995; McKillop 2003). Further, Blue Creek controlled the terminus of the system. So, all goods moving into the interior of the Peten would have to funnel through Blue Creek, again giving Blue Creek a disproportionate access to exotic goods. The Nature of the Bl ue Creek Polity in the Early Classic Period. We have been able to arrive at a reasonable estimate of the geographic scale of the Blue Creek polity thanks to intensive survey efforts over a number of years. The site core is roughly in the center of an area that is bounded on the ea st by the Rio Bravo and the Booths river swamp. The Rio Azul Canyon, more than 100 meters deep in some places, forms the northern boundary. On the south, we find another canyon that is probably an ancient chan nel of the Rio Azul. Finally, on the west, the area is bounded by a 40 square kilometer bajo named the dumb-bell bajo due to its bi-lobed shape. Beyond each of these features are other large centers, but no others exist within this area of more than 100 square kilometers. Within this area, we have intensively surveyed the central 20 square kilometers. Again, of that area, approximately half was used for agriculture ra ther than habitation. Also within this area, we have identified a series of residential clusters or 135

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Early Classic Blue Creek com ponents (Figure 5; Guderjan, Baker, and Lichtenstein 2003; Lich tenstein 2000). Each residential component has a unique set of attributes, attesting to the variability and complexity of Maya life. The following discussion is a brief co mparison and contrast of some of these components. Kn Tan consists of a group of elite residences approximately 1 kilometer west of Plaza B. The Kn Tan residences were built high on karstic hilltops surrounded by unoccupied agricultural lands (Guderjan, Hanratty, and Lichtenstein 2003; Hanratty 2002). In the Early Classic, the residences largely consisted of platforms with perishable superstructures. The major nonresidential public build ing at Kn Tan is Structure 42, a 5 meter tall pyramid with a frontal platform that was built in the Early Classic. Settlement at Kn Tan was begun in the Late Preclassic, Tres Leguas phase, but was greatly expanded early in the Early Classic. The lineages of Kn Tan continued to thrive during the Late Classic period when they expanded their homes into largescale masonry buildings. Importantly, we found a Terminal Preclassic Early Classic burial of a lineage f ounder under a central shrine. Perhaps only a generation later, another elite male was buried in a tomb in front of the shrine and then the shrine was expanded to honor both individuals. The descendents of these individuals continued to reside in the Structure 37 Plazuela for several hundred more y ears, with the shrine for their revered ancestors central to their world. During this time, they clearly were important players in the political and economic life of Blue Creek (Guderjan and Hanratty in press). In contrast, the communities of Chan Cahal and Sayap Ha were about 1 kilometer east of the central pr ecinct and built on low terraces surrounded by ditched agricultural fields. They were initially occupied in the Early Middle Preclassic, Cool Shade period, perhaps about 900 BC. By the beginning of the Early Classic, there were more than 50 thatch-roofed houses in these two areas. Again, each are had its own central place. Chan Cahal had one small two room masonry building with an adjacent sweat bath on a large otherwise empty public platform and Sayap Ha had two small pyramids in the approximate center of the component (Giacometti and LaLonde n.d.; Popson n.d.). At about the same time the lineage founder was interred in Kn Tan, another individual was buried at Sayap Ha (Guderjan, Diel, Giacometti, and Andrews, n.d.). In this case, he was buried in a small crypt under the floor of a residence. He was interred with a carved bone bib-head pendant, normally associated with royalty, and a pair of jade an d coral inlayed shell ornaments with a Teotihuacan styled individual depicted on them. The presence of these grave goods, more elaborate than those found with the Kn Tan lineage founder, attest to the importance of this individual during his lifetime. However, unlike the situation at Kn Tan, his importance did not create a setting for his descendents to become important in the affairs of Blue Creek in the future. In fact, Sayap Ha and Chan Cahal remained among Blue Creeks most humble residences during the Late Classic period. Another of the residential components of Blue Creek is Uxulil Beh located approximately 3 kilometers southwest of the central precinct (Lichtenstein 2000). Uxulil Beh is composed of about 20 housemounds and is unlike all other components in several respects. While all other components were occupied no later that the Late Preclassic period, Uxulil Beh was not occupied until the Early Classic and seems to be a lateral population expansion into an area of low agricultural productivity. It is surrounded on three sides by steep 136

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T. Guderjan slopes draining into to a deep canyon. W ith there are two large terraces, probably for agriculture, on the west side of Uxulil Beh, there is very little agriculturally valuable soil available. These meager resources are related to the fact that Uxulil Beh is the only component without an obvious central religious, economic or political place. Of course, in contemporary Maya villages, a residence also functions as a Nikteilna or council house, withou t any architectural signature that would be obvious to an archaeologist. Figure 5. Components of Blue Creek. 137

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Early Classic Blue Creek In general, though, all of these residential com ponents we re tethered to the elites of the central precinct through lineagebased relationships. Outlying communities had their own internal hierarchy and central places. Further, as Audet and Awe have discussed for Baking Pot (2004), and Cheetham has discussed for Cahal Pech (2004) and I have for Becan and Dzibanche (Guderjan n.d.b), th ese were often symbolically connected to the central precinct by causeways. In the case of Kn Tan, I suggest that the lineage of the Structure 37 Plazuela held the reins that connected the component to the elites of the central precinct. Conversely, in the Sayap Ha case, we know of an important individual who did not manipulate his importance into long-term power for his lineage. The Shared Cosmology of the Early Classic Period While social complexity and stratification among the Blue Creek Maya were highly variab le, religion was not. Shared religious concepts function to bind and integrate people into cohesive societies. At Blue Creek, we have found powerful evidence that this was also true of the Early Classic Maya. Further, archaeologists have long understood that dedicatory caches in Maya buildings represent the embedding of sacredness into these buildings Coe 1959; Garber, et al. 1998) and that the arrangement of public architecture at Maya sites is a symbolic recreation of the landscape of creation (Reilly 1990). So, it seems predictable that if pyramids represent the First Witz Mountain, then dedicatory caches buried within them also have symbolic relationships to the cosmos. At Blue Creek, we have excavated eight caches that date to the Terminal Preclassic or Early Clas sic periods with lipto-lip vessels or lidded vessels with trace residues inside. In all cases, visual inspection revealed ja de, sting-ray spines and other commonly encountered cache materials. However, only when the biosilicates in the residues were analyzed, could we understand the full meaning of these caches (Bozarth and Guderjan 2004; Guderjan 2004). In each case, large quantities of sponge spicules were found, indicating that these we re virtually stuffed full of sponges and that the other materials were relatively minor components of the original contents. The sponges represent elements of the Primordial Sea th e preceded the last Maya creation. Also, in every case, there were terrestrial elements, such as jade or other plant remains, representing the second component of the cosmos. The final component is represented by the dome shaped lid that all of these caches shared. In essence, all three components of the Maya cosmos were represented in every cache. More important, though, is the context of these caches. Six of these were in public architecture in the central precinct, another was found beneat h the plaza floor in the Structure 37 Plazuela at Kn Tan and another was found underneath a housemound floor at Chan Cahal. The Early Classic Maya of Blue Creek shared the same concept of the cosmos and the same concept of the necessity of dedicating buildings with the ritual that results in what we term dedicatory caches, regardless of their status in society. This shared set of religious concepts did not divide and segregate society. Instead it served to bind and integrate all social st rata of Maya society. Late Classic Transformations By the end of the Early Classic, Blue Creek was a very differe nt place. A dram atic event had occurred at approximately AD 500 that included filling the stone-lined shaft at Structure 4 with nearly 1000 jade artifacts as well as numerous incensarios and other 138

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T. Guderjan m aterials. Soon after, the graceful columned superstructure of Structure 1 was demolished and a new addition built to inter a royal burial. In the Aguas Turbias period in the early part of the Late Classic, public construction did not cease, but its nature dramatically changed. Structure 9 was reoriented and, like Structure 1, was redesigned to be a flat-topped pyramid more common in the Coastal Belize zone than in the Eastern Peten. Plaza A was greatly expanded to accommodate the construction of a pseudo-E-group on th e plazas east side. Blue Creek no longer had access to large quantities of jade in the Late Classic. Only 29 artifacts from this period have been documented and they are small, poorly carved and of low-quality stone. While this reflects a general re gional pattern, the degree to which Blue Creek lost access to jade is more dramatic than the regional pattern and is still largely unexplained. Despite these changes that appear to reflect political re-alignment internally and externally, Blue Creek did continue to thrive. For example, the elite residences of Kn Tan were expanded into large-scale masonry structures. Elsewhere, there is evidence for population sizes at about the same level as the Early Classic. Blue Creek re-aligned and restructur ed, but continued to thrive. 1 All ceramic analyses and ceramic complex designations derive from unpublished work by Laura Kosakowski. Acknowledgements: I offer my most sincere appreciation to everyone who has been involved in the Blue Creek project. I especially thank the Department of Archaeology, who gives us permits and support and the Institute of Archaeology for the opportunity to present our findings References Cited Andrews, Anthony P. 1983 Maya Salt Trade University of Arizona Press, Tucson. 1990 The role of Trading Ports in Maya Civilization. In Vision and Revision in Maya Studies edited by Peter D. Harrison and Flora Clancy. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Audet, Carolyn and Jaime Awe 2004 Terminus Groups at Baking Pot. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Montreal. Barrett, Jason W. and Thomas H. Guderjan n.d. River Docking Feature at Blue Creek, Belize. Ms. on file, Maya Research Program, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. Bozarth, Steven R. and Thomas H. Guderjan 2004 Biosilicate Analysis of Residue in Maya Dedicatory Cache Vessels from Blue Creek, Belize. Journal of Archaeological Science 31:2:205-215. Cheetham, David 2004 The Role of Terminus Groups in Lowland Maya Site Planning: An Example from Cahal Pech. In The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley, edited by James F. Garber, pages 125-148. University of Florida Presses, Gainesville. Coe, William R. 1959 Pied ras Negras Archaeology: Artifacts, Caches, and Burials Museum Monograph 4, The University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, 1959. Driver, W. David 2002 An Early Classic Colonnaded Building at the Ancient Maya Site of Blue Creek, Belize. Latin American Antiquity 13 (1): 6384. Garber, James F, W. David Driver, Lauren Sullivan and Da vid M. Glassman 1998 Bloody Bowls and Broken Pots: The Life, Deat h and Rebirth of a Maya House, in The Sowing and the Dawning: Dedication and Termination Ritual Events in the Archaeology and Ethnology of Mesoamerica edited by Shirley B. Mock, 139

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Early Classic Blue Creek pages 125-134. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Giacometti, Antoine and Dane LaLonde n.d. Excavations at Sayap Ha. Ms. on file, Maya Research Program, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. Guderjan, Thomas H. 1991 Maya Settlement in Northwestern Belize: The 1988 and 1990 Seasons of the Rio Bravo Archaeological Project Labyrinthos, Culver City, California. 1995 Maya Settlement and Trade on Ambergris Caye. Ancient Mesoamerica 6: 147-159. 1996 A Summary of Re search at Blue Creek. In Archaeological Research at Blue Creek, Belize. Progress Report of the Fourth (1995) Field Season edited by Thomas H. Guderjan, W. David Driver and Helen R. Haines, pages 5-23. Maya Research Program, St. Marys University, San Antonio, Texas. 1998 The Blue Creek Jade Cache: Early Classic Maya Ritual and Architecture. In The Sowing and the Dawning: Dedication and Termination Ritual Events in the Archaeology and Ethnology of Mesoamerica edited by Shirley B. Mock, pages 101-112 University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 2004 Recreating the Maya Cosmos; Early Classic Caches at Blue Creek. Acta Mesoamerica 14. n.d.a Patterns of Jade Disposal at Blue Creek, Belize. Ms. on File, Maya Research Program, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. n.d.b Spatial Arrangement of a Maya City. Manuscript on File, Maya Research Program, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. Guderjan, Thomas H., Jeffrey Baker and Robert Lichtenstein 2003 Cultural and Environmental Diversity at Blue Creek. In Heterarchy, Political Economy and the Ancient Maya edited by Vernon L. Scarborough, Fred Valdez, Jr. and Nicholas Dunning, pages 71-96. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Guderjan, Thomas H., Lori Diel, Antoine Giacometti, and Elizabeth Andrews n.d. Maya Social Organization and the Implications of a non-elite burial at Blue Creek. Ms. on File Maya Research Program, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. Guderjan, Thomas H. and James F. Garber 1995 Maya Maritime Trade, Settlement and Populations on Ambergris Caye, Belize. Labyrinthos, Lancaster, California. Guderjan, Thomas H. and C. Colleen Hanratty in press A Thriving No n-Royal Lineage at Blue Creek; Evidence from a Sequence of Burials Caches and Architecture. Acta Mesoamerica 15. Guderjan, Thomas H., Robert J. Lichtenstein and C. Colleen Hanratty 2003 Elite Residences at Blue Creek, Belize. In Maya Palaces and Elite Residences edited by J.J. Christie, pages 13-45. University of Texas Press, Austin. Gr ube, Nikolai, Thomas H. Guderjan and Helen R. Haines 1995 Late Classic Architecture and Iconography at the Blue Creek Ruin, Belize. Mexicon 17(3): 51-56. Haines, Helen R. 1996 Excavations at Structure 9. In Archaeological Research at Blue Creek, Belize. Progress Report of the Fourth (1995) Field Season edited by Thomas H. Guderjan, W. David Driver and Helen R. Haines, pages 59-67. Maya Research Program, St. Marys University, San Antonio, Texas. 2000 Patterns of Obsidian Use in Northern Belize and the Eastern Peten, Guatemala. Ph.D. Dissertation, Institute of Archaeology, University College, London. Hanratty, C. Colleen 2002 Excavations in the Structure 37 Plazuela. In The Blue Creek Project: Working Papers from the 1998 and 1999 Field Seasons edited by Thomas H. 140

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T. Guderjan 141Guderjan and Robert J. Lichtenstein, pages 73-81. Maya Research Program, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. Lichtenstein, Robert L. 2000 Settlement Zone Communities of the Greater Blue Creek Area. Occasional Paper 2, Maya Research Program, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. McKillop, Heather I. 2003 Salt, the White Gold of the Maya University of Florida Presses, Gainesville. Pastrana, Dale Victoria 1996 Excavations of Structure 5 and 6. In Archaeological Research at Blue Creek, Belize. Progress Report of the Fourth (1995) Field season edited by Thomas H. Guderjan, W. David Driver and Helen R. Haines, pages 43-58. Maya Research Program, St. Marys University, San Antonio, Texas. Popson, Colleen n.d. Excavations at Chan Cahal. Ms. on file, Maya Research Program, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. Reilly, R. Kent 1990 La Venta and the Olmec: A Function of Sacred Geography in the Formative Period Ceremonial Complex. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Texas, Austin. Roys, Lawrence and Edwin Shook 1966 Preliminary Report on the Ruins of Ak, Yucatn Memoirs of the Society for American Archaeology 20. Schele, Linda and David A. Freidel 1990 A Forest of Kings Morrow and Co., New York.

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9 COMPLEX DEPOSITS AT CHAU HIIX K. Anne Pyburn The Early Classic Period appears to be underrepresented in the archaeological record of Northern Belize. Originally this was th ought to indicate a po pulation decline, but mo re recently several competing hypotheses have been advanced to account for this anomaly. In this paper I discuss the complexity of the formation processes that resulted in the archaeological record of Maya habitation at the site of Chau Hiix, Belize. Although focused on later deposits at the site, the discussion has relevance for understanding the visibility of the Early Classic, sandwiched between two much more visible eras. Introduction A number of competing hypotheses could explain why the archaeological assemblages designated as Early Classic might appear to represent a period of population decline: 1. The Period designated as Early Classic (A.D. 300 to 600) is shorter than the 600 year long Chicanel phase it follows. 2. Early Classic habitations are often clustered around large plazuela groups in a settlement area as densely as they are clustered around a site center; at most documented sites, settlement during the long preceding Late Preclassic (Chicanel) period was not clustered, but fairly evenly spread across a given settlement zone. Consequently, Chicanel ceramics show up in almost every excavation, whereas obtaining a representative sample of Early Classic materials depends on whether settlement analysts happen to include nodes of clustered settlement. The once popular convention of examining a settlement by means of a transect would usually underrepresent (but occasionally overrepresent) the relative extent and quantity of Early Classic material. 3. Early Classic may represent more than one type of cultural boundary: elite status, generational markers, ethnic distinctions, ceremonial functions, etc. These differences would determine when, where, how long, and how many Early Classic types were used at any particular locale. For example, what is a common utilitarian ware in one community may be a signal of elite status in a community that imports it or imitates it, or an indication of outside domination in a community where invaders symbolize their dominance by continuing to use their own cultural style in a local context at crucial public events. 4. There is a correlation between the political position of a community in a regional context or the economic position of a community in a trade network that affects the rate of change in styles of material culture. Cities at the center of a sphere of political economy are more likely to place value on innovation, whereas more rural areas are more likely to signal affiliation by conservative reproduction of regional styles (Henderson and Beaudry Corbett 1993). 5. At Nohmul and on Albion Island, I found that Early Classic material was more frequently associated with nonplatform and extremely ephemeral modest structures than earlier and later material. A greater divide between rich (visible) and poor (invisible) inhabitants would make diagnostic Early Classic material culture harder to find, and underrepresented in research designs concentrated on mounded structures (Pyburn et al 1998). 6. There is no reason to assume that the earmarks of any era, such as chronologically diagnostic pottery, will have the same relationship to population density in all time periods. Different cooking styles (roasting, Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 143-153. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize

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Complex Deposits at Chau Hiix 7. Older deposits are deeper, more disturbed, more likely completely destroyed by natural and cultural processes, and harder to find, especially (ephemeral ground surface building), super-positioned or elevated construction from later periods, so the upsurge of visibility in the Late Classic may relate at least partly to rates of disturbance and decay. Evidence for all these processes is available from ancient and contemporary contexts in various parts of the world. As data accumulate on ancient Maya practices, the possibility of these sorts of variation over time has begun to seem more likely. My own excavations at the site of Chau Hiix in northern Belize can be used to illustrate the enormous complexity of the archaeological record of large long-lived communities. Excavations at Chau Hiix Chau Hiix is a site with an extensive ancient Maya occupation. Excavations have discovered early Preclassic pottery (Swasey), but also Postclassic pottery, sometimes from the same locus. Because the site has had a very long continuous occupation, data from Chau Hiix have interesting implications for our understanding of Maya history in central Belize. But also because of this very long history, the origin of the deposits at Chau Hiix is extremely complex. The site has produced artifacts dating to all ceramic periods, but not always in chronological sequence. In this paper I summarize some of the work done at Chau Hiix with emphasis on depositional processes. And I will begin with a worst-case scenario to set the stage for the other cases I will mention. Alfredo Minetti (Minetti 2002) studied the artifacts associated with a large plazuela group (Platform 10) located on the central platform immediately south of Structure 1, Chau Hiixs main structural monument (Figure 1). The building he focused on (Structure 2) was under investigation for several years as the location of numerous Terminal and Postclassic burials (Wrobel 2002, 2004). Minetti looked at a single area of about six meters square that contained an unusually dense accumulation of artifacts (Figure 2). Since this is technically on the edge of a residential platform it might be regarded as a domestic midden. Careful excavation, however, showed this deposit to have multiple origins. First of all the platform had incorporated midden artifacts in ea ch of the several construction episodes that resulted in its final form. On top of this series of platforms several superstructure s superseded each other over time, the final apparently being built almost entirely of perishable materials. Residents of this final house curated several large sherds outside un der the eaves of the thatched roof, just inside the drip line. Coincident with the continual refurbishing of the platform and its successive superstructures, burials were interred into the floor with subsequent re-plasterings. After the structure was no longer used as a residence, burials continued to be added, however as these latest burials were not topped by plaster floors, they were buried somewhat deeper than (and actually cut through) the earlier interments which have been placed in very shallow cuts sealed under plaster (Figure 3). Subsequent to any reconstruction of the platform, artifacts were placed on the surface of the ground atop the abandoned building, possibly as offerings. Sometime after this, easily reached cut platform stones were borrowed from the 144

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K. A. Pyburn platform edge to be reused for other purposes. In about 1970, corn was planted over the whole building and throughout the 80s and 90s, cows and horses grazed in the area. Very large trees (especially cohune palms) grew on the structures, fell down or were cut, and grew back. Snail Kites, owls and vultures found these trees convenient spots to devour their catch from the adjacent lagoon, dropping fish, turtle, and small mammal bone, and freshwater shells in piles below their roosts. Figure 1. Central Chau Hiix. Minettis m idden contained midden fill from platform construction that 145

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Complex Deposits at Chau Hiix is being pulled downhill out of the platform edge as the platform deteriorates. Midden fill sherds tend to be smaller than primary midden sherds, as they have been moved from their original context and probably tamped down, and have better preserved surfaces since they have been protected from erosion (Wilk and Kosakowsky 1978, Pyburn 1989). Their edges often show sharp breaks not always the result of enthusiastic excavators. Midden fill also includes other sorts of trash, such as broken tools and shell or animal bone, and dangerous waste, such as chert or obsidian de bitage that would cut childrens feet. Figure 2. Minettis Midden. Minettis midden also contained artifacts from the many burials interred into the structure. According to Wrobel (2004) who did the skeletal an alysis resemblances between teeth suggest people were buried over time in locations within the building determined by family associations. However, Maya excavators seem to have been pretty cavalier about disturbing the previously deceased: pots and even bones from earlier burials were often moved into later burials that disturbed them. In all, the remains of about 70 individuals (mostly associated Terminal Classic and Early Postclassic pottery) were recovered from this platform, an area of about 50 square meters best described as a stratigraphic nightmare. Since these burials had been buried shallowly under plaster floors that had eroded away from above them, many were within 10 centimeters of the current ground surface with their associated pottery actually protruding from the ground. Burial offerings from these deposits commonly include plainwares, modeled carved wares (Figure 4), various sorts of chert implements including eccentrics an d ordinary choppers, ground stone pieces, ja de, obsidian, carved and whole shell, and Pomacea flagellata along with unique items such a beautiful pink granite hacha and a chert eccentric. Even though Minettis midden was not directly above human interments, pottery eroding out of these joined the platform fill he mapped, encouraged by gravity, stone robbing, corn planting and hooves. Figure 3. Typical Chau Hiix type shallow interment under investigation by Della Cook. The midden also contained artifacts curated by the final residents, some of which we were able to identify in situ, which only told us other artifacts with this origin were probably present. But we also found that 146

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K. A. Pyburn Figure 4. Artifact from Structure 2. Figure 5 Dense artifact scatter on a demolished structure at Chau Hiix. 147

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Complex Deposits at Chau Hiix here, as on m ost large buildings at Chau Hiix, artifacts of variou s types were left on the ground surface by later pilgrims; interestingly, although it is difficult to be sure under circumstances of such bioturbation, these offe rings appear to have occasionally included some things that were very old when they were deposited, and even things that were incomplete, such as partial vessels. To th ese offerings are added animal bone and snail shell dropped by birds, though of course it is possible that some of this detritus was also part of an offering or even the remains of an ancient picnic. And finally, for some reason tourists seem to believe it a kindness to archaeologists to collect artifacts during their tour of the si te and place them respectfully in little piles for us to find. Some of these contemporary offerings were likely added to the surface of Minettis midden. Since so many of the artifacts Minetti recovered were similar, he decided to try to reconstruct vessels from this assemblage, hoping for an estimate of the number of pots represented, and looking for subtle differences in type and condition that might help separate items with different origins. Despite hours of effort by both Minetti and I, almost no refits were found. Another complex deposit is under investigation by Sarah Wille. Hurricane damage knocked down trees all over the site in 2001, one of which uprooted a dense artifact scatter deposite d over the remains of a demolished structure in the center of the main platform not far from Minettis midden investigation (Figure 5). In this scatter Wille has found the density of blackwares that is characteristic of Chau Hiix (Wille and Fry 2002), occurring with jade beads, shell gorgets, blades and cores of obsidian, bone needles and hairpins, human jaws, and whole conch shells stir red together by tree roots with a large num ber of undistinguished lithic tools and plainware vessels sporting a surprising number of mend holes. Since a mended vessel would not have the same utility as a whole pot, it seems logical that only vessels of some significance would be mended, so I have been surprised to find that it is mostly the ordinarily shaped redwares that were mended. I was also surprised to find so many old broken pots (sometimes incomplete) were offered with the exotic goods and the labor intensive modeled carved vessels that were broken in situ and mixed into this deposit. Since the deposit is in the center of the main platform and was created not long before that platform was refurbished, I find the idea that these mended vessels were heirlooms, and therefor e of special value, appealing. Such an interpretation resonates with the apparent Maya emphasis on ancestors that has been commented on by many archaeologists. But my less romantic graduate student Lydia Garver pointed out that the valuable thing might have been what was in the pot. Being required to give something to be smashed, a parsimonious person might pick the least valuable pot in the house and either cover its flaws with contents or smash it quickly concealing the fact that it was al ready broken. To quote Garver, like those people who just pass their hand over the collection plate in church but dont really put anything in. The important point here is that this deposit was probably created for a special purpose in what is arguably an elite context though it contains a mixt ure of artifacts that would not all be reco gnized as elite or special purpose goods, nor the artifacts were either contemporary or diagnostic. Wille is comparing the Chau Hiix deposit to those from other sites that appear similar by looking at the range of variation in vessels and other artifact types. She hopes to come up with a typology of sp ecial deposits, and perhaps a typology of middens. 148

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K. A. Pyburn A superficially sim ple type of deposit was investigated by Patricia Cook (P. Cook 1997), who focused on the distribution of carved shell. From the start of our work at Chau Hiix we have been surprised at the quantity of carved marine shell found on the ground surface. It now appears that shell ornaments were being manufactured at some parts of the sited during the last occupatio n, leaving the debris on the ground surface. Although shell is ubiquitous at Chau Hiix, it is somewhat more prevalent in deposits associated with large platform groups located within 100 meters of the sites ce nter. In fact, seven out of eight of these large centralized groups yielded evidence in shallow deposits of shell carving, including tool k its and unfinished pieces, in what appear to be activity areas located in the center of large platforms. The suggestion here is that rather than being forced to specialization by resource shortages or economic pressure, wealthy families were often those with sufficient household labor to allow them to diversify their production, which they do voluntarily. Netting (1993) identified this strategy as characteristic of a smallholder economy, Although I am particular ly interested in evidence suggesting that some of the residents of Chau Hiix were smallholders, I am bothered by a simple assumption of house association attributed to the shell carvers, since I find it difficult to envision people making delicate ornaments in the middle of a busy house group, much less leaving their tools and materials where they would get kicked around and stepped on. I think it more likely people sat on uninhabited platforms, out of the way. But this means that it is impossible to date these superficial activity areas with associated domestic artifacts, si nce they may postdate the final occupations of the houses, which were mostly in the Terminal Classic and Early Postclassic. I do think these assemblages represent activity areas, simply because the same configuration of artifacts was found in roughly the same location on several platforms (P. Cook 1997). Human remains seem to have been maintained in systemic context by the ancient residents of Chau Hiix (D. Cook 2002). The cavalier treatment of earlier interments by Chau Hiix people burying their more recent dead is contextualized by the fact that many burials contain extra bones. At the base of Structure 1, in a tomb covered by arcs of obsidian and chert flakes (Tomb 1), a 40 year old gentleman was interred with pyrite (Rosemary Joyce identified this material type during her reconstruction of the artifact) and hematite mirrors, jade, pearls, blades, and pots (Figure 6) at the end of the Protoclassic, but was disturbed in the Early Classic with the addition of a Teotihuacan style lidded vase and a neatly arranged pile of human bone that was substituted for his left leg bones (D. Cook 2002, Wrobel 2002). Portions of at least 12 individuals were included in the bone bundle; treatment and differential preservation suggested strongly to Cook and Wrobel that these were from previously interred individuals, not a primary inhumation. We speculate that the occupant of Tomb 1 provided a leg to go in someone elses burial. Figure 6. Artifacts from Tomb 1. A similar pattern is evident in more ordinary burials, th at along with Wrobels dental analysis (2002), suggests the sort of emphasis on hereditary connections to place, 149

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Complex Deposits at Chau Hiix which is another characteristic of sm allholders. Of particular interest is the discovery of the interment of a mature male buried with the remains of a much older woman, and artifacts such as conch shell scoops and a bell-shaped axe indicating significant social stat us, despite his final destination in a rather undistinguished plazuela group. He was laid to rest wearing a hair pin carved from a human femur. The glyphs on this artifact refe rs to the item itself as an ornament and record an important service done by a person named Sky for the ruler of Tamarindito. The more interesting thing about this discovery is the fact that this Classic Period object was buried in the Terminal Classic after it was almost 200 years old (R. Joyce pers. comm.). The inscription does not refer to the bearer, but to some important predecessor, and was no doubt kept in circulation until reference to Tamarindito no longer impressed anyone. In this case, Grant is apparently not buried in Grants tomb. Discussions and Conclusions Early recognition of Chau Hiix as a site with relatively lit tle disturbance since its Postclassic abandonment encouraged us to begin many excavations with unrealistic expectations. Lack of evidence of recent looting promoted the assumption that we would have the luxury of in tact deposits. Investigation of Stru cture 9 (Figure 1) provides a good example of the difficulties resulting from our failure to anticipate the complexity of the deposits we would encounter. In late 1989 (the year Rudy Crawford, representing the Crooked Tree Village Council, first took me to Chau Hiix) and early 1990, a number of incensario fragments (Figure 7) and other interesting items such as jade beads, molcajete fragments, and tapir teeth were collected from the surface of Structure 9. A small disturbance to the east side of this tiny structure, which is itself only about 6-8 meters in diameter, wa s investigated in 1991 in a effort to date the final occupation of the site without unnecessary disturbance of its deposits. My aim was to recover stratigraphic data and datable artifacts from what was probably damage caused by a hunter pursuing an animal underground into the loose fill of the ancient construction. This cleanup effort revealed 2 complete Terminal Classic vessels immediately below the leaf litter and hum us that was reforming at the base of the disturbance. In 1993, David Pendergast examined Structure 9 and surmised that the building itself was a Postclassic shrine made of cut stone robbed from the decaying faade of Structure 1. Since its casual conformation implied an expedient construction strategy, we proceeded to record and dismantle the upper layers, which had been dramatically displaced by a lineage of Cohune palms growing out of the structures center. Figure 7. Fragmentary offerings from the surface of Structure 9. We anticipated finding some sort of alignment at least at the base of the construction, and were sensitive to the 150

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K. A. Pyburn possibility that the feature m ight have more than one construction phase, since we knew that both Terminal and Postclassic material had been recovered in association with Structure 9. Consequently no stone was removed without careful exposure and recording, which meant that season after season, went by as we gradually proceeded with our investigatio n, ever hopeful of discovery but progressively more resigned to the fact that Structure 9 is most accurately characterized as a rock pile. Despite its architectural shortcomings, Structur e 9 has continued to reveal interesting items of material culture, most of which were originally surface offerings that presumably entered the interior deposits by the action of plants, animals, hunters and the force of gravity. The pottery recovered in 1990 from the base of the disturbance turn ed out to originate from the shallow interment of an adult male into the surface of the main platform during the Terminal Classic, presumably before Structure 9 was built (or, more accurately, piled). Testing on the western edge of Structure 9, in the ho pe of identifying a discrete building edge, encountered the remains of a disarticulated human skull, extremely poorly preserved and shallowly buried. It now appears likely that this burial dates to the final or nearly final period of Terminal Classic activity in the site center that was reoriented in the Postclassic when patterns of access and visibility were dramatically and intentionally altered (Andres 2004). In 2001, continued investigation of Structure 9 discovered a seated burial intruded into the southern side. This interment was so close to the modern ground surface that the upper cranium was missing and the upper mortuary furniture was dislodged from its original context. Nevertheless, offerings from below the shoulder area were in si tu and proved to be some of the most intriguing material thus far encountered from Chau Hiixs Postclassic period (Figure 8), in cluding a shell gorget with a graffito earth m onster, a carved deer bone flute depicting profiled faces emerging from the mouths of a double headed serpent, Olivella shell tinklers (from around the ankles), a drilled dog tooth, a ladle incensario and about a dozen articulated snake vertebrae (from around the waist). Figure 8. Artifacts from seated bu rial in Structure 9. In 2003, final removal of the stone pile and careful cleaning of the deteriorated platform surface onto which it had been placed, revealed evid ence of two poorly preserved human sku lls placed cranium down (palate up). These, with the skull recovered in 1990, suggest that Structure 9 was placed atop an area of the Terminal Classic platform that contained a ring of skulls; from their distance apart, we extrapolate that there we re originally 7 or 8; future investigation may clarify this feature. Structure 9, despit e its single phase construction, has turned out to be a very complex deposit, which up to the final preserved stratum of the main platform represents a considerable sequence of events; beginning with the newest these include: 151

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Complex Deposits at Chau Hiix Disturbance by natural processes, especially tree growth Disturbance of eastern side of structure and prone burial by hunters Postclassic offerings placed on surface of building: tapir head, animal teeth, jade beads, broken blades, smashed incensarios, marine shell (whole conch and carved beads) Postclassic seated buri al with grave goods intruded into the southern edge of the building: flute, olivella tinklers, ladle incensario, jade bead, incised shell ornament, snake Construction of a building with cut stone and rubble taken from Structure 1 Terminal Classic resurfacing of the central platform covering both a prone burial and skull circle A Terminal Classic prone burial with grave goods placed in the plat form immediately in front of Structure 1: obsidian blades, a stingray spine, a cham fored blackware vase, and a redware bowl A circle of skulls placed on the Terminal Classic platform The implications of these natural and cultural processes, bearing in mind that only those from the latest period of Chau Hiixs occupation have been described, are serious for our understanding of the representation of deposits from any period, but especially the earlier periods. Archaeologists routinely analyze material culture by asking: What is it? How old is it? Where did it come from? How did it get where it was recovered? Was it buried as what it was made for, or with a different significance? But we must also ask: How does its period of manufacture relate to its period(s) of use and the period of its final deposition? Why did this item, feature, or structure survive into the present? Ideas about the continuity of the archaeological record, about the origin of complex, deposits, and about the meaning of juxtaposed material culture can only rarely serve as underlying assumptions to arguments about cultu ral process. Most ideas unfortunately must continue to be the bases of hypotheses requiring testing and verification before they achieve the status of accumulated knowledge of the behavior of ancient Maya people and the general outlines of ancient Maya culture. While the difficulty of disentan gling the elaborate stratigraphy of an an cient urban setting occupied for 2000 years may be frustrating, it is exhilarating to realize that despite all our efforts, there is so much left to know. Acknowledgements: I owe an inestimable debt to the Government of Belize for many years of direction, encouragement, and support of my research, once through the arm of the Department of Archaeology and now through the Institute of Archaeology. The Chau Hiix Project owes its existence to the Village of Crooked Tree, and especially to the members of the village council who have supported us for so long with effort along many lines. In particular I wish to acknowledge the leadership of Rudy Crawford, who for many years championed the stakeholders of Crooked Tree. More recently, under the direction of Donald Tillett, the Chau Hiix Project has prospered and collaboration with the village has reached a new level. At this point, it is fair to say that the Chau Hiix Project rests on the shoulders of two people They are Johnny Jex, who died constructing the boardwalk that bridges the gap between tourism, archaeological research and economic development in Crooked Tree, both metaphorically and literally and Jester Tillett, whose generosity and friendship will never leave us. 152

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K. A. Pyburn John Jex visiting Chau Hiix in his truck, and Jester Tillett making Creole bread in her Chau Hiix kitchen. References Cited Cook, Patricia 1997 Basal Platform Mounds at Chau Hiix, Belize. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Tucson: University of Arizona. Henderson, John S. and Marilyn Beaudry-Corbett 1993 Pottery of Prehistoric Honduras: Reg ional Classification and Analysis (Monograph (University of California-La, Inst of Archaeology) Minetti, Alfredo 2002 The ontological status of the archaeological record. Paper presented at the 67th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Denver CO. Netting,Robert McC. 1993 Smallholders, Householders: Farm Families and the Ecology of Intensive, Sustainable Agriculture Stanford University Press. Pyburn, K. Anne 1989 Prehistoric Maya Community and Settlement At Nohmul, Belize Oxford, England: Bar International Series. Pyburn, K. Anne, Boyd Dixon, Patricia Cook, and Anna Mcnair 1998 The Albion Island Settlement Pattern Project: Domination and Resistance In Early Classic Northern Belize. Journal Of Field Archaeology 25(1): 37-62. Wilk, Richard R. and Laura J. Kosakowsky 1978 The contextual analysis sampling program at Cuello, 1978, a very preliminary summary. In Cuello Project 1978 Interim Report pp58-66, N. Hammond ed. New Brunswick NJ: Archaeological Research Program, Douglass College, Rutgers University. W ille, Sarah J. and Robert E. Fry 2002 Classic to Post classic at Chau Hiix: revitalization or continuity. Paper presented at the 67th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Denver CO. Wrobel, Gabriel 2002 Distinguishing the dead: Classic to Postclassic mortuary practices in residential groups at Chau Hiix, Belize. Paper presented at the 67th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Denver CO. 2004 Metric and Nonmetric Dental Variation among the Ancient Maya of Northern Belize. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Depa rtment of Anthropology, Bloomington: Indiana University. 153

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10 EXPLORATIONS OF AN EARLY CLASSIC COMMUNITY AT CHAU HIIX A. Sean Goldsmith Fieldwork in the rural settlement of Chau Hiix, in north-central Belize, has uncovered evidence of a local community that dates primarily to the Early Classic period. Central to the fieldwork methodology is a systematic large-area approach to subsurface sampling, which has a llowed the tentative identification of several house lots within this community, and has also enabled data collection at a scale appropriate to understanding household activity. Data derived from these house lots suggests that economic strategizing was not homogenous across the community, and may have lead to the differential accumulation of wealth by individual households. At the same time, these diverse economic strategies we re socially integrated at the commun ity level through public architectural construction and shared material values. The house lot-based approach to data collection offers a glimpse into the strategic decisions that created such grassroots communities at Chau Hiix and elsewhere. Introduction This article summarizes research I have conducted in the rural settlement area of Chau Hiix during the 1999, 2001, and 2003 field seasons. Termed as the Chau Hiix Houselot Project, this research was conducted under the larg er auspices of the Chau Hiix Archaeological Project, directed by Dr. Anne Pyburn of Indiana University. My research at Chau Hiix is intended to improve our current knowledge of the extended site settlement area, and builds on the previous work of other researchers in the rural parts of Chau Hiix (Cook 1997; Cuddy 2000). Chau Hiix is situated in North Central Belize approximately equidistant from the larger Maya centres of Lamanai and Altun Ha (Figur e 1), and lies on the western shore of the seasonally inundated Western Lagoon (Figure 2). Research at Chau Hiix to date indicates a relatively long period of occupation that stretches from the Middle Formative through the Late Postclassic. The political relationship of Chau Hiix to these and other nearby sites has not been clear, with the evidence to date suggesting a chronology of shifting alliances. The observation of an extensive network of hydraulic features in the vicinity of the site suggests the control of water resources for agriculture and aquaculture, postulated to be the economic mainstays of the city itself (Pyburn 2003). Research in the rural parts of Chau Hiix has the potential to contribute to the interpretation of its role in a regional setting, through the examination of archaeological materials reflecting economic choices, political connections, and the development and maintenance of local social identities. The Chau Hiix Houselot Project As the name suggests, the Chau Hiix Houselot Project has been based on a field methodology, which employs the concept of the house lot as a basic perspective for data sampling strategies. Ho use lots include the built environment as well as large tracts of land devoted to gardens, outdoor productive activities, and the dispos al of refuse. House lots may or may not be walled or contain other means of boundary marking. There may be several structures within the area of a house lot that are not used for residential purposes. A house lot may contain the members of a single household or many, but it is assumed that if multiple households are Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 155-167. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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Chau Hiix Houselot Project Figure 1. The location of Chau Hiix in relation to nearby sites. present within a single house lot, they are bound to share a range of corporate activities. Research at Mayapan (Bullard 1954), Sayil (Smyth et al. 1985), Coba (Folan et al. 1983), and other centres in the Yucatan has long suggested that house lots were a typical ancient Maya residential pattern. Current research at Mayapan (Hare 2002) is highlighting th e utility of using house lot boundary walls to delimit analytical units for residential studies. The dispersed nature of most lowland Maya settlements invites the inference that, although presently buried by soil depths not observed in their northern counterparts, house lots (whether walled or not) likely surrounded surface-visible rural mounds across the region. Ethnoarchaeological studies in the past twenty years suggest that house lot behaviour creates complex and often obscure patterns of material deposition (Deal 1985, 1998; Hayden and Cannon 1983; Killion 1990) and th at refuse disposal, recycling, and re moval in modern communities is at the same time intricate and highly idiosyncratic. Because house lot activities generate patterned material over large areas (Figure 3), it is unlikely that archaeological data derived from housemounds alone can allow fully meaningful discussion of daily social and economic practice at th e household level. A house lot approach, on the other hand, tries to gather data from the same level of inclusiveness as the spatial behaviours that characterized the househ old. A few scholars have suggested that a house lot approach might be worthy of exploration (Bullard 1954; Tourtellot 1983; Alexander 1999; Becker 2001), but the pr actical field value of such a perspective remains almost completely untested in the Maya area (but see Robin 1999 for a significant exception). The three seasons of the Chau Hiix Houselot Project focuse d their attention on the rural areas to the north of epicentral Chau Hiix, and ultimately gathered data from a coherent cluster of surface remains that probably corresponds to a single local community. By examining material variability among the h ouse lots within the cluster, my intention wa s to pry out clues to the nature of social negotiation among the non-elites of this part of the city. I have contextualized the results of my project in an explicitly agent-centred approach, and have focused in particular on the notion of how the often-overlooked strategies of nonelite agents may, over the long term, have influenced the development of sociopolitics within the ancient Maya state. 156

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A. S. Goldsmith Figure 2. The site centre and mapped settlement of Chau Hiix. 157

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Chau Hiix Houselot Project The specific methodology of the project was a three-pronged approach which included surface mapping, systematic subsurface testing, and targeted test excavations. The intention of the work has been first to define th e spatial configuration of house lots as they existed on the ground at Chau Hiix, and then to identify specific house lot elements within each on the basis of comparison to modern examples. I have then contextualized my interpretations of the data from subsequent targeted excavations by reference to that total house lot picture. The field methodology has been based primarily on systematic large-area subsurface sampling through the use of posthole augers. Auge ring is a method, which has proven very cheap and effective for subsurface sampling at sites around the world (Fry 1972; Percy 1976; Stein 1986; Howell 1993; Cannon 2000 and many others). By spacing th e postholes at regular ten-metre intervals across a defined study area (Figure 4), my intention has been to avoid conscious attention to the surface mounds themselves, and to let the subsurface artefact patterns emerge independently of my preconceptions of where they should be. Certainly my expectation was that the visible mounds would mirror the patterni ng of artefacts to a large extent, but I left open the possibility that I would find densiti es of material not easily explained by direct reference to surface features. Figure 3. The spatial complexity of a modern house lot (from Deal 1998). Results of the Project The data from the 2001 field season of posthole augering were fed into Golden Softwares Surfer software to visually 158

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A. S. Goldsmith repres ent spatial pattern ing of artefact type densities. Figure 5 re presents a comparison of lithic spatial patterning versus that of ceramic material. Areas of greater contour represent locations of greater artefact density; fewer contours reflect areas with few or no artefacts. The result is a dramatic illustration of the fact that, contrary to a homogenous dispersal of refuse around the edges of surface-visi ble mounds, artefacts are instead distributed in highly patterned clusters throughout the study area, including areas that are relatively distant from any of the features initially noted during surface mapping in 1999. Figure 4. Systematic postholing strategy of the Chau Hiix Houselot Project. This pattern ing is similar to patterns of surface artefact scat tering at sites in the Northern Yucatan where soil development is light. However, while surface walls define the house lots at Mayapan, for example, at Chau Hiix wall remains were not observed either on the surface or in any subsurface 159

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Chau Hiix Houselot Project Figure 5. Comparative spatial patterning of lithic and ceramic densities. 160

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A. S. Goldsmith tests. As a result, house lot definition in the Chau Hiix Houselot Project area h as been based entirely on the subsurface distribution of artefact densities. The tentative outlines of the house lots that incorporate visible architecture are shown in Figure 6. While patio-focused groups are usually assumed to define entire residential compounds on the basis of their architecture alone, the data illustrated in Figures 5 and 6 do not support that assumption. It is probable that the construction of enclosed patios served to create socially restri cted spaces within house lot compounds, but the house lots themselves are shown by artefact patterning to have been spatially more expansive than their surface mounds indicate. Modern house lots invariably sh ow the same trend: structures are situated within much larger areas that contain, among other things, pockets of refuse indicative both of domestic activity and the complex process of refuse discard (Hayden and Cannon 1983). Figure 6 also shows that toward both the west and east edges of the study area, subsurface testing revealed concentrations of artefacts not directly referenced to surface mounds. It is suggested here that they are also the patterned refuse of house lots, but ones where the structural remains of their houses are virtually absent on the surface. (The western locality, termed M363, does, in fact, show a very subtle rise of terrain that excavation proved to be architectural, but the eastern one M367 lies simply on a low ridge with no surfac e indications at all.) The excavation of test-pits in those two areas revealed plaster floor and cobble fill layers typical of ar chitectural remains throughout Chau Hiix, and strongly implicates both M363 and M367 as previously unsuspected hous e lots. If that is the case, then the total number of house lots in this small community was five, and not three as suggested on the surface. Population estimates do not figure to a large degree in my own research at Chau Hiix, but even so, increasing the house lot count in this small area by two fifths seems to me to have a strong implication for anyone making cultural interpretations on the basis of population estimates. The third season of the project (2003) included the excavation of targeted test-pits in several locations within each house lot. The analys is of the ceramics demonstrated that all five were occupied primarily during the Early Classic, with the initial establishment of this local community probably late in the Late Formative Period. Much of the emphasis throughout the Chau Hiix Houselot Project was to document material variability among these closely grouped house lots. The project was designed to explore the possibility that among the multiple causes of such variability, one of the key elements was latitude in action (c f. Dobres 2000:140) among the individual, entrepreneurial, creative, adaptive, and ultimately influential non-elites of this part of the city. Variability in architecture was apparent without any digging. The number and volume of component platforms is variable within the three surface-visible patio groups, with M314 being the largest. The addition of the two house lots not clearly identified by surface indications adds another element to that range of architectural variability. Surface exposures, on the other hand, seem to indicate that as far as masonry materials were concerned, the structures of the M328 house lot may have been built with the best stone. Not all of the above point in unilinear fashion toward a rank ordering of social standing by the occupants of one house lot as compared to another. The testpit data provide another line of evidence for material variability (or in some cases, a lack thereof) among the house lots in the study area. Material richness is greatest in the M314 house lot, as evidenced 161

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Chau Hiix Houselot Project by significantly higher quantities of polychrom e ceramic sherds, more obsidian, and more marine shell. This also happens to be the house lot with the greatest volume investment of architectural energy. But contrary to a straig htforward rank ordering of architecture and refuse material, further examination reveals a somewhat greater complexity to the results. In this same house lot (M314), for example, the lithic debitage component includes the highest percentage of poor-quality local chalcedony. The presence of a significant quantity of debitage overall does suggest tool manufacture, but not using materials that were highly prized for their quality or exotic origin. The highest proportion of good quality and imported chert material came Figure 6. Extrapolated boundaries of house lots and other features of the cultural landscape. 162

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A. S. Goldsmith from the M331 house lot instead, one of the smaller house lots in the sample. Quantities of polychrome ceramics in each of the remaining house lots were similar. Quantities of obsidian were also similar. But other differences are worth mentioning: there were substantially more net weights in the M314 house lot. There were many more mano and metate fragments in the vicinity of M363. The M367 house lot contained a significantly greater quantity of lithic debris among its refuse than its neighbours. Large and dense strata of freshwater shell remains were only found in the vicinity of the M328 house lot. Tentative Cultural Interpretations The passage from material to interpretation, from the tangible to the abstract, is a roadway fraught with uncertainty, and in this article only the briefest of outlines is offered, as follows. The M314 house lot seems to exceed its neighbours in the disposition of exotic materials and fancy polychrome ceramics, and one interpretation would suggest that its occupants were more engaged in a political network that included the elites of the site centre than were the ot her house lots of the community. Alternatively, however, a link between increasing quantities of refuse (whether fancy or otherwise) and duration of occupation would weaken that argument, if it were shown that the M314 house lot was established early and occupied longer. Current analysis of the ceramics of the project overall does not reveal fine-grained distinctions in the roughly Early Classic period occupation for all of the five house lots in question, but the M314 house lot is the only compound with a completely enclosed patio a suggestive point if referenced to studies that posit a connection between developmental cycle and patio compound construction (Tourtellot 1988). The data from the other house lots invite further interpretations. The M328 house lot is physically c onnected to what is suggested here was a public area that may have been used for the maintenance of social bonds at the local level, and so the role of the householders here may have been special in some way connected to that. The modesty of the archit ecture within the M363 house lot seems belied by the presence of the highest ratios of se rving vessels to total house lot ceramic assemblage, although I leave open the possibility that wealth is not the only reason why a house lot might have high numbers of serving vessels. The M331 house lot contained the highest quantity of lithic tools imported from outside the city, a fact that may reflect greater external economic ties by these householders. It is hard to place these different lines of material evidence into a linear ordering of rank, wealth, or position, and such an effort might lead us into something of a blind alley in any case. The multivariate strings which inter-related the different strategies of the people who lived in these five house lots may be best explained from the perspective of heterarchy, a concept which has already been shown to have a concrete utility in social reconstruction (Crumley 1995; Potter and King 1995). A heterarchical perspective allows us to view the non-elite agents of Maya society as acting in a variety of interests, and making choices for household action which may at times have been economic, at other times political, at other times religious, or even sentimental, greedy, hungry, lazy, traditional, emulative, reactionary, and just plain irrational. Household strategies may at times have been self-serving or at other times highly altruistic, sometimes beneficial and occasionally disastrous. Thinking about peopl e as agents is important because it allows us to explore the probability that people are not automatons, and that households in the ancient world 163

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Chau Hiix Houselot Project were not s imply adaptive receptacles to cultural change, as our popular systems models have gotten us accustomed to thinking. It is easy to think of people living in black boxes, but agents aggressively force their way into our interpretations of what made society run. In the case of the data that have come out of the Chau Hiix Houselot Project, it is possible to build a tentative model in which a cooperative strategy among several households lead to the construction of a local community identity. This community was probably held together by public ritual and events, and made economically successful through the diverse but mutually integrative strategies developed within each household. In the politically volatile Early Classic Period, when power inequalities were becoming more pronounced in Maya society than ever before, the strategic creation of local corporate neighbourhoods would very likely have served as a gra ss-roots counterpoint to that power in ways that were beyond the wherewithal of individual households. In these local communities, the balance of power would likely not have been distributed equally among all member households, nor indeed, among the members of any one household. Certainly in the case of this particular Chau Hiix community, material variability evidences probable inequalities in the accumulation of wealth among the households there during the Early Classic period, a situation that likely relates to the differential success of strategic decisions made within the households themselves. What kept these small communities together, though, was the conscious recognition by all members that corporate activity was more successful than individual effort, even if it meant the sacrifice of a certain amount of agency for most of the members of the group. The suggestion of grassroots agency is an expansion from more traditional models of Maya civilization, which have placed most (if not all) civilization-shaping power in the hands of the elites, who controlled production, politics, and settlement, and who manipulated ideology to keep the peasantry in line. Admittedly, there can be little doubt th at the priorities of a self-promoting elite were influential. The mechanism through which elites exercised their authority, furthermore, likely included the insertion of lesser elites into rural communities as local cacique administrators. Such a strategy is at least potentially implicated in the nodal distribution of large architecture throughout the rural settlement areas of many lowland sites (Arnold and Ford 1980; Smyth et al. 1995). But what of the smaller local communities, like the one in which the Chau Hiix Houselot Project collected its data? While two-tiered models of elite-commoner politics still seem entrenched in the current interpretive paradigm, in almost no cases where substantial settlement research has been conducted do rural excavations suggest a homogenous low-level of access to wealth across the board. Traditional models interpret nodes of power as indicative of a top-down political control infrastructure, with local community leaders responsible for feeding an elite political economy, and all probably related to the elite by some direct kinship. The model proposed by the Chau Hiix Houselot Project suggests that the creation of social structures within small local groups was tied to the strategic decisions of householders with a vested interest in their own communities. There are, certainly, few indica tions that any of the Chau Hiix Houselot Project households enjoyed an elite status, since the material remains of no one house lot stand out in remarkable fashion from the others. All appear to have been involved in a range of domestic activities that suggests it was 164

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A. S. Goldsmith necessary for each ho usehold to support itself small-scale lithic production, agriculture, food prepar ation, and so on. All had access in some way to exotic goods obsidian, marine shell, and polychrome ceramics, but none of the house lots far outstrips all the others in the quantities of these types of materials in their domestic refuse. There are definite differences among the material assemblages of each house lot, but these appear mainly to reflect variations in the nature of the domestic economy. Differences in the quantities of wealth indicators (such as fa ncy serving vessels), do exist, but as ratio differences which are more subtle than one might expect between elites/sub-elites on the one hand, and commoners on the other. Conclusions Naturally the non-elite agents of Chau Hiix did not exercise total control over the course of history at that city, and it has not been my intention to argue that point. There is some good evidence that the Early Classic co-opting of pol itical power by these savvy farmers did not survive long into the Classic Period. The households of my small area of Chau Hiix appe ar not to have been occupied during the Late Classic. Excavations by others at the site seem to suggest that the consolidation of elite power in the site centre during the 5th to 8th centuries AD swept away the earlier nonelite infrastructure and drew most wealthy non-elites into close proximity to the monumental core of the city. The settlement of Chau Hiix is sharply contained a north/south strip on the shore of the Western Lagoon, and echoes the spatial extent of fertile soils there. That settlement boundedness supports Pyburns (1998) assertion that the city of Chau Hiix was fundamentally founded in an agricultural surplus economy rather than one based primarily on sp ecialized goods or services. It is not clear how the production of agricultural surpluses at Chau Hiix mitigated power relations between this city and other nearby centres like Altun Ha, and this is a question well beyond the scope of the Chau Hiix Houselot Project. What is of more immediate interest here is the process by which the agents of production (those being the rural householders) negotiated elements of the political economy among themselves and between commoner and elite priorities. The material correlates of agency are difficult to discern in the archaeological record at the best of times, but we can improve our chances by using a spatial unit of analysis that reflects daily practice at the household level. The house lot approach as developed and used here illustrates how that goal may be operationalized in a practical field methodology. Acknowledgements: I would like to sincerely thank the Institute of Archaeology, National Institute of Culture and History for inviting me to participate in the 2nd Belize Archaeology Symposium. Support for the fieldwork of the Chau Hiix Houselot Project was provided by the Indiana University Chau Hiix Archaeological Project, and by a research grant from the University of Calgary. This project would not have been possible without the assistance of the students of the 1999, 2001, and 2003 Indiana University Chau Hiix Fieldschools, and through the enthusia stic contributions of fieldworkers from the village of Crooked Tree. My research has benefited greatly from discussions with several of my colleagues on the Chau Hiix project, including especially Christopher Andres, Sarah Wille, Gabriel Wrobel, Alfredo Minnetti, Thomas Cuddy, and Leslie Sering. Dr. Anne Pyburn, director of the Chau Hiix Archaeological Project, has been a constant source of guidance and mentorship, and I thank her for her continuing support and suggestions. 165

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Chau Hiix Houselot Project References Cited Alexander, R. 1999 Mesoamerican and Archaeological Site Structure: Problems of Inference in Yaxcab, Yucatan, Mexico, 1750-1847. In The Archaeology of Household Activities edited by P. Allison, pp. 78100. Routledge, London. Arnold, J. and A. Ford 1980 A Statistical Examination of Settlement Patterns at Tikal, Guatemala. American Antiquity 45:71326. Becker, M. 2001 Houselots at Tikal: Its Whats Out Back that Counts. Reconstruyendo la Ciudad Maya; El Urbanismo en las Sociedades Antiguas pp. 427460. Bullard, W. 1954 Boundary Walls and House Lots at Mayapan. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Department of Archaeology Current Reports Vol. 13. Cannon, A. 2000 Assessing Variability in Northwest Coast Salmon and Herring Fisheries: Bucket-Auger Sampling of Shell Midden Sites on the Central Coast of British Columbia. Journal of Archaeological Science 27:725737. Cook, P. 1997 Basal Platform Mounds at Chau Hiix, Belize: Evidence for Ancient Maya Social Structure and Cottage Industry Manufacturing. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Arizona, UMI Dissertation Services, Ann Ar bor, Michigan. Crumley, C. 1995 Heterarchy and the Analysis of Complex Societies. In Heterarchy and the Analysis of Complex Societies, edited by R. Ehrenreich, C. Crumley, and J. Levy, pp. 1 5. Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association #6. Cuddy, T. 2000 Socioeconomic Integration of the Classic Maya State: Political and Domestic Economies in a Residential Neighborhood Ph.D. Dissertation, Columbia University. Deal, M. 1985 Household Pottery Disposal in the Maya Highlands: An Ethnoarchaeological Interpretation. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 4:243291. 1998 Pottery Ethnoarchaeology in the Central Maya Highlands University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. Dobres, M. 2000 Technology and Social Agency: Outlining a Practice Framework for Archaeology Blackwell Publishers, Oxford. Folan, W., E. Kintz, and L. Fletcher 1983 Coba, a Classic Maya Metropolis Academic Press, New York. Fry, R. 1972 Manually Operated Post-Hole Diggers as Sampling Instruments. American Antiquity 37(2):2591. Hare, T. 2002 A GIS Approach to Mapping the Postclassic Site of Mayapan, Mexico. Poster presented at the 2003 Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, Milwaukee. Hayden B., and A. Cannon 1983 Where the Ga rbage Goes: Refuse Disposal in the Maya Highlands. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 2:1173. Howell, T. 1993 Evaluating the Utility of Auger Testing as a Predictor of Subsurface Artifact Density. Journal of Field Archaeology 20:475484. Killion, T. 1990 Cultivation Intensity and Residential Site Structure: An Ethnoarchaeological Examination of Peasant Agriculture in the Sierra de los Tuxtlas, Veracruz, Mexico. Latin American Antiquity 1(3): 1915. 166

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A. S. Goldsmith Percy, G. 1976 Use of a Mechanical Earth Auger as a Substitute for Exploratory Excavation at the Torreya Site (8Li8), Liberty County, Florida. Florida Anthropologist 29(1): 24 32. Potter, D. and E. King 1995 A Heterarchical Approach to Lowland Maya Socioeconomies. In Heterarchy and the Analysis of Complex Societies edited by R. Ehrenreich, C. Crumley, and J. Levy, pp. 17-32. Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropologi cal Association #6. Pyburn, A. 1998 Smallholders in the Maya Lowlands: Homage to a Garden Variety Ethnographer. Human Ecology 26(2):267285. 2003 The Hydrology of Chau Hiix. Ancient Mesoamerica 14:123129. Robin, C. 1999 Towards an Archaeology of Everyday Life: Maya Farmers of Chan Noohol and Dos Chombitos Cikin, Belize Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, UMI Dissertation Services, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Smyth, M., C. Dore, and N. Dunning 1995 Interpreting Prehistoric Settlement Patterns: Lessons from the Maya Centre of Sayil, Yucatan. Journal of Field Archaeology 22:321 347. Stein, J. 1986 Coring Archaeological Sites. American Antiquity 51(3): 505527. Tourtellot, G. 1983 An Assessment of Classic Maya Household Composition. In Prehistoric Settlement Patterns: Essays in Honor of Gordon R. Willey edited by E. Vogt and R. Leventhal, pp. 3554. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 1988 Excavations at Seibal, Department of Peten, Guatemala. Peripheral Survey and Excavation: Settlement and Community Patterns Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology Memoirs no. 16. Harvard University. 167

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11 THE EARLY CLASSIC IN SOUTHERN BELIZE: A REGIONAL VIEW FROM UXBENKA AND EK XUX Keith M. Prufer Recent archaeological data is expandi ng our understanding of the Early Cl assic in southern Belize. Long considered backwaters, we now know the region had tie s to the Peten, the Belize Valley, and Stann Creek. Epigraphic data from Uxbenka indicates it may have been allied with Tikal during the Early Classic. A newly investigated Early Classic site, Ek Xux, appears more closely linked to rural Early Classic polities near the Stann Creek Valley. With the arri val of the Late Classic, both the popula tion and the number of communities grew rapidly. Data indicate these may represent new ethnic groups moving into the region. Introduction Despite nearly a century of archaeological work in the region, the Early Classic period in Southern Belize remains poorly defined. Until recently most discussions of this period (AD 200-500) centered on epigraphic and iconographic analysis of monuments from two sites, Uxbenka and Pusilha, as well as limited data from a handful of cave sites (Prufer 2002). We now know that anot her center, Ek Xux, located in the Maya Mountains was occupied during the Ea rly Classic and there is growing evidence that Pusilha may not been heavily developed prior to the fifth century (see Bill and Braswell, this volume). In this paper, I discuss the current state of archaeological knowledge on the Early Classic Maya presence in southern Belize and its implications for the extraordinary growth of regional Late Classic populations. Clearly, Southern Belize had a meager beginning, but grew to be an important region for resource exploitation and a home to several important polit ies. I suggest that the population of southern Belize was not, over time, homogeneous, but instead composed of different, possibly competing, ethnic groups. Early Classic immigrants formed small populations that were relatively stable over time. The Late Classic growth appears related to the movement of new groups into the re gion, and resulted in rapid peopling of new sites, that in some areas eclipsed the earlier populations. The Early Classic developments in southern Belize set the stage for the later explosive growth of a region rich in important economic resources which were in demand at urban centers across the Maya lowlands. Southern Belize is home to a number of different ecological zones and resources vary from local to local. The distribution of sites across coastal, lowland, and montane landforms in southern Belize indicates specialized exploitation of localized resour ces (Graham 1987; McKillop and Healy 1989; Prufer 2002). For example, the hills around Uxbenka contain some of the richest soils in the Maya lowlands and may have been important for cultivation of cacao and other agricultural products (Wright et al. 1959: 146). Geological and botanical resources from the volcanic Maya Mountains may have played a role in the developm ent of montane sites (Dunham and Prufer 1998). Riverine access to the coast may have facilitated trade between southern Belize and other regions (McKillop 1996). Thus the landscape may have functioned as a commodity. With the Maya Mountains representing the largest Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 169-178. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize

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Early Classic Southern Belize relief feature in the M aya Lowlands, the cave-riddled massif w ould have undoubtedly drawn religious pilg rims from some distance, a proposal supported by the wide range of foreign materials found in cave contexts (Prufer 2002). Indeed, some of the best archaeological evidence for Early Classic interregional interaction comes from ceramics recovered from cave contexts. Unfortunately, given to the elusive nature of Early Classic settlement (and a paucity of archaeological research) there are few vantages from which to analyze the Early Classic developments in southern Belize. This paper focuses on the two sites that have confirmed Early Classic components: Uxbenka, located near the western border along the Rio Blanco, and Ek Xux, located in an upper drainage of the Monkey River (Figure 1). Both sites present different data sets. At Uxbenka there is the earliest iconographic evidence for Maya settlement and political interaction in southern Belize. At Ek Xux there is archaeological data, supported by radiocarbon dates, from both the site and nearby caves, indicating a substantial Early Classic presence. The Populating of Southern Belize The Early Classic in southern Belize is best examined in the context of its meager beginnings as well as though developments in neighboring regions. If a Preclassic population resided in southern Belize we have no evidence of their settlements. Both Leventhal (1992) and Dunham (Dunham and Prufer 1998) specula ted that there may have been indigenous groups living in the area prior to the Classic Period, though no supporting evidence has been produced to date. It does seem likel y that this rich area was not vacant. To the north, in the Stann Creek drainage and along the Placencia coast, there is clear evidence of settlements beginning in the Midd le Preclassic and extending through the Postclassic (Graham 1994). The Late Classic materials from Stann Creek differ considerably from those excavated at sites in southern Belize (Prufer 2002), indicating that ther e is little linkage during that time period. However, ceramics recovered from cave sites in the Maya Mountains clearly indicate Preclassic visits by Stann Creek residents (Prufer 2002: 278, 387), which makes sense given the proximity of the two areas. Figure 1. Southern Belize sites mentioned in the text. In the southwestern foothills of the Maya Mountains in the Peten, the Atlas Arqueolgico de Guatemala documented a number of Preclassic settlements suggesting the presence of stratified rural communities by at least AD 100 (Laporte 2001). While the southern Peten, like southern Belize, was densely populated during the Late and Terminal Classic periods, only a few sites have even ephemeral evidence of Early Classic Tzakol ceramics (Laporte 2002). At some sites Early Classic assemblages were best defined in cave contexts, which are 170

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K. Prufer genera lly small and associated with communities (Laporte 1996a). In Naj Tunich Cave, a major pilgrimage site with a long history of elite use, Early Classic ceramic assemblages were not as robust as those from the Preclassic, Protoclassic, and Late Classic (Brady 198 9: 207). The general lack of Tzakol ceramics at surface sites and in some caves may not point to an absence of 4th through 6th century settlement in the area. Across the western Maya Mountains of Guatemala, including sites along the Rios Machaquila, San Luis, and Pusilha, Preclassic ceramics persist well into the Early Classic, marked by what Laporte calls the Peripheral Chicanel sphere (2001: 17), defined by continued use of Chicanel combined with limited adoption of Tzakol orange wares or flanged forms (which may have been considered exotic) and foreign trade goods. Laporte sees the appearance of pottery associated with the Tzakol ceramic sphere as evidence of interaction between large centers in the northeastern Peten, primarily Tikal and Uaxactun, and rural elites in the hinter lands (Laporte 1996b: 261). However, these rural communities appear to continue using Chicanel waxy wares through much of the Early Classic, a time of increased outside influences, while Tzakol ceramics are infrequent, even in typical elite contexts, such as tombs and caches. Eventually Chicanel gave way as sites became full participants in the stelae tradition and regionaliz ed ceramic spheres that characterize the Lowland Late Classic (Laporte 2001: 28). Laportes accounts correlates with outward expansion of Tikals influence to the southeast (Mathews 1985). As Tikal rose as a dominant power in the Maya Lowlands during th e Early Classic, it expanded its influence southward during the late fourth century, eventually extending its influence to Copan and Quirigua by AD 426/427 (Sharer 2003: 320, 322) and indeed may have been instrumental in the founding of both Quirigua and Copan (Sharer 2002). Throughout this time period it is likely that Tikal increased its economic and political influence in the southern Peten, likely consolidating networks of tribute and loyalty throughout those sites on the western fringe of the Maya Mountains and into southern Belize. Despite this expanding influence, few Early Classic Tzalkol assemblages have actually been found. It may well be that local ceramic traditions based on Chicanel and other waxy wares gave way not the full blown Tzakol traditions but to other local ceramic types, such as Ixobel Orange a common Early Classic ware from Naj Tunich Cave in southeastern Peten (personal communication, James E. Brady, May 2004). It is also possi ble, as suggested by Rice and Culbert (1990: 23) that Early Classic sites may sometimes be ephemeral or obscure, with poorly defined settlements and contexts, perhaps due to smaller more mobile populations and perishable structures. In southern Belize the search for the Early Classic has also been elusive. Uxbenka, along with Pusilha and Ek Xux are the only surface sites known to have settlements that predate AD 500, though cave investigations in all areas of southern Belize have produced Preclassic and Early Classic materials (Prufer 2002). It may well be that the relative isolation of the region played a role in producing a unique developmental trajectory. Southern Belize is circumscribed geographically and difficult to access, both now and in the past. To the north it is bounded by inhospitable pinebarrens, to the west by the formidable Maya Mountains, to the south by the swampy Temash and Sarstoon River basins, and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. Though it would be imprudent to suggest that these geographic features posed barriers to communication or trade, they may well have 171

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Early Classic Southern Belize served as impedim ents to social contacts in the past, much as they did during of the 19th and 20th centuries (see Thompson 1930). For residents of the Peten, southern Belize is most easily accessed through a passage from the low hills into the southern Peten (Hammond 1978). The passa ge runs directly by Uxbenka, and is may have been a factor in the founding and long occupation of the site. Whether Pusilha had a notable Early Classic component seems increasingly unlikely (see Bill and Braswell, this volume). Excavations at the site going back a century have produced a substantial body of data, almost all related to the Late Classic (Braswell et al. 2003; Joyce 1929; Joyce et al. 1928; Leventhal 199 2). Two monuments, Stelae C and Z may date stylistically to the very end of the Early Classic and Stela K, a Late Classic monument, refers retrospectively to an event that occurred in AD 159, though the nature of this event, or if it directly involved Pusilha, remains undetermined. While numerous Early Classic ceramics have been recovered from caves (Joyce 1929) in the area around Pusilha, none were recovered during Braswells 2001 and 2002 excavations at the site (Braswell et al. 2003: 96). It is possible that local southeastern Peten ceramic complexes may differ from the northern Peten, and as such we may not yet know what the local Early Classic looks like. However, the lack of waxy preclassic ceramics may indicate the area around Pusilha was settled later, sometime after AD 400 (see Wanyerka, this volume). Uxbenka represents the earliest known site in southern Belize, although this assessment is based almost entirely on stylistic dating of monuments documented in the site core. The site itself is diffused across a series of low hilltops in a wide valley cut by the Rio Blanco. The valley is part of a corridor be tween steep limestone ranges that links the litto ral plain of southern Belize to the Peten in Guatemala, located approximately thirteen km east of the Uxbenka. This valley represents the easiest means of foot travel between southern Belize and the Maya Mountains and neighboring regions to the west, a point discussed by Hammond (1978). Uxbenka itself consists of several architectural hilltop groups. The largest and best known was home to three-dozen st elae, at least twelve of which were carved (Figure 2). Of these, the vast majority date to the Late Classic, but three are early and represent the oldest evidence of settlement and political complexity in the region. In addition, they provide compelling data that, during the Early Classic Period, Uxbenka had close ties Figure 2. Plan of the Stela Plaza at Uxbenka (base map courtesy of Richard Leventhal). directly to Tikal at the time of Tikals most rapid expansion. Uxbenka Stela 11 has been 172

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K. Prufer stylistically date d to between 8.16.3.10.2 and 8.17.1.4.12 (A.D. 360-378) and records the nam e and possibly the death of the final ruler of the first Tikal dynasty: Chak Tok Ichaak I (see Wanyerka, this volume). Two other stelae, 18 and 21, date between 8.17.0.0.0 and 9.0.0.0.0 (AD 376-435). While the nature of the contact between these sites remains undefi ned, it is clear that the earliest political statements out of southern Belize spea k to relationships between the early Tikal dynasty and this hitherto unsettled region. To date, this epigraphic data from Uxbenka has not been confirmed with corresponding archaeol ogical data. In 1984 the Southern Belize Archaeological Project (SBAP), under the direction of Richard Leventhal, surveyed po rtions of the site (Leventhal 1992). SBAP returned briefly in 1989 and 1990 to conduct limited offstructure excavations including extensive test-pitting in the main plaza. However, the identification of the Early Classic component at the site proved quite elusive despite the intensive test pitting carried out. With the exception of very small amounts of diagnostic materials in fill, no Early Classic contexts were identified, and no Early Classic material was recovered from the stela plaza group. The ephemeral nature of the Early Classic contrasts with the substantial Late and Terminal Classic occupation, which is defined both by the remaining nine carved monuments and extensive architectural features and several dedicatory caches. The only other site in southern Belize that is, as ye t, known to have an Early Classic occupation is Ek Xux, located in the Maya Mountains along a tributary of the Bladen Branch of the Monkey River. The Bladen Branch is home to a number of sites that have been mapped, but are otherwise uninvestigated. Rugged and remote, the Maya Moun tains constitute one of the last regions in the Maya area to be explored (Dunham 1996). The only prominent range in the lowlands, it has the highest rainfall and co olest temperatures. Largely a carbonate ma ssif overlaying older igneous formations, the region is home to a variety of biological and mineral resources unavailable elsewhere in the lowlands (Dunham and Prufer 1998). These include materials for grinding stones (volcanics in the Bladen and granite in the Cockscomb Basin), pigments (hematite, limonite, goethite, and manganese oxide), high quality travertine and pyrite, and a range of plants including extant groves of remnant cacao trees. The Ek Xux valley is extremely fertile and largely composed of soils derived from volcanic materials from the mountains to the north and carbonates from the hillsides. The site of Ek X ux consists of 189 nucleated structures in a small valley ringed by mountains. Only five st ructures at the site have been excavated, yielding primarily Late Classic materials. The earliest known context at Ek Xux comes from Structure 23, where a cache found on a burned and buried floor produced several heavily eroded black and red on orange bowls and dishes similar to those identified by Smith (1955: Fig. 30) for Uaxactun, and a single diagnostic Early Classic shoe-pot. Radiocarbon dates from associated features produced two dates of AD 240-440 (AA 40672) and AD 530-670 (AA 40674). Other radiocarbon dates placed elsewhere from test-pits produced a range of dates from extending 1500 BC to AD 1950, making them diffi cult to reconcile with the ceramic data (Kindon 2002). Both radiocarbon dates and ceramics from a dozen caves literally surrounding the site indicate an Earl y Classic through the Late Classic presence at the site, as well as possible ties to Stann Creek sites to the north (Figure 3). Particularly interesting are a number of Petroglyph Red-rimmed jars identical to those found in the Stann Creek 173

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Early Classic Southern Belize Valley (Graham 1994: 170-175). Further, a large number of sherds from partially slipped and striated jars date to the late Protoclassic or early Tzakol 1 period based on comparison with materials found in the Stann Creek Valley (Graham 1994: 157160). Caves also yielded a Protoclassic Caribal Red bowl like those from Naj Tunich (Brady 1989: 173), numerous fragments of Aguacate Orange jars, and several Paso Caballo Waxy ware sherds diagnostic in the Beli ze Valley (Gifford 1976: 129-130, 85-101). Ties to the Stann Creek Valley sites should not be seen as surprising. That region sustained the largest Preclassic population with which Ek Xux could have maintained regular contact, based on proximity and ease of travel. The occupation of Ek Xux appears to have persisted into the late 7th or early 8th century (Prufer 2002). Sometime around the beginning of the 8th century less than two kilometers from Ek Xux a new site, Muklebal Tzul, was fo unded. The new site quickly eclipsed Ek Xux both in terms of size and complexity. Excavations at Muklebal Tzul and surrounding caves produced Late and Terminal Classic assemblages that showed clear links to the Belize Valley. Though Ek Xux and Muklebal Tzul may have briefly coexisted, it appears the founding of Muklebal Tzul coincided with the decline of Ek Xux and the rise of what became the largest Late Classic site in the southern Belize. Social Identity in Early to Late Classic Southern Belize A number of fact ors suggest that more than one group originally settled Southern Belize during both the Early and Late Classic, and that these groups were markedly different. During the Early Classic Uxbenka may have been settled as an offshoot or by exiled members of the Tikal dynasty, which ended with the death of Chak Tok Ichaak I While excavations at the site have yet to produce substantial material evidence of links between the Peten and Uxbenka, the iconographic evidence is compelling. Cave sites to the north of Uxbenka, near the headwaters of the Machaquila River and the border of Guatemala have produced numerous examples of Tzakol ceramics (Prufer 2002: 226), including several Dos Arroyos polychrome bowls that may have formed a type of Peten-centric currency during the Early Classic (Reese-Taylor and Walker 2002: 107). In the Maya Mountains, Ek Xux was settled during the Early Classic and persisted as a small yet important center until the middle of the 8th century. Ceramic data from the site and nearby caves indicates this region was utilized by Stann Creek residents as far back as the Late Preclassic and there is little evidence of contact between the Maya Mountains and the Peten during the Early Classic. Like small polities in the Peten, this region may be seeing local Preclassic variants persisting well into the Early Classic. Contrasting this is the ongoing presence of contact between Ek Xux and the Belize Va lley, with economic ties that appear to st rengthen throughout the Classic, culminating with the abandonment of Ek Xux. Throughout the Late Classic the social fabric of sout hern Belize was in a state of constant grow th and flux (Figure 4). In the littoral plain, th e foothills, and in the Maya Mountains the expansion of existing sites and appearance of new centers was nothing short of explosive. Sites with monuments along a series of ridges near Uxbenka carry no mention of Tikal or the northern Peten dynasties. At Nim Li Punit three-dozen monuments were erected, four of which contain references to an Ik Xukpi? Figure 3. Early vessels from caves surrounding Ek Xux. Protoclassic Caribal Red bowl (a) Late Preclassic Uaxactun Unslipped (b), Aguacat e Orange jar (c), and Paso Caballo Waxy Ware (d-g), unspecified Late Preclassic or Early Classic striated jar fragments (h) and Late Preclassic waxy jar fragments (i). 174

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K. Prufer Ajaw, (Copan lord), a ro yal title restricted to Copan. These monuments also make reference to a location known as the Ux Witik a Copan toponym, and to a Copan Ajaw who was present at Nim Li Punit for a monument dedication ceremony (Grube et al.1999). At Pusilha, Late Classic monuments make numerous direct and indirect references to Copan and Quirigua (Guenter 2001: 9-10; Marcus 1976: 45). Unfortunately, the Late Classic monuments from Uxbenka are too fragmentary or eroded to interpret. Interestingly, limited excavations at Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun, and Uxbenka have not produced any material evidence of links between southern Belize and the Copan or Quirigua, though a few of the Late Classic polychrome ceramics from Pusilha have decorative elements that may have their origins in the southeastern Maya area (Braswell et al. 2003). In the Maya Mountains there is neither Late Classic inscriptions or ceramics that would indicate any ties with the southeast, including those materials recovered from almost 75 cave sites (Prufer 2002, Prufer et al. 2003). Ek Xuxs neighbor, and likely successor for prominence in the Monkey River drainage, Muklebal Tzul has associations related to Lubaantun and the Belize Valley. With the eventual abandonment of Ek Xux (following the rapid growth of Muklebal Tzul) the Maya Mountains began to more closely resemble its idiosyncratic Late Classic neighbors in the rest of southern Belize. Several dramatic differences exist between Ek Xux and Muklebal Tzul, particularly in terms of architecture, mortuary practices, and the use of nearby caves. Mukelbal Tzul is dispersed over several long ridges, while Ek Xux is nucleated around a central plaza in an alluvial valley. At Mukelbal Tzul, all structures have sub-surface chambers, many of which functioned as tombs. Conversely, at Ek Xux, excavations in residential buildings failed to produce any evidence of burials, though a series of nearby rockshelters appear to have been used repeatedly as cemeteries. These may indicate that Muklebal Tzul was settled by new social or ethnic groups entering the region during the Late Classic. Overall Muklebal Tzul fits well with other Late Classic sites in southern Belize which share a number of features which have periodically been pointed to as defining the southern Belize re gion (Braswell 2001; Hammond 1975; Leventhal 1990, 1992; Prufer and Wanyerka 2001). These include: walled and enclosed ballcourts; modified hillside and terrace facades meant to imitate labor-intensive architec ture; sequential tomb use; a general lack of corbelled arches; and no stone superstructures. These features are absent at the earlier site of Ek Xux. Conclusions Prehisto rians ha ve generally assumed that the Early Classic in southern Belize was confined to the area around Uxbenka and Pusilha, both situated along well-established trade routes into the Peten (Figure 4). However, recent archaeological investigations in the Maya Mountains suggest a far more ro bust Early Classic, revealing interactions with neighbors near and far. At the close of the Early Classic southern Belize underwent a series of demographic and political disjunctions reflected in rapid population increase and the appearance of a number of new polities, likely representing the movement of ethnically foreign grou ps into the region. While the causes of these movements into the region are tied up in the larger macroMayan growth phenomena called the Late Classic, they are reflected locally in settlements near valuable resources and along excellent trade routes and participation in pan-Maya trade. 175

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Early Classic Southern Belize Figure 4. Lowland sites that may have had ties to Ek Xux and Uxbenka (base map courtesy of NASA/JPL. Uxbenka was the founding center in southern Belize and persisted until the Terminal Classic, reflecting the entire span of the Classic Maya settlement in the region. Early on it appears to have been closely linked to Tikal and the expansion of Petencentric influences across the Lowlands. The Late Classic interacti ons of Uxbenka are not well understood. Its closest Early Classic contemporary in Belize was Ek Xux, which may in turn have been settled by neighbors to the north. Ek Xux pers isted, but with little growth, for several centuries until the appearance of a new and possibly foreign group that settled less then 2 km away. At Mukelbal Tzul, clearly th is site was part of the larger regional and pan-Lowland changes occurring during the 7th and 8th centuries. Spurred by internal growth and external interest in its economically important resources, southern Belize became an important regional zone, exporting resources across the Mundo Maya. Acknowledgements. Special thanks to Dr. Jaim e Awe and the Institute of Archaeology for actively encouraging research into the Early Classic of southe rn Belize, especially at Uxbenka. I am gr ateful to Andrew Kindon, Phil Wanyerka, Don Rice, Pru Rice, and James Brady for helpful comments on the development of regional complexity in the Maya Lowlands and to the National Science Foundation for supporting my research in southern Belize. References Cited Brady, James E. 1989 An Investigation of Maya Ritual Cave Use With Special Reference to Naj Tunich, Peten Guatemala Ph.D. dissertation. University of California at Los Angles Braswell, Geoffrey E. 2001 Pusilha Archaeological Project: 2001 Annual Report. Unpublished report to the Department of Archaeology, Belize. Braswell, Geoffrey, Cassand ra Bill, Sonja Schwake, and Christian Prager 2003 In Pusilha Ar chaeological Project: 2002 Annual Report. Unpublished Report. Dunham, Peter S. 1996 Resource Exploitation and Exchange among the Classic Maya: Some Initial Findings of the Maya Mountain Archaeological Project. In The Managed Mosaic: Ancient Maya Agriculture and Resource Use, edited by S. L. Fedick, pp. 315-354. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. Dunham, Peter S. and Keith M. Prufer 1998 En la cumbre del clsico: descubrimientos recientes en la montaa maya en el sur de Belice. In XI Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueolgicas en Guatemala, edited by J. P. LaPorte and H. L. Escobedo, pp. 165-170. Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes, Instituto de Anthropologia e Historia y Association Tikal, Guatemala City 176

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K. Prufer Gifford, James E. 1976 Prehistoric Pottery Analysis and the Ceramics of Barton Ramie in the Belize Valley Memoir, 18 Harvard University, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Cambridge. Graham, Elizabeth 1987 Resource Diversity in Belize and Its Implications for Models of Lowland Trade. American Antiquity 52(4): 753-767. 1994 The Highlands of the Lowlands: Environment and Archaeology in the Stann Creek District, Belize, Central America Prehistory Press, Madison WI Grube, Nikolai, Barbara MacLeod, and Phil Wanyerka 1999 A Commentary on the Hieroglyphic Inscriptions of Nim Li Punit, Belize. In Research Reports on Ancient Maya Writing, No. 41 Center for Maya Research, Washington, D.C. Guenter, Stanley 2001 Under a Falling Star: The Hiatus at Tikal AD 557 to 692. Unpublished M.A. Thesis. LaTrobe University, Australia. Hammond, Norman 1975 Lubaantun: A Classic Maya Realm Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 2. Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1978 Cacao and Cobaneros: An Overland Trade Route Between the Maya Highlands and the Lowlands. In Mesoamerican Communication Routes and Culture Contacts, edited by T. Lee and C. Navarette, New World Joyce, T. A. 1929 Report on the British Museum Expedition to British Honduras, 1929. In The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland Volume 59(July-Dec.):439-459. Joyce, T.A., T. Gann, E.L. Gruning, and R.C.E. Long 1928 Report on the British Museum Expedition to British Honduras, 1928. In The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (JulyDec.):323-350. Kindon, Andrew W. 2002 Sociopolitical Organization and Settlement Patterns in the Maya Mountains of Southern Belize. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California at Los Angeles. Laporte, Juan Pedro 1996a La Regin del Sureste de Peten, Guatemala, el la Arqueologa de las Tierras Bajas Centrales. In Arqueologa Mesoamericana: Homenaje a William T. Sanders. A. G. Mastache, J. R. Parsons, R. S. Santley, and M. C. Serra Puche, eds. pp. 137168 Instituto Nacional de Antropologa e Historia Mexico 1996b La Cuenca del Ro Mopan-Belice: una Sub-Region Cultural de las Tierras Bajas Mayas Centrales In Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueologicas en Guatemala (9 session, 1995 ). pp. 253-279, Museo Nacional de Antropologa y Etnologa, Guatemala 2001 La Gloria-Sacul, Peten: un sitio del Preclsico en las Montanas Mayas de Guatemala. Mayab 14 : 17-29. 2002 Poptn en la Arqueologa de las Tierras Bajas Centrales: una Actualizacion In Incidents of Archaeology in Central America and Yucatan M. Love, M. Popenoe de Hatch, and H. Escobedo, eds. pp. 489518, University Press of America, Lanham Leventhal, Richard 1990 Southern Belize: An Ancient Maya Region. Vision and Revision in Maya St udies edited by F. S. Clancy and P. D. Harrison, pp. 125-141. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 1992 The Development of a Regional Tradition in Southern Belize. In New Theories on the Ancient Maya, edited by E. C. Danien and R. J. Sharer, pp. 145-154. The University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Marcus, Joyce 1976 Emblem and State in the Classic Maya Lowlands: An Epigraphic Approach to Territorial Organization. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. 177

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Early Classic Southern Belize 178Mathews, Peter 1985 Maya Early Classic monuments and inscriptions. In A Consideration of the Early Classic Period in the Maya Lowlands G. R. Willey and P. Mathews, editors. pp. 5-54 Publication, 10, State University of New York at Albany, Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, Albany. McKillop, Heather 1996 Ancient Maya Trading Ports and the Integration of Long-Distance and Regional Economies: Wild Cane Cay in SouthCoastal Belize. Ancient Mesoamerica 7(1):49-62 McKillop, Heather and Paul F. Healy, eds. 1989 Coastal Maya Trade Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. Prufer, Keith M. 2002 Communities, Caves and Ritual Specialists: A Study of Sacred Space in the Maya Mountains of Southern Belize Doctoral dissertation, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Department of Anthropology. Prufer Keith M., Phil Wanyerka, and Monica Shah 2 003 Wooden figurines, scepters, and religious specialists in pre-Columbian Maya society Ancient Mesoamerica 14(2):219-236 Prufer, Keith, and Phil Wanyerka 2001 The Maya Mo untains Archaeological Project, 1992-2000: A Regional Investigation of Late Classic Settlement and Economy. (Paper presented at the 66th Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, April 22, 2001, New Orleans, LA). Reese-Taylor, Kathryn and Debra S. Walker 2002 The Passage of the Late Classic into the Early Classic. In Ancient Maya Political Economies M. Masson and D. Freidel, editors, pp. 87-122, Altimira Press, Walnut Creek CA. Rice, Don S. and Patrick T. Culbert 1990 Historical contexts for population reconstruction in the Maya lowlands In Precolumbian Population History in the Maya Lowlands T. Patrick Culbert, and Don S. Rice, eds. pp. 1, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque Sharer, Robert J. 2002 Early Classic Dynastic Origins in the Southeastern Maya Lowlands In Incidents of Archaeology in Central America and Yucatan M. Love, M. Popenoe de Hatch, and H. Escobedo, eds. pp. 459-476, University Press of America, Lanham 2003 Tikal and the Copan Dynastic Founding. In Tikal: Dynasties, Foreigners, & Affairs of State. Edited by J. A. Sabloff, pp.319-354, School of American Research, Santa Fe. Smith, Robert E. 1955 Ceramic Sequence at Uaxactun, Guatemala. Volume I & II Middle American Research Institute, Publication No. 20, Tulane University, New Orleans. Thompson, J. E. S. 1930 Ethnology of the Maya of Southern and Cen tral British Honduras F ield Museum of Natural History, Ch icago Wright, A. C. S., D. H. Romney, R. H. Arbuckle, and V. E. Vial 1959 Land Use in British Honduras Colonial Research Publications No. 24. Her Majestys Stationary Office, London.

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12 EPIGRAPHIC EVIDENCE OF MARCO-POLITICAL ORGANIZATION IN SOUTHERN BELIZE: A VIEW FROM THE EARLY CLASSIC PERIOD Phillip J. Wanyerka The southern Maya Mountains, locate d within the Toledo and Stann Creeks Districts of southern Belize and adjacent Dolores and Poptun region of eastern Guatemala, was once considered by some archaeologists to be relatively unimportant in the o verall development of Classic Maya civilization. Yet, this region contains a multitude of important natural resources found nowhere else in the Maya Lowlands. To date, archaeologists have now identified more than 200 surface sites in the southern Ma ya Mountains region suggesting it was heavily occupied during the Classic Period. Given the variety and highly restricted distribution of the resources, along with the complexity of sites within this region, strongly suggests that resource pr ocurement and exchange may have been the socio-economic and political stimulus for the development and growth of polities and trade routes in southern Belize. Recent epigraphic evide nce from Uxbenka, one of the earliest sites in southern Belize, now provides an intriguing and tantalizing glimpse into the early dynamic nature of secondary hegemonic states. This new evidence suggests that the Early Classic rulers of Uxbenka may have been participants in Tikals early formation of a macro-political or hegemonic system. This paper will discuss the current epigraphic and archaeological evidence surrounding Uxbenkas developme ntal history as well as discuss the critical role of the southe rn Maya Mountains region in the formation of Classic Maya macro-political states. The Southern Maya Mountains Region The Southern Maya Mountains Region, located in the Toledo and Stann Creek Districts of southern Belize and adjacent Dolores and Poptun region of eastern Guatemala, was considered by some archaeologists to be unimportant in the overall cultural development of Classic Maya civilization. However, archaeologists have now identified more than 200 surface sites in the region. Many of these sites economic activities app ear to be tied to resource exploitation and exchange (Dunham et al. 1989; Graham 1987, 1994; Hammond 1975; Laporte and Meja 2000; Leventhal 1990, 1992; MacKinnon 1989; McKillop and Heally 1989). The archaeological evidence suggests that the Southern Maya Mountains Region were heavily occupied durin g the Classic Period. Numerous sites have been identified that feature elite groups with specialized areas or workshops that appear to be the loci for intensive resource processing for the manufacture of specialized resources (Prufer and Wanyerka 2001). Research conducted, by Marc Abramiuk, of the Maya Mountains Archaeological Project (MMAP), has suggested that Lubaantun may have been a central distributor of vesicular basalt artifacts for the region based on macroscopic examination of ground stone tools (mano and metates) from numerous sites throughout Belize (2004:65). Abramiuks research also proposes that a flourishing network of both in tra/inter-regional exchange was taking place in the Bladen Drainage involving th e manufacture and exportation of volcaniclastic artifacts. It appears that the sites of Quebrada de Oro, Ramos Quebrada, and the RHF Site were most likely the agents responsible for exporting most of the volcanic artifacts coming out of the Bladen region. Furthermore, he suggests that volcanics found outside the Bladen region came from Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 179-191. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize

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Epigraphy in Southern Belize Figure 1. Plan Map of Uxbenkas Central Stela Plaza (Modified after Leve nthal 1992: Figure 11.1). the Ek Xux valley, suggesting that Ek Xux was also an agent for exporting volcanic goods (Abramiuk 2004: 66). Abramiuks analysis of dozens of ground stone tools from sites like Altun Ha, Baking Pot, Caledonia, Lubaantun, Seibal, Tikal, and Xunantunich confirm that many of the ground stone tools originated in the Bladen Drainage. Theses findi ngs reaffirm Shipley and Grahams (1987) earlier contention that the upper and lower Bladen communities of the Southern Maya Mountains Region were actively engaged in both inter/intra-regional resource exploitation and exchange during the Late and Terminal Classic Periods (2004:67). The Maya Mountains are home to a variety of raw materials used by the ancient Maya, many of which were widely believed to have come from far distant locations; primarily the Guatemalan Highlands. The Maya Mountains are the only significant mountains range in th e southeastern Maya Lowlands and they sit atop an ancient uplifted geological fault composed of Late Paleozoic sedimentary and volcanic rocks belonging to the Santa Rosa Group (Abramiuk 2004:53). Among other resources, there are huge deposits of granite, volcanics, volcaniclastics, mudstones, siltstone, and limestone used for grinding stones; pyrites, slate, and hematite for mirrors; high quality clays for ceramics; and a host of other minerals for pigments. Chert and obsidian are two resources noticeably absent from the geolog ical record of the southern Maya Mountains Nearly all of the obsidian found at sites throughout the Maya Mountains have been sourced through neutron activation or x-ray fluorescence to three distinct sources: El Chayal, San Martin Jilotepque, and Ixtepeque, all located in the Highlands of Guatemala (Graham 1994:90; McKillop and Jackson 1989:62). Trade and exchange appears to have been an important economic and political mechanism for the rise and prosperity of sites in this region. Given the wide variation in the distribution and appearance of both local and non-local natural resources in th is region suggests that resource procurement and exchange may have been the main economic stimulus for the development and growth of polities and trade routes in the Southern Maya Mountains Region. The Site of Uxbenka Uxbenka or Old Place (Figure 1) as it is known to the local Mopan Maya, was discovered in 1984 by the Southern Belize Archaeological Project (SBAP). Located near the modern village of Santa Cruz, some 15 km east of the Guatemala border, the site is spread atop a series of steeply sided north/south ridge tops th at form the southern foothills of the Maya Mountains. Outlying portions of the site, known as Santa Cruz North and East, were previously reported by 180

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Phillip Wanyerka Ha mmond (1975:289-290) in 1971 as part of his comprehensive archaeological investigations of Lubaantun. Unfortunately, the SBAP conducted only limited archaeological investigations in 1989 and 1990. Nearly all of their efforts were aimed at investigating the central stela plaza where the remains of more than twenty-two stelae three Early Classic in origin were identified (Leventhal 1990, 1992). Based on the architecture, the appearance of a royal tomb, and the number of stelae, the stelae plaza group itself appears to be the ceremonial core for U xbenkas ruling elite. The stela plaza group is situated atop a steep natural hill that has been intentionally modified to create the illusion of a larger labor-intensive construction. The entire south face of this hilltop has been artificially faced with large rough-cut stones. A central stairway leading up from the south end of the plaza is the only access to this group. The hilltop itself was leveled to create a large open plaza area and is surrounded by six irregular-placed structures (Strs. 1-6), the largest of which is Structure 1 located to the north that features flanking east/west terraces. All of the stelae at the site are in poor condition, having suffered the ill effects of looting and continued exposure to the elements. The majority of the stelae appear to have been erected along two east/west lines facing, ou tward to the south, in front of Structure 1 (Figure 1). A third line of monuments was also erected along the west side of the stelae plaza, stretching along the eastern face of Structures 2 and 3. Two additional stelae were located along the south face of the medial terrace leading up to the stelae plaza. In total, there are eleven carved stelae at Uxbenka, most of which date to the Late Clas sic Period. In addition, there are ten miscellaneous carved sculpture fragments, most of whic h appear to be Early Classic in origin (see Wanyerka 2003, 2004). It is also critical to note that there are more than 80 broken monument fragments scattered around the stela plaza. Unfortunately, most of these fragments have been moved from their original locations, but given the inordinate number of stelae and stelae fragments at the site suggests that Uxbenka, like its neig hbor Nim Li Punit, were notorious monument builders. Early Classic Evidence of Macro-political Intrusion in Southern Belize Both archaeological and epigraphic evidence confirms that Uxbenka, like many of its Early Classic neighbors in the central Peten, emerged on the political scene during the late 4th century. The emergence of Uxbenka as a primary, emblem glyph-bearing polity, corresponds directly to the sudden emergence and prosperity of Tikal as the preeminent hegemonic power of this era. The presence of subordinate glyphic expressions on several monuments erected at sites located in the en virons of Tikal, like Bejucal, El Zapote, Uaxacatun, Uolantun, Xultun, and Yaxha clearly indicate that these polities were subject to Tikal control during this era (Mathe ws 1985; Schele and Freidel 1990). Uxbenkas rise may have been facilitated by the central Peten as both a key strategic ally an d as an intermediary for exchange between the southeastern Maya Lowlands and Tikal. Uxbenka is strategically located near the Rio Blanco drainage that extends westward unimpeded into eastern Guatemala. This drainage system, still utilized by Mopan and Qeqchi traders today, allows for easy access around the southern flank of the Maya Mountains. By avoiding a direct route through the mountains, movement of raw or finished goods could easily be transported overland or by the various waterways to sites throughout the central Peten and Petexbatun regions. Therefore, Uxbenka may have been established as a resource procurement or 181

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Epigraphy in Southern Belize distribution center for ei ther raw m aterials or finished products coming from extraction or processing sites within the interior of the Maya Mountains (Wanyerka 2004). The archaeological evidence for an Early Classic component at Uxbenka can best be seen in the stratigraphic record of the stela plaza itself that features two plaster floors; an lower floor corresponding to the Early Classic Period and an upper floor corresponding to a la ter Late Classic construction (Jamison et al. 1991:2). Several of the stelae in front of Str.1 were clearly set into this lower floor during the Early Classic Period floor at the time of its initial construction. Stela 7 also included a unique dedicatory cache cont aining a large quantity of chert flakes, obsidian prismatic blades, and several chert eccentrics (Jamison et al. 1991:3; SBAP Excavation Forms dated 4/18/1990). Coe (1962:498) noted that similar caches of this type have been observed with many of the Early Classic stelae at Tikal. The SBAP also reported the presence of eroded, but highly diagnostic, Early Classic ceramics, most of which consist of large and small basal flange sherds (Jamison et al. 1991:3). The paste associated with these basal flange sherds includes a high proportion of calcite and ferruginous nodules, a laminar appearance, and thick firing cores that was noticeable Figure 2. A detailed analysis and comparison of Uxbenka Stela 11 and Tikal Stela 31 (All drawings by John Montgomery). 182

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Phillip Wanyerka di fferent from the La te Classic ceramic assemblage from the site (ibid.). In addition, the slip associated with these sherds appeared to be an intermediate form on the continuum from the Late Preclassic waxy wares to the gloss of the Classic in the central Peten (ibid). While the ceramic sample is admittedly small, the presence of these Early Classic ceramics clearly indicate an Early Classic component and presence at Uxbenka. The stratigraphy associated with Uxbenkas largest stru cture (Str. 1) also suggests an Early Classi c date. According to Jamison et al. (1991:4), the Early Classic plaza floor extends to the lowest step of an earlier central building within Structure 1 suggesting an Early Classic date for its initial construction. The stratigraphy associated with a massive looters trench, along the south side of Structure 1, revealed that the original construction probably incorporated three separate buildings similar in shape and form to that of Str. A-V of Uaxactun (ibid). At some point during the Late Classic Period, a much larger superstructure was bu ilt over these three buildings representing the final building phase of Str. 1. The archaeology shows that the Early Classic com ponent of the site appears to be restricted to the stelae plaza group itself. Turning to the epigraphic evidence, it is clear ba sed on the early style of iconography, the pose of the rulers, and the appearance of a well-known Early Classic rulers name, that at least three of the twenty two stelae at Uxbenka are Early Classic Period in origin (Wanyerka 1996, 2003, 2004). Stela 11, 18, and 21 are clearly the earliest monuments in southern Belize and some of the earliest outside the central Peten. The historical im portance of at least two of these monument s (Stela 11 and 21) cannot be understated for they contain profound information concerning one of the most controversial hi storical events in Mesoamerican history: that being the arrival of the Teotihuacanoes in A.D. 378. Proskouriakoff (1993) was the first serious scholar to suggest that this important date (8.17.1.4.12 11 Eb 15 Mak) signaled a dramatic change and departure from the existing socio-religi ous, political, and military ideology that profoundly impacted and changed Maya society. This date signifies the start of a rapid and sudden appearance of Teotihuacan-style iconography, architecture, and artifacts at sites throughout the Maya Lowlands. Though space prohibits a full discussion of the historical events surrounding the Teotihuacan arrival event here, a number of important articles have been written describing the circumstances surrounding the arrival event and the resulting change to the dynastic order of sites throughout the Maya Lowlands (Coggins 1975, 1979; Schele and Freidel 1990; Stuart 2000). However, based on new interpretations of the hieroglyphic inscriptions of Uxbenka, a new and exciting additional piece of historical information has been found that explicit ly links Uxbenka to both Tikal and to the infamous entrada event. This new epigraphic data, though provisional, suggests that Uxbenka, an emblem glyph-bearing polity in its own right, was probably the first vassal dependency in the southern Maya Mountains region subject to the greater Tikal sphere. The implications further suggest that Uxbenka could have been founded under the aegis of Tikals Early Classic hegemonic expa nsion during the late 4th century either by Chak Tok Ichaak I or his immediate successor Yax Nuun Ayiin. While our understanding of the macropolitical environment of the southern Maya Mountains region is well documented for the Late Classic where hegemonic power and intrusion were clearly emanating from both Copan and Quirigua, little is known for the 183

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Epigraphy in Southern Belize Early Classic (see Grube et al. 1999; Wanyerka 2003, 2004). These findings suggest that a dram atic and profound political and hegemoni c shift occurred just prior to the beginning of the Late Classic Period that loosened Tikals grip and influence in this region. Beginning around A.D. 600, dozens of new sites, including the emblem glyph-bearing sites of Lubaantun, Nim Li Punit, and Pusilha, suddenly appear on the southern Belize landscape with clearly established ties to the southeastern Maya Lowlands. What precipitated this dramatic turn in political affiliations and hegemonies is unclear, but we do know from the epigraphic record that Tikal was actively engaged in keeping its hegemonic network in the central Peten intact while succumbing to riveting defeats by its archenemy Calakmul. Perhaps the most important link connecting Uxbenka to Tikal can be found on Stela 11. Stela 11 was discovered by the SBAP in 1984, in three pieces, lying facedown near the northeastern corner of Str. 2. Carved on its surface is an elaborate portrait of an Early Cl assic ruler standing atop a toponymic locati on with a short ten glyph-block text runnin g along the left edge of the monument. Perhaps the most recognizable feature on Stela 11 is the Jaguar Paw motif hanging from the rulers royal belt assemblage. Schele was the first scholar to recognize th e significan ce of this rare and unusual motif as that of the 14th ruler of the Tikal dynasty Chak Tok Ichaak I or Great Jaguar Paw (Leventhal and Schele n.d. 6). This iconic motif appears on only two other monuments associated with Chak Tok Ichaak I; Tikal Stela 39 and Uolantun Stela 1 (Figure 3). Additional support for this identific ation can be seen in the actual glyphic expressions of the Chak Tok Ichaak Is name phrase (Figure 4). There are at least nine examples of this name recorded at Tikal and its environs. Two of these examples (Tikal Stela 39 and Corozal Stela 1) clearly show the inclusion of the Founders name of the Tikal dynasty, Yax Ehb Xook, as part of his formal regal name phrase. Both names also appear on the belt assemblage portrayed on Uxbenka Stela 11 and thus there is no question that the name featured on Stela 11 is that of the 14th ruler of the Tikal dynasty Chak Tok Ichaak I. The appearance of this motif on a monument in southern Belize may be another in a growing list of examples of what Simon Martin (2000:58) believes was the intentional movement, displacement, or exiling of existing royal monuments from the site of Tikal to peripheral sites following the Teotihuacan entrada. Martin suggests that the movement and placement of these pre-378 monuments to sites in the periphery may represent a pattern where the king demonstrated his authority over distant outliers by placing m onuments in their midst (2000:58). This type of exiling behavior has been documented at other sites during the Early Classic such as El Encanto (Stela 1), Corozal (Stela 1), El Temblor (Stela 1), and Uolantun (Stela 1) (Martin 2000: 51). In addition, all of Chak Tok Ichaaks accession monuments were found at distant peripheral sites outside Tikal, those being Corozal Stela 1 and El Temblor Stela 1. It is also critical to remember that all of Tikals pre-378 monuments were discovered broken, displaced, and ritually cached in secondary deposits scattered around site core (Martin and Grube 2000:30). The importation of monumental sculpture is also we ll-documented in the archaeological record of sites like Naranjo. Peter Mathews was the first to recognize that the main protagonist featured on the Naranjo Hieroglyphic Stairway was the king of Caracol Kan II. An additional piece of the Naranjo hieroglyphi c stairway was also found at Ucanal suggesting that some 184

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Phillip Wanyerka monum ental sculpture may actually represent conquest-trophies which were taken back to the victo rs site as spoils of war (Martin 2000:58). Thus, given the explicit Peten-style of carving, their condition, and the name of Chak Tok Ichaak I recorded on Stela 11, it would not be surprising to learn that these monuments may have been exiled from Tikal. Martin also correlates the movement of monumental art with a literal movement of people (2000:59) and the glyphic text on Uxbenka Stela 11 may provide direct evidence that this may have been the case. Though poorly preserved, the text on Stela 11 appears to describe the resulting consequence of the Teotihuacan entrada to the ruling elite of Tikal. The text states that aj mijin the people of noble descent och bih enters the road which is in fact, an accurate description of the carnage that presumably occurred at Tikal on the very day of the Teotihuacan arrival (Figure 5). Coincidentally, the text on Tikal Stela 31 is explicit in the fact th at on the very day of Siyaj Kahks arrival the current king of Tikal (Chak Tok Ich aak I) died. Though, the agent presiding over the reference to the death of the people of noble descent on Stela 11 is completely missing today, the remains of a small Tikal emblem glyph can be seen in the upper right -hand corner of the Figure 3. Monuments featuring the Chak Tok Ichaak I motif (All drawings by J. Montgomery except for Uolantun Stela 1, drawing by William Coe). 185

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Epigraphy in Southern Belize Figure 4. Chak Tok Ichaak Is extended name phrase (All drawings by John Montgomery). last glyph block. Although lacking a precise Long Count date, the appearance of the Chak Tok Ichaak name, along with its early iconographic style, and accompanying hieroglyphic text, strongly suggests that Stela 11 was created at or near 8.17.1.4.12 perhaps as a funerary monument to commemorate the death of Chak Tok Ichaak I. This unusual and explicit reference recorded on a monument located some 120 km southeast of Tikal at the small site of Uxbenka is extremely curious. It may simply represent another monument exiling as Martin pr oposes for many of the pre-378 monuments at Tikal, but it may also signify something completely different. Certainly, the ruling elite at Tikal would have received word of the impending approach of the Teot ihucanoes in January of 378. It is doubtful that the aristocracy would have been caught off guard. Therefore, it is also likely that perhaps members of the aristocracy fled Tikal prior to or shortly after the carnage began. Realizing that they had no place to hide in the central Peten, it is possible that some of Tikals aristocracy may have sought refuge in southern Belize. Th is could explain the close similarity in sculptural style and it may help to explain why the death of Chak Tok Ichaak I was mentioned here at Uxbenka. It is important to emphasis that on the very day of this arrival even t at Tikal, Chak Tok Ichaak I, in his 18th year in reign suddenly and without explanation dies. Not only is the current king of Tikal presumably killed, but he is replaced by a ne w dynastic order with a new successor line. Remembering that all of the dynastic monuments erected prior to 378 were also destroyed and others dispersed to distant pe ripheral sites provides strong evidence that the entrada event was truly a violent episode resulting in the complete and total upheaval of the existing political order. Stela 21 is another Early Classic monument at Uxbenka that may provide additional support of a Tikal presence in southern Belize (Figure 6). Again, based on the early prose and iconographic program that features a portrait of a finely attired ruler cradling an undulating double-headed serpent bar, Stela 21 is clearly Early Classic in origin. The monument, while broken, features an intriguing sh ort glyphic text that again includes the mijin glyph followed by preposition mal. Together this passage reads u-mijin mal meaning within noble descent which can be taken as further evidence that the text on Stela 21 may be referring to the same episode as that recorded on Stela 11. A previously unrecognized fragment of Stela 21 (formerly known as MT #1) contains an Early Classic version of the tuun-overhand expression read u-kal-aw tuun meaning the stone/year was bound or wrapped. This statement can either refer to the wrapping of the stela as a ritual activity as a means of protecting and containing the divine holiness embodied within the stone itself or else as a direct 186

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Phillip Wanyerka reference to a m ajor katun-ending. Although the monument is clearly broken and no further calendrical information survives, one could speculate that this verbal expression may actually refer to either the 8.17/8.18/ or 8.19.0.0.0 period ending. The last of the Early Classic monuments at Uxbenka is Stela 18 that features an elaborate portrait of a ruler wearing the personified headdress of Skycracker Chaak who is holding a rigid double-headed serpent bar (Wanyerka 1996). The Skycracker Chaak headdress consists of a twisted hank of rope running down the side of the face that may or may not contain a small skeletal head, an elaborate chinstrap assemblage decorated with mat signs, large earspools, and a unique shell ornament. Similar versions of this costume can clearly be seen on Tikal Stelae 31 and 40. Stela 18 contains the vestiges of a short glyphic text that can be seen along the right side of the m onument. Unfortunately, due to the severity of erosion nothing can be read today. Figure 5. The text of Uxbenka Stela 11 (Drawing by J. Montgomery). Summary and Concluding Remarks Both archaeology and epigraphy confirm that Uxbenka was founded in the late 4th century and fully participated in same monument erecting traditions and iconographic programs as the rest of the 187

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Epigraphy in Southern Belize Maya Lowlands. Though now eroded, the presence of its own em blem glyph on Stela 22 clearly indicates that the rulers of Uxbenka viewed themselves as divine lords. Furthermore, the text of Stela 22, a Late Classic monument dating to 9.16.0.0.0 2 Ajaw 13 Sek (5 May 751), features an interesting and curious spelling of the month name Sek. During the Classic Period, the month name Sek in all of the Cholan languages was kasew (spelled glyphically as ka-se-wa ). However, the example recorded here at Uxbenka clearly lacks the ka prefix indicating a pure Yukate kan spelling of Sek. Similar spellings of the month name Sek have been found in the codices perhaps indicating that a form of Yukatekan, perhaps Mopan, was spoken at the site during the Late Classic Period. This may coincide with the dramatic shift in the political allegiances and affiliations that occurred at sites throughout the region just prior to the start of the Late Classic Period. The hieroglyphic inscriptions of southern Belize may also provide further insights as to the possible ethnicity of the populations in the region and may be the fundamental underlying cause of all the internal antagoni stic tensions among the various sites in the region. Epigraphic and linguistic analysis all the hieroglyphic texts in the Southe rn Maya Mountains Region seems to indicate that at least three Figure 6. Uxbenka, Stela 21 (Drawing by J. Montgomery). 188

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Phillip Wanyerka distin ct linguistic boundaries may have existed in the regi on during the Classic Period based on lexicon and verbal morphology (see Wanyerka 1999, 2004). These differences in the epigraphic repertoire of sites in this region may reflect differences in the langua ges of its speakers. Little is known of the exact linguistic boundaries during Classic times, but new evidence is beginning to show that language and ethnicity may have b een a critical factor in the formation of political alliances and the establishment of hegem onic networks in the Southern Maya Mountains Region. Uxbenkas three Earl y Classic stelae are clearly then earliest monuments in southern Belize and some of the earliest monuments outside th e central Peten. Together, these monuments are now providing new and important historical insights as to the nature and formation of an early macro-political environment in the Southern Maya Mountains Region. The archaeology confirms that many of the sites located in this region were actively engaged in resource exploitation and exchange. Uxbenkas rise appears to coincide directly with Tikals Early Classic rise as the preeminent political and hegemonic power of the era. Strategically located to facilitate the movement of goods between the interior of the Maya Mountains and the rest of the Maya Lowlands, the in credible number of stelae and stelae fragment s at the site clearly indicate that Uxbenka prospered well into the Late Classic Period. Furthermore, new interpretations of Uxbenkas Early Classic texts clearly link the earl y history of the site to Tikals 14th ruler Chak Tok Ichaak I and to the famous Teotihuacan arrival event. These new insights, while controversial, hint of strong hegemonic ties between the Southern Maya Mountains Region and the central Peten during the Early Classic Period. Acknowledgements: First I would like to thank Dr. Jaime Awe, Mr. George Thompson, and the rest of the Institute of Archaeology, Belize for the invitation to present this paper. I also wish to thank Sandy Noble of F.A.M.S.I. for their generous support of the Southern Belize Epigraphic Project in 2001. I would also like to acknowledge the fo llowing individuals for their help, guidanc e, and support of my current research in Belize: Peter Dunham (Director of the MMAP), Richard Leventhal (Director of the SBAP), Juan Pedro Laporte (Atlas Arqueolgico de Guatemala), John Montgomery, Jack Sulak, and Keith Prufer. References Cited Abramiuk, Marc A. 2004 Cognitive Implications of an Economic Approach to Classic Maya Exchange. Ph.D dissertation, Institute of Archaeology, University College London). Coe, William R. 1962 A Summary of Excavation and Research at Tikal, Guatemala: 1956-1961. American Antiquity 45(4):479-507. Coggins, Clemency C. 1975 Painting and Drawing Styles at Tikal: An Historical and Iconographic Reconstruction. Ph.D dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1979 A New Order and the Role of the Calendar: Some Characteristics of the Middle Classic period at Tikal. In Maya Archaeology and Ethnohistory edited by Norman Hammond and Gordon R. Willey, pp.38-50. University of Texas Press, Austin. Dunham, Peter S., Thomas R. Jamison, and Richard Leventhal 1989 Secondary Development and Settlement Economics: The Classic Maya of Southern Belize. In Research in Economic Anthropology, Supplement 4 (Prehistoric Maya Economies of Belize). JAI Press Inc. Greenwich, Connecticut. 189

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Epigraphy in Southern Belize Graham, Elizabeth 1987 Resource Diversity in Belize and Its Implications for Models of Lowland Trade. American Antiquity 52(4): 753-767. 1994 The Highlands of the Lowlands: Environment and Archaeology in the Stann Creek District, Belize, Central America. Monographs in World Archaeology, No. 19. Prehistory Press, Madison, Wisconsin. Grube, Nikolai, Barbara MacLeod, and Phil Wanyerka 1999 A Commentary on the Hieroglyphic Inscriptions of Nim Li Punit, Belize. In Research Reports on Ancient Maya Writing No. 41. Center for Maya Research, Washington, D.C. Hammond, Norman 1975 Lubaantun: A Classic Maya Realm. Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology No. 2. Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Jamison, Thomas R., Richard Leventhal, and Robin A. Robertson 1991 Maya Sociopolitical Organization: The Study of Uxbenka, and Outlying Center. (Paper presented at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, April 24-28, 1991, New Orleans, Louisiana). Laporte, Juan Pedro, and Hector Eduardo Meja 2000 Registro De Sitios Arqueologicos Del Sureste De Peten. Altlas Arqueolgico De Guatemala, Reporte 14. Instituto de Antropologa e Historia, Guatemala. Leventhal, Richard M. 1990 Southern Beli ze: An Ancient Maya Region. In Vision and Revision in Maya Studies edited by Flora Clancy and Peter Harrison, pp.125-141. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 1992 The Development of a Regional Tradition in Southern Belize. In New Theories on the Ancient Maya edited by E.C. Danien and R. J. Sharer, pp 145-153. The University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Leventhal, Richard M., and Linda Schele n.d. The Ancient Maya Center of Uxbenka, Belize. Manuscript in possession of the author. MacKinnon, J. Jefferson 1989 Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Prehistoric Settlement, Procurement, and Exchange on the Coast and Cays of Southern Belize. Ph.D dissertation. University of Wisconsin, Madison. Un iversity Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Martin, Simon 2000 At The Periphery: The Movement, Modification, and Re-Use of Early Monuments in the Environs of Tikal. In The Sacred and the Profane: Architecture and Identity in the Maya Lowlands, edited by P.R. Colas, K. Delve ndahl, M. Kuhnert, and A. Schubart, pp. 51-61. Verlag Anton Sauwein, Germany. Martin, Simon, and Nikolai Grube 2000 Chronicle of Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya. Thames and Hudson, London. Mathews, Peter 1985 Early Classic Monuments and Inscriptions. In A Consideration of the Early Classic Period in the Maya Lowlands edited by Gordon R. Willey and Peter Mathews, pp 5-55. Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, Publication 10. State University of New York at Albany. McKillop, Heather, and Paul F. Healy, eds. 1989 Coastal Maya Trade. Trent University. Peterborough, Ontario. McKillop, Heather, and Lawrence J. Jackson 1989 Maya Obsidian Sources and Trade Routes. In Coastal Maya Trade, edited by Heather McKillop and Paul F. Healy, pp 5978. Trent University. Peterborough, Ontario. Proskouriakoff, Tatiana 1993 Maya History edited by Rosemary A. Joyce. University of Texas Press, Austin. 190

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Phillip Wanyerka Prufer, Keith, and Phil Wanyerka 2001 The Maya Mo untains Archaeological Project, 1992-2000: A Regional Investigation of Late Classic Settlement and Economy. (Paper presented at the 66th Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, April 22, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana). Schele, Linda, and David Freidel 1990 A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya. William Morrow, New York. Shipley, William E., and Elizabeth Graham 1987 Petrographic Analysis and Preliminary Source Identification of Selected Stone Artifacts from the Maya Sites of Seibal and Uaxactun. Journal of Archaeological Science 14:367-383. Stuart, David 2000 The Arrival of Strangers: Teotihuacan and Tollan in Classic Maya History. In Mesoamericas Classic Heritage, edited by David Carrasco, Lindsey Jones and Scott Sessions, pp.465-513. Westview Press, Boulder. Wanyerka, Phillip J. 1996 The Carved Monuments of Uxbenka, Toledo District, Belize. Mexicon 28(2): 2935. 1999 The Language of the Nim Li Punit Inscriptions. Unpublished MA Research Paper, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. 2003 The Southern Belize Epigraphic Project: The Hieroglyphic Inscriptions of Southern Belize. (A Final Report Submitted to FAMSI and the Department of Archaeology, Belize). 2004 Classic Maya Political Organization: Archaeological and Epigraphic Evidence of Macro-Political Organization in Southern Belize and Adjacent Southeastern Guatemala. PhD dissertation. Department of Anthropology, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. 191

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13 CIVAL, LA SUFRICAYA AND HOLMUL: THE LONG HISTORY OF MAYA POLITICAL POWER AND SETTLEMENT IN THE HOLMUL REGION Francisco Estrada-Belli This paper summarizes results of ongoing research in the Holmul region, a Maya kingdom strategically located between the central Peten and the Belize coastal areas. The beginning of ritual and political activity at the newly found site of Cival reaching back to the Middle Preclassic period attests to a surpri singly early development of Lowland Maya civilization in this area. Patterns of monumental sculpture, iconography and public architecture are among the earliest evidence of centraliz ed power and ideology for Lowland Maya kingship. Excavations of an Early Classic palace at La Sufricaya and a small temple at Holmul, document the emergence of Holmul as a Classic Maya dynastic center and attest to its participation in the Maya-Teotihuacan relationships with Tikal and Uaxactun. Finally, excavations at Holmuls palace and main plaza r eveal a Late Classic flourish and ensuing demise during the Terminal Classic period and may lin k the sites fate to major war events in the late history of the Maya Lowlands. Introduction This essay outlines general trends in the cultural-history of Maya polities in the Holmul region of the NE Peten discovered during five seasons of fieldwork by the Vanderbilt University Holmul Archaeological Project. In 1991, Harvard Universitys Raymond Merwin pioneered work at Holmul establishing that: the site had a long sequence from the Late Preclassic to the Late Classic; there was a Protoclassic florescence of elaborate burials; and that there was a new flores cence in the Late Classic period, with elaborate polychrome ceramic styles, and palace architecture. Ninety years after Merwins first excavations, many basic questions about this great site remained unanswered. The size of the site was unknown and there wasnt any indication of how the site fit within the Peten region as a civic/ceremonial center. Along with answering these questions the Holmul Archaeological Project has sought to learn more about the intriguing Protoclassic ceramic florescence so peculiar to Holmul and to the eastern part of the Maya Lowlands. For us, Holmul, with its relatively long sequence of development, a geographically well defined hinterland and numerous surrounding minor centers, presented an excellent laboratory to explore how the ancient Maya negotiated power relations within the city and between cities using natural and built landscapes. Defining the Holmul Polity and its Hinte rland In 2000 we began a regional survey with GIS mapping and satellite image analysis designed to understand Holmuls history within its geographical and cultural setting (Figure 1). Our implementation of GIS and satellite data attempted to solve the problem of tunnel vision, a frequent problem for Peten Mayanists as we are forced to look at settlements and inter-settlement areas through narrow transects in the thick forest. The survey determined that Holmul was the center of a large political domain closely corresponding to a broad upland ridge bounded by the Ho lmul River to the Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 193-207. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize

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Political Power and Settlement in Holmul Region east and w etlands and escarpments to the south, west and north. Within this welldefined geographical se tting, a number of other centers are located within an hourswalk from Holmul: Ko, Riverona and Tot. The new site of Cival was discovered thanks in part to Ian Grahams maps, and finding its signature lagoon on a LANDSAT image. Having a GIS algorithm find optimal paths though the terrain around Holmul we discovered two other si tes, Haha Kab and Hamontun (Estrada-Belli 2003). The survey made it clear that all sites were located on defensible locations looking out towards the swamps that encircle Holmul. Indicating that defense was an important function of these sites in addition to cont rol of rural resources. The mapping project, undertaken by Jason Gonzalez and later by Kristen Gardella has shown that Holmul itself has a sprawling settlement area indicative of a large city (Estrada-Belli 2003, Gardella 2004). Gardellas transects have extended to a distance of 4 km without finding a decrease in the dens ity of housing (Figure 1). As the peripheral ce nters are only 5 km from Holmul it is clear that most of the upland area and perhaps the edges of the bajos surrounding it were all continuously occupied in the late period. What is also striking about the transect data is the great frequency of high-quality masonry buildings and formal plaza groups in the residential/rural areas. The largest and most complex of these groups appears to be nodes for the administration of the rural resources, one tier below the minor centers. We saw a similar hierarchical arrangement of nodes around La Milpa, Beli ze suggesting a very tightly organized rura l hinterland, down to Figure 1. Map of Holmul study region derived from radar topography (courtesy NASA 1999), showing known sites, extent of mapped transects and GPS points. 194

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F. Estrada-Belli the sm allest territorial unit, that of the household group (Tourtellot et al. 2003). The high point of Holmul was in the 8th and 9th centuries, although new major construction in the main groups did not continue after the end of the 8th century. In Group III, the main palace, several middens were found within the sunken patio of Court B (Figure 2). It is likely that the last occupants of the palaces only used part of the complex leaving other parts in ruin. By about A.D. 900 this palace was finally abandoned, as was the rest of the city. The settlement data suggests a collapse of central authority and of the ru ral elites around A.D. 800, after which a population of farmers lingered at and around Holmul for about 100 years. Recently, Harvard University student Alex Tokovinine brought to our attention a monument at Tikal depicting a captive lord, Chak Tok Wayib, from the region of Naranjo (Tokovinine 2005). Chak Tok Wayib was a Naranjo lord who had claimed independence in a kingdom nearby after the destruction of Naranjo by Tikal in A.D. 744. Because the name or title Chak Tok Wayib now occurs in two separate contexts at Holmul and La Sufricaya, in the Early Classic, we believe that this could be a common title in the Holmul line indicating that Holmul was where the last Naranjo lord was captured. Tokovinines suggestion would explain the sudden end in major construction, and the slow disappearance of elites from the palaces in the century following A.D. 748. His excavation later confirmed the existence of a Late Classic defensive wall across the main plaza. The Preclassic Antecedents of Holmul While the reasons for Holm ul demise were becoming clearer, many question about its initial occupation remained unclear. We initially expected to find early occupation at Holmul because of its location on the river, which provided a natural path for colonizers to the interior from the coast (Estrada-Belli 2002). I have previously argued that Holmul has one of the longest occupation sequences in the Peten dating from the Middle Preclassic to the Terminal Classic (EstradaBelli 2002). I should clarify that this is correct only so far when we examine Holmuls culture history from a regional perspective and not as a single site. The histories of Holmul and its minor centers are intricately linked and each cannot be understood independently of the others. Merwins sequence for Holmul begins with the Holmul I Protoclassic phase and our probing in the Holmul plazas has found no occupation predating the Late Preclassic period. We however, have found several foci of occupation dating to the Middle Preclassic. These have been located, primarily, outside of Holmul at the minor centers of Tot and especially at Cival (Merwin and Vaillant 1932, Estrada-Belli 2000, Kosakowsky 2001). Cival is an impressive ceremonial center with broader plaz as and larger temple buildings than even Holmul. The site is located only 6.5 km north of Holmul. (Figure 1). Evan Farley, a 9-year-old member of the first group of extreme ecotourists to visit the site this past April asked me a most interesting question. How could these two large sites co-exist in such a small area? We believe they are not contemporary and that the buildings at Cival largely predate anything seen at Holmul. In addition, Cival plazas are enclosed by a stone wall several meters high (Figure 3). Preliminary data indicate that the wall was built sometime at the onset of the Early Classic period and we surmise that the ceremonial area, at least, was abandoned after a violent attack. We know Cival had been a place for Maya ritual and public architecture since 195

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Political Power and Settlement in Holmul Region Middle Preclassic times, and remained so for at least 800 years. Its beginnings are documented by Molly Morgans and Jeremy Bauers spectacular finds in the main plaza, which is a functional E-Group, one of the largest and oldest in the Lowlands (Bauer 2005, Estrada-Belli 2003, Estrada-Belli et al. 2003). The E-Group center line is aligned to the equinox. The first evidence of ritual activity dates to about 500 B.C. and consists of large cruciform cu t into bedrock, with five water jars, five upright celts and 114 jade pebbles. The se cond ritualistic event uncovered was the erection of a large broken stela in the centerline of the eastern platform, followed by the construction of a rectangular platform in front of this eastern building and finally the erection of a carved stela. Figure 2. Map of Holmul, as of 2003 show ing wall enclosure in eastern plaza. Drawing by F. Estrada-Belli, Survey by F. Estrada-Belli, J. Gonzalez and M. Wolf. The sym bolism of the E-Group offerings has multiple aspects and is fascinating. All offerings were placed in the centerline of the E-Group, whose azimuth points to 87 degrees or virtually due east. The jars and jade offerings strongly refer to water and maize symbolism and the 196

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F. Estrada-Belli cruciform shape references the cosmos and the quadripartite divi sions of the calendar (Figure 4). As Taube (2000) has noted, among the Olmec, jade celts represent sprouting corn plants. Their position in a quincunx represents cosmological order and the axis mundi often personified in the ruler (Reilly 1986). Jade pebbles also may relate to river pebbles polished by water, or divination tools, as documented by M. Love in Pacific Coastal sites (M. Love pers. comm. 2004). In a recent article, Aveni and associates (Aveni et al. 2003) have pointed out the relationship between several EGroups solar alignments and groups of 20 day periods preceding the arrival of the rains, and it is possible that in its early versions our Cival E-group alignment had such an association. According to Coggins (n.d.), the Las Limas figure framed by 4 heads incised on shoulders and knees possibly representing ce lts has calendrical significance as the bi rth of the baby-jaguar or Maize deity may also signify the birth of a new (agricultural) cycle, or the birth of a new winal -based year in the Olmec creation Figure 3. Map of Cival, showing locations of Stela 2 and cruciform cache in the E-Group plaza, Str. 1 further to the east and defensive wall to the south. Survey by M. Wo lf and K. Gardella 2002, drawing by Estrada-Belli. 197

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Political Power and Settlement in Holmul Region Figure 4. Artistic reconstruc tion of Cival cruciform cache. Drawing by Joel Zovar. myth. The celebration of the winal was central to new year ceremonies among the Postclassic Yucatec Maya, and from Preclassic to Classic times the seating of a new ruler was celebrated as birth of a new winal -based year and the rebirth of the Maize god, all in one (Coggins n.d.). Thus, Civals cruciform cache and the quadripartite sun-oriented space of the EGroup in which it is loca ted clearly relate to the fundamental quadripartite construct of the Mesoamerican calendar and the agricultural cycle of maize. These two concepts were fused in the time-space cosmological vision that the earliest Maya rulers seem to have appropriated to form a new ideology of central authority. Moreover, a large wooden post was placed above the jade cache. Wooden posts, world trees and maize plants are often equated in Olmec and Maya iconography (Taube 2003). Maya and Olmec rulers often substituted wood posts as world trees, as in the famous statuette fr om Rio Pesquero, or Pacals sarcofagous lid (Reilley 1986), or as a center piece of a quincunx in Classic Maya stelae imagery and as in ritual landscapes such as the La Milpa cosmogram, of which the ceremonial core and the royal throne form the center (Tourtellot et al. 2000). In sum, at Cival we have a Middle Preclassic cruciform offering within an EGroup plaza that embodies agricultural and cosmological metaphors central to the ideology of Middle Prec lassic Olmec as well as Classic period Maya rulers. The wellstratified scores of offerings and floors found in this loca tion (Bauer 2005) document the development of Preclassic Maya dynastic ideology during the transition from the Middle to the Late Preclassic period. It appears that, among the Middle Preclassic Maya and Olmec, the earliest public rituals called for the burial of large amounts of jades in cruciform openings into the earth and the erection of world trees above symbols of maize and water. Cival Stela 2 was also found in this location (Figure 5). In Nikolai Grubes analysis, its style predates the earliest Preclassic monuments from Nakbe and El Mirador (Estrada-Belli et al. 2003). Molly Morgan and Jeremy Bauer found the most likely floor setting and dedicatory cache along the centerline of the eastern platform, Structure 7 (Estrada-Belli et al. 2003, Bauer 2005). According to cera mic seriation, this feature dates from about 300 to 200 B.C. So far, this monument is among the earliest carved portraits of a Lo wland Maya ruler. The ruler is depicted wearing a jade bird pectoral with three plaques, which is a symbol often worn by rulers on Preclassic monuments at Kaminaljuyu, Abaj Takalik and other early sites (Parsons 1986). Clemency Cogging notes that the striding position of early rulers signifies movement of time as the ruler is the embodiment of the winal of twenty days the most fundamental unit of the Maya calendar (Coggins n.d.). It is also worth noting that the stelas tapered shape recalls upturned jades celts such as those in the cruciform cache. Moreover, the image of the ruler on the front of the stela may symbolize a new form of world-tree set in this location. At the time of its dedication ca. 300-200 B.C., the ideological charter of Maya kings was in place. 198

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F. Estrada-Belli Figure 5. Cival Stela 2. Drawing by Nikolai Grube. In Preclassic times, and possibly coinciding with the erection of the Stela 2, a major construction proj ect was carried out on the east side of the Cival plaza. This involved the construction of a massive triadic temple group (Figure 3). Its imposing volume and position on the sites E-W centerline, made this new triadic group the most important focus of ritual performance at Cival for the remainder of the Late Preclassic period and underwent at least three major remodeling. Clearly the construction of this gr oup represents a major change in the scale and nature of ritual architecture at Cival, from horizontal to vertical, and from public to secluded, letting the audience from the plaza see the rituals carried out on top of the eastern temple only from a distance. An earlier construc tion stage of the eastern temple of the Triad was decorated with two large and identical stuccoed anthropomorphic masks (Figure 6). The down-turned L-shaped slit eye, single bifurcated tooth, cross-band signs on the cheeks, flame-eye brow motif and curled motif in the corner of the eye are its identifying characteristics. The L-shaped slit eye is often related to solar and sky deities. Moreover the slit eye and flaming-eye combination the Cival masks are similar to that of an unidentified bundled figure appearing in the San Bartolo mural and several examples of Olmec sky dragon/serpents (Taube et al. 2004; Figure 2). Unfortunately, the particular deity portrayed in this mask still eludes certain identification, although it is safe to say that it is a heavenly entity. On the other hand, two profile almond-eyed faces of Maize gods were found painted on the temple terrace aprons and in a block in the rubble above the masks, suggesting that this building as a whole was dedicated to a Maize-related cosmolog ical representation. These masks date to the early part of the Late Preclassic and have several contemporary paralle ls. One recently uncovered example is in Calakmul Str. 2, and probably depicts the Maize god (Montano 2002). However, there is clearly much variation in the representation of supernatural entities on Preclassic temple facades, making the identities of such entities elusive. In light of the above discussed EGroup offertory caches and monumental sculptures, it is apparent that the Middle and Late Preclassic rulers at Cival focused on maize symbolism to represent central authority, as did their Olmec neighbors. Civals architectural development culminated with the erection with a massive triadic complex probab ly dedicated to the reborn Maize god. 199

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Political Power and Settlement in Holmul Region After AD 100, the next major building of a ritual nature occurs in a different location, 7 km to the south, at Holmul. The reasons for the shift in location of temple architecture are the subject of ongoing research in the Holmul region. In Building B of Holmuls Group II, excavated by Raymond Merwin in 1911 are two possible royal bu rials dating to the Protoclassic period, ca. 150-250 A.D. In 2003, Nina Neivens excavated an even earlier tomb in the rubble core of this building. This burial was therefore coeval with or immediately following the end of dynastic rituals at Cival and suggests that this part of Holmul became the focus of royal ritual and burial place of the elites. Neivens excavation also revealed two earlier phases of this building that were undetected by Merwin and date to the end of the Late Preclassic (Neivens and EstradaBelli 2004). This appears to be the most elaborate temple at Holmul in Late Preclassic period. Its dimensions however are unimpressive when compared to coeval temples at Cival and suggest that Holmul in the Late Preclassic was no more than a secondary site in the orbit of Cival. Figure 6. South profile of axial excavation in Structure 1 sh owing sub-1 structure and as sociated stucco mask on north side of inset stairway. Drawing by Angel Castillo. In the Early Classic period, additional to mbs were placed in Building B. At the same time, little construction was carried out at Cival. According to the existing architectural evidence, by the 4th century all public ceremonial activities had ceased at Cival and religious and secular activities had shifted to Holmul. The reasons for this shift in the location of central authority ar e still unknown and may involve environmental a nd political factors. However, preliminary excavation data of the defensive wall encircling Cival indicates that it was built at the end of the Preclassic 200

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F. Estrada-Belli period and it m ay signal the end of Cival as a center of ritual and power. What is certain however is that Holmul became the largest center of power in this region for the next century or so. In the fifth century, Building B was enlarged and used to bury a total of 22 individuals before it was finally covered by a new structure sometime in the 6th century (Merwin and Vaillant 1932). With the exception of Building B in Group II, we have yet to find significant remains of public buildings and monuments in the Holmul site core that date to the fifth and sixth centuries, although these may be deeply buried under the massive Late Classic rubble fill of Group 1 and 2. In the western outskirts of the Holmul center, a small acropolis was bu ilt during this period. There we found a number of carved monuments with stylistic and calendar dates that span the lives of Tikals rulers Nuun Yax Ayiin and Siyaj Chan Kawiil. Of special interest, is Stela 6 (375-396 A.D.) in which Nikolai Grube has spotted the upended frog glyph of Siyaj Kahk or Smoking Frog (Grube 2003). Unfortunately, the Stela 6 seven-column inscription is too eroded to tell us whether Holmul was simply another city where th e Tikal warlord with Teotihuacan affiliation arrived, in a scenario similar to El Peru/Waka, Bejucal, Tikal, Uaxactun, and Ro Azul cases (Stuart 2000). However, a number of other pieces of evidence suggest that the people who lived at nearby La Sufricaya between A.D. 350 and 450 had strong connections with Teotihuacan. The most spectacular piece of evidence is a 2-m high and 5 m-long mural depicting scores of warriors holding atlatls and wearing Teotihuacan-style outfits (Figure 7). The composition is organized in redlined boxes and is similar to Postclassic Central Mexican codices. Green obsidian, and Teotihuacan-style cylinder tripods were also found in this st ructure (Estrada-Belli 2001, Foley 2005) Finally, another mural (mural 5) in a later part of this building depicted a several individuals involved in a scaffold sacrifice ritual. Evidence that this building was a royal palace of sorts is surprisingly scarce, as its layout did not conform to known patterns. We did however find two small throne-lik e benches just next to the mural room, strengthening the palace hypothesis (Estrada-Belli and Foley 2004, Foley 2005). In 2004, we uncovered two new painted walls (Foley 2005). The first one depicts a procession of Maya individuals from left to right. To the right is a Maya individual ascending a structure decorated with Mexican-style tablero frieze. In a separate room, a partially painted inscription records the famous 11 Eb 16 Mak date, according to epigrapher Alex Tokovinin. This could be part of a phrase commemorating the arrival of the Siyaj Kahk Teotihuacan warlord at Tikal (Tokovinine 2005). In a separate passage in the inscription is the name or title Chak Tok Wayib. This title possi bly refers to a local ruler whose name also occurs on an imitation blood letter s tingray spine from one of the tombs in Holmul Building B (Merwin and Vaillant 1932, plate 36e). Clearly this inscription could tell us a great deal about the ruling elite of La Sufricaya and Holmul and their connection with Teotihuacan when completely exposed and conserved. According to our current understanding of this building, it appears that the rooms in Structure 1 were used for official purposes rather than residences, however further evidence may show otherwise. While two throne-like benches were found, their dimensions are unusual and no definite signs of living quarters exist in this structure. Moreover, the evidence from all the rooms exposed to this date (13 rooms) indicates that this complex was built 201

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Political Power and Settlement in Holmul Region for an elite group that used Teo tihuacaninspired iconography fo r a relatively short time-span in the 5th century A.D. After 550 A.D., a third shift in the location of major elite architecture occurs with the erection of a large palace complex, Group III, and several temples at Holmul center. In 600 A.D. the city of Holmul and its dynasty experienced a period of great prosperity. Construction projects grew exponentially until the end of the Classic Period, when a possible siege (discussed at the beginning of this report) ended Holmuls importance as a center of elite power and ritual. Conclusions By approaching the history of urban and social developm ent at Holmul from a regional perspective we are better equipped to understand its beginn ings and its complex history than if we were using a site specific approach. It has become evident that the initial development of centralized power and dynastic ideology was at Cival, one of several Preclassic centers in this region. We are fortunate to have located a site in which the constant remodeling of the architecture and the deposition of many offerings clearly punctuate a steady increase in complexity and sophistication during the Middle and Late Preclassic periods. Figure 7. Artists reproduction of murals 1 and 2 in La Sufricaya Structure 1 Room 1. Drawing by Jena DeJuilio 2002. The Holm ul region also offers an excellent opportunity to study the long-term growth of central auth ority in a continuous sequence. Central power, as manifested in monumental architecture and carved inscriptions, was maintained without interruptions from the Preclassic to the end of the Classic period in this region, but not without radical shifts in location. First, at the end of the Preclassic, the regions main 202

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F. Estrada-Belli locus of ritual and power m oved from Cival to Holmul, then again, in the Early Classic, from (Holmul to La Su fricaya), and finally in the Late Classic, back to Holmul. It is likely that large-scale movements of the residential population accompanied the changes in the locations of ritual and secular power. Ongoing research will delineate out the residential settlements of each period and any signatures of their economic strategy left on the landscape. Both environmental factors and widespread political str uggles seem to be at play during the Terminal Preclassic, a time in which the geo-political organization of the Maya Lowlands underwent major changes. At this time, the El Mirador basin, Cerros, Becan and other sites were in decline. Conversely, Tikal was on the rise as a hegemonic power in the central Peten (Martin and Grube 2000, Harrison 1999). If further evidence will confirm the Late Preclassic date of Civals defensive wall, indeed this may indicate that the Cival rulers were defending themselves from a major siege such as those mounted by Tikal against other Maya ci ties. Although several other centers clearly existed in the Holmul region in the Preclassic, including Tot and Holmul itself, it is unlikely that any of Civals medium-to-small sized neighbors could constitute a real threat for this massive center. For a short period after Civals eclipse, between 150 and 350, Holmuls elite seem to have prospered and built elaborate burials in Building B, and Group II, by subsequent remodeling of the temple superstructure above them in the 200 years that followed. During the 4th and the 5th centuries a Teotihuacan-style iconography was adopted at specific locations in the southern Lowlands, including the Holmul region. Beginning around 375 A.D. a group of elites built a palace filled with foreign iconography and ruled over the Holmul region from La Sufricaya for about 100 years. A unique glimpse of the ritual events and protagonists of th e Teotihuacan-related entrada are located at La Sufricaya in the mural paintings of Structure 1. How those events and protagonists might be related to those of coeval Tikal, Uaxactun, Bejucal, El Peru/Waka and Rio Azul is difficult to determine at this time. In one conceivable scenario, a foreign elite group could have taken over the Holmul dynastic line. Alternatively, a local lineage could have usurped the power from pre-existing royal lineage backed by exclusive connections with the Tikal ruling lineage and perhaps even as far as Teotihuacan in central Mexico. Whatever the nature of this shortlived shift from the Holmul descent line, it was followed by a long term period of stability during which Holmul allied itself or fell under the aegis of Naranjo, as indicated by the ceramics and architectural similarities (Estrada-Belli 2003). The Holmul historical and archaeological record so far outlines a model of unusual longevity for central authority in a Lowland Maya polity from MiddlePreclassic to Late Classic times. It features constant relocation of th e center of ritual and power within the confines of a small and well-circumscribed region. In the Holmul region, we seem to have evidence that the fragile balance of power dotted by warfare and wide-ranging alliances typical of Classic Maya states was part of Maya political dynamics since the Preclassic period. Once defined, this model of shifting capitals will help perhaps identify which were the seeds of destruction of Maya civilization as well as its origins. Such a model may prove useful in other situations, such as why the focus of power and monumental buildings shifted from Nakbe to El Mirador during the Preclassic period and why the El Mirador 203

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Political Power and Settlement in Holmul Region center later m et an ab rupt end (Dunning et al. 1999), and a the same time, the relatively near neighboring city of Calakmul quickly rose to prominence (Guenter 2005, Martin and Grube 2000). At Tikal, radical shifts in the geographic location of dynastic temples did not occur. In the Early Classic period however, the ritual space of the Mundo Perdido and nearby residential groups were appropriated by a lineage with Teotihuacan connections (Laporte and Fialko 1986). At Copan, Yax Kuk Mos dynastic founders arrival and accession to power signaled the beginning of Teotihuacan style inspired architecture and iconography at the site. A new ritual space was built 200 m from the pre-existing Protoclassic ritual area. In the center of this space the Hunal temple served as its final resting place and the focal point for dynastic architecture in the century that followed (Traxler 2004, Fash and Fash 2000). These patterns of short-distance relocation of dynastic temples are predicted by Patricia McAnanys (1995) model of genealogy of place. According to this model, each time the lineage line of descent is terminated and a new lineage rises to power, a new founding event is required, with a new ancestral place and a new ancestral past to be created ad hoc by the founder and perpetuated by his successors. On the other hand, environmental research in the Peten wetlands has shown that these fragile ecosystems were very productive and intensiv ely exploited in the Preclassic and may have suddenly become unproductive by the end of the that period. Consequently, Early Classic populations may have shifted their focus to upland soils and artificial water re servoirs for ecological reasons (Dunning et al. 1999). Were the centers of Cival, La Sufricaya and Holmul successive royal seats of a single lineage in search of an ecologically suitable location or of competing lineages rising to power? How were these major changes in the Holmul region related to the changes at Tikal and other Lowland sites in the Early Classic? Ongoing research on the ancient environment and history of Holmul will likely give us the answer to these questions. Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Dr. Jaime Awe for inviting us to participate to the Second Belize Archeology Symposium. Special tha nks also to Dr. John Morris for editing a first draft of this paper. The field work summarized in this chapter was completed thanks to support from National Geographic Society, The Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies Inc., The Ahau Foundation, ARB-USA, Warn, PIAA, Interco Tire and an anonymous donor and the hard work of 70 Holmul staff members. References Cited Aveni, A. F., A.S. Dowd, and B. Vining 2003 Maya calendar reform? Evidence from orientations of specialized architectural assemblages. Ancient Antiquity 14(2): 159178. Bauer, J. 2005 El Pasado Preclsico y Monumental de Holmul: Resultados de las Temporadas de Excavacin 2003 y 2004 en Cival, Petn. In XVIII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueolgicas en Guatemala J.P Laporte, Barbara Arroyo, Hector Escobedo and Hector Mejia (eds.). Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte, Guatemala. Coggins, C.C. n.d. The Measure of Man. Festshrift in honor of Antony Aveni. Dunning, N., V. Scarborough, F. Valdez Jr., S. Luzzader-Beach, T. Beach, and J. G. Jones. 1999 Temple mountains, sacred lakes, and fertile fields: ancient Maya landscapes in northwestern Belize. Antiquity 73 (1999):650-60. 204

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F. Estrada-Belli Estrada-Belli, F. 2000 Archaeological Investigations at Holmul, Guatemala. Report of the first field season, May-June 2000. Report submitted to National Geographic Society and FAMSI. Online version, URL: http://www.famsi.org/reports/98010/index.ht ml 2001 Proyecto Holmul, 2001. Resultados de la Segunda temporada de investigaciones. Paper presented at the XV Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueolgicas en Guatemala. Museo Naci onal de Arqueologa y Etnologa, July 20-24. 2002 Anatoma de una ciudad Maya: Holmul. Resultados de Investigaciones arqueolgicas en 2000 y 2001. Mexicon XXIV(5): 107112. 2003 Anatomia de Holmul: Su ciudad y territorio. In XVI Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueolgicas en Guatemala J.P. Laporte, B. Arroyo, H. Escobedo, H. Meja (eds). pp. 265-274. Museo Nacional de Arqueologa y Etnologa, Guatemala Estrada-Belli, F. and Jennifer Foley 2004 Arqueologa e historia de enlaces geopolticos: El Clsico Temprano en La Sufricaya. In XVII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueolgicas en Guatemala J.P. Laporte, H. Escobedo, B. Arroyo, and H. Mejia (eds.) pp. 863-870. Museo Nacional de Arqueologa y Etnologa, Guatemala. Estrada-Belli, F., N. Grube, M. Wolf, K. Gardella, and C. Guerra-Librero 2003a Preclassic Maya monuments and temples at Cival, Petn, Guatemala. Antiquity 77 (296) URL http://antiquity.ac.uk/ProjGall/belli/belli.htm Fash, W. L. and B. W. Fash 2000 Teotihuacan and the Maya: A Classic Heritage. In Mesoamericas Classic Heritage. From Teotihuacan to the Aztecs D. Carrasco, L. Jones, and S. Sessions (eds.) pp. 433-64. Boulder: University of Colorado Press. Foley J. M. 2005 En busca de la poblacin Clasico Temprano en La Sufricaya: Excavaciones de 2004 In XVIII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueolgicas en Guatemala J.P Laporte, Barbara Arroyo, Hector Escobedo and Hector Mejia (eds.). Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte Guatemala. Gardella, Kristen 2004 The settlement survey of Holmul: mapping the community and its landscape. Paper presented at the 69th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Montreal, Quebec, April 4, 2004. Guenter, S. 2005 Gobernantes Preclasicos de la Cuenca Mirador. In XVIII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueologicas en Guatemala J.P. Laporte, B. Arroyo, H. Escobedo and H. Mejia (eds.). Museo Nacional de Arqueologia y Etnologa, Guatenala. Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes, Guatemala. Grube, N. 2003 Monumentos jeroglficos de Holmul, Peten, Guatemala. In XVI Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueolgicas en Guatemala J.P. Laporte, B. Arroyo, H. Escobedo, H. Meja (eds). pp. 701-710. Museo Nacional de Arqueologa y Etnologa, Guatemala. Harrison, P. D. 1999 The Lords of Tikal New York: Thames and Hudson. Kosa kowsky, L. J. 2001 The ceramic sequence from Holmul, Guatemala. Preliminary results from the year 2000 season. Mexicon XXIII (4):85-91 Laporte, J. P. and V. Fialko 1989 New Perspectives on Old Problems: Dynastic References for the Early Classic at Tikal. In Vision and Revision in Maya Studies F. Clancy and P. Harrison (eds.), pp. 33-66. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. McAnany, P. A. 1995 Living with the Ancestors. Austin: University of Texas Press. 205

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Political Power and Settlement in Holmul Region Martin, S. and N. Grube 2000 Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens New York: Thames and Hudson. Merwin R.E and G. .Vaillant 1932 The Ruins of Holmul. Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, vol. III no. 2. Cambridge: Harvard University. Montano Garfias, E. 2002 Importante hallazgo de un friso en la zona arqueolgica de Calakmul. La Jornada 10 de Diciembre 2002. Mexico City: Universidad Autonoma de Mexico. http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2002/dic02/02 1211/07an1cul.php?origen=index.html Stuart, David 2000 The Arrival of Strangers: Teotihuacan and Tollan in Classic Maya History. In Mesoamericas Classic Heritage. D. Carrasco, L. Jones, and S. Sessions (eds.) pp. 465-513. Boulder: University Press of Colorado. Neivens, N. D. and F. Estrada-Belli 2004 Back to Square one: Re-examining the Protoclassic Maya in Building B, Group II, Holmul. Paper presented at the 69th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Montreal. Parsons, L. A. 1986 The Origins of Maya Art: Monumental Sculpture of Kaminaljuyu, Guatemala and the Southern Pacific Coast. Studies in Precolumbian Art and Archaeology, No. 28. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Reilly, K. III 1986 Olmec Iconographic influences on the symbols of Maya rulership: an examination of possible sources. In Sixth Palenque Roundtable M. Greene-Robertson and V. Fields (eds.) pp. 151-166. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press Taube, K. 2000 Lightning Celts and Corn Fetishes: The Formative and the Development of Maize Symbolism in Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. In Olmec Art and Archaeology in Mesoamerica. J.E. Clark and M. E. Pye (eds.) pp. 297-338. Studies in the History of Art n. 58. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New Haven: Yale University Press. 2003 Ancient and Contemporary Maya Conceptions about Field and Forest. In The Lowland Maya. Three Millennia at the Human-Wildland Interface. A. GomezPompa, M. F. Allen, S. L. Fedich, J.J. Jimenez-Osornio, (eds.) pp. 461-492. New York: The Haworth Press. Taube, K., W. Saturno and D. S. Stuart 2004 Identificacin mitolgica de los personajes en el muro norte de la piramide de Las Pinturas sub-1, San Bartolo, Petn. In XVII Simposio de Investigaciones Arqueologicas en Guatemala. J.P. Laporte, B. Arroyo H. Escobedo, H. E. Mejia (eds.) pp. 871-880. Guatemala: Museo Nacional de Arqueologa y Etnologa, Ministerio de Cultura y Deportes, Asociacin Tikal. Tokovinine, A. 2005 New Epigraphic data from La Sufricaya and its significance. Mexicon Tomasic, J. and Estrada Belli, F. 2003 Nuevos datos sobre el Clasico Temprano en el area de Holmul: el caso de La Sufricaya. In XVI Simposio de Investigaciones de Arqueolgicas en Guatemala J.P. Laporte, B. Arroyo, H. Escobedo, H. Meja (eds). pp. 275-280. Museo Nacional de Arqueologa y Etnologa, Guatemala. Tourtellot, G., F. Estrad a-Belli, J. Rose and N. Hammond 2003 Late Classic Maya Heterarchy, Hierarchy, and Landscape at La Milpa, Belize In Heterarchy, Political Economy, and the Ancient Maya: The Three Rivers Region of the East-Central Yucatan Peninsula V. L. Scarborough, F. Valdez, Jr., and N. Dunning (eds.) pp. 37-51.Tucson: Arizona University Press. Tourtellot, M. Wolf, F. Estrada Belli & Norman Hammond 2000 Discovery of two predicted Ancient Maya sites in Belize. Antiquity 74 (2000):481-2. 206

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F. Estrada-Belli Traxler, L. P. 2004 Redesigning Copan: Early Architecture of the Polity Center. In Understanding Early Classic Copan E.E. Bell, M. A. Canuto, and R. J. Sharer (eds.) pp. 53-64. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. 207

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SECTION TWO: HISTORIC AL AND COLONIAL PERIOD ARCHAEOLOGY

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14 IDENTIFYING THE LATE POSTCLASSIC-COLONIAL TRANSITION IN BELIZE: RESULTS OF THE 2003 FIELD SEASON AT THE SITE OF LAMANAI IN NORTHERN BELIZE Darcy Lynn Wiewall Overall, the three-part research strategy integrated tr aditional methods of survey with methods appropriate to the location and identification of sub-surface platforms, activity and refuse depos its, such as an intensive posthole excavation program combined with recovery of non-observ able remains through soil chemical residues. The survey resulted in the identification of a number of previously unidentified features that have potential for understanding the Late Postclassic-Colonial transition. Variation in the frequency and distribution of artifacts and phosphate levels throughout the survey area, revealed in the posthol e excavations, appear to indica te the location of potential house lots and their associated activity and refuse areas. This chapter discusses the first phase of my dissertation res earch at the site of Lamanai in northern Belize (Figure 1). My aim is to obtain information on the nature of Maya household organization, and my research has been designed to provide a case study for testing curren t models of Maya social organization through an examination of the impact of the Spanish State on the organization of Maya household production and gender relations. Spanish colonization was a catalyst for change in indigenous societies and it ha d profound effects on household organization, particularly the gender relations of pr oduction (e.g., Nash 1980). Archaeological studies focusing on the transition from the Late Postclassic to the Colonial period have begun to demonstrate the impact of the Spanish State on Maya household producers and local production systems (Graham 1991; Kepecs 1998). Understanding how the impact of Spanish contact affected the daily lives of Maya people is important to our understanding of the co lonial experience. Changes in household organization are therefore critical in understanding this experience. The central question of my research is as follows: Are the hierarchical gender relations of production apparent today in Maya households a legacy of pre-Columbian gender constructions or did colonialism impact household economies, resulting in changes in gender relations between Maya men and women? In or der to answer this question I would need to locate house lots as defined by Killion (1992) and others, that date to both the Late Postclassic (ca. A.D. 1450-1545) and Spanish Co lonial (ca. A.D. 1546-1650) periods. Thus, the objectives of the 2003 field investigations were to identify house lots occupied during these two time periods. Though both time periods under investigation are difficult to identify and to distinguish between th em, they have one common problem: struct ures are virtually invisible on the ground surface. Identifying Late Postclassic and Spanish Colonial deposits is problematic because many structures dating to th ese time periods do not form mounds and lack ar tifact scatter on the Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 211-221. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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Lamanai 2003 Season Figure 1. Belize and the Location of Lamanai (from Pendergast 1991:Fig. 16-1). surface to indicate construction below. As a result, entire complexes of structures and features may be just centimeters below the surface (Chase 1993:201). At other times, a few stones protruding above the ground surface may be the only indication of a lineof-stone foundation (Pendergast 1985:3). Under the best of circumstances, an amorphous rise of less than 10 cm above ground surface may indicate a platform (Graham 1991:320). Therefore, traditional archaeological survey methods focused on mounds and aggregates of mounds are not adequate to the task of locating structures dating to the Late Postclassic and Spanish Colonial periods, all of which could easily fall into the category commonly referred to as vacant terrain (e.g., Ball and Kelsay 1992; Pyburn 1989). Pendergast, Jones, and Graham (1993) pointed out the difficulties in Belize in identifying and distinguishing between the Late Postclassic and Spanish Colonial periods. Specifically, they recognized the need to integrate traditional methods of survey that is the recording of mounds and artifact scatters with a variety of excavation strategies to locate deposits that may lie entirely hidden just beneath the ground surface. In order to locate invisible deposits in vacant terrain, a three-part research strategy was devised that combined multiple methods. The following sections of this chapter describe the methods and results of the survey and post-holing strategy developed to locate house lots at Lamanai. First, I will discuss the systematic survey and mapping portion of the field season, which sought to locate house lots by visible low platforms, line-of-stone foundations, and artifact scatters. The second section discusses the posthole sampling strategy, which sought to locate house lots and their components by identifica tion of sub-surface features and artifact densities. Next, soil samples were collected from each posthole in order assess the va riation in phosphate levels for the purpose of locating possible garden, refuse, and activity areas. In summary, combining these three independent lines of evidence the survey results, artifact densities, and phosphate levels provided distinct spatial patterns on the landscape that contributed to identifying house lots that elud e surface detection. Field Methods and Results of the Systematic Survey The survey portion of the 2003 field season consisted of systematic survey and mapping, which sought to locate house lots by visible low platforms, line-of-stone foundations, and artifact scatters. The focus of the research was centered on the N11 and N12 grid blocks, where Late Postclassic (LPC) and Spanish Colonial (SP) Period archaeological deposits had previously been 212

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D. Wiewall identified. A system atic survey of the northeast area of the grid, approximately 200 m (E-W) x 575 m (N-S), was completed. A survey grid was established using the southwest corner of Structure N1213 (the second Spanish Church) as the 0,0 benchmark; it was from this point that both the North and East baselines were established. Using a Sokkia (KT5) transit and a 100 m tape to mark their locations, wooden stakes identified by their grid coordinates were placed every 25 m along each baseline. The North baseline extended 575 m to the north and the East baseline extended 80 m to the east of the 0,0 benchmark. Parallel tr ansects (often called brechas) oriented along east-west lines and spaced at 25 m intervals were cut and cleared through the de nse undergrowth that characterizes this portion of the site. Each brecha was further cleared of heavy leaf litter, completely exposing the ground surface. Each transect measured approximately 2 m in width and varied from 75-175 m in length. Pin flags identified by their grid coordinates were placed every 25 m along each survey transect and wooden stakes were placed at each 100 m. A total of 24 brechas were cut in the northeast grid. Mound sites, rock alignments, terraces, artifact scatte r, and other features located during survey were described and plotted onto the existing site map. During the survey, 13 previously documented structures were relocated. Thirty-six new features, primarily consisting of linear rock alignments, were described and recorded relative to their grid coordinates Many of these were determined to be of modern construction, the product of mid-1980s occupation of the site by refugees. Nineteen of the new features on twelve transects were provisionally determined to belong to the LPC-SC periods based on construction techniques and recovered artifacts. Of these, five features (Feature N525/E175, N500/E175, N425/E10, N350/E40 and N25/E60) had the most common attributes that linked them to the time periods under investigation and were subsequently further investigated, and will be briefly discussed below (Figure 2). During the survey eight segments of rock alignments running on a north/south axis along the lagoon edge were observed. The northernmost segments, Features N525/E175 and N500/N170, are a rock alignment that combines natural limestone boulder outcroppings with constructed modified stone segments connecting the boulders. The connecting sections comprise a 2-3 coursed mixture of large and small stones. The stones range from approximately 30-50 cm in length, 20-30 cm in width and 10-20 cm in height. These alignments do not form straight vertical sections, but follow the contours of the land. During exposure, ceramic and lithic materials that are typical markers of the Cib Phase (Late Postclassic) to Yglesias Phase (Terminal PostclassicColonial) (Graham 1987:88-95; Simmons 2002) were recovered. A similar type of rock alignment construction was obs erved at Feature N25/E60, which also combines natural limestone boulder outcroppings with constructed stone segments. The alignment extends north to the N50 transect were it stops just short (ca. 1 m) of connecting to the southeast corner of Structure N12-17. To the south, the line-of-stones splits into two parts with both continuing to the 0 baseline, approximately 10 meters apart. The northern portion is constructed of limestone boulders with a single course of larger stones placed in between so that th e alignment follows the topography. The stones range from approximately 60-80 cm in length, 25-40 cm in width and at least 20-30 cm in height. The stones were not completely exposed so at this time their full height is unknown. The southern portion is composed of a single 213

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Lamanai 2003 Season Figure 2. New Features Located during Survey and Discussed in the Text. 214

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D. Wiewall course of small stones ranging from approximately 20-40 cm in length, 10-15 cm in width and 10-20 cm in height. Several may have been slightly modified/shaped. Both Yglesias Phase ceramics and Spanish olive jar fragments (Graham 1987:91-95; Lister and Lister 1987:132-137)were collected during clea ring. A line of three stones protruding less than 5 cm above the existing ground surface and running north south revealed Feature N425/E10. Exposing this feature disclosed a large U-shaped lineof-stones approximately 18 m on the north boundary, 15 m on the south and 20 m on the east section of stones. Clearing did not locate a western boundary. On the northern and southern portions of the alignment most of the stones range from approximately 80110 cm in length, 35-50 cm in width and at least 20-30 cm in he ight. No excavations have taken place below the uppermost portion of these large limestone boulders, so their vertical extent is not known at this point. Several of the la rger stones appear to be natural limestone bedrock outcroppings, which have been slightly modified. On the east side, the facing is composed of a series of smaller rectangular blocks ranging from approximately 20-40 cm in length, 10-15 cm in width and 10-20 cm in height that have been slightly modified/shaped. The large limestone rocks may be base courses, which were placed as the initial bed or foundation for construction of a low, single course platform. At this time no upper course is present and no facing stones were observed during this initial phase of investigation. Yglesias Phase ceramics (Graham 1987:9195) were identified during clearing. This platform is located approximately 65 m north of Structure N11-18, which appears to have been the principal Contact period residence (Pendergast 1985, 1991:348). Feature N350/E40 consists of a lowplatform (7 m x 7.5 m x 1 m) with a small section of a cobblestone pavement (2 m x 3 m), adjacent to the northeast corner. The north and east sides of the platform face are composed of 3-5 courses of small cut stones. This platform is located approximately 35 m east of Structure N11-18 (Pendergast 1985, 1991:348). Cobblestone pavement areas, composed of river stones and mixtures of shaped and unshaped limestone, are characteristic of the periods under investigation. These areas appear to have served as exterior walkways between houses, courtyards, or other usable but not necessarily enclosed spaces (Graham 1991:321-323). Artifacts collected from the surface belong to Yglesias Phase ceramics and Spanish olive jar fragments (Graham 1987:91-95; Lister an d Lister 1987:132137). Posthole Sampling Strategy of the NE Survey Grid The secon d half of the field investigations consisted of a two-part posthole sampling stra tegy. First, posthole excavation was conducted every 25 m on each of the east-west survey transects to locate house lots and their components by detecting sub-surface features, refuse, and activity areas (Figure 2). Second, soil samples were collected from each posthole to determine relative phosphorous content of soils to identify potential refuse and garden areas. Following the example set by Cynthia Robin (1999:122) at Chan Noohol, Belize, four attributes were recorded for each posthole test: (1) distance to bedrock or other impenetrable surface; (2) soil texture and color; (3) quantity of artifacts, and (4) weight of artifacts. Attributes 3 and 4 (artifact quantities and weights) were used to suggest the location of potential activity areas, refuse areas, and vacant areas. In conjunction with a ttributes 3 and 4, a qualitative assessment of stone quantity in posthole sidewalls was used to suggest the presence of core from low platforms in 215

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Lamanai 2003 Season surface-invisible subs tructures. Attributes 1 and 2 (soil depth, texture, and color) in conjunction with all other attributes were used to suggest possible garden areas. One hundred and thirteen postholes were excavated with a total of 2,001 ceramic, 301 bone, 245 lithic, 43 glass, 23 metal, and 5 shell artifacts recove red. Sixteen of these postholes had diagnosti c ceramic or lithic artifacts dating to the Late PostclassicSpanish Colonial periods (Graham 1987:8895; Simmons 2002). Artifact densities varied throughout the survey area, which suggested the presence of several potential activity, refuse, and vacant areas. Total artifact frequencies per posthole test clustered in four groups. The first cluster, 0-11 (low) artifacts per posthole test, and the second cluster, 12-24 (sparse) artifacts per posthole test, contained small, worn, and broken debris. These two clusters made up the majority (71%) of the posthole tests. The thir d cluster (8%), 25-37 (moderate) artifacts pe r posthole test, and the fourth cluster ( 21%), 38-84 (high) artifacts per posthole te st, contained larger pieces of debris in frequencies that could correspond to moderate and heavy refuse deposits. The artifacts recovered contained a typical array of domes tic artifacts, including sherds, chert objects, obsidian, net sinkers, and faunal material. Identifying possible garden areas based on attributes 1 and 2 (soil depth, texture, and color) was quite difficult. Soil texture and color was consistent throughout the northeast survey area and varied from brown clay loam to clay depending on the proximity to bedrock. Soil texture and color varied in postholes with the heaviest densities of artifacts often becoming darker, sticky clay. This is probably the result of the addition of organic resi dues to the soil. Soil depth varied, ranging from 14 cm to 57 cm with the average depth being 33 cm. Seventy-five percent (1 1 out of 17) of the deepest postholes are located in vacant terrain whereas the remainder are located within 25 m of structures. Not surprisingly, the seven deepest postholes also produced the heaviest densities of artifacts and diagnostic artifacts. As for locating sub-surface features, posthole sampling was very successful. Several postholes expos ed what appears to be core of platforms or ancillary structures. However, the most important feature exposed during post-holing was Feature N25/E50, located just east of the second Spanish Church (Figure 2). The N25/E50 posthole revealed a vertical rock alignment composed of two parallel facing stones 1015 cm apart. Upon clearing the feature, it became apparent that the posthole would have been located at the center point of a semi-circular feature with a diameter of 7.8 m with the open end of the curve facing east toward the lagoon. The stones are generally roughly square or rectangular in shape and measure 20-30 cm in length, 10-15 cm in width, and 10-15 cm in height. On the outside or convex side of the alignment are concentrations of small, unmodified pieces of limestone. Both of these architectural elements have strong similarities to architectural constructions of fifteenthcentury or later remains at Lamanai (Pendergast 1985; Pendergast, Jones, and Graham 1993:70; Simmons and Howard 2003:35-48). Both Yglesias Phase ceramics and Spanish olive jar fragments were recovered. In additi on, one copper pig was recovered at the midpoint of the semicircular feature and another copper pig was detected to the northwest of the feature by Scott Simmons, University of North Carolina, Wilmington using a Garrett Master Hunter metal detector Ongoing research by Simmons has identified copper metallurgy that dates to the Terminal PostclassicColonial Period at Lamanai (Simmons and Howard 2003:63-68). 216

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D. Wiewall Phosphate Testing As an additional line of evidence, soil sam ples were collected from each posthole to determine relative phosphorous content of soils in order to provide an independent chemical measure of anthropogenic soil modification as outlined by Terry and colleague s (2000). Studies of anthropogenic soils in the Maya area have focused on phosphorous because elevated phosphorous levels can result from numerous human activities which add organic waste to soils; these activities include adding fertilizer, refuse disposal, or cooking (e.g., Ball and Kelsay 1992; Robin 1999: Chapter 5). Soil phosphorous levels increase in areas of human habitation, and leave a permanent signature that can only be removed by erosion of the soil. For example, high phosphate levels could indicate the location of garden or refuse areas, whereas, low phosphate levels could indicate areas of heavy traffic, such as pathways and entry areas to buildings. Following Robins (1999:122) example, soil samples for phosphate testing were collected from three locations within each posthole: (1) below the root zone, at the level of ancient occupation; (2) 0.1 m above bedrock or other impenetrable surface; and (3) from the center of the posthole, if the depth was greater than 0.3 m. Chemical phosphate testing was conducted on 207 soil samples taken from the postholes in the northeast grid survey. The author followed the basic procedures outlined by Terry et al. (2000) with some minor adjustments. A Hach Phosphate Pocket Colorimeter Model 46700-06 was used. This colorimeter is factory calibrated to measure phosphate levels from 0 to 3.30 mg/L, which allows for quick and reliable testing in a field laboratory. The phosphate levels varied quite dramatically throughout the survey area, from 0.0 to 5.20 mg/L. Phosphate levels were separated into four groups: Group 1:Low (0-0.99 mg/L), Group 2: Sparse (1.01.99 mg/L), Group 3: Moderate (2.0-2.99 mg/L), and Group 4: High (3.0+ mg/L). For the purpose of this research I was most interested in the phosphate variations within the first 10-20 cm of ground surface because deposits related to th e LPC and EC periods are most often found w ithin these levels (Pendergast 1985; Simmons and Howard 2003). Figure 3 reflects these phosphate concentrations with the average center depth being 18 cm. Discussion Combining the three lines of evidence the survey results, artifact densities, and phosphate levels revealed distinct spatial patterns on the landscape. Five broad divisions we re identified (Figure 3). The shaded areas on the map indicate variations in artifact densities and phosphate levels that suggest the location of house lots and their surrounding activity areas. Work by Killion and others has demonstrated that four broad sub-divisions in contemporary house lot spacescleared entry area, outdoor work areas, refuse areas, and garden areasare identifiable in archaeological contexts based on distinctive material and chemical signatures that become embedded in the ground surface (e.g., Barba and Ortiz 1992; Killion 1992; Robin 1999). Areas of low phosphate and low artifact density are interpreted as high traffic areas, such as entryways or pathways, areas where people would have swept clean both organic and inorganic remains (e.g., Barba and Ortiz 1992). Robin (1999) found that this cleared area was consistently on a single side of a residence group and corresponded to the architectural front of the building in all but one instance. Areas of elevated phosphorous levels (2 and 3) and low artifact density (0-11) suggest outdoor work or activity areas. Here people worked 217

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Lamanai 2003 Season Figure 3. Spatial Patterns in the Survey Area. 218

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D. Wiewall on food pr eparation and consumption and ceramic and stone tool production, which resulted in elevated phosphorous levels and small pieces of work debris being embedded into the ground despit e sweeping. Areas of high phosphorous concentrations (levels 3 and 4) and artifact densities that are low (011) to sparse (12-24), suggest garden areas. In some contemporary communities garden areas are cleaned of hard inorganic refuse, in others, farmers deposit low quantities of hard garbage in garden areas to assist in plant growth (Hayden and Cannon 1983; Killion 1992). The variation seen here may be a result of individual gardening preferences. Refuse areas as indicated by high phosphate concentrations and high artifact densities are a result food and other organic waste and di sposal production debris from work areas. The survey revealed four features that appear to be built-up occupational surfaces (N500/E175, N525/E170, and N25/E60) or single-course faced platforms (N425/E10). At N500/E175, N525/E170, and N25/E60 the ancient Maya used the potential of the sloping terrain to construct low stone alignments that connected low bedrock outcrops. By following the contours of the land they were able to create large, leveled spaces that may very well have served as locations for house lots and their surrounding activity areas. In fact, these spaces probably held multiple house lots or at least house lots with more than one residence. However, combining the artifact and phosphate signatures with the survey data offered a greater clarity in discerning activity patterns on the landscape. For example, three distinct spatial patterns can be observed in the area located west of features N500/E175 and N525/E170. The first pattern indicates high phosphate concentrations with high artifact densities and suggests potential refuse areas. The artifacts recovered contained a typical array of domestic artifacts, including sherds, chert flake tools and debita ge, net sinkers, and faunal material. In addition, two Yglesias bowl fragments, one wi th a diagnostic slitfoot base, were recove red. To the south of this area, low phosphate and low artifact densities suggest entryways or pathways. This may indicate cleared area in front of one, or several, structures. The final area is comprised of elevated phosphate concentrations with sparse artifact density suggesting the location of gardens or the possibility of activity areas. The area that encompasses N425/E10 and N350/E50 has elevated phosphorous levels (2 and 3) and low artifact density (0-11), which suggests outdoor work or activity areas. Several other structures belonging to the Terminal Postclassic and Early Co lonial periods have been identified in this area, including the cacique house (Pendergast 1985; Simmons and Howard 2003). Robin (1999) noted that work areas are located in spaces within 20 m of residences. This also appears to be the case at Lamanai. Several other distinct areas can be seen in proximity to this work area. To the east is an area that may have served as a pathway to the lagoon. The phosphate concentrations here ar e barely discernable and the ceramic fragments are minute. On the landscape in southern portion of the survey area are several isolated areas with high phosphate concentrations and high artifact concentrations or high phosphate with low artifact concentrations. These areas may correspond to refuse areas or garden areas that are not directly associated with surface features. Summary The Phase I field season in 2003 was a success. Th e purpose of the Phase I field season was to locate house lots that dated to both the Late Postclas sic and Early Spanish Colonial Periods. The survey resulted in the 219

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Lamanai 2003 Season identification of a number of pr eviously unidentified features th at have potential for revealing information about household production during the Late PostclassicColonial transition. Posthole excavations revealed that the fre quency and distribution of artifacts and phosph ate levels are quite varied throughout the survey area, which suggests that potential activity areas, refuse areas, and vacant areas are not directly associated with surface features. In fact, the postholes with the highest artifact densities and most varied artifact assemblages are located in vacant terrain. Furthermore, the identification of the semi-circular feature that was hidden ju st below the ground surface attests to the value of a posthole testing strategy. Ceramic, lithic, and metal artifacts that were recovered from new features and posthol e excavations have typical markers of the Cib Phase (Late Postclassic) to Yglesias Phase (Terminal Postclassic-Colonial Period), which suggests that these areas were occupied during the periods under investigation and appear promising in terms of their potential to yield additional information on household production at Lamanai. Further testing and excavation in the areas discussed above are in progress. Methodologically, my research strategy integrates recently developed techniques of data collection with traditional techniques, and thereby provides a broad range of data bearing on the structur e and organization of Maya society. Research designs of the type being implemented here can go far in defining and differentia ting how the impact of Spanish colonial policies affected Maya household organization, division of labor, and gender relations, during a critical, but rarely addressed, transi tion in Maya history. Acknowledgements. I would like to heartily thank Elizabeth Graham and Scott Fedick for all their support over the past years, in particular, for their editorial comments on this paper. Elizabeth Graham has given me strong and very welcome encouragement in pursuing my interests in Spanish Colonial research in Belize. Scott Fedick has firmly supported all of my re search interests and his advice and guidance are very much appreciated. Much heartfelt thanks to my field crew, Los Sompopos, Jorge Vasquez, Geovanni Arevelo, Ventura Juarez, and Jose Vasquez, without their assistance none of this would have been possible. Many people are due my thanks for this research: John Morris, the staff at the Institute of Archaeology, the community of Indian Church, Kathy Sorensen for her assistance with ArcView, and my American, Canadian, and Belizean project colleagues. Funding for this project was made through support from Women in Coalition, Department of Womens Studies and th e Graduate Division at the University of California at Riverside. References Cited Ball, Joseph W., and Richalene G. Kelsay 1992 Prehistoric Intrasettlement Land Use and Residual Soil Phosphate Levels in the Upper Belize Valley, Central America. In Gardens of Prehistory: The Archaeology of Settlement Agriculture in Greater Mesoamerica edited by Thomas W. Killion, pp. 234-262. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa. Barba, Luis Barba, and Agustin Ortiz 1992 Anlisis qumico de pisos de ocupacin un caso etnogrfico en Tlaxcala, Mxico Latin American Antiquity 3:63-82. Chase, Diane Z. 1993 The Invisible Maya: Population History and Archaeology at Santa Rita Corozal. In Precolumbian Population History in the Maya Lowlands edited by T. Patrick Culbert and Don S. Rice, pp. 199-213. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 220

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D. Wiewall Graham, Elizabeth A. 1987 Terminal Classic to Early Historic Period Vessel Forms from Belize. In Maya Ceramics edited by Prudence M. Rice and Robert J. Sharer, pp. 73-98. BAR International Series 345, British Archaeological Reports, Oxford. 1991 Archaeological Insights into Colonial Period Maya Life at Tipu, Belize. In Spanish Borderlands in Pan-American Perspective, edited by David H. Thomas, pp. 319-335. Columbian Consequences, vol. III. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. Hayden, Brian, and A. Cannon 1983 Where the Ga rbage Goes: Refuse Disposal in the Maya Highlands. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 2:117-167. Kepecs, Susan 1998 Diachronic Ceramic Evidence and Its Social Implications in the Chikinchel Region, Northeast Yucatan, Mexico. Ancient Mesoamerica 9:121-135. Killion, Thomas W. 1992 Residential Ethno archaeology and Ancient Site Structure: Contemporary Farming and Prehistoric Settlement Agriculture at Matacapan, Veracruz, Mexico. In Gardens of Prehistory: The Archaeology of Settlement Agriculture in Greater Mesoamerica edited by T. W. Killion, pp.119-149. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa. Lister, Florence C., an d Robert H. Lister 1987 Ceramics in Spain and New Spain: A Cultural Register from the Third Century B.C. to 1700. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. Nash, June 1980 Aztec Women: The Transition from Status to Class in Empire and Colony. In Women and Colonization edited by Mona Etiennne and Eleanor Leacock, pp. 134-148. J.F. Bergin Publishers, New York. Pendergast, David M. 1985 Lamanai 1984: Digging in the Dooryards. Royal Ontario Museum Archaeological Newsletter (series II), No. 6. Toronto, Canada. 1991 The Southern Maya Lowlands Contact Experience: The View from Lamanai, Belize. In Spanish Borderlands in PanAmerican Perspective, edited by David H. Thomas, pp. 337-354. Columbian Consequences, vol. III. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C. Pendergast, David M., Grant D. Jones, and Elizabeth Graham 1993 Locating Maya Lowlands Spanish Colonial Towns: A Case Study from Belize. Latin American Antiquity 4:59-73. Pyburn, K. Anne 1989 Prehistoric Maya Community and Settlement at Nohmul, Belize BAR International Series 509. British Archaeological Reports, Oxford. Robin, Cynthia 1999 Towards an Archaeology of Everyday Life: Maya Farmers of Chan Nohol and Dos Chombitos Cikin, Belize. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor. Simmons, Scott E. 2002 Late Postclassic-Spanish Colonial Period Stone Tool Technology in the So uthern Maya Lowland Area: The View from Lamanai and Tipu, Belize. Lithic Technology 27:47-72. Simmons, Scott E., and Laura Howard 2003 Preliminary Report of the 2001-2002 Field Seasons at Lamanai, Belize: The Maya Archaeometallurgy Project and Lamanai Archaeological Project Field School. Report Submitted to Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. Terry, Richard R., Perry J. Hardin, Stephen D. Houston, Sheldon D. Nelson, Mark W. Jackson, Jared Carr, and Jacob Parnell 2000 Quantitative Phosphorous Measurement: A Field Test Procedur e for Archaeological Site Analysis at Piedras Negras, Guatemala. Geoarchaeology15 (2): 151-166. 221

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15 LATE POSTCLASSIC-COLONIAL PERIOD MAYA SETTLEMENT ON THE WEST SHORE OF PROGRESSO LAGOON Maxine H. Oland and Marilyn A. Masson This paper presents the results of four seasons (2000-2003) of archaeological research on the Late PostclassicColonial Period Maya occupation of the west shore of Progresso Lagoon, northeastern Belize. We believe that this site represents the historically known encomienda of Chanlacan, known for its role in the early Colonial Maya resistance movement. Excavations at the shore settlement were concentrated in a residential area, in which three household structures were horizontally excavated, as well as in an upper status residen tial/ritual area close to the lagoon shore. Results from these excavations contribute to the Belize Postclassic Projects study of the long-term political economy of the Progresso Lagoon area, and more generally, to understanding the Late PostclassicColonial period transition in northern Belize Introduction Work at Progresso Lagoon, in the Corozal District of northern Belize, has focused largely around the Late Postclassic (13th 16th centuries) occupation on the island of Caye Coco. Over the past four research seasons, work on the west shore of the lagoon has reveal ed a substantial occupation that spans the end of the Late Postclassic and the Co lonial periods. We believe that this shore settlement represents the historically known encomienda of Chanlacan, identified by Grant D. Jones in his 1989 book Maya Resistance to Spanish Rule: Time and History on a Colonial Frontier. Chanlacans ethnohistory indicates that the community was influenced by both the Spanish author ity and unconquered Maya neighbors in the 16th and 17th centuries. Research design at the settlement has therefore been focused on the ways that different residents of the shore community adapted to the colonial incursion into Belize. Excavations and survey at this shore settlement will be the subject of a forthcoming dissertation by Maxine Oland, of Northwestern University. This paper will briefly describe the work that has been done on the Late Postclassic-Colonial period occupation on the west shore of Progresso Lagoon (Oland 2001, 2002, 2003) (Figure 1). It also seeks to highlight key differences between the shore settlement and the island of Caye Coco in the areas of settlement, economy, and ritual practice. First, the shore settlement shows no evidence of sudden change at the time of Spanish contact, while Caye Coco was abandoned in or before the 16th century. Second, new types of material culture are seen at the shore settlement, indicating different social and economic processes than those present at Caye Coco. Third, the distribution a nd disposal of ritual materials at the shore settlement is distinct from the distribution of ritual objects on Caye Coco. Differences between the shore and island settlements are significant. They indicate a transition that occurs at the lagoon at the end of the Late Postclassic period, or the presence of distinct social entities living at the lagoon in the century prior to Spanish colonization. The study of this transitional period is essential for understanding the Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 223-230. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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Settlement at Progresso Lagoon long-term political economy of Progresso Lagoon, and for establishing context for the history of the Colonial Maya in northern Belize. Figure 1. Map of Progresso Lagoon Area, showing the location of Caye Coco and the west shore settlement. (from Masson and Rosenswig 2003: Figure 5.1). Map created by Timothy S. Hare. Settlement at the Lagoon The island of Caye Coco, at the southern end of Progresso Lagoon, served as a thriving secondary Postclassic center until at lea st the 15th century, and possibly up until contact in 1544 (Masson 1999). The island likely served as the political nucleus of Late Postclassic activity at the lagoon, with 17 mounded structures. All of these structures were substa ntially modified after the 13th century, and most were built entirely during the Postclassic (Rosenswig and Masson 2003). The Colonial period shore settlement was more substantial than we expected. Ceramic and architectural evidence suggests that the shore settlement on the west shore of the lagoon was occupied from the 15th17th century, with no identifiable 13th and 14th century occupation. This transitional Late Postclassic-Colonial occupation was spread from the water to the bluffs above the west shore of Progresso Lagoon. Much of the settlement overlays Terminal Classic occupation on the shore. After an extensive shovel testing and test-pitting survey, two areas of the shore settlement were chosen for detailed excavation (Oland 2002, 2003). These included 1) a public/ritual area located on the shore of the lagoon at the Avila and Shangrila properties, and 2) a residential neighborhood at the Erlington property on the bluff above the lagoon. At both of these localities we excavated housemounds and shrine structures. Houses in the shore settlement were of three types of construction: reused Terminal Classic mounds, low mounds built at the Late Postclassic/Colonial transition, and offmound houses. A total of 528 square meters of household space was exposed for this project. Most of this exposure was in one residential area, on th e bluff that overlooks the lagoon. One high status residence (Str. 1) in a more public/ritual area was excavated close to the shore of the lagoon on the Avila property. This house mound, which had evidence of ritual ac tivity, large amounts of food consumption, and extensive Spanish contact, is analogous to the caciques (chiefs) residence at Lamanai (Pendergast 1986, 1991). Notably, there seemed to be no abrupt changes at the shore settlement at the time of Spanish contact. Nor was there any evidence of a Spanish-influenced settlement layout. No church structure was ever found, although this may be the result of substantial bulldozing and modern development near the core area of the settlement. It is significant that there is no evidence of redistributing the popula tion on the shore, as might be expected in a Spanish reduccin (forced resettlement) of a Maya community. It is possible that the island of Caye Coco did suffer reduccin at the time of the 224

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M. Oland and M. Masson Spanish incursion into the area, as the island was no longer occupied during the later 16th and 17th centuries. Economy and Material Culture The economy of the shore settlem ent was not greatly impacted by Spanish material culture, although Maya material culture did change at the end of the Late Postclassic. Overall, Spanish artifacts at the site seem to be the products of gift exchange, rather than full integration into a Spanish trade economy. Spanish artifacts come exclusively from one area of the site, on and around the possible caciques residence close to the lagoon shore. There were no Spanish artifacts found in the residential neighborhood that we excavated on the bluff. Although olive jar sherds from at least 10 different olive jars at Str. 1 may signify their use in utilitarian trade, most Spanish artifacts from this structure group represent luxury items or trinkets. These include 4 glass trade beads, a glass ornament possibly from an earring or other piece of jewelry, and sherds from two majolica plates. New types of Maya material culture can be seen in ceramic, lithic, and copper artifacts. The main ceramic types on the shore are linked closely in form to the Yglesias phase vessels from Lamanai (AD 1450-1700) (Graham 1987). Pastes shift away from the very standardized Payil dishes and Santa/Navula ollas of Caye Coco (Masson 2002; Masson and Rosenswig n.d.) to look more like the Rita Red Ceramic Group at Santa Rita Corozal (Chase 1982) and the Yuncu utilitarian wares of northern Yucatan (Kepecs 1998; Smith 1971; Bey, et al. 1998; Brainerd 1958). Ceramic beads, which may have served as weights, or as jewelry (as suggested by one bead with a face on it), were present in nearly every single Late Postclassic-Colonial period deposit excavated in the shore settlement. While they are present in low numbers on Caye Coco, the ubiquity of ceramic beads is clearly a characteristic of the transitional shore assemblage. Projectile points are the only formal lithic tool type of the transitional period (Figure 2). While they are present on the island of Caye Coco in fewer numbers, over 200 have been found in the shore settlement contexts. The Postclassic popularity of these points is also indicated at Mayapan, which was abandoned around 100 years before the conquest of Yucatan. At Progresso, however, their numbe rs increase in protohistoric/contact pe riod contexts. These points were made from retouched biface thinning flakes and obsidian blades, and at least some of them were made locally, as indicated by a feature found in the shore settlement which resembled a knappers bag. This cluster of mate rials contained chert thinning flakes, preforms, and unused points, amounting to a total of 147 pieces of lithic material (Oland 2002). All of the unused projectile points within the knappers bag were made with a square base. Base form may be a marker of identity, or carry other social meaning, as suggested by Simmons (1995), who also links these unifacial/slightly bifaci al points to Colonial period contexts. Spatial analysis will be used to assess clustering of base types across the shore settlement. Some contexts at Mayapn have distinct or dominant point styles as well. Copper alloy artifacts, in the form of axeheads (N=5), a fishing hook (N=1), and a bell fragment (N=1), have only been found at the shore settlement. Copper likely represents a new type of trade commodity in the Late Postclassic/Colonial period, as has been noted at Lamanai, where there may be evidence for copper artifact production (Simmons 2001). While bells are common at Mayapan, none of thes e copper axes have 225

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Settlement at Progresso Lagoon been found, supporting their Term inal Postclassic or Colonial Period date. Ritual Deposits Ritual deposits and burials dating to the Late Postclassic/Colonial period transition showed no evidence of Spanish influence. Instead, they reflect a continuity of Maya beliefs up until the communitys abandonment. But these local ideological customs are manifested in different patterns than are found on Caye Coco, when burials and censer distributions are compared. Burials on the island Caye Coco were consistently f ound in cemeteries in front of mounds, or in open informal courtyard spaces (Figure 3). No Postclassic burials were encountered within structures on the island. In contrast, Transitional Late Postclassic/Colonial period burials in the shore settlement were found inside of structures. One set was beneath the floor of a house, and another was within a box shrine. Sampling issues do limit our knowledge of sub-courtyard features for the shore, and although seve ral courtyard test Figure 2 Projectile points (a) from the west shore of Progresso Lagoon (various bases and proveniences), (b) Mayapan (round base variety from residential structure Y-45a, although other base types exist at Mayapan), and (c) Caye Coco (various bases and proveniences). 226

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M. Oland and M. Masson Figure 3 Burials from (a) the west shore of Progresso Lagoon, beneath th e floor of Structure ER202 (burial #3 was excavated from the rear pit, burial #4 from the front pit), and (b) Caye Coco, cemetery #1. pits were excavated to bedrock, it is not possible to say whether burials were also placed in off-structure locations. At Mayapan, burials are found within and outside of structures. Two of the shore burials had multiple grave goodsthe shrine burial was a seated flexed middle-aged male, buried with a necklace of shell ornaments and drilled human, peccary, and dog teeth, a carved coral bead, obsidian blades, sea shells, and a drilled ceramic disc. One of the house floor burials was a side flexed, probably male, individual buried with a redslipped tripod footed dish, a deer vertebrae, and a bracelet or anklet made of shell beads and one bone bead (rear of Figure 3a). The third burial of a young adult female, also found under the house floor, appeared to have been buried in a somewhat upside down seated position. The skull was found in a carved hole in the bedrock (possibly a posthole), although the position may be due to post-depositional shifting (front of Figure 3a). A figurine/crude incense burner foot and a circular ceramic element were found among the bones, and are the only possible grave goods. Although the location of burials differs, continuiti es with the past at Caye Coco are demonstrated in the burial positions (a range of flexed positions) and overall types of grave goods (shell ornaments, animal bones and bone ornaments, tripod dishes). One burial at Caye Coco was buried with at least two deer skulls. At Mayapan, two burials excavated in 2003 had deer bone offerings, including an infant with a metapodial awl and whole vertebrae and an adult with a deer radius placed alongside his/her own forearm. It is curious that this practice is shared at all three settlements. The distribution of effigy censer, and other censer fragments, is also distinct in the shor e settlement. Effigy censers appear to have been removed from the island of Caye Coco, in smashing episodes such as that recovered on the neighboring island of Caye Muerto, where effigy censers were smashed and scattered, possibly as part of a new year celebration (B.W. Russell, pers onal communication) (Figure 4). In the shore settlement, effigy censer fragments were sometimes scattered intentionally as parts of ritual deposits, but were also found in household middens, associated with kitchen trash and other discarded and broken everyday objects. The casual discard of effigy censer fragments was widespread across our sample of household test pits. Intentional deposits of censers were found on shrines and in houses. The first 227

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Settlement at Progresso Lagoon Figure 4. Effigy censer smashed at Caye Muerto (a) and a box shrine on the west shore of Progresso Lagoon; (b) an effigy smashing episode was excavated from within the ce ntral box, and an ornate burial was recovered beneath the box. A pit with cast-off ritual objects was excavated behind the back wall of the shrine. shrine structure was a small structure (Str. 2) close to the lagoon shore, located adjacent to the possible caciques residence (Str. 1). On this shrine, which had remnants of a red plaster floor, effigy fragments were scattered with Spanish olive jar sherds and sherds from native redware dishes (Oland 2002). The other deposit, a box shrine located in the residential neighborhood, contained the remains of a smashed effigy on the surface of its interior box, ab ove what we later discovered to be the bu rial of a middle-aged male (Figure 4). Very few censer fragments were found in the excavation of the rest of the structure, but we did discover, and partially excavate, a pit behind the southwest corner of th e shrine. In this pit were what seemed to be materials associated with earlier shrine act ivities, including deer bones, an entire sea turtle carapace and other faunal elements, effigy censer fragments, and a red-slipped straphandled olla that was apparently full of ashes when it was thrown into the pit. In the houses, censer fragments were carefully placed above burials, beneath floors, and at the corners of the house. A crocodile head and cacao pod element were placed below the floor of one house, above the location of a burial. Between the first and second dirt floors of an off-mound house were the remains of two vessels, one of which was the base of a pedestal jar censer with an interesting zig-zag pattern for air holes. This cutout pattern is similar to a Cib phase (Late Postclassic) censer at Lamanai (Graham 1987:89), although the vessels are different types. Ritual deposits including effigy fragments were found outside of the southwest and northeast corners of the same house. At the southwest corner was an informal altar consisting of a concentration of small burned cobbles with a jade bead placed inside of it, around which were scattered fragments of effigy censer. At the northeast corner of the structure, just outside of the entryway, was a special deposit consisting of four tripod dish supports, effigy censer fragments, and a peccary canine. This dispersal of censer parts around structures was also observed at Laguna de On (Str. 1), where ritual and residential behaviours co-occurred and burials were placed next to the house. Notably, Laguna de On also had a Colonial component as reflected by the presence of a late Lacandon type censer offering found there by Gann and a couple of radiocarbon date ranges (Masson 2000). 228

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M. Oland and M. Masson Summary Located between Spanish conquerors and unconquered resistan t Maya groups, the Colonial Maya of Belize were forced to adapt to multiple pressures of accommodation and resistance, while still maintaining their own traditions and identities. Archaeology at transitional Late Postclassic/Colonial sites, such as our work on the shore settlement at Progresso Lagoon, helps provide context for the Colonial histories. While many aspects of life changed forever during the Spanish occupation of the region, at Progresso Lagoon certain changes may have begun during the 15th and early 16th centuries, as noted for Lamanai (Graham 1987) and Santa Rita (Chase and Chas e 1988). In this paper we have highlighted distinctive settlement patterns, material cultur e, and ritual features linked to the end of th e Late Postclassic at Progresso Lagoon. Life remained fundamentally Maya at the lagoon until the abandonment of the shore settlement. However, differences between the island of Caye Coco and the shore settlement shed light on an era of changing social, political, and economic processes. Acknowledgments Funding for excavations and analysis of remains on the western shore of Progresso Lagoon was provided by a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Award, the Wenner-Gren Anthropological Foundation Dissertation Grant (Grant #7055), The University at Alba ny-SUNY Field School, and Northwestern University. The authors would like to thank the Institute of Archaeology for granting the research permits to the Belize Postclassic Project. We also acknowledge the hard work provided by the many field school students and project staff members, an d by our dedicated Belizean employees and volunteers from San Estevan and Progresso Village. References Cited Ball J.W. 1978 Archaeological Pottery of the YucatanCampeche Coast. In Studies in the Archaeology of Coastal Yucatan and Campeche, Mexico MARI Pub. 46, Middle American Res. Institute, Tulane. Bey G. J., T.M. Bond, W.M. Ringle, C.A. Hanson, C.W. Houck, and C. Peraza Lopes 1998 The Ceramic Chronology of Ek Balam, Yucatan, Mexico. Ancient Mesoamerica 9:101-120 Brainerd G.W. 1958 The Archaeological Ceramics of Yucatan Anthropological Records, Vol. 19. University of California Press, Los Angeles. Chase D.E.Z. 1982 Spatial and Temporal Variability in Postclassic Northern Belize Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Pennsylvania. Chase D.Z. and A.F. Chase 1988 A Postclassic Perspective : Excavations at the Maya Site of Santa Rita Corozal, Belize Monograph 4, Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco, California. Graham E. 1987 Terminal Classic to Early Historic Period Vessel Forms from Belize. In Maya Ceramics: Papers from the 1985 Maya Ceramic Conference edited by P.M. Rice and R.J. Sharer, pp. 73-98. BAR International Series, Oxford, England. Jones G. D. 1989 Maya Resistance to Spanish Rule Time, And History on a Colonial Frontier University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Kepecs S. 1998 Diachronic Ceramic Evidence and its Social Implications in the Chikinchel Region, Northeast Yucatan, Mexico. Ancient Mesoamerica 9:121-135. Masson M.A. 1999 Postclassic Maya Communities at Progresso Lagoon and Laguna Seca, Northern Belize. Journal of Field Archaeology 25:285-306. 229

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Settlement at Progresso Lagoon 2302000 In the Realm of Nachan Kan Postclassic Maya Archaeology at Laguna de On, Belize University Press of Colorado, Boulder. 2002 Community Economy and the Mercantile Transformation in Postclassic Northeastern Belize. In Ancient Maya Political Economies Edited by M.A. Masson and D.A. Freidel, pp. 335-364. Altamira Press, Walnut Creek. Masson M.A. and R.M. Rosenswig n.d. The Evolution of Postclassic Maya Pottery Traditions in Northern Belize. Submitted to Latin American Antiquity, February 1, 2003. Oland, M.H. 2001 Investigation of the Avilia Group, Progresso Lagoon Shore (PR9), Orange Walk District, Belize. In Belize Postclassic Project 2000:Investigations at Caye Coco and the Shore Settlements of Progresso Lagoon edited by Robert M. Rosenswig and Marilyn A. Masson, pp. 129-143. Institute of Mesoamerican Studies Occasional Publication No. 6. The University at Albany SUNY, Albany, New York. 2002 Continued Investigations of Colonial Maya-Spanish Interaction on the Shore of Progresso Lagoon. In Belize Postclassic Project 2001: Investigations at the Shore Settlements of Progresso Lagoon edited by M. A. Masson, pp. 98-130. Institute of Mesoamerican Studies Occasional Publication No. 7, The University at Albany -SUNY, Albany, New York. 2003 Continued Colonial Maya Excavations at the Avila Site (PR 9), Progresso Lagoon Shore, Belize 2002 Season. In Belize Postclassic Project 2002: Investigations of the Shore Settlements of Progresso Lagoon, and San Estevan edited by Josalyn M. Ferguson, Maxine H. Oland, and Marilyn A. Masson, pp. 7-45. Institute of Mesoamerican Studies Occasional Publication No. 9. The University at Albany SUNY, Albany, New York. Pendergast D.M. 1986 Under Spanish Rule: The Final Chapter in Lamanais Maya History. Belcast Journal of Belizean Affairs 3(1&2): 1-7. 1991 The Southern Maya Lowlands Contact Experience: The View from Lamanai, Belize. In The Spanish borderlands in PanAmerican perspective, edited by David Hurst Thomas, pp. 337-354. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. Rosenswig R.M. and M.A. Masson 2003 Monumental Architecture and Social Organization at Caye Coco, Belize. Ancient Mesoamerica Simmons S.E. 1995 Maya Resistance, Maya Resolve: The Tools of Autonomy from Tipu, Belize. Ancient Mesoamerica 6: 135-146. 2001 Copper Metallurgy at Lamanai, Belize: A Preliminary View on Context and Meaning. Paper Presented at the 66th Annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, New Orleans, Louisiana. Smith Robert E. 1971 The Pottery of Mayapan Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology 66. Harvard University, Cambridge.

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16 INVESTIGATIONS IN THE CHURCH ZONE MAYA ARCHAEOMETALLURGY AT SPANISH COLONIAL LAMANAI, BELIZE Scott E. Simmons This paper presents a discussion of the Maya Archaeometallurgy Project (MAP), a research program aimed at studying the specialized production of copper objects and the role this craft activity played in shaping Maya political economies around the time of Spanish contact. Th e MAP is focused on addressing questions regarding continuities and changes in political economies during an important period of Maya cultural transition Postclassic to Spanish Colonial times. Some of these changes and continuities can be seen in the area of craft specialization. Recent MAP research ha s narrowed on understanding the role that native elites may have played in administering productive activities as a means to strengthen their political and social positions within Lamanais contact period community. In addition, the MAP seeks to elucidate the orga nizational nature of copper production as a relatively new, specialized craft activity that appeared in the Maya world in late Pre-Columbian times. This paper includes a summary of the theoretical background for the work, goals of the project, current work being conducted at the site of Lamanai, and recent research results Introduction The May a Archaeometallurgy Project is a research program focused on studying the specialized production of copper and bronze obj ects in the Maya Lowland area during Postclassic and Spanish Colonial Periods. The project is the first and only one of its kinds in the Maya area. Since its inception in 1999 a central goal of the MAP has been to understand the relationships that existed between copper production and socioeconomic differentiation and interdependence among the Maya (Simmons 1999; Simmons and Howard 2003). Currently the projects focus is at the Maya s ite of Lamanai, Belize (Figure 1), where more copper objects have been recovered from controlled archaeological contexts than at any other Maya site. A larger goal for the research project is to provide insights into the relationships that existed betw een craft production, socioeconomic integration, and cultural evolution in state-level societies. Currently the MAP research is being conducted in the heart of Lamanais Spanish Colonial zone. It is one of several cu rrent research projects that build on twelve years (1974-1986) of archaeological research directed by Dr. David M. Pendergast, Curator Emeritus of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). During the course of this large-scale, ambitious project, Dr. Pendergas t and his associates succeeded in defining the sites chronology, settlement characteristics and range of material culture types and architectural features (Pendergast 1981, 1984, 1986a, 1986b, 1990, 1991). Included in Pendergasts work on the Postclassic and Spanish Colonial Period at the site was the recovery of a variety of copper and alloyed copper objects (Figure 2). Theoretical Foundations and Research Goals fo r the MAP The relationships between economic organization and social evolution have fascinated anthropologists for some time. Production is an essential part of all Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 231-239. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize

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Archaeometallurgy Project at Lamanai Figure 1. Map of Belize showing Location of Lamanai. economic systems, and the study of this particular aspect of economic organization can reveal much about the nature of ancient as well as modern social and political complexity. Specialization, defined by Wilk (1996:60) as the ability to produce more efficiently by dividing labor among individuals or groups, is considered by many researchers to be an integral part of the political economies of complex societies (Brumfiel and Earle 1987; Clark and Parry 1990; Earle 1987; Costin 1991; Costin and Hagstrum 1995; Pere grine 1991; Stein and Blackman 1993). By studying the relationships that existed between craft production and the maintenance of socioeconomic complexity at Lamanai, the MAP research will contribute to our understanding of how human societies adapted to changing social, political and economic conditions and why this process of evolution occurred. The main goals of the Maya Archaeometallurgy Project at Lamanai are to: Determine how Maya metal production was organized through time. Were particularly interested in the context of production, and especially in determining whether coppersmiths worked independently, were attached to local elites, or worked within some other productive contexts Understand the specific nature of productive activities, such as the creation of molds, smelting, casting, and annealing techniques, and recycling behavior Examine current models that focus on the relationships between craft production, political economies and socioeconomic complexity An important goal of this research project is to examin e current theoretical models focusing on the relationships between craft specialization and socioeconomic complexity. Data derived during the course of the Maya Archaeometallurgy Project at Lamanai are being used to examine four specific organizational parameters of craft specialization, described as 1) the intensity of production, 2) the constitution of the production unit, 3) the concentration of Figure 2. Various copper bells recovered from Middle Postclassic contexts, Lamanai. 232

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S. Simmons production, and 4) the context of production (Costin 1991:8-9; Co stin and Hagstrum 1995:620). During up-coming field seasons research will continue to focus on evidence related to the last parameter of specialization, which refers to the nature of control over production and distribution (Costin 1991:8). We want to know what role specialized crafting, in this case the production of copper obj ects, played in the political economy of Lamanai during Terminal Postclassic and early Spanish Colonial periods. Ul timately, we will be examining Earles (20 02:1) assertion that the political economy is channeled to create wealth and finance institutions of rule in light of the data we obtain about the nature of copper metallurgy at Lamanai. Did powerful individuals in the community control or oversee the work of craftspeople engaged in this new productive activity as a way to create wealth for themselves and legitimate their rule? The identification and investigation of copper workshop remains, believed to be located in the immediate vicinity of the residence of one of the most powerful individuals in Lamanais contact period community, would provide key insights into this pa rticular question. The area of the site in the immediate vicinity of the two Spanish Churches has produced compelling evidence of Postclassic and Spanish Colonial Period elite occupation, both in the forms of architectural remains and burials. A number of the latter have yiel ded status artifacts including bells, tweezers, buttons, rings and other copper alloyed ornaments (Figure 2). In terms of copper prod uction activities, all of the mis-cast piec es, prills, production failures and pieces of scrap sheet copper, as well as five ingots, have been found in this particular area of the site. Understanding the associations between copper production, elite residence and stat us objects of copper and alloyed copper (bronze) is an important, on-going research focus of the MAP. It is hoped that archaeological information on these associations will help provide a better understanding of how Maya political and economic realms intersected in late PreColumbian and early Spanish Colonial Period. For instance, we want to know what kinds of relationships existed between craft specialization a nd socioeconomic complexity just before and during the Spanish Colonial Period. Specifically, did control over the production of some exotic, finely crafted goods provide a means by which Maya elites could maintain a certain degree of economic power and social status? Archaeological evidence obtained during excavations conducted at Lamanai indicates that elites living at Lamanai in Postclassic times still retained a certain degree of power and status (Pendergast 1981, 1986b, 1991, 1993). As a result, Lamanai provides an excellent venue for th e study of specialized craft production and the ro le it played in the maintenance of social, economic and political complexity. Copper Production at Lamanai To date a total of 180 copper artifacts have been recovered at Lam anai (Table 1). All of these objects were recovered from Postclassic and Spanish Colonial Period contexts. During the latter part of the Royal Ontario Museums project at Lamanai (1974-1986), the Spanish Colonial Period site center became a prominent focus of research, particularly the area around the two Spanish churches for which the nearby village of Indian Church is named. A variety of copper artifacts had already been recovered in the area of Early and Middle Postclassi c occupation, located predominantly north of the Spanish churches. Elaborate copper-tin and copperarsenic bronze wirework bells, filigree 233

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Archaeometallurgy Project at Lamanai finger rings, buttons, and ornam ents were recovered, almost exclusively from burial contexts, in Structures N10-2 and N10-4 (Pendergast 1981, 1986b). These copper objects had begun to arrive at Lamanai by the twelfth century, primarily from sources in West Mexico (Hosler 1994). Metal artifacts appear at Lamanai in considerable quantity in both the Middle Postclassic period and the years of the Terminal Postclassic and early Spanish Colonial periods. The two eras of major occurrence were separa ted by a hiatus of nearly two centuries (ca. A.D. 1300-1475+) in which metal objects seem to have disappeared almost entirely from Lamanais artifact inventory, and at the same time seem to have represented at least partially, a different meaning in the communitys life (Simmons, Pendergast and Graham 2005). Most of the copper and alloyed copper objects recovered from Lamanai (102 total or 59%) are found in the vicinity of Str. N11-18, the residence of Lamanais cacique, the principal Maya administrator during the Contact Peri od contact period. This area has been the focus of MAP research during the past three years (Figure 3). Excavations at St r. N11-18 have yielded 73 copper and alloyed copper artifacts thus far (Simmons and Howard 2003). Most of these objects were found in floor ballast and midden deposits (Pendergast 1985; Simmons and Howard 2003). Copper does not appear in any significant quantities in the Maya Lowland area (Bateson and Hall 1977; Bray 1977; Cornec 2002; West 1994). It appears that the closest sources of copper are found to the south in the highlands of Guatemala and Honduras. During the Middle and Late Postclassic Periods (ca. AD 1150-1540) some metal objects used by Lamanais inhabitants represent a southeastern Mesoamerican metalworking tradition Figure 3. Site plan of a part of Lamanai showing location of recent MAP excavations. (Hosler 1994:208). That traditions main production technique was lost-wax casting. All of the bells, rings, axes, and other woodworking tools recovered at Lamanai were produced using the lost-wax casting method. This techni que involves first creating an exact model of the object to be cast in wax. The wax object is then coated with a mixture of charcoal and clay, and the wax is then heated so that it melts out of the clay-charcoal coating, leaving a hollow that serves as a mold of the object to be cast in metal. A sprue is then attached for pouring the molten metal into the mold. Once this is done the clay-charcoal mold is broken away, leaving a metal object with an attached sprue, which is later removed (Long 1964; Hosler 1994). Numerous mis-cast bells, along with some needles, have been found in the Spanish Church zone (Figures 4 & 5). All of these lost-wax production failures came from Str. N11-18 and its immediate environs (Simmons and Howard 2004). 234

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S. Simmons Figure 4. Mis-cast copper bell, LA 1240/1. Figure 5. Mis-cast copper needle, LA 1580/18. Chemical Compositional Analyses of Copper Artifacts Dr. Dorothy Hosler at MIT has analyzed 45 of the 180 (25%) copper artifacts recovered from La manai. Data from artifact chemistries combined with observations on design features of copper artifacts indicate th at two distinct metallurgical traditions are represented at Lamanai during Middle and Late Postclassic Periods: one West Mexican, the other Southeast Mesoamerican (Hosler 1994:210213). Much of what we know of the sources of copper objects imported into Lamanai is derived from chemical compositional analyses, specifically emission spectroscopy, atomic absorption and lead isotope (Hosler 1994; Hosler and Macfarlane 1996). Em ission spectrographic techniques yielded information on elements present in the artifacts and their relative concentration levels while atomic absorption spectrometry provided precise determinations of concentrations of major, minor and trace elements (Hosler 1994:254). Lead isotope analyses also were performed on a sample of copper artifacts from Lamanai; these data are useful in identifying the ore sources from which Lamanais copper artifacts were made (Hosler and Mafarlane 1996). Lead isotope analyses (Hosler and Macfarlane 1996:1822) indicate that at least some of the copper bells imported into Lamanai in Middle Postclassic times were manufactured from ores found in the West Mexican state of Jalisco. Data from lead isotope analyses also indicate that some of the objects of imported wealth were likely derived from Oaxacan copper ores (Hosler and Macfarlane 1996:1822). Other copper status and utilitarian objects, specifically those recovered during our investigations at Str. N11-18, are currently being analysed by Dr. Aaron Shugar at the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education (SCMRAE). The publishe d results of these analyses are forthcoming. Excavations in 2004 North of the Spanish Churches Excavations conducted in the large midden deposit located immediately north of Str. N11-18, located approximately 310 m. north of the second Spanish Church (Str. N12-12) have yielded a number of mis-cast bells, pieces of scra p copper, and whole copper objects such as finger rings, fish hooks and needles. Since chemical compositional analyses indicate that the Maya at Lamanai were recycling at least some metal objects, we wonder why they 235

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Archaeometallurgy Project at Lamanai were discarding other m etal objects in the refuse dump of Str. N11-18 and elsewhere in the Spanish Church zone. Among the 14 copper finds from the 2004 field season were two copper pigs (Figure 6) found in very close association with five copper axe fragments. All were recovered from a midden deposit located close to the lagoon shor e, approximately 25 m east of the second Spanish Church. Based on their very close association, the axe fragments, which clearly are sections of two copper axes (Figure 7) suggest that axes were somehow broken and used as raw material for casting acti vities. Analyses of artifact chemistries confirm that the Maya were casting recycled metal objects in the Spanish Colonial Periods. At least two copper pigs or ingots were made of recycled metal, and other objects were made of stock metal melted down and recast into new forms (Hosler 1994).The evidence at hand thus far for production of metal objects at Lamanai consists of: Eight copper pigs Numerous mis-cast objects, especially bells Chemical compositional data indicating that a number of objects were made of stock metal derived from melting down copper artifacts A number of pieces of scrap sheet metal Seven copper prills (droplets of metal that are by-products of casting) A probable axe or chisel blank Was the production of copper objects a Spanish or Maya activity at Lamanai? Evidence so far suggests it was a Maya technology as Spanish presence at the site was intermittent and there is the absence of copper objects of European design, and the quantity of metal overall is relatively small. Summary Metallurgy appeared relatively late in Mesoamerica (Hosler 1986, 1994, 1995; Lechtman 1985), and copper objects did not begin arriving at Maya Lowland sites until very late in the Pre-Columbian Period (Bray 1977; Hosler 1986, 1994; Pendergast 1962; West 1994). Beginning in Middle Postclassic times, copper artifacts imported from West Mexico made their appearance at Lamanai (Hosler 1994, 1995: Pendergast 1981, 1984, 1986b, 1990, 1991). By the 13th Century AD objects made of copper-tin or bronze were arriving at Lamanai from both West Mexico and lower Central America. Figure 6. Copper pigs recovered during 2004 in Church Zone, Lamanai. Figure 7. Axe fragments, probably intended for recycling (recasting) found in Church Zone in 2004. The local Southeastern Mesoamerican metalworking tradition was characterized by lost-wax cast status 236

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S. Simmons ornam ents; some of these were from coppergold alloys, others were from copper-tin bronze or copper-arse nic bronze, but all were made from a very pure copper. These objects include elaborate plain-walled bells, filigree finger rings and filigree buttons (Figure 2). At least by the Spanish Colonial Period, and probably ear lier, Maya craft specialists were produc ing their own copper objects at Lamanai, and the importation of copper objects from West Mexico and lower Central America had ce ased. The strongest evidence for copper production at Lamanai consists of eight coppe r ingots and a variety of mis-cast bells recovered from Terminal Postclassic and Histor ic Period deposits. Further research at Structure N11-18 and elsewhere at Lamanai is likely to yield more information on the organizational structure of Maya metallurgy as well as the roles that this specialized craft activity played in the social end economic life of the community. Lamanai is the only site in the Maya Lowland area that has produced appreciable quantities of copper artifacts from controlled archaeological excavations. In fact, more copper and alloyed co pper artifacts have been recovered from controlled archaeological excavations at Lamanai than at any other Maya site. Because researchers are interested in the impacts of Spanish colonialism on native groups in the New World it is important to understand the organizational structure of indigenous life just prior to contact. Copper metallurgy appears to have played an important role in the economic life of Lamanai, but the relative value of copper in ancient Maya society has yet to be ascertained. Also, at th is point we are unsure when the Maya began experimenting with the production of copper objects at Lamanai. As a result, dating th e onset of productive activities is an important goal of the MAP that will achieve much more attention in the coming years. Another important goal of the Maya Archaeometallurgy Project is to assess the relative importance of copper production in the economic life of this contact period Maya community. We also want to know what role (if any) Lamanais colonial period native authority, the cacique played in helping to maintain the level of social and economic complexity we see at the site during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Did the cacique at Lamanai control the production of copper objects, were craft specialists working there independently, or were some other productive mechanisms at work? Finally, we are working toward understanding the ways that metallurgy, as a new Maya technological innovation, was part of the political economy of the Maya at Lamanai both before and after Spanish contact. Acknowledgements. The author would like to thank the men and women of both Indian Church and San Carlos, Belize, without whom this work would not have been possible. Others whose contributions have been invaluable include Drs. Dorothy Hosler and Aaron Shugar, whose research on copper artifact chemistries continues to reveal much about metal production at Lamanai. Dr. David Pendergast began research at Lamanai three decades ago, and his work at the site has inspired a new generation of research ers to build upon his important work there and seek new insights into past Maya behavior. Dr. Elizabeth Graham has contributed much in the way of her time and ideas to this project, and special thanks go to her. Many thanks go to the Heinz Family Foundation for funding the first two years of fiel dwork for the MAP, as well as chemical compositional analyses of copper artifacts under tw o separate H. John Heinz III grants for Latin American Archaeology. The research has also been supported through a Charles L. Cahill 237

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Archaeometallurgy Project at Lamanai Award f rom the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Thanks also go to Ms. Laura Howard, Field Director, Ms. Karen Pierce, metal smith and surveyor par excellence during the first year of the MAP, Ms. Meredith Martinez, Lab Director, and the many archaeology field school students that have contributed to the MAP since 2001. For their continued support over the last several years thanks are also given to the Department of Anthropology and the Office of International Programs at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Finally, the author would like to thank the organizers of the 2004 Belize Archaeology Symposium for their invitation to participate in the symposium as well as the staff of the Belize Institute of Archaeolo gy. Their kind help and support of the MAP are very much appreciated. References Cited Bateson, J.H. and I.H.S. Hall 1977 The Geology of the Maya Mountains, Belize. Overseas Memoir 3, Institute of Geological Sciences. Her Majestys Stationary Office, London. Bray, Warwick 1977 Maya Metalwork and its External Connections, In Social Process in Maya Prehistory: Essays in Honour of Sir J. Eric S. Thompson edited by Norman Hammond, pp. 365-403. Academic Press, New York. Brumfiel, Elizabeth M. and Timothy K. Earle 1987 Specialization, Exchange, and Complex Societies: An Introduction. In Specialization, Exchange, and Complex Societies edited by Elizabeth M. Brumfiel and Timothy K. Earle, pp. 1-9. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Clark, John E. and William J. Parry 1990 Craft Specia lization and Cultural Complexity. Research In Economic Anthropology 12:289-346. Cornec, Jean H. 2003 Geology Map of Belize. Privately Published, Denver. Costin, Cathy L. 1991 Craft Specializati on: Issues in Defining, Documenting and Explaining the Organization of Production. In Method and Theory in Archaeology 3, edited by Michael J. Schiffer, pp. 1-56. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. Costin, Cathy L. and Melissa B. Hagstrum 1995 Standardization, Labor Investment, Skill, and the Organization of Ceramic Production in Late Prehispanic Highland Peru. American Antiquity 60(4):619-639. Earle, Timothy K. 1987 Specialization and the Production of Wealth: Hawaiian Chiefdoms and the Inka Empire. In Specialization, Exchange, and Complex Societies, edited by Elizabeth M. Brumfiel and Timothy K. Earle, pp. 64-75. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 2002 Bronze Age Economies: The Beginnings of Political Economies Westview Press. Boulder, Colorado. Hosler, Dorothy 19 86 The Origins, Technology, and Social Construction of Ancient West Mexican Metallurgy. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara. University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor. 1994 The Sounds and Colors of Power: The Sacred Metallurgy of Ancient West Mexico. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1995 Sound, Color and Meaning in the Metallurgy of Ancient West Mexico. World Archaeology 27:100-115. Hosler, Dorothy and Andrew MacFarlane 1996 Copper Sources, Metal Production, and Metals Trade in Late Postclassic Mesoamerica. Science 273:1819-1824. Lechtman, Heather 1985 Perspectives on the Pre-Columbian Metallurgy of the Americas. 45th International Congress of the Americanists, pp 31-36. Banco de la Republica, Bogata. 238

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S. Simmons Long, Stanley 1964 Cire Perdue Copper Casting in PreColumbian Mexico: An Experimental Approach. American Antiquity 30(2): 189192. Pendergast, David M 1981 Lamanai, Belize: Summary of Excavation Results, 1974-1980. Journal of Field Archaeology 8:19-53. 1984 Excavations at Lamanai, Belize, 1983. Mexicon 6:5-10. 1985 Digging in the Dooryards. Royal Ontario Museum Newsletter, Series II, Number 6. Toronto. 1986a Under Spanish Rule: The Final Chapter in Lamanai's Maya History. BELCAST Journal of Belizean Affairs 3(1&2):1-7. Belize College of Arts, Science, and Technology, Belize City. 1986b Stability through Change: Lamanai, Belize, from the Ninth to the Seventeenth Century. In Late Lowland Maya Civilization edited by J. A. Sabloff and E. W. Andrews, pp. 223-249. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 1990 Up from the Dust: The Central Lowlands Postclassic as Seen from Lamanai and Marco Gonzalez. In Vision and Revision in Maya Studies edited by Flora S. Clancy and Peter D. Harrison, pp. 169-177. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 1991 The Southern Maya Lowlands Contact Experience: The View from Lamanai, Belize. In The Spanish Borderlands in PanAmerican Peregrine, Peter 1991 Some Political Aspects of Craft Specialization. World Archaeology 23(1): 1-11. Simmons, Scott E. 1999 The Maya Archaeometallurgy Project, Lamanai, Belize, 1999 Report submitted to the H. John Heinz III Fund for Latin American Archaeology, Pittsburgh and on file at Lamanai Field Research Center and Belize Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. Simmons, Scott E. and Laura Howard 2003 Preliminary Report of the 2001-2002 Field Seasons at Lamanai, Belize: The Maya Archaeometallurgy Project UNCW Anthropological Papers, 1 and Papers of the Maya Archaeometallurgy Project, 1. University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Simmons, Scott E. and Laura Howard 2004 Preliminary Report of the 2004 Field Seasons at Lamanai, Belize: The Maya Archaeometallurgy Project UNCW Anthropological Papers, 2 and Papers of the Maya Archaeometallurgy Project, 2. University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Simmons, Scott E., David M. Pendergast and Elizabeth A. Graham 2005 Maya Metals: The Context and Significance of Copper Artifacts in Postclassic and Early Historic Lamanai, Belize. Manuscript on file, University College London and University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Stein, Gil J. and M. James Blackman 19 93 The Organizational Context of Specialized Craft Production in Early Mesopotamian States. Research in Economic Anthropology 14:29-59. West, Robert C. 1994 Aboriginal Metallurgy and Metalworking in Spanish America: A Brief Overview. In In Quest of Mineral Wealth: Aboriginal and Colonial Mining and Metallurgy in Spanish America edited by Alan K. Craig and Robert C. West, pp. 5-20. Geoscience and Man, Volume 33. Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. Wilk, Richard R. 1996 Economies and Cultures: Foundations of Economic Anthropology Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado. 239

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17 INVESTIGATING THE SPANISH COLONIAL FRONTIER IN THE SIBUN RIVER VALLEY Steven Morandi The discovery of a Spanish colonial presence in Maya communities along the Sibun River of central Belize is one of the highlights of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project (XARP), he aded by Dr. Patricia McAnany of Boston University. An archaeological site near the village of Cedar Bank has yielded a mixture of Maya and Spanish artifacts that are just now being analyzed, and which are providing the first glimpses of Maya life on this Spanish colonial frontier. One interesting possibility is that the site of Cedar Bank may represent the town known in the historical record as Xibun. This paper compares the historical record of the Sibun River Valley left by Spaniards against the archaeological record to provide a more complete and less Euro-centric view of cultural changes that occurred there during the period from around 1540 to 1630. It is argued that while the centers of Spanish control were located in northern Yucatan, their influence was felt far to the south along the fringes of this power base. Overall, the Spanish colonial period provides a crucial link between the precontact Maya societies of Belize and the succeeding British and African-Cari bbean influence in the region. Beginning in the mid-sixteenth century, much of the Maya-occupied territory that is now Belize was infiltrated by Spanish explorers who sought prosperity through the extraction of local resources, including agricultural goods and human labor. For the Spaniards, the Sibun River Valley, running through what is now the center of Belize, was part of a larger colonial frontier region in the Southern Maya Lowlands. This area lay on the fringes of Spanish-dominated territory, and was home to Maya who were able to resist economic and political domination to a relatively high degree as compared with their neighbors in the northern Yucatan colonial core (Jones 1989; Graham et al. 1989). Hegemony over this southern frontier region was attempted beginning in the 1540s with the establishment of an administrative outpost at Salamanca de Bacalar, near Chetumal Bay. Rather than an exercise of swift conquest, however, Spanish dominance of the area was in reality a slow struggle involving intermittent control during the next century and a half, and culminating in the surrender of the last independent Maya further west in 1697. The Sibun Valley in Spanish Colonial Times The historical record provides scant but crucial information about the political organization of the Maya lowlands at the time of the Spaniards arrival in the Sibun Valley. It appears that the Yucatan peninsula was divided in to several so-called provinces with varying degrees of political centralizati on and autonomy (Roys 1957; Jones 1989). The existence of a province along the southern frontier of Yucatan, called Dzuluinicob (using the colonial orthography), was only recently discovered through documentary research (Jones 1989:100). Using these written records, it has been argued that the scope of its area .must have included the territory all the way from the Sibun River north to the lower New River (Jones 1989:98), and that its political capital was Tipu, located on its western edge. The very existence of this territory hints that parts of northern and central Belize comprised a cohesive political Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 241-246. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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Colonial Frontier in the Sibun unit during the years of rebellion against the Spaniards during the la te 16th and much of the 17th century. The name Dzuluinicob, meaning foreign people, may have derived from the large number of exiles arriving from northern Yucatan in hopes of escaping conflict with the European invaders. It appears, however, that a steady stream of people began to migrate from the north into Belize for similar reasons, beginning in the Postclassic period (c. 13th century) and perhaps earlier. The constellation of small Maya populations that dotted the landscape of Dzuluinicob was in much better communication that the Spaniards understood. Encroach ment by officials looking to incorporate these communities into tribute systems (e.g. encomiendas) caused nodes of this constellation to wink in and out of existence through temporary or permanent movements of people to other areas. Though the prolonged struggle to control the Southern Maya Lowlands was due in part to Maya resistance tactics such as short-term population dispersal or permanent flight (Farri ss 1984), it also had roots in the Spaniards particular perceptions of the physical and social landscape of the region. For them, the Southern Maya Lowlands of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were seen as a vast untamed jungle. It has been noted that the Spaniards demonstrated little sustained motivation or ability to bring their troublesome frontier under permanent control, dueto the perceived unhealthy, remote, unproductive, and ungovernable characteristics of the region (Jones 1989: 12). They found themselves confronted by a physical and social landscape that, from their point of view, was continually breaking down any civilizing order th ey could impose. Known Spanish colonial documents give little direct attention to Maya specifically living al ong the Sibun River, and so a limited picture of what they saw there exists in the historical record. The only Spanish colonial Sibun River site that is known from the written records is the visita called Xibun, which was one of at least nine such stations in the northern half of Belize (Jones 1982). Visitas were communities visited by an itinerant Spanish religious official as part of his circuit for purposes of holding Catholic masses, performing baptisms, teaching Latin or Spanish and other forms of cultural indoctrination. In general, visitas were established in the northern and central Belize area for two reasons. One is that it was an entry point into the Peten region of northern Guatemala, where the Itza Maya ruled from their almost mythical seat of power deep in the interior of Yucatan (Jones 1982:282). The Spaniards saw the Itza realm as the control center for Maya rebellion across the Southern Lowlands. Another reason for the establishment of such communities was that the river valleys of the area (especially the Belize and Sibun Rivers) yielded a cacao of especially good quality fat cacao that produces a deep color and good flavor, according to the Franciscans Fuensalida and Orbita in 1618 (Jones 1982:283). Thus, the visitas became places where religious ideology could be disseminated and tribute collected. The physical manifestation of the change in religious ideology at places such as Xibun was the church. Such structures housed an altar as well as religious effigies, relics, bells, and other accoutrements to aid the evangelizing process. Even the smaller, simpler Spanish churches in Belize were constructed to create as large an impact possible on local communities. For example, the earlier of two churches at Lamanai was built on top of a dismantled Maya temple, this physical replacement 242

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S. Morandi sym bolizing the intentions for an ideological one. The site of Xibun likely would have been established in the 1540s or soon thereafter, and is known to have been abandoned permanently by 1631, giving at most a period of occupation of 90 years. Included in Maya te stimonies given to Spaniards is the statement that the community of Xibun was surrounded by agricultural fields and cacao orchards. Also, a church, complete with a bell and ornaments, was present in the community; when Xibun was abandoned in 1630, the Maya occupants took thes e items with them. Based on the peripheral location and relatively small size of the village, the church likely would have been a simple structure with, at most, a low stone and mortar foundation and a thatched roof something that might be nearly invisible in the archaeological record today (Andrews 1991; Hanson 1995). What does the archaeological record tell us about this Spanish colonial frontier? Until recently, investigations in the Dzuluinicob territory consisted of excavations at just two sites, Lamanai and Tipu. At Lamanai, along the New River Lagoon, extensive excavations of two churches and several residences from the Spanish colonial period were completed under the direction of Dr. David Pendergast and Dr. Elizabeth Graham. Given the relatively large size of this community and the length of its occupation, European artifacts were found in surprisingly low frequencies. It has been suggested that this likely reflects the harsh economic realities of life in th e Yucatan Peninsula, where supply lines were poorly maintained (Pendergast 1993:116). At Tipu, a more remote colonial village on the western edge of Dzuluinicob, several residences a nd a church along with hundreds of colonial burials, were excavated, but again relatively few European artifacts were found. Overall, archaeological excavations have shown that European artifacts were either associated with a limited number of elite Maya households and perhaps used as status markers, or that a few Spaniards living at the sites depended to a large extent on locally manufactured products after the limited supplies they brought with them had broken. As part of investigations by the Xibun Archaeological Research Project (XARP) headed by Dr. Patricia McAnany of Boston University, the Spanish colonial period is being slowly uncovered in the Sibun River Valley. Excavations at the site called Cedar Bank, along the lower reaches of the Sibun River and at the edge of the hilly limestone karst (Figure 1), yielded the first evidence of Spanish colonial period occupation in the valle y. The location of Cedar Bank is within the Dzuluinicob territory, yet peripheral to the New RiverBelize River route commonly used by the Spaniards to reach the interior of the Yucatn peninsula (Jones 1998). Thus, Cedar Bank provides a comparative case with Lamanai and Tipu, as a village farther from this major Spanish route of travel in the region. The most common European pottery sherds recovered in Cedar Bank excavations were from olive jars, along with Columbia Plain and Sevilla Bl ue-on-Blue majolica (earthenware pottery with a tin-based glaze) these are also the most common types found at Lamanai and Tipu. Small pieces of at least two other types of majolica were recovered but have yet to be specifically identified. Vessel forms include cups, small bowls, and plates, typical of Spanish tableware from this time period. Small sidenotched projectile points, indicative of late pre-contact or early colonial Maya occupation, were also among the artifacts found at Cedar Bank. 243

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Colonial Frontier in the Sibun From the numbers of different sherds of European wares recovered, it is clear that they were not common at Cedar Bank, a pattern that mirrors the one described at Lamanai and Tipu. Again, it may have been the Spaniards perceptions of the region as unsuitable for economic development that prevented them from supplying it with many goods. Dr. David Pendergast has suggested that as people living beyond the pale, the Maya of Belize and their neighbors may have seemed worth changing in only the spiritual realm[The Sp aniards] distributed their limited largesse only where and when it was likely to bri ng good return on the money (Pendergast 1991:352). While the Spaniards struggled with the physical environment of Dzuluinicob, they seemed to make significant inroads into the religious one. Tipu and Lamanai show evidence of consistent Christian practices, with burials in the Christian style (i.e., in an extended position with the head to the west and arms folded over the chest), and with well-maintained churches (Graham et al., 1989:1255). The faintest echoes of such religious changes may also have surfaced at Cedar Bank. A particularly interesting metal artifact found there was a small, perforated copper-alloy star (Figure 2). Other examples of such stars are unknown in the Maya area, but do appear at other Spanish colonial sites such as Puerto Real, Figure 1. Map of the lower Sibun River Valley, Belize showing the location of Cedar Bank at the edge of the karst in research Transect 4 (adapted from an illustration by Ben Thomas). 244

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S. Morandi Figure 2. Perforated hand-cut copper-alloy star found at Cedar Bank (photograph by Patricia McAnany). Haiti, as well as Santa Elena in South Carolina (Deagan 2002). The function of such objects is not certain, though a few hypotheses have been set forth (Radisch 1986:145-151). One is th at they are a type of ornamentation, sewn to leather garments or riveted on to items such as saddles through their central pe rforation. Another intriguing possibility, however, is that the star functioned as the metal tip of a selfmutilation device such as the cat o nine tails used by orders of religious penitents at that time (Figure 3). The Spanish Franciscans in early colonial Belize were one such group. If so, it would be a painful reminder of the program of religious indoctrination set fort h by Spaniards in the Sibun Valley. Figure 3. Comparison of copper stars found in Spanish colonial contexts and an illustration of one possible use of such artifacts. (Drawing of Sa nta Elena stars from Radisch 1986; Stimmer image from Deagan 2002). Conclusions Spanish colonial archaeology in Belize is still in its initial stages, and many 245

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Colonial Frontier in the Sibun 246 fundamental questions remain to be answered. This crucial time period is a link between earlier pre-contact Maya culture and later British and Afro-Caribbean influences, and is a ti me when Christianity and other aspects of European culture first take on their own unique forms within Maya societies. Overall, excavations to this point suggest that we are not likely find many Spanish colonial sites in Belize with abundant remains of Eur opean artifacts, and that it is to the contemporaneous Maya cultural remains that we must look to gather much information about life here in sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In this light, a major goal woul d be the basic but challenging task of identifying and describing early colonial Maya pottery types in Belize, which has only been carried out to a very limited extent thus far. Of course, many avenues of archaeological research, including archival work, surveys, and excavations will continue to provide important insights into life in Belize during this time period. As we can see from some of the papers in this volume, such daunting but fruitful work is already underway. References Cited Andrews, A.P. 1991 The Rural Churches and Chapels of Early Colonial Yucatan and Belize: An Archaeological Perspective. In The Spanish Borderlands in Pan-American Perspective D.H. Thomas (ed.), pp.355-374. Columbian Consequences, vol. 3. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. Deagan, K. 2002 Artifacts of the Spanish Colonies of Florida and the Caribbean 1500-1800, Volume 2: Portable personal Possessions Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. Farriss, N. 1984 Maya Society under Colonial Rule Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. Graham, E., D.M. Pendergast, and G.D. Jones 1989 On the Fringes of Conquest: MayaSpanish Contact in Colonial Belize. Science 246:1254-1259. Hanson, C. 1995 The Hispanic Horizon in Yucatan: A Model of Franciscan Missionization. Ancient Mesoamerica 6:15-28. Jones, G.D. 1982 Agriculture and Trade in the Colonial Period Southern Maya Lowlands. In Maya Subsistence: Studies in Memory of Dennis E. Puleston K.V. Flannery (ed.): 275-93. Academic Press, New York. 1989 Maya Resistance to Spanish Rule: Time and History on a Colonial Frontier University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Pendergast, D.M. 1991 The Southern Maya Lowlands Contact Experience: The View from Lamanai, Belize. In The Spanish Borderlands in PanAmerican Perspective, D.H. Thomas (ed.), pp.337-354. Columbian Consequences, vol. 3. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. 1993 Worlds in Collision: The Maya/Spanish Encounter in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Belize. In The Meetings of Two Worlds: Europe and the Americas, 14921650 Warwick Bray (ed.), pp. 105-143. Proceedings of The British Academy No. 81. Oxford University Press, Oxford. Radisch, W.H. 1986 Classification and Interpretation of Metal Stars from Santa Elena. In Spanish Artifacts from Santa Elena S. South, R. Skowronek, and R. Johnson (eds.). Anthropological Studies 7: Occasional Papers of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology. Roys, R.L. 1957 The Political Geography of the Yucatan Maya Carnegie Institute of Washington, Publication 613, Washington, DC.

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18 A TALE OF THREE RIVERS: EUROPEAN AND AFRICAN SETTLERS IN THE NEW, BELIZE AND SIBUN RIVER DRAINAGES Daniel Finamore Investigations in three major river drainages of Belize have established an archaeological framework for studying British settlers and African laborers involved in timber exploitation. The sites in each area represent different populations and activities, representing distinct and little-known facets of the nations history. A site on the lower Belize River known as the Barcadares was probably the first semi-permanent settlement by migrants from the British Isles. From about 1680 to 1730, a community of ma riners lived in crude huts and worked cooperatively to extract logwood to sell to passing ships. Downriver is the site of Convention Town, formed in the late 18th century to accommodate evacuees from the Mosqu ito Shore In contrast, seventeen sites along the New River have yielded information regarding the lives of enslaved and free African-Caribbean laborers, who lived in isolation from the coastal population. These sites offer insight into the poorest inhabitants of the settlement, many of who were involuntary occupants of communities that were organized corporately for economic efficiency. Research currently under way in the Sibun valley is yielding evidence of significant British colonial occupation, some predating officially sanctioned settlement there, offering insights into the mahogany trade not encountered elsewhere. Introduction Belize has gained international recognition for its arch aeological resources that contribute to our understanding of the development of civilization. The massive Maya monuments, elevated platforms and minor house mounds each add to our cumulative knowledge of human history. But in addition, there are far more ephemeral remains in between these mounds, and occasionally even right on top of them, which reflect populations that have been far less historicized than the Maya. Aside from Belize City itself, there are few archaeological sites related to the colonial origins of modern Belize that even protrude above the ground, much less the tree line. The British colonial history of the country has traditionally been interpreted from the perspective of the coast, or even from England, with the resu lt that life for the poorer settlers, pirates, African laborers, and refugees who settled the forest in search of logwood or mahogany has gone largely unrecognized. This paper addresse s investigations that have taken place in three major river drainages; they bega n in 1990 and remain ongoing. Together, they comprise a framework for studying more than 200 years of settlement associated with British colonists and African laborers involved in the exploitation of timber for European and colonial American industry. Individually, these sites represent different populations and activities, each reflecting little-known facets of the nations history. But as a whole, they frame the cultural development of the region within the context not only of Belizes response to, but also its active role in, the global forces of European expansion during the modern era. Belize River: The Barcadares Popular perceptions of the cultural foundation of m odern Belize rely on legends of pirates and itinerant mariners who Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 247-255. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize

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A Tale of Three Rivers operated beyond the reach of the m ainstream Caribbean economy and social hierarchy (Joseph 1989). To date, however, scant historical or archaeological evidence has been identified through which this early phase of settlement can be examined. Toward the end of the seventeenth century, small groups of maritime laborers seeking alternatives to their arduous occupations began to settle peripheral regions of Spanish territory, including the Belize River valley, to cut dyewoods for the European textile industry. In the sparsely inhabited forest, the settlers created a highly collective society based on a system of rules and values that had evolved among shipboard communities in response to their dangerous work environm ent, low status in the economic hierarchy, and social isolation from mainstream Europ ean culture (Rediker 1987). Captain Nathaniel Uring (1726) provided the earliest documentation for such a settlement after wrecking his ship on a voyage to purchase logwood in 1720. During his five-month stay, he recorded many interesting aspects of life among the sailors-turned-woodcutters, including their propensity to work communally. Uring also noted the Wood-Cutters are generally a rude drunken Crew, some of which have been Pirates, and most of them Sailors (Uring 1726: 355). His description of the rudimentary structures the woodcutters lived in gives a good sense of everyday life there: The Manner of their Lodging is thus: They fix several Crutches in the ground about Four Foot high, and lay Sticks across, and upon those Sticks they lay a good Quantity of Leaves; and this is their Bed. There is also at each Corner of the Bed-Place, a tall Pole fixed, to which they fasten their Covering so contrivd that it falls down on every Side, and serves not only for Curtains, but also keeps the Flies from disturbing them (1726:182) Uring called the settlement the Barcadares, and said that it was located on high banks forty-two miles upriver. Presumably this would be the farthest navigable point up river for ships of the day, as well as a convenient landing place for loading wood. Uring drew a map of the lower Belize River, indicating the location of the Barcadares. Although th e map is somewhat schematic, the approximate location of the site was identified by correlating it with the modern course of the river. Through survey and testing, the site was located only about fifteen miles up the Belize River, somewhat less than Uring claimed, just below Little Falls at the village known today as Grace Bank (Figure 1). Three weeks of excavation there yielded artifacts in dicating that the site was occupied possibly as early as the 1670s, and that it fell out of use by the middle of the eighteenth century. Figure 1. Historical period sites investigated in the Belize River valley. 248

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D. Finamore Excavations yielded evidence of a variety of activities, and provide a window onto daily life in the first long-term European settlement in the country. Artifacts recovered include fragments of smoking pipes, some of Dutch origin and one dateable to manufact ure between 1668 and 1688; iron in the form of trunk or box hinges and large quantities of hand-wrought nails that were probably used in constructing the settlers sleeping pavilions. Within the soil matrix were many clay concretions that appear to be naturally baked earth from open fires. Three sizes of le ad gun shot were also recovered. Although the musket ball may have been for defense, the small bird shot was undoubtedly used for food collecting. Although Uring recorded the copious drinking habits of the Baymen at length, only a small amount of bottle glass was recovered. We know that many were thrown into the river, but given the remoteness of the site in this early period; wooden hogsheads may have been the dominant method of transporting alcohol. Among the ceramics recovered, more than 90% were blue and red hand-painted delftware. The majority of the remainder was stoneware, some decorated as well. It seems that these high-style wares were used on an everyday basis, instead of being reserved for spec ial occasions, as they were elsewhere, since extremely few plain, undecorated or inexpensive wares were found at all. Also, small fragments of painted Chinese porcelain were recovered. Although the simple existence of porcelain from China seems strangely incommensurate with the rough-and-tumble lifesty les of the Baymen, some of it was in the most expensive range of that artifact class, and would have been considered lavish if found in a colonialperiod American mansion of the time. Whether the Baymens Chinese porcelain served as symbols of status, as was common elsewhere, or was employed strictly for functional purposes, the existence of such pieces indicates a certain degree of wealth among the residents wealth that was invested in portable objects and not in architecture. This highlights an apparent notion of transience among residents of the nascent Bay Settlement. Whether they were there for a few months or years, they were not investing in their physical surroundings, and were ready to pick up and leave in response to a better opport unity or a threat to their livelihood. Belize River: Convention Town Toward the m iddle of the 18th century, a rising demand for mahogany spelled the end of the egalitarian lifestyle of the logwood cutters, a nd the establishment of a more traditional British colonial social hierarchy. The enormous size of the trees required significantly more labor to harvest, which was no doubt a factor in the introduction of slaves to the settlement. By 1745, slaves outnumbered free residents, and by 1779 slaves outnumbered non-slaves by about six to one (Bolland 1977:49-50; CO 137/48). The composition of the population was dramatically altered following the 1786 Convention of London, at which settlers were granted an expansion of woodcutting rights as far south as the Sibun River. In exchange, the British evacuated the Mosquito Shore, transporting some 537 free settlers and 1,677 slaves directly to the Bay Settlement, greatly increasing, and by some estimates quadrupling, the total population (Burdon I 1931: 162). Part of this process involved a complete survey of the settlement by David Lamb, who created large and detailed maps showing the locations of settler claims along the various river courses (PRO CO700 BH no. 11; CO700 BH no. 13; CO700 BH no. 14). In almost every case, Lamb represented a settlement with the 249

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A Tale of Three Rivers nam e of the land claimant and a drawing of a single hut. In contrast, Lamb depicted a single dense population concentration along the lower reaches of the Belize River, approximately 16 kilometers up from the coast. He colored a four-kilometer stretch of riverbank red to indicate dense settlement, and identified this locality as Convention Town. The name Convention Town likely refers to a community of evacuees from the Mosquito Shore who arrived in Belize and had no land claims of th eir own. A census of the settlement conducted during January and February of 1790 indicates that 470 people, or about 16% of the Bay Settlement population, were listed as residents of Convention Town at that time (Bolland 1977: 42). We dont know whether the town was composed of free evacuees from the Mosquito Shore who lived there along with their slaves, or on their own, having leased out or sold their slav es to others who had claims to work. Whatever the composition of Convention Town, it appears to have been by far the largest concentrated community in the Bay Settlement, with the possible exception of what was to become Belize City. Locating Convention Town was accomplished in a similar fashion to the Barcadares (Figure 1). The stretch of river identified by Lamb follows a distinctive southward-arcing meander that can be perceived on a modern topographic map. Most of it, though, is heavily forested and there is little vehicl e access between Lords Bank and Burrell Boom, so survey was conducted by boat. The most productive locality tested within the parameters of Lambs map was at the farm of Mr. Edmund Galvez, the lone remaining resident of this former population center. Three weeks of excavation yielded dense concentrations of artifacts that contrast greatly with the earlier site a few kilometers upriver. One important difference is in the dominant vessel forms at the two sites. The predominance of bowls at the Barcadares and of plates at Convention Town reflects a shift in the system of food preparation, from stews and porridges to meals of drier consistency. But it also represents a shift from the use of communal vessel forms in food service to individual service vessels. This reflects a welldocumented social trend that is characteristic of the early modern and Georgian time periods, but regardless of the social origins indicated by this shift, it elucidates a radically different organization of domestic activities within the two sites. The broad variety of ceramic wares from Convention Town reflects selection on the part of the consumer, particularly a range of special decorative wares represented in small quantities such as agateware, and basaltware. Other arti facts from Convention Town also support this distinction between the two periods. At 30% of the entire artifact assemblage, glass was far better represented at Convention Town than at the Barcadares. A diverse assortment of glass tableware fragments was recovered, including tumblers, stemware, decanters, rummer goblets, and flip glass forms. Many were embellished with engraving or applied enamel coloring. The extensive quantity and variety of glass and ceramic tableware at Convention Town suggests a domestic arrangement closely aligned with British households in the su gar islands and the northern colonies, as well as notions of social positioning in common with British new-world slave-owning culture. This is not only a substantial change from what was recovered at the earlier site, It also reflects great differences with sites of the same time period discovered along the New River. 250

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D. Finamore New River Sites Investigations in the New River were also aided by Lambs survey maps, which frequently proved accurate enough so that land claims could be correlated with actual locales along the modern river course. In addition, a 1790 census for the settlement enumerated the population according to household, listing men, women, and children individually by name, and identifying them as white, free or slave (PRO CO123/9). When combined, these two sources illuminate not only the locations of riverside wood-cutting claims held by the settlers during the 1780s, but also the numbers and actual names of the free and enslaved people who lived there. A survey was undertaken via boat from the river mouth in the north to the New River Lagoon in the south, totaling approximately 60 kilometers of river. Seventeen historical-period sites were located, varying greatly in their extent and density of artifact distribution (Figure 2). According to the census, each of these sites was seasonally occupied by between sixteen and fifty-two woodcutters. Two sites in particular yielded substantial deposits, indicating heavy occupation by slaves. One was found above the confluence of two branches of the New River, approximately twenty-six kilometers from the river mouth. This locality is identified as the camp of Matthias Gale, and named Caledonia the Roman word for Scotland. It is several kilometers from the modern village of that name, but it seems likely that the name originated with Gale, and applied to a parcel of land far larger than just a single nucle ated settlement. In 1790, Matthias Gales household included six white men, seven free men, twenty-six slave men and only four women all slaves (PRO CO123/9). The majority probably resided for most of the year at Caledonia while Gale, a prominent settler who held the Figure 2. Historical period sites investigated in the New River valley. post of Treasurer and also Conservator of the Peace, undoubtedly spent most of his time on the coast. The site was carefully investigated through surface collection within gridded units, yielding a large assemblage of eighteenth and early nineteenth-century cera mics, glassware, pipe fragments, and gunflints. Subsurface excavations yielded remarkably few artifacts or features. Another productive site was discovered thirty-four kilometers south of the river mouth, on a low ridge running parallel to the east bank of the river near the village of San Estevan. The site consisted of a thin scatter of artifacts dating from the early eighteenth century and well into the nineteenth century, spread over more than 12,000 square meters. The site appears to have been occupied for a longer span of time and with a greater degree of permanence than most of the others. The locale correlates 251

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A Tale of Three Rivers with the claim of Ro bert Francis O'Brien, who was a magistrate and one of the wealthiest residents of the Bay Settlement during the 1780s. He held eighty-two slaves and extensive timber claims along both the New and Belize Rivers. Since he held so much property, it seems unlikely that all of his slaves would ever have lived at this one location at any given tim e, but his household was equally unbalanced by gender, with sixty adult male slaves, thirteen women, and nine children (PRO CO123/9). At both of these sites and in the New River in general, the overwhelming majority of artifacts relate to a very limited range of activities. Food preparation and consumption dominate, and if it werent for a few rusty fragments of what could be machete blades, it would appear that no artifacts relate to the occupational activity of cutting, shaping, and transporting wood. The mundane activity of unceremonious communal eating from extremely plain ceramics dominates the material record of these camps. Only the very occasional teapot gives evidence for any activity associated with i ndividual choice beyond basic subsistence. Also, key artifact categories that are common on other British colonial sites were completely absent here, such as glass lamp chimneys and lighting devices, household cutlery, window glass, coins, and clothing buttons. In contrast to the Barcadares, not a single nail was found in any New River site, suggesting that the residents here had adopted different construction techniques, drawing inspiration eith er from local Maya dwellings or from their own ethnic traditions. Two artifacts from New River sites exhibit very interesti ng modifications. Such marks frequently appear on artifacts from communal contexts where objects are by necessity stored and treated as a single group, such as on board ship or in frontier or military camps. Scratches on the base of a food bowl and another on a dinner plate are possibly a private claim to a favored eating vessel, indicating a small assertion of individuality in a co rporately organized environment (see Figure 3). Alternatively, they could reflect an expression of a more deeply rooted cultural affiliation. Ceramic bowls with X patterns, sometimes scratched inside a circle, appear in excavations of slave plantations in South Carolina. In fact, the scratches are so consistent that archaeologists there have determined they cant be marks of personal ownership (Ferguson 1992, 1999). Figure 3. Ceramic bowl base with incised cruciform pattern from New River Slave camp. Its difficult to envision the range of activities that might have taken place in these remote camps, but with a lack of firstperson accounts of life there, its tempting to 252

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D. Finamore think only of the econom ic realm and overlook evidence that mi ght hint at social or even spiritual practi ces of the inhabitants. Today, African American priests in Cuba inscribe a similar cruciform pattern on the bottom of vessels when they are creating one of several charms, and art historians associate these Xs within circles with the cosmograms of the Bakongo people of the southwest coast of Africa. Many people from this region were transported in the slave trade, and Bakongo culture was so influential that many other people adopted their practices both in Africa and the Americas. Like the enslaved residents of the South Carolina plantations, the Belize laborers may have been using these vessels to make a sacred Bakongo medicine that connected the living with the powers of the dead, traversing the earthly and spiritual horizons depicted in the cosmogram. If so, these ceramics and their sacred contents were not solely remnants of cultural practices fractured by enslavement, but they represent the persistence of a worldview that varied significantly from that of those who enslaved them. Inasmuch, these ceramics were emblems of resistance to the way of life brought upon the laborers by the incessant demand for mahogany. Sibun River: Current Investigations itishcolonia ct analysis on 2003 season materia A third major locus of Br l period settlement was the Sibun river valley, and hist orical archaeological investigations have been underway there since 2001, part of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project directed by Professor Patricia McAnany of Boston University. Although the region was actively traversed and settled by those seeking mahogany, three factors have influenced the approach to investigat ions here: 1) the Sibun was apparently not as densely occupied as the river valleys to the north; 2) the river was beyond the boundary of legal settlement until 1786, resulting in a paucity of documentation in the archives; and 3) unlike the deeply inscribed New River which has seen little flooding and a highly stable course over the last 200 years, the Sibun river overruns its banks annually, so archaeological deposits there are either deeply buried under silt, or they have been disturbed and re-deposited by the episodes of flooding. Artifa l is currently underway, but the Sibun has yielded a suite of sites that are distinct from those in the New and Belize Rivers. Though destructive to site integrity, the flooding has brought about the preservation of certain degradable material in river mud, including a large piece of shaped wood discovered in shallow water near Cedar Bank (Figure 4). It appears to be end of a squared log that has been cut to form a wedge, possibly made to prevent rolling of stacked wood. The context prevents an easy assessment of date; at least one side exhibits a wh ittled surface from axe heads. Another find from the river itself is a glass bottle dating from the second quarter of the 18th century, evidence of occupation prior to legally sanctioned settlement. Figure 4. Wood wedge revered from Sibun River. Som e locales at higher elevations are providi co ng insights into mahogany cutter life of later periods. One excavated midden is, 253

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A Tale of Three Rivers as with m any other sites, associated with a professional heritage of cutting mahogany. But rather than representing a seasonally occupied camp established for enforced labor, it was part of privately owned residence of a contra ct laborer and his extended family. They occupied it yearround over several gene rations, investing labor and resources into the property, the buildings, and their contents. This dramatic change in the social organization of the mahogany economy over time is echoed in the diversity of the assemblage, which includes many artifact categories not represented in the New River sites. Conclusions gh each one of m ore than twenty cknowledgments: The research discussed eferences Cited olland, O. Nigel ormation of a Colonial Society: urdon, Sir John Alder of British Honduras. 3 vols. erguson, Leland Cross is a Magic Sign: Marks on 1992 on Ground: Archaeology and inamore, Daniel Water: Sailing to Belize in the h 994 Sailors and Slaves on the Woodcutting n seph, Gilbert Coxon and the Role of Althou s ites investigated offers insights into a facet of colonial-era life, together they establish a structure for examining the trajectory of Belizean hi story and its role in New World colonial expansion (Finamore 2004; 1994). At the outset of the project, recognition of the very existence of sites like the Barcadares was minimal, and information regarding location, approximate size, and the nature of the resident population was slender. Convention Town and the New River site s, which contrast sharply but are of similar time periods, signify the profound economic and social diversification that had evolved in the settlement by this time. On the other hand, a common aspect of these sites is that life within them has gone largely or completely unrecorded, and that they each represent the first generation of expe rience in the country for many modern Belizean families. A in this chapter is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. BNS-9013097. I would like to thank Professors Patricia A. McAnany and Mary C. Beaudry, both of Boston University, for their intellectual contributions to this project, as well as Dr. John Morris and the staff of the National Institute of Culture and History, Belize, for their ongoing encouragement of historical archaeology in Belize. George Schwartz of the Peabody Essex Museum provided invaluable assistance with the illustrations. R B 1977 The F Belize, from Conquest to Crown Colony. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. B 1931-35 Archives London: Sifton Praed. F 1999 The Eighteenth-Century Bowls from South Carolina. In I, Too, Am America: Archaeological Studies of African-American Life Theresa A. Singleton, editor, Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 116 131. Uncomm Early African America, 1650-1800. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. F 2004 Pirate Maogany Trade. In Maritime Empires: British Imperial Maritime Trade in the Nineteenth Century David Killingray, Margarette Lincoln, and Nigel Rigby editors, Suffolk, U.K.: Boydell & Brewer. 1 Frotier: Archaeology of the British Bay Settlement, Belize. Unpublished dissertation, Boston University. M. Jo 1989 John Buccaneering in the Settlement of the Yucatan Colonial Frontier. Belizean Studies 17(3): 221. 254

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D. Finamore Rediker, 1987 he Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Merchant Seamen, Pirates, and the erican World, 1700-1750 New Uring, C 1726 ravels of Captain Nathaniel Uring. London: W. Manus Public Record Office .K.: 8, 1745. d to Great Britain for the cutting of logwood. As CO700 e English in the Bay of CO700 uras allotted to Great Britain for the cutting of Logwood, by Marcus Between t Anglo-Am York: Cambridge University Press. aptain Nathaniel A History of the Voyages and T Wilkins. cript Sources Colonial Office Records (PR O), Kew, Richmond, U CO123/9 List of the Inhabitants of Honduras with their Families, 1790. CO137/48 Inhabitants of the Bay of Honduras to Major Caulfield, June CO700 BH no. 11 A Map of that part of Yucatan in the Bay of Honduras allotte specified by the sixth article of the Peace of 1783. [1787] BH no. 13 A Map of the extended limits granted to th Honduras. 1787 BH no. 14 A Map of that part of Yucatan in the Bay of Hond David Lamb. 1787 255

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19 INVESTIGATING HISTORIC HOUSEHOLDS: THE 2003 SEASON OF THE SAN PEDRO MAYA PROJECT Jason Yaeger, Minette C. Church, Jennifer Dornan, and Richard M. Leventhal The Caste War in Yucatan and the consequent immigration of people of Maya and Mestizo heritage into British Honduras after 1847 radically transformed the British colony that would become Belize. Incorporation of these new arrivals into the socio-political and economic institu tions of the British settlement proved challenging, given their distinct cultures and a general unwillingness to submit entirely to British rule. This paper discusses the results of the 2003 excavations at San Pedro Siris, the village founded by 19th-century Maya immigrants in west-central Belize. The focus of the 2003 fieldwork was the excavation of a domestic structure and associated yard spaces and activity areas, as well as the continued analysis of the historic material culture recovered from the site. We use that data here to address how San Pedro Maya immigrants became incorporated into the social and economic networks of colonial British Honduras. Introduction The San Pedro Maya Project (SPMP) is a multi-disciplinary study of Yucatecspeaking Maya immigrants into British Honduras during the Caste War era. Beginning in the late 1840s and 1850s, Maya people established dozens of villages in the sparsely occupied interior jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula. They settled primarily in regions that were uncontrolled by any national or co lonial governments, some of it disputed territory that was split between British Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico through international treaties in the second half of the 19th century. The particular group of immigrants that is the subject of the SPMP is known as the San Pedro Maya (Jones 1977). The San Pedro Maya split from the pacficos of Icaiche, who were trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Mexico. The pacficos negotiations with Mexi co had earned them the enmity of the cruzob Maya who were continuing the Caste War struggle and had strong economic ties to the British settlement in Belize. In part to escape the hostilities between these two groups, the groups today known as the San Pedro Maya moved south of the Rio Hondo to found new villages farther away from the fray (Figure 1), although they retain ed their political and economic ties to the pacficos. The focus of the SPMP is to understand the ways by which the San Pedro Maya were incorporated into the colonial society and economy of British Honduras between 1855 and 1936, as we have outlined in more detail in earlier reports (Leventhal et al 2001; Yaeger et al. 2002, 2003a). Since 2000, the project has integrated archaeological fieldwork, archival research, and oral histories to study the San Pedro Maya, although the bulk of the research has been an archaeological investigation of San Pedro Siris, the principal village of the San Pedro Maya during the 19th century. The archaeological research reported herein comprises the fourth season of our efforts to understand these Maya immigrants, especially in terms of domestic life and colonial integration. Previous Research The SPMP began formally in 2000, when we identified tw o San Pedro Maya villages, San Pedro Siris and San Jose Yalbac. As was presented in last years symposium (Yaeger et al 2004), we have Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 257-267. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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2003 San Pedro Siris focused our work on San Pedro Siris, the site tha t colonial documents indicate was the political seat of the San Pedro Maya during the 19th century. Four to eight weeks were spent at San Pedro Siris each summer from 2000 to 2003. During the first three seasons, we concentrated our efforts on systematic surface collection, coll ecting artifacts from the three spatially disc rete components that together form San Pedr o Siris (Figure 2). There were no surface indications of architecture, and therefore a wide range of testing procedures to identify sub-surface architecture were tried. These ranged from soil probes and shovel test s, to formal 1 x 2 m excavation units, and to soil chemistry analysis. Despite these efforts, it was not until 2002, when 10 strip trenches, 50 cm wide and ranging in leng th from 10 m to 38 m (Ops 12, 21), were excavated that significant numbers of buried features were recovered. Figure 1. Central Belize and adjacent areas in the 19th century (after Jones 1977). In the 2002 trenches, w e discovered over 25 different cultural features, most of which are clearly associated with the domestic compounds of the village. The richness of the artifact assemblages recovered paralleled that of the surface collection, but with be tter context and in some cases better preservation, particularly of bone, although not of metal. The features include several lines of cobbles that were probably placed at the base of wattle-anddaub walls, several shallow pits filled with fire-grayed rocks and charcoal that we believe to be roasting pits, a few sheet 258

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J. Yaeger et al. m iddens, and several activity surfaces, the latter identified as 5-cm thick lenses of firegrayed charcoal rocks and artifacts that formed very distinct strata at between 10 and 20 cm below the ground surface. We also placed three excavation units adjacent to the strip trenches to examine more detail via horizontal excavations features identified in the sideways of the trenches (Ops 18). The 2003 Field Work In 2003, we returned to San Pedro Siris for 8 weeks of fieldwork and concurrent artifact an alyses in our field laboratory in San Jose Succotz. We had four goals for the 2003 season: 1) to conduct some additional reconnaissance looking for reported historic sites around San Pedro Siris; 2) to complete the surface collection of the areas with notable densities of historic artifacts in San Pedro East; 3) to excavate a domestic compounds; and 4) to continue to analyze the artifacts recovered from the site. Figure 2. San Pedro Siris. Reconnaissance We receiv ed several reports of concentrations of historic artifacts in the region around San Pedr o Siris, and several of these reported sites were visited to determine whether there were other 259

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2003 San Pedro Siris significant 19th-century settlem ents around San Pedro Siris. No ne of these reported sites proved to be significant. Most were small scatters of less than a dozen artifacts, and often they dated to the 20th century, too late to have been contemporaneous with San Pedro Siris. Surface Collection In the 2003 season, we also finished the surface collection s of artifacts and soil sampling of an additional 8 collection grids, each 25 m x 25 m, and two smaller grids (Ops 5AAAI and 7AAAI). This completed the collection of all areas at San Pedro Siris that demo nstrated significant densities of historic artifacts. Excavations The 11 strip trenches excavated in 2002 provided us with a good sub-surface sam ple of the northern sector of San Pedro East, demonstrating the existence of wellpreserved 19th-century features within 15 cm of ground surface. The distribution of these features, combined with differences in artifact density in the surface collections, suggested at least tw o areas of domestic occupation and a cemetery area in San Pedro East. Our excavations also proved that the activity surfaces and buildings at San Pedro Siris, although ephemeral, were well preserved and amenable to extensive horizontal clearing. Given our findings, we targeted the 2003 excavations to expose one of the residential zones delineated in 2002 through excavation and surface collection. A grid of 1 x 1 meter excavation units aligned with our larger surface collection grids was laid out (Figure 3). Excavations at two loci where we had found features in our fieldwork in 2001 and 2002 were initiated. To the south, we began clearing around a fire pit (Feature 7) and occupation surface (Feature 6) that we had found in Op 15. To the north, our excavations began around the trash deposit and architecture we had identified in Op 9. Opportunistically we expanded into additional 1 x 1 units to follow out these and other features found in the excavations, gradually connecting the two areas and ultimately, clearing a total of 133 m2, designated as Op 27, and each 1 x 1 unit was distinguished as a sub-operation (Figure 4). Because of the ephemeral nature of the occupation surface identified in Op 15, we began our excavation of the Op 27 subops by excavating down each 1 x 1 meter unit in 5 cm arbitrary levels or until we reached a soil change. Once a soil change was reached, we then followed the soil change into adjacent units. We screened all matrix through screens and collected all material culture, faunal remains, and charcoal and carbonized plant material. When an occupation surface was uncovered, we collected the flat-lying artifacts as a separate lot. We also took systematic soil samples on a 50-cm grid from all occupation surfaces and a number of flotation samples from occupation surfaces. Our 2003 excavations revealed 15 new features, which included a cobble platform (Features 36, 37, & 38) that we have interpreted as a platform that held a perishable house, as well as a large part of its yard and associated features (see Figure 5). The cobble platform measured less than 10 cm in height, and it was totally invisible from the ground surface prior to excavation, even when the vegetation was cleared off. The platform consisted of limestone cobbles, probably collected form the nearby stream and eroding bedrock outcrops. We found two postholes (Features 43 & 44) associated with the platform, suggesting the presence of a pole-and-thatch building atop the platform. We did not recover any daub that would indicate clayplastered walls, however. Also, quite 260

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J. Yaeger et al. interestingly, we found no nails, window glass, or baling wire: this house was built with forest products in the traditional Maya style. A very thin laye r of pebbles over part of the platform (Features 39 & 40), together with flat lying artifacts indicate a prepared surface of some kind, although we could not identify either a packed clay or white marl floor. Probing excavatio ns into the platform revealed at least two episodes of construction (Features 37 & 38). The platform was associated with a wide array of domestic artifacts imported painted dishes, locally made ceramic jars, medicine and alcohol bottles, scissors, and buttons that are consistent with our interpretations of it as a house. Two crucifixes and a St. Joseph medallion support oral histories that emphasize the importance of Catholicism in the community, as opposed the cruzob or Santa Cruz Maya, who followed the Talking Cross (also Dumond 1997). Figure 3. Detail of SPMP Investigations in San Pedro East. Imm ediately east of the residential platform, we found another thin surface of smaller cobbles (Feature 42) that extends to the northeast in a 1-m wide strip. This is likely a cobble walkway, but unfortunately, we did 261

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2003 San Pedro Siris Figure 4. Op. 27. 262

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J. Yaeger et al. Figure 5. Schematic Plan of Features in Op 27. 263

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2003 San Pedro Siris not have tim e to excavate farther east, and thus we do not know where it might have led. Extending out from the platform on three sides was a stratum of dark soil differentiated by a high concentration of limestone flecking and pebble inclusions (Feature 35). This st ratum averages 5 cm thick and lies within 10 cm of the ground surface. We uncovered the entirety of the top of this stratum, which appears to be an activity surface, likely corresponding with the yard. The distinct limestone flecking apparently is the accumulation of different activities performed there. The stratum is associated with a relatively high density of artifacts, but they are small in average size. Trampling and constant activity in the yard apparently led to he avy breakage. This pattern of small aver age size of artifacts associated with Feature 35 contrasts markedly with two other types of features we excavated. The first was the zone along the edges of the cobble platform, where artifact size and dens ity were significantly higher. This was apparently a discard zone where objects were thrown out of the way, placed for later use, and sometimes forgotten. The other features with high average artifact size were three unusual piles of large cobbles (Features 31, 3 3, & 34) that were intermixed with large artifacts, including whole bottles broken in place and a lot of faunal remains. One is associated with the flecked activity surf ace; the other two are not. We believe that th ese features represent the accumulation of rocks and trash in another toss zone that was out of the way of daily movement around the residential compound, likely adjacent to hedges or fences that have left no direct physical traces. One of these ro ck features has two associated postholes (Features 45 & 46), suggesting either a fenc e or a small covered area, perhaps an animal pen. The artifact assemblage recovered in association with these features lacked domestic artifacts and had few pieces of hardware, in marked contrast to the cobble platform, where domestic artifacts and hardware were common. In the 2002 excavations, we identified six classes of features: 1) activity surface, 2) rock line, 3) posthole, 4) sheet midden, 5) fire pit, and 6) grave. The 2003 excavations provided additional examples of postholes, as well as three new types of features: 1) flecked activity surface, 2) cobble platform, and 3) di screte rock pile. It is worth noting that some of the activity surfaces identified in our 2002 strip trenches could be outdoor activity surfaces, while others might be the edges of cobble platforms, given our observations from the correlation between activity surfaces in Op 15 and Op 27. All of the features identified in Op 27 likely belong to a single domestic compound; we present a tentative reconstruction of the activity areas in this area on Figure 5. The compound was focused around a cobble platform that held a perishable house structure, with associated postholes, a cobble path, and a low berm (Feature 41) to divert water from the structure. Although the stratigraphy suggests at least two and prob ably three different construction episodes, the length of time between these phases remains unknown. The material cultural suggests a late 19thcentury occupation. The surrounding space marked by a stratum shot through with limestone flecks was apparently part of the yard area, perhaps surrounded by a fence or hedge as suggested by the accumulation of large rocks and artifacts in what mi ght be discard zones around the yards edge. Considering the direct association betw een the flecked area, the cobble mound, the rock piles, a fire pit, 264

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J. Yaeger et al. and other features in th is area, they all likely represent a single occupation. Artifact Analysis The detailed analys is of material culture continued to be central to realizing the projects goals (Church 2002; Church et al. 2001). In 2003, we completed the analysis of the material from Op 27 and all Op 5 surface collections from collection units associated with the Op 27 excavations. This allowed us to make some initial comparisons between the surface and subsurface assemblages. Since only the surface lots analyzed during the 2003 season are included (which do not include all the surface lots adjacent to Op 27), these comparisons are not definitive, merely preliminary and suggestive of patterns that we will continue to explore. In general, the diversity of artifacts collected on the ground surface parallels fairly closely that of artifacts from excavated contexts. This is to be expected, since the cultural materials are not deeply buried and are eroding to the surface with each rainstorm and land-clearing episode. Of special note, however, is the relative absence of faunal remains in surface contexts. Apparently, once these bones erode onto the surface, they do not last long at all; preservation is markedly better below ground surface. Much of the faunal remains are pig bones, and the fire pits, cast iron bake ovens, and burned limestone scrap scattered around the site suggests strongly that much pork was cooked pibil style by pit-roasting. When looking at functional classes of artifacts, the overa ll diversity of the assemblage is again roughly parallel on the surface and in excavated contexts. There are, however, some slight differences. For example, a higher proportion of the items on the surface are indeterminate in terms of their class because they are more highly fragmented, partially as a result of clearing and burning the field for purposes of agriculture a nd archaeology. Although there are items associated with recreation both on the surface and below, there are more on the surface. Furthermore, a markedly higher proportion of bottle fragments below the surface are medicine/cosmetic while on the surface, alcohol bottles dominat e. If this pattern holds with closer comparisons using a larger sample of surface collection, explanations might range from increased alcohol consumption later in the occupation of the village to post-occupational origins for some of the alcohol, or cach ing of alcohol in more concentrated locales. Explanations related to gender, use of cosmetics, and alcohol consumption might also be worth exploring. Within the broad functional category of subsistence there are three classes: consumption, preparation and storage. All are related to foodways, and most are ceramics and glass, as well as the cast iron bake ovens and cauldrons. More imported ceramics related to consumption occurred below surface, while the metal items associated with preparation seem to lie predominantly on the surface. The high number of preparation items on the surface is largely comprised of cast iron bake ovens and cauldr ons in particular. These seem to be much more common on the surface than in subsurface contexts. This may be due to preservation issues, or perhaps they were used later in the total occupation span of the site, although there is significant vertical cyc ling of materials in the 15 cm of occupation-related deposits at the site. Recreation, as an artifact category, includes the classes of alcohol, musical instrument, tobacco, and toys. At San Pedro, the musical instrument evidence is comprised of metal accordion reeds. How many instruments are represented in the total 265

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2003 San Pedro Siris assem blage is unknown, but they occur both in surface and subsurface contexts. Ethnographic evidence exists of the popularity of the accordion among the Maya of the Yucatan. White kaolin pipes of English manufacture, common in subsurface contexts, mostly demonstrate the consumption of tobacco. The toys in this assemblage are uniformly porcelain and porcelain bisque doll fragments. While we have not yet determined an MNV for dolls, this should be possible once we have the whole assemblage analyzed. There are definitely several different dolls represented in the assemblage. It is also worth noting that the Terminus Post Quem dates of the artifacts analyzed in the 2003 se ason align well, and they point to an occupation date of the later 19th century, which conforms well to the dates of the villages occupation as derived from the historical. Summary The 2003 season of the SPMP wa s by far the most successful excavation season, building on the strong methodological and empirical foundations laid during the 2002 season. We were able to excavate most of a residential structure and its adjacent yard area, revealing a diversity of features suggestive of interesting activity patterning in the domestic realm. Spatial analysis of the recovered material culture should prove illuminating in that regard. To date, we have analyzed over half of the artifacts recovered from San Pedro Siris, and the resulting data provide important information about the San Pedro Maya and their evolving place in the British colony. A local eart henware ceramic industry and the tools needed to cultivate and process maize indicate a degree of economic self-sufficiency, and the presence of guns and machetes pointed to the villagers ability to fight for their independence, as recorded in historical documents and demonstrated by the recovery of parts from the early incendiary rockets used by the British in their 1867 attack on the village. Despite open hostilities with the British during the villages early decades, the inhabitants of San Pedro Siris developed strong ties to colonial economic networks. The high numbers of alcohol and patent medicine bottles, as well as decorated imported ceramics show that people in the village had significant disposable income or surplus to barter to obtain these items. Oral histories support this, as most people recall their parents exchanging their farm products like maize, pork, bananas, and sugar cane for other non-local foodstuffs such as wheat flour, salt beef. Despite evidence of active Maya participation in British economic networks, our data belie any simple models of Maya assimilation. For example, the decorated wares we have recovered are primarily deep bowls or tureens suitable for serving the soups and stews that are typical of Yucatec Maya cuisine. The archaeological and oral historical data show that the San Pedro Maya actively decided which goods to purchase and incorporate in their everyday lives, choosing those th at allowed them to pursue traditional subsistence activities like Milpa agriculture, as well as traditional foodways. Furthermore, the vernacular architecture was apparently typically Maya, involving poles tied toge ther with vines or other perishable bindings, and thatch roofs; we found almost no nails, window glass, or tying wire, such as one would expect in Anglo settlements. These data all demonstrate that the San Pedro Maya had a fair degree of autonomy in dictating their participation in the economy and interactions with outsi ders, especially during 266

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J. Yaeger et al. the in itial decades of the settlements history. We look forward to exploring the details of these interactions in more depth after completion of the artifact analysis in 2004. Acknowledgements. The authors would like to thank the Institute of Archaeology, the National Institute of Culture and History, and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture for organizing the Belize Archaeological Symposium at which we presented this paper. The landowners of San Pedro Siris and the surrounding area graciously permitted our work, and we thank then for their kind cooperation. We would like to especially acknowledge the continued support of Mr. Carlos Montalban, Mrs. Pitts, and Mr. Alwin Smith. The Trek Stop provided hospitality and good cheer, and Mr. Luis Godoy helped organize our crew, a group of skilled archaeologists and dedicated workers from Succotz, Benque Viejo, La Gracia, and Cr isto Rey. Generous funding for the 2003 fieldwork was provided by the University of Wisconsin Graduate School, the School of American Research, a FulbrightHays Faculty Research Abroad Grant, an Ivor Noel Hume Historical Archaeology Research Grant, the University of Wisconsin Vilas Trust, and UCLA Friends of Archaeology. References Cited Church M. C. 2002 Post-Post-Classic Maya? The Material Culture of 19th and 20th Century Maya in Belize. Paper presented at the 2002 Annual Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Mobile. Church, M. C., J. Yaeger, and R. M. Leventhal 2001 Foodways and Firearms: The Archaeology of Maya Caste War Refugees. Paper presented at the 66th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, New Orleans. Dumond, D. E. 1997 The Machete and the Cross. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln. Jones, G. D. 1977 Levels of Settlement Alliance among the San Pedro Maya of Western Belize and Eastern Petn, 18571936. In Anthropology and History in Yucatn, edited by G. D. Jones, pp. 1399. University of Texas Press, Austin. Leventhal, R.M., J. Yaeger, and M.C. Church. 2001 San Pedro Maya Project: Preliminary Report of the 2000 Field Season. Report submitted to the Belize Department of Archaeology, Belmopan. Leventhal, R.M., J. Yaeger, M.C. Church, and J. Dornan 2002 San Pedro Maya Project: Preliminary Report of the 2001 Field Season. Report submitted to the Belize Department of Archaeology, Belmopan. Yaeger, J., M.C. Church, R.M. Leventhal, and J. Dornan 2003 San Pedro Maya Project: Preliminary Report of the 2002 Field Season. Report submitted to the Belize Department of Archaeology, Belmopan. 2004 Maya Caste War Immigrants in Colonial British Honduras: The San Pedro Maya Project, 20032004. In Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology, Volume 1. Archaeological Investigations in the Eastern Maya Lowlands: Papers of the 2003 Belize Archaeology Symposium, ed. by J. Awe, J. Morris, and S. Jones, pp. 103-114. Belmopan: Institute of Archaeology, National Institute of Culture and History. Yaeger, J., M.C. Church J. Dornan, and R.M. Leventhal 2002 San Pedro Maya Project: Preliminary Report of the 2001 Field Season. Report submitted to the Belize Department of Archaeology, Belmopan. 267

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20 BOTTLES, BUTTONS, AND THE BEC: THE HISTORICAL RECORD AT YALBAC Andrew Kinkella The Valley of Peace Archaeological Project has found a small collection of historic artifacts within the humus layer of Site 14, one of the ancient Maya structures at the Maya site of Yalbac. The collection consists of 17 glass, metal, and ceramic objects dating from approximately 1880 to 1930, with most objects dating to approximately 1920. These artifacts will be related to other historic objects found in the Valley of Peace area as well as to the known written history of the area. Connections will be drawn to early logging efforts of the Belize Estate and Produce Company (BEC). The practices of the BEC will be discussed, as will the possible life ways of the loggers and/or chicleros as revealed by the artifact assemblage. Introduction The ancient Maya stone architecture that permeates the landscape of the Yalbac area presents an imposing archaeological record that still defines the area predominantly as the land of the Maya even today. Although the ancient Maya left Yalbac a thousand years ago, the area has not lain dormant, but has been redefined by the various human groups that have come since. Since the arrival of the Spanish, the land and environs where Yalbac stands has been home to slaves, loggers, chicleros, later Maya groups, and even confederate soldiers fleeing retribution from the American Government after the American Civil War (Figure 1). Their stories have left a more ephemeral record on the landscape than that of the ancient Maya, but are just as deserving to be told. There are two collections of material to be discussed here; the first being an archaeological collection of historic artifacts found in situ at the site of Yalbac, and the second being a scattering of historic artifacts that have come to my attention over the years from the general Yalbac and Valley of Peace area. The small amount of historical documentation that correlates with the area will also be examined. Taken together, my aim is to elucidate a greater understanding of the processes and events that have taken place in the Yalbac area over the past 150 years and to achieve a greater understanding of the life ways of the people who lived and worked in the area. Figure 1. Yalbac in relationship to the Belize Valley (After Garber et al. 2004). Historic Artifacts from Site 14 The collection of historic artifacts that I have analyzed from Yalbac is fragmentary and small, coming from the uppermost layer (humus) of Site 14 (94E22N-14) (Figure 2). Site 14 is a nondescript elite mound that stands about Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 269-275. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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The Historical Record at Yalbac Figure 2. Excavations at Site 14. two meters high and is located immediately outside of the Yalbac site core between Yalbac and Yalbac creek (Figure 3) (see Lucero, this volume for more on the ancient Maya site of Yalbac). As often occurs with discoveries of happenstance, we did not set out to study the historic record of our research area; we merely realized that something had to be done with all of the historic artifacts th at continued to be unearthed as we began excavating for Maya artifacts! Figure 3. Site 14 with excavation area demarcated. The collection consists of 17 glass, metal, and ceramic objects, with wine and medicine/liquor bottles (Figure 4), buttons and ceramic sherds (Figure 5) being the most diagnostic. In addition to these items, there is a padlock and a knife and fork (Figure 6). Because of the location of the artifacts in the humus layer, any sort of chronological control was not possible. Still, this collection of artifacts has yielded interesting questions, and I hope to pique the interest of all who work on ancient Maya sites in order to urge the collection of any historical artifacts that may be unearthed, as their analysis may lead to discoveries just as fruitful as those made for the ancient Maya (see Gasco 1992). Based on the assemblage collected from Site 14 (see Tabl e 1), the ancient Maya site was probably re-used as a small logging or chiclero camp that was in existence multiple times during the period between about 1890 and 1930. The range of dates comes from several lines of evidence, including a datable button, a datable sherd, and the fact that most of the bottles were made using a process that was popular during this time (see Fi ke 1987). As with dating ancient Maya ceram ics, not all of the historic artifacts fall neatly into one narrow time band; the wine bottle, one button, and one ceramic sherd could date as early as 1870, while the bulk of the other glass bottles could date to as late as 1930. Nearly all of the artifacts could possibly have coexisted at about 1910-1920 or so. There is about a third of the assemblage that cannot be dated to any useful time period, but the artifacts could be consistent with the early twentieth century. The reason that the loggers or chicleros who left these material traces decided to live on top of this mound can be easily explained when the surrounding environment is examined. First, Site 14 is very close to Yalbac Cr eek, facilitating easy 270

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A. Kinkella Figure 4. Glass artifacts from Site 14. Figure 5. Ceramic artifacts from Site 14. Figure 6. Metal artifacts from Site 14. access to water for drinking and bathing. Second, the mound itself provides a nice, raised, flat area in a location that is sloping rapidly upward from the creek bed to the top of the Yalbac plaza. During the rainy season, this mound would be a comfortable flat spot located just above the high water line (the rainy season be ing the best time for chicle gathering) (Shoman 2000). This choice of location for the loggers and/or chicleros could possibly mirror the ancient Maya reasoning for building an elite structure at this spot. Who were the people who lived here? The artifacts paint a picture of working class loggers/ chicleros who were working for the BEC, either cutting mahogany or looking for chicle These people consumed alcoholic beverages (the large green bottle is almost assuredly for this, as were one or more of the medicine bottles). They also likely carried condiments for their food. This collection also shows self-sufficiency and economy by virtue of its small number of pieces; only the necessities of life are represented (food, clothing, and alcohol). These people probably lived with Western cultural values, as a knife and fork are present (historic Maya groups would use tortillas in place of utensils) (Yaeger 2004). These people probably did not stay very long, but the amount of artifacts reco vered says that they either stayed for more than a mere stopover, or came to the same spot many times (this could have been a favorite camping spot). Historical Background Today, the archaeological site of Yalbac sits within the domain of the Yalbac Cattle and Ranch Company, on land that is used primarily for logging. The use of this land has not changed much since the British gained control of Belize over 200 years ago. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, this area was logged by slaves working for local 271

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The Historical Record at Yalbac 272 owners. After the slaves were emancipated in 1838, the local owners congregated into powerful companies, the most powerful of which was the British Honduras Company, which changed its name in 1875 to the Belize Estate and Produce Company (abbreviated BEC) (Shoman 2000, ETF 1984). Glass: Object Attributes Age Large olive bottle Turn mold with applied blob finish. 1870-early 1900s Larger aqua bottle No. 2768. Cup bottom 2-pce mold, semi-automatic machine. Rounded ring finish for inset cap. Approx. 1900-1930 *Smaller aqua bottle No. 266. Cup bottom 2-pce mold, semi-automatic machine. Ball neck with collar and ring finish. Approx. 1900-1930 *Smaller aqua bottle No. 2 ? Cup bottom 2-pce mold. Sidewall embossed for application of paper label. Ball neck with double collar finish. Before 1930 Aqua bottle neck Flat or packer finish. Long neck suggests use for oil. Undetermined (probably before 1930) Two aqua bottle stoppers Larger one is appropriate size for Lea & Perrins, but no markings on either. Undetermined *The finishes on the two above are not typically seen in the U.S. on bottles of this shape. We typically see what is on 266 on large whiskeys. These could hold medicinal or condiments. Metal: Object Attributes Age Button 2-hole sew through. Undetermined Padlock Heart-shaped, keyed. Made with plates rather than cast. Not terribly old (approx 50 yrs, but hard to determine). Knife blade Rusty and unidentifiable. Undetermined Fork No identifiable marks. Undetermined Ceramic: Object Attributes Age Button 4-hole sew-through with depressed center. Probably a Prosser button. Out of general use by 1900 Blue rim sherd (plate) Hand painted under glaze. Earthenware. Approx. 100 yrs old or more Two tan fragments Stoneware from crock or bottle. Undetermined Polychrome base fragment Gr een/purple. Very coarse earthenware. Undetermined Tiny rim fragment Earthenware. Rim of hollow form vessel. Undetermined Table 1. Historical artifacts from Site 14.

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A. Kinkella The BEC was an immensely powerful entity, owning one fifth of the entire country. They could never possibly use all of their landholdi ngs at once, keeping many thousands of acres undeveloped but refusing appropriate taxation on these lands. The issue of taxation of the land got so bad that in the early 20th century the Belize council blamed the BEC for retarding development of the country because of the lack of tax dollars that should have been paid. In addition, by 1920 seventy percent of all trade was with the United States, while only sixteen percent was with the British Empire. One of the driving forces of this trade shift was the American fad of gum chewing; Belize exported two to three million pounds of chicle a year to the States in the early 1900s (Shoman 2000). The BEC lost lots of gr ound to the American companies at this time, so much so that the BEC was almost sold in 1930. The Creole elites of Belize preferred the American companies over the BEC, but the BEC still had enough political sway (barely) to get a massive stand of virgin mahogany from the Belize council in 1931 that kept the company alive (Shoman 2000). An example of the control exerted over the land by the BEC occurred in the Yalbac Hills in 1867, when a group of Maya villages that happened to be standing on BEC lands were destroyed by armed force. The same thing happened again in the 1930s to the village of Yalbac (along with agricultural villages at Lamanai and San Jose) which was destroyed at that time by the BEC (ETF 1984:36). This stranglehold that the BEC kept on this area for over 100 years has sometimes been recorded in the archaeological record as ephemeral traces of simple and hard lives. Both chicleros and loggers working for the BEC (and most other companies) lived under the dreaded advance system, whereby they were paid their wages up front at the beginning of the work year (Christmas). Not only did many of them spend their money right away, but half of their pay came in the form of outrageously overpriced goods that we re provided by the BEC. This system kept the workers in perpetual debt, and although there was a law passed in 1883 outlawing the payment of wages with goods, things did not change much in practice (Shoman 2000). The advance system turned the loggers and chicleros into indentured servants, never able to rise out of th eir situation. As the loggers and chicleros suffered, a small group of elites in Belize City and abroad prospered. The advance system stayed in place until 1943, when working conditions that had been virtually the same since 1838 (when the slaves were freed) were finally changed. Historic Artifacts beyond Yalbac in the Valley of Peace Although the small collection discussed above are the only historic artifacts found in situ so far in the Valley of Peace archaeology project survey area, they are not the only historic evidence in existence in our area. Several historic artifacts have been uncovered in the Banana Bank area over the years on land owned by John Carr. As Banana Bank originally got its name because of the transportation of bananas on this part of the Belize River, this area has seen a good share of activity over the last hundred years or more. Much of the land in the area is now under cultivation, and when the land is plowed, sometimeshistoric artifacts are uncovered. Mr. Carr has found several inte resting historic artifacts over the years, among those a large chain for yoking cattle various gun parts, large metal hooks with chain, and a BEC stamp that was used to brand BEC logs that were brought to the river in this area for transportation. 273

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The Historical Record at Yalbac One quirky bit of history that relates to the Yalbac area and the greater VOPA area (especially Saturday Creek see Lucero 2002) concerns the attempt of American Methodist Minister B.R. Duval and Confederate General Colin McRae to establish the town of New Richmond in 1867 on land that is several kilometers east of Yalbac along Saturday Creek (and where Labouring Creek and Cut-And-Throw-Away Creek come together) (Simmons 2001). Their idea was to recreate the old South, complete with hoop skirts, plantations, and slaves. This town only lasted several years, being dealt a harsh blow when their first cotton crop failed. The minister left almost immediately after this, but General McRae kept the town alive un til he died in 1876. The 18 square miles of land that McRae himself purchased in 1867 for his estate still carries the name of the General; the area is simply called McRae today. Future Goals While historic archaeology is not the main focus of the Valley of Peace Archaeological Project, the experience of finding and analyzing these artifacts from Yalbac has given us a much greater appreciation for the hi storic archaeological record. We will continue our vigilance for historic artifacts as well as including any new finds in our reports and publications. We may also make a short trip out to the last known location of the McRae estate in an attempt to re-find the site and ascertain if there is any trace of it left on the surface. It is important to note that, this collection has been analyzed by an American archaeologist used to American bottle types and ages. There may be slight differences in any British bottles imported to Belize in terms of age and use. Also, the age of the artifacts may not represent the time of final discard (people often re-use objects for a time). Even so, I am confident that we are looking at a pre-depression era archaeological site, and are making solid first steps to understa nding a secondary use for the ancient Maya site of Yalbac. The slight traces that the loggers and chicleros left behind tells a story of a Spartan existence under the advance system where the BEC made all the profit and the workers lived hard lives for little pay. Acknowledgements. I am indebted to Roberta Greenwood for her expert assistance with the attributes of the artifacts. Thanks also to the Valley of Peace Archaeological Project staff, students, and especially my friends Cleofo Choc and Zedikiah Scott. References Cited Education Task Force (ETF) 1984 A History of Belize: Nation in the Making Sunshine Books, Belize City. Fike, Richard E. 1987 The Bottle Book: A Comprehensive Guide to Historic, Embossed Medicinal Bottles. Peregrine Smith Books, New York. Garber, James, M. Kathryn Brown, Jaime J. Awe and Christopher J. Hartman 2004 The Terminal Early Formative Kanocha Phase (1100-900 B.C.) at Blackman Eddy. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Volume 1: 13-25. Gasco, Janine 1992 Material Culture and the Colonial Indian Society in S outhern Mesoamerica: The View from Coastal Chiapas, Mexico. Historical Archaeology 26(1). Lucero, Lisa J. (ed.) 2002 Results of the 2001 Valley of Peace Archaeology Project: Saturday Creek and Yalbac Report submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Ministry of Tourism, Belize. Shoman, Assad 2000 Thirteen Chapters of a History of Belize. Angelus Press, Belize City. 274

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A. Kinkella Simmons, Donald C. 2001 Confederate Settlements in British Honduras McFarland and Co., Jefferson, North Carolina. Yaeger, Jason, Minette C. Church, Richard M. Leventhal, and Jennifer Dornan 2004 Maya Caste War Immigrants in Colonial British Honduras: The San Pedro Maya Project, 2000-2003. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Volume 1: 103-114. 275

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The Historical Record at Yalbac 276

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SECTION THREE: GENERAL RESEARCH PAPERS

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21 CLASSIC MAYA WORKSHOPS: ANCIENT SALT WORKS IN PAYNES CREEK NATIONAL PARK, BELIZE Heather McKillop This paper questions the centralized model of the Late Classic Maya economy in which the urban royal Maya and their courtiers controlled the production and distribution of goods and resources. Notwithstanding the presence of attached specialists producing highly crafted goods in lowlands cities, there was considerable variability in the production and level of elite control of other, includ ing more utilitarian goods. Th e existence of independent workshops not associated with household production is underscored by the discovery of 45 salt works, now underwater in Punta Ycacos Lagoon, Paynes Creek National Park, Belize. Sea-level rise inundated the workshops, preserving pots in situ Variability in the control of production and distribution of goods and resources supports Ma rcus (1993) dynamic model of Classic Maya political organization, with fluctuations between centralized and more de-centralized (segmentary) organization. The Classic Maya economy consisted of the political economy and the subsistence economy (Masson and Freidel 2002; McKillop 2002, 2004a). The political economy included attached specialists of the royal court who crafted goods for the royal Maya, whereas the subsistence economy was focused on basic needs of each household. Neglected in this dichotomy are various types of production beyond the household level, perhaps because there are few instances in which production or workshops have been identified. More often, it is the finished products that are di scovered in burials, offerings, middens, and construction fill that indicate production elsewhere. A growing body of data indicates that workshop production beyond the household needs by specialists who were not attached to the royal courts, but the level of royal control of production and distribution of the goods has remained undefined. The discovery and excavation of Classic Maya workshops provides an opportunity to re-evaluate the dichotomy between political and subsistence economy as they relate to the control of production and distribution of goods and resources and the orga nization of Classic Maya society. Excavated and analyzed workshops include the cottage industry workshop production of stone tools at Colha (Shafer and Hester 198 3), and independent, non-domestic salt works in Paynes Creek National Park (McKillop 2002). At the height of the Late Classic period there were arguably up to 80 citystates within the southern Maya lowlands, each controlled by dynastic royal kings and queens (Martin and Grube 2000). Hieroglyphic records on stelae in royal courtyards proclaim marriage alliances and city-states conquered, contributing to a picture of changing alliances that variously grouped city-states into larger political and economic units. However, the degree of centralization, both with in and among citystates, is a point of some discussion among Maya archaeologists. Contrasting views of Classic Maya political economy pit the centralist model of the organization of Maya society (Chase and Chase 1996) against the more de-centralized, segmentary model (Demarest 1996; Dunham et al. 1989; Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 279-289. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize

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Investigations at Paynes Creek McKillop 2002, 2004a). The centralist model is hierarchical with power vested with the royal Maya in urban centers (Chase and Chase 2001). The segmentary model addresses lateral relati ons, and alliances, and vests power in heterarchal relations (Scarborough et al. 20 03). Joyce Marcus (1993) suggests a dyna mic model of Maya society, in which the political organization alternated between a ce ntralist and more decentralized, segmentary organization, depending on spatial and temporal variability within the southern Maya lowlands (see Braswell et al. 2004). The political economy included attached specialists for the dynastic royal Maya kings and queens. The attached specialists worked in royal court workshops in urban centers. The craft workers created fancy pottery vessels and highly crafted objects of jade. They had proprietary knowledge of written language, painted on paper books, pottery vessels, jade objects, and carved in stone (Coe and Kerr 1998; Inomata 2001). The knowledge, skills, and products of the att ached specialists reinforced, modified, and recreated the authority of the ruling Maya kings and queens. Scribes are depicted on painted pottery vessels, writing in books. Some scribes even signed their names on their works, as on carved stones at Yaxchilan (Tate 1992). Texts on Late Classic Maya vases describe the pict orial scenes of royal court life depicted on the vessels (ReentsBudet 1994, 2001). Codex style vases mimic the line drawings of paper books known from Postclassic codices and unfortunately destroyed and lost from earlier times. Highly crafted goods, both of locally available materials, and from imported value-added materials, were used during the lives of the royalty and interred with them in their graves as offerings. The 4.4 kg carved jade head of Kinich Ajaw the sun god, from the Tomb of the SunGod; Temple B4 at Altun Ha (Pendergast 1982) is almost obscenely large and elaborate in the burial of such a valuable resource. The acquisition of highly crafted goods and imported resources was of greatest interest to the royal Maya as symbols and conveyors of their power. As such, these goods and resources were desired by others who wanted to attain power and climb the social ladder. Potters, painters, scribes, and specialists were part of the royal court producing highly crafte d goods for the elite Maya. Ancient texts recording dynastic records of Maya royalty and the important events of their lives provide important clues to the economy: We assume that economic transactions were embedded in marriage and military alliances, terr itorial expansion, and the maintenance of hierarchical and heterarchal relations within and between polities. These economic transactions were exotic, highly crafted, limited edition goods for elite use in life and death. While ancient texts are virtually silent on the nature of the subsistence economy, there is much evidence on the production and distribution of goods and resources from dirt archaeology. The nonlocal origin of obsidian, chert, ground stone, pottery, and shells document exchange (McKillop 2002, 2004a, b; McKillop and Winemiller 2004). Plant and animal remains, relict fields, and bone chemistry identify the diet and subsistence patterns. A variety of other goods were produced for use in the daily lives of the ancient Maya, from kings to commoners. Pots, stone tools, clothing, boats, weapons, household goods and furniture, were needed by all sectors of Maya society. Some of these goods were produced by each household; some were produced in cottage in dustries for use by others as with the ch ert tool workshops at Colha (Shafer and Hester 1983). My 280

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H. McKillop ongoing research in on the south coast of Belize demonstrates that there were workshops not associated with household production or cottage industries and that these workshops were geographically distant from and beyond the political and economic control of the inland urban Maya. There is extensive evidence for independent workshops in Paynes Creek National Park, where salt was produced by boiling seawater in pots over fires in Paynes Creek National Park. We have discovered and investigated 45 salt works in the park. All date to the Late Classic on the basis of ceramic and radiocarbon analyses. In distinguishing between the political economy and the subsistence economy, we often assume centralized control by the urban royal Maya in prestige goods. In contrast, we often assume the subsistence economy was focused on household production and distribution. However, this dichotomy ignores the existence of cottage industry production as at Colha and independent workshops as at Paynes Creek. The political-subsistence economy dichotomy further masks the organization of the subsistence economy beyond the household level and/or the interest among the royal urban Maya in controlling the subsistence economy. Colha provides the best example to date of cottage industry for the ancient Maya, where stone tools were produced at household workshops for local and regional distribution (Shafer and Hester 1983). I have previously reported and discussed 4 salt workshops in Paynes Creek National Park that provide a new dimension to our understanding of the ancient Maya subsistence economy (Figure 1). In Salt: White Gold of the Ancient Maya I described the boiling of seawater or brine in pots over fires to produce salt, suggesting it was produced under coastal control to meet the salt needs and appetite of the nearby inland urban Maya. We documented that salt was produced and by standardization studies that the pots were standardized in size suggesting mass-production. The workshops were places where salt was produced for use elsewhere. They were workshops with no settlement. The sites lack food remains, burials, or other settle ment data. The pottery assemblage is restricted in shape and types to pots used in salt making. The discovery of 8 new salt works in Paynes Creek National Park in 2003, together with 33 additional salt works discovered in 2004 underscore the extent of independent workshop production during the Late Classic on the south coast of Belize. The extent of independent workshop production supports a de-centralized organiza tion of Maya society, with the control of production and distribution of some crit ical resources, such as salt, in the hands of the local producers. Due to their control of the salt works, the coastal Maya of southern Belize were politically and economically autonomous from their nearby inland city states, who negotiated marriage and trade alliances with the coastal Maya in order to obtain salt, a biological necessity, as well as obsidian and other resources traded along the coast from more distant places within and beyond the Maya lowlands (McKillop 2002, 2005; McKillop et al. 2004). Salt (sodium chloride) is a basic mineral component of the intercellular system of the human body. The body strives to maintain salt balance: The body hoards salt when it is unavailable or under increased physical activity. The body excretes excess salt through kidneys. Salt enhances the flavor of food and as one of the four taste sensations on the human tongue, salt appetite clearly works to help the body obtain its biological quota (see McKillop 2002). There are various estimates for the amount of salt the ancient Maya needed, all dependent on population estimates of Maya 281

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Investigations at Paynes Creek settlem ents and various estimates of the bodys biological salt needs (Andrews 1983). Where did the Classic Maya get salt? What can the production and distribution of salt tell us about the Classic Maya economy and the organization of ancient Maya society? There are two main methods of salt production that were widespread historically and prehistorically worldwide, including the Maya area: Salt was ac quired by gathering salt created by solar ev aporation on salt flats on the north coast of the Yucatan (Andrews 1983). Salt was produced by boiling brine or seawater in pots over fires on the coast of Belize and the Pacific coasts of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico (Coe and Flannery 1967; Mackinnon and Kepecs 1989; McKillop 1995, 2002; Mock 1994; Nance 1992). Fieldwork on the south coast of Belize has revealed extensive salt production by the boiling method in Punta Ycacos Lagoon, a large salt-water lagoon, in Paynes Creek National Park, some 25 km north of Punta Gorda. The low-lying landscape consists of a typical mangrove ecosystem dominated by red mangroves ( Rhizophora mangle ), with their phenophores in the salt water. North and east of the lagoon, the poorly drained pine savannah has scattered clumps of palmettos ( Acoelorraphe wrightii ), pine ( Pinus caribaea ), and oak ( Querus sp. ; Johnson and Chaffey 1974). In areas farther inland and where the savannah is drier, other species grow, including crabbo ( Byrsonima crassifolia), icaco plum ( Chrysobalanus icaco ), and white poisonwood ( Caeraria belizensis ). Various deciduous hardwoods grow in the rainforest along the Deep River to the south and Monkey River to the north. The park is uninhabited and there is only one family living on the coast between Punta Gorda and Punta Negra. Figure 1. Punta Ycacos Lagoon, Paynes Creek National Park. Drawing by Mary Lee Eggart, LSU. Regional s urvey and excavation revealed that sea level has risen more than one meter since the end of the Classic 282

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H. McKillop period, inundating ancient sites, including salt works that are currently underwater in Punta Ycacos Lagoon. The sea-level rise was extensive and pervasive in the Port Honduras and Paynes Creek region, as dem onstrated by the location a dozen radiocarbon-dated Late Classic Maya sites below sea level (McKillop 2002: 134-174, Table 5.3). There was more dry land on the coast and on the offshore cays and shallow offshore areas in the sea were dry land. The vegetation patterns were dramatically different. Whereas mangroves dominate the landscape since they tolerate salt water, plants and trees adapted to dry land and fresh water dominated the Classic and Postclassic landscape (McKillop 1994, 1996a): Native palms, including cohune ( Orbigna cohune ), coyol ( Acrocomia mexicana ), and poknoboy ( Bactris major ), were a significant feature of the coastal landscape, despite their modern rarity. The research is part of a long-term project in the Port Honduras coastal area between Punta Gorda and Punta Gorda. Initial fieldwork beginning in 1981 focused on the Classic to Postclassic Maya trading port on Wild Cane Cay (McKillop 2005). Subsequent fieldwork investigated the coastal area to investigate the relationship between Wild Cane Cay and other discovered sites and the role of coastal areas in ancient Maya so ciety (McKillop 2005; McKillop and Winemiller 2004; McKillop et al. 2004). Four salt works were discovered and excavated in 1991 and 1994 in Paynes Creek National Park (McKillop 1995, 2002). Stingray Lagoon, David Westby, and Orlandos Jewfish sites are underwater in the western arm of Punta Ycacos Lagoon. The sites were discovered by the presence of artifacts on the sea floor, observed while traversing the lagoon in the project vessels, and identified by jumping overboard to surface collect. A fourth site, Killer Bee, is in the adjacent mangroves and is identifiable by its distinctive ping-wing vegetation (wild pineap ple). The underwater sites were mapped using a transit and then excavated by standing in the water and shoveling the mangrove mud from the wooden grid frame excavation units into screens. A radiocarbon date on wood charcoal from a fire hearth at the Stingray Lagoon site of A.D. 770 + 50 places the site in the Late Classic (McKillop 1995). The radiocarbon date is corroborated by the age assignment from analysis of ceramics from the four sites. They are single-component Late Classic sites. The top of Stingray Lagoon site at 90 cm below sea level provides a minimum indi cation of the extent of sea-level rise (absolute or relative) since the Late Classic. Since the Maya at Stingray Lagoon could not live direct ly at sea level, it was even lower. Sea le vel rose soon after the sites were abandoned, precluding the opportunity for post-d epositional site trampling. This rapid sea-level rise is indicated by the larger size of pottery sherds at the inundated sites compared with land sites in the Port Honduras region. The interpretation of the sites as salt works and the pottery as salt pots is based on ethnographic analogy. For example, at the modern inland salt spring at Sacapulas in highland Guatemala, some two-dozen pots are placed over a fire, with water jars used to refill the pots as the wa ter evaporates (Reina and Monaghen 1981). This technique is common worldwide (Adshead 1992). The artifact assemblages from the four sites were domin ated by jar and bowl sherds from salt boiling pots and their solid clay cylinder vessel supports, named Punta Ycacos Unslipped following the typevariety system of Maya ceramic classification. In addition, there were two types of water jars used for storing seawater or brine that was pou red into the pots, including undecorated Mangrove 283

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Investigations at Paynes Creek Unslipped and Warrie Red, a red-slipped type with distinctive unit-stamped decorations on the vessel shoulder, characteristic of inland cities in southern Belize and adjacent Guatemala. The four sites were independent workshops where salt was produced by people who lived elsewhere. There was no household garbage at the workshops, only debris from the salt boiling process. There were no houses or burials, both typical of Maya settlements. There were few food remains, apart from a limited number of palm nut shells, in contrast to inundated Maya sites elsewhere in the area. With only 4 pottery types, the sites lacked the diversity of pottery types and ra nge of vessel forms of Maya settlements in the Port Honduras region. Perhaps they lived at the nearest known Maya community, the offshore island site of Wild Cane Cay, which likely was the entrept for the coastal-inland trade of salt (McKillop 1996b, 2005). With limited survey in the lagoon and no survey on the land, the home base of the salt workers is undetermined. With only 4 salt works, there were lingering questions abou t the contribution of the Punta Ycacos salt to the inland Maya diet and the organization of salt production and trade in the Late Classic in the Maya area. Did Belizean salt supply the Late Classic Maya inland salt needs? Alternatively, was salt im ported at that time from the salt flats on the north coast of the Yucatan (Andrews 1980)? Certainly the Belize coast was closer to the heartland of the Maya area, but long-distance bulk transport of salt and other basic commodities is documented in other ancient and modern cultures. I developed a research plan in order to evaluate how much salt was produced. Firstly, I investigated whether the Paynes Creek salt was mass-produced, implying that it was beyond the level of household production. Secondly, I planned a systematic search of Paynes Creek National Park, to see if there were more salt works, if they all dated to the Late Classic or if there were earlier or later sites, and to find the salt workers communities. In order to evaluate whether or not salt was mass-produced, I evaluated if the salt pots were standardized in size and shape. I compared the salt pots with household pots that were not standardized from household middens at Wild Cane Cay, from the Bedford Unslipped pottery type. In evaluating standardization, I measured the diameter of the vessel orifices for jars and bowls and the diameter of the clay cylinder salt pot vessel supports. I used the average median variation. The average median variation reduces the effect of outlying values in a distribution, so it is better than the co-efficient of vari ation, often used in other standardization studies. In calculating the average median variation, each value (measurement) is subtracted from the median. The absolute va lue of the number is divided by the median. The average of the number is multiplied by 100. The lower the calculated value, the less variation, and hence more standardized. This statistic is appropriate for samples with distributions significantly different from normal. The Punta Ycacos salt jars and vessel supports were significantly more standardized than the Wild Cane Cay jars (McKillop 2002). The average median variation of 9.6 for th e salt pots and 11.9 for the salt vessel supports is much lower than the value of 20.6 for the Wild Cane Cay pots. The salt pots Orlandos Jewfish, with an average median variation of 2.1, were significantly more standardized than the 10.5 at Stingray Lagoon or the 10.9 at David Westby, suggesting there were distinct work parties or different times of use. The sample at Killer Bee site was too small to provide a separate calculation. There was no significant difference in the standardization 284

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H. McKillop of the salt pot vessel supports at the different salt works. The Mangrove Unslipped water jars were n ot standardized. Their average median variation of 20.6 is the same as that for the Wild Cane Cay pots, indicating both the Mangrove Unslipped vessels were general purpose water ja rs not exclusively used for storing seawater or brine at the salt works. In fact, they have been found at various settlements in the Port Honduras (McKillop 2001). The Warrie Red water jars, by way of contra st, were standardized since they were mold-made, as indicated by their average median variation of 8.2. The Paynes Creek salt pots were standardized, suggesting specialized production, even that they were mass-produced for salt making. The 4 sites provided ta ntalizing clues that Belizean salt was extensively used by the nearby Late Classic inland Maya, underscoring the need for further survey to see if there were more salt works. Underwater survey in 2003 and 2004 indicates there are both more salt works and a high density of sites in Paynes Creek National Park. The ongoing survey includes the first systematic search of the lagoon, with a team using the land-based technique of pedestrian survey, walking or snorkeling in a line at arms length and looking for artifacts on the seafloor. To date, we have discovered 45 salt works and only a small area of Punta Ycacos Lagoon has been systematically searched and land survey has not begun. Eight underwater sites were found in five days of survey in 2003, with one of the sites, the Eleanor Betty site, excavated on the sixth day. Four of the sites were discovered in the main channel leading into Punta Ycacos Lagoon, 2 were found in the western arm of the lagoon where the original sites were f ound, and one site was found in the eastern arm of the lagoon. The assemblages of artifacts at the new sites are the same as the previously reported sites, except there are more round-sided bowls than jars at the Eleanor Betty Site. Measurements of the salt pots and solid clay cylinder vessel supports from the 2003 and 2004 fieldwork will contribute to an understanding of inter-workshop variability in salt production. What does the discovery of 45 salt works in Paynes Creek National Park tell use about the Late Cl assic political economy of southern Belize? The nearby inland cities of Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun, Uxbenka, and Pusilha farther south, are large sites with stone architecture and dominated the political and economic landscape. Three offshore island sites with stone architecture, including Wild Cane Cay, Frenchmans Cay, and Green Vine Snake, dominated the coastal region. Everyone needed salt. The inland urban Maya negotiated trade and marriage alliances with the coastal elite at island communities to obtain salt. It was transported overland by porters or up river by canoe. In addition to the inland urban Mayas biological need for salt, there is evidence of trade and communication between the coast and interior during the Late Classic: Inland trade goods, notably figurine whistles and unit-stamped pots, are found at coastal sites, including the salt works. Furthermore, the salt works were abandoned at the end of the Classic period, with the cessation of dynastic records at inland cities and virtual abandonment of the inland cities. With the inland market for salt gone, the salt works were abandoned, although salt continued to be produced at a household level at Postclassic communities in the Port Honduras co astal area, such as Wild Cane Cay and Frenchmans Cay (McKillop 2003). Ongoing fieldwork includes a systematic underwater survey of Paynes Creek National Park, sediment cores to evaluate sea-level rise and to reconstruct the ancient topography and vegetation landscape, and ultimately, survey of the land 285

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Investigations at Paynes Creek in search of settlem ents. In addition to the 8 sites discovered in 2003 and the 33 sites discovered in 2004, our 2004 fieldwork unexpectedly made a major discovery. The underwater survey focused on the eastern arm of Punta Ycacos Lagoon, at the edge of the proposed re-aligned boundaries of Paynes Creek National Park. The eastern arm of the lagoon is a peat bog that has preserved ancient wood at the salt works, including a full-size wooden canoe paddle radiocarbon dated to the Late Classic (Figure 2). The wood is fresh in appearance and plentiful, including hundreds of posts and other construction wood at 23 underwater sites. What more lies buried in the peat bog beneath the waters of Paynes Creek National Park? What does salt production in Paynes Creek National Park tell us about the political economy of the Late Classic Maya and the organization of Maya society? First, there were at least th ree kinds of workshops in Late Classic Maya society. They included attached specialists at the royal courts (Inomata 2001), cottage industry production near natural resources such as the chert outcrops exploited at Colha (Hester and Shafer 1983), and independent workshops near natural resources, such as the Paynes Creek salt works (McKillop 2002). Secondly, the Paynes Creek salt works were geographically distant from urban centers and beyond the political and logistical control of the urban royal Maya. The independence of the salt works supports a decentralized even segmentary model of the organization of Maya society. A contrasting example is the economic and political centralized or ganization of Caracol, in which roadways integrated the suburban and central areas of the city, both politically and economically (Chase and Chase 2001). Who controlled the Paynes Creek salt works? While it remains to be discovered even where the salt workers lived, the maritime elite at offshore island communities, such as Wild Cane Cay, controlled the coastal economy of the Port Honduras. They contro lled the inland transport of coastal goods and resources, including salt as well as seafood and ritual items (McKillop 1996b, 2002), and the trade of inland goods, such as figurine whistles and unit-stamped pottery vessels (McKillop 2002). The inland urban Maya formed trade and marriage alliances with their coastal counterparts in order to maintain a steady supply of salt. Acknowledgements. I appreciate the permission, encouragement, and interest of the Belize Institute of Archaeology, particularly Director Dr. Jaime Awe and Associate Director Dr. John Morris for the 2003 and 2004 fieldwork, as well as Harriet Topsey and George Thompson in 1991 and 1994, for the opportunity to carry out fieldwork in Paynes Creek National Park. I also appreciate the assistance and encouragement of the Toledo Institute for Development and the Environment (TIDE), particularly Executive Director Wil Maheia, co-manager of the pa rk with the Belize government. I acknowledge, with thanks, assistance of other members of the boat survey team, particularly John Young and Kevin Pemberton in 2003 and 2004, with the addition of Mark Robinson and Bretton Somers in 2004. The 2003 fieldwork was made possible by the financial support of Louisiana State University (LSU) and the support and participation of LSU fieldschool students. The 2004 fieldwork was made possible by an LSU Faculty Research Grant. In Belize, I wish to acknowledge the notable assistance to the project from Paul Carpenter, Amber Carpenter, Tanya Russ, John Spang, Wallace Young, Iris Vernon, Jack Nightingale, Harry Gomez, William Schmidt, Diane Schmidt, Max Stark, and Emory King. A special place in my 286

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H. McKillop m emories goes to the late Father Leonard Diecks Dieckmann, S.J., St. Johns College, who shared with me his excitement of the past and love of Maya pottery. References Cited Adshead, S. A. M. 1992 Salt and Civilization St. Martins Press, New York. Andrews Anthony P. 1983 Maya Salt Production and Trade University of Arizona Press, Tucson. Andrews Anthony P. and R. Corletta Figure 2. Late Classic Maya wooden canoe paddle discovered in 2004 at Kak Naab underwater Maya site in Paynes Creek National Park (insert shows close-up of paddle blade). Photographs by H. McKillop. 1 995 A Brief History of Underwater Archaeology in the Maya Area. Ancient Mesoamerica 6:101-117. Braswell Geoffrey, Christian M. Prager, Cassandra R. Bill, and Sonja Schwake 2004 Recent Archaeol ogical and Epigraphic Research at Pusilha, Belize: Report on the 2001 and 2002 Field Seasons. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 1: 333-345. Chase Arlen F. and Diane Z. Chase 1996 More than Kin and King: Centralized Political Organization among the Late Classic Maya. Current Anthropology 37:803-810. 287

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Investigations at Paynes Creek 2001 Ancient Maya Causeways and Site Organization at Caracol, Belize. Ancient Mesoamerica 12(2): 273-281. Coe Michael D. and Justin Kerr 1998 The Art of the Maya Scribe. Harry Abrams, Inc., New York. Demarest Arthur 1996 The Maya State: Centralized or Segmentary? Closing Comment. Current Anthropology 37:821-824. Dunham Peter S., Thomas R. Jamison, and Richard M. Leventhal 1989 Secondary Development and Settlement Economies: The Classic Maya of Southern Belize. In Prehispanic Maya Economies of Belize Edited by Patricia McAnany and Barry Isaac, pp. 255-292. Research in Economic Anthropology, Supplement 4. JAI Press, Greenwich, CT. Graham Elizabeth and David M. Pendergast 1989 Excavations at the Marco Gonzalez Site, Ambergris Cay, Belize. Journal of Field Archaeology 16:1-16. Inomata Takeshi 2001 The Power and Ideology of Artistic Creation: Elite Craft Specialists in Classic Maya Society. Current Anthropology 42(3):321-349. Johnson M. S. and D. R. Chaffey 1974 An Inventory of the Southern Coastal Plain Pine Forests, Belize Land Resource Study No. 15, Land Resources Division, Tolworth Tower, Surbiton, Surrey, England. MacKinnon J. Jefferson and Susan Kepecs 1989 Prehispanic Salt-Making in Belize: New Evidence. American Antiquity 54:522533. Marcus Joyce 1993 Ancient Maya Political Organization. In Lowland Maya Archaeology in the Eighth Century A.D edited by Jeremy A. Sabloff and John S. Henderson, pp. 111-183. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. Masson Marilyn and David A. Freidel (editors) 2002 Ancient Maya Political Economies Altamira, New York. Martin Simon and Nikolai Grube 2000 Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya. Thames and Hudson, New York. McKillop Heather 1994 Ancient Maya Tree Cropping: A Viable Subsistence Adaptation for the Island Maya. Ancient Mesoamerica 5:129-140. 1995 Underwater Archaeology, Salt Production, and Coastal Maya Trade at Stingray Lagoon, Belize. Latin American Antiquity 6(3): 214-228. 1996a Prehistoric Maya Use of Native Palms. In The Managed Mosaic: Ancient Maya Agriculture and Resource Use edited by Scott L. Fedick, pp. 278-294. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. 19 96b Ancient Maya Trading Ports and the Integration of Long-Distance and Regional Economies: Wild Cane Cay in SouthCoastal Belize. Ancient Mesoamerica 7:49-62. 2001 Type-Variety Analysis of Maya Pottery from the Port Honduras, Belize. Unpublished manuscript. 2002 Salt, White Gold of the Ancient Maya University Press of Florida, Gainesville. 2003 Catastrophic and Other Environmental Factors in the Classic Maya Collapse. Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, New Orleans, March. 2004a The Ancient Maya: New Perspectives. ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara. 2004b The Classic Maya Trading Port of Moho Cay, In The An cient Maya of the Belize Valley. Edited by James F. Garber, pp. 257-272. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. 2005 In Search of Maya Sea Traders Texas A & M University Press, College Station, in press. 288

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H. McKillop McKillop Heather, Aline Magnoni, Rachel Watson, Shannon Ascher, Terance Winemiller, and Bryan Tucker 2004 The Coral Foundations of Coastal Maya Architecture. Re search Reports in Belizean Archaeology, Vo lume 1: 347-358. McKillop Heather and Terance Winemiller 2004 Quantitative and GIS Spatial Analysis of Shell from Frenchmans Cay, Belize. In Maya Zooarchaeology: New Directions in Method and Theory. Edited by Kitty F. Emery, pp. 57-80. Monograph 51, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles. Mock Shirley B. 1994 The Northern River Lagoon Site (NRL): Late to Terminal Classic Maya Settlement, Salt making, and Survival on the Northern Belize Coast. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin. Nance C. Roger 1992 Guzman Mound: A Late Preclassic Salt Works on the South Coast of Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica 3:27-46. Pendergast David M. 1982 Excavations at Altun Ha Vol. 2. Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. Reents-Budet Dorie 1994 Painting the Maya Universe Duke University Press, Durham. 2001 Classic Maya Concepts of the Royal Court: An Analysis of Renderings on Pictorial Ceramics. In Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya Vol. 1. Edited by Takeshi Inomata and Stephen Houston, pp. 195-233. Westview Press, Boulder, Co. Reina Ruben E. and John Monaghen 1981 The Ways of the Maya: Salt Production at Sacapulas, Guatemala. Expedition 23:13-33. Scarborough Vernon, Fred Valdez, Jr., and Nicholas Dunning (editors) 2003 Heterarchy, Political Economy, and the Ancient Maya University of Arizona Press, Tucson. Shafer Harry J. and Thomas R. Hester 1983 Ancient Maya Chert Workshops in Northern Belize, Central America. American Antiquity 48:519-543. Tate Carolyn E. 1992 Yaxchilan: The Design of a Maya Ceremonial City University of Texas Press, Austin. 289

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22 HIDDEN LANDSCAPES OF THE ANCIENT MAYA ON THE SOUTH COAST OF BELIZE: DISCOVERING INVISIBLE SETTLEMENT AT ARVINS LANDING Bretton Somers and Heather McKillop Compelling evidence from our research indicates that current assessments of ancient Maya population based on mound counts seriously under represent Maya population estimates and settlement patterns, since not all ancient structures leave mounded remains that are visible in th e modern landscape. Since population estimates are at the foundation of models and hypotheses about the rise and fall of the Maya civilization, clarifying population estimates is desirable. Furthermore, documentation of this invisible settlement expands our understanding of the modest remains of common Maya settlement. In this paper we discuss shovel testing along transects, commonly used in forested areas in North America to discover buried settle ment. Shovel testing along transects in 2003 at Arvins Landing on the south coast of Belize extended the known area of ancient Maya settlement well beyond the area of the sites visible mound. Shovel testing along transects, together with GIS spatial analysis, provide a more accurate view of the extent of ancient Maya use of the landscape than traditional surface inspection alone. Introduction Current assessments of PreColumbian population and settlement patterns in the Maya area are largely based on visible expressions of ancient settlement in the landscape (Ashmore 1981; Culbert and Rice 1990). Ruins of urban centers with monumental and ceremonial architecture have drawn the most research attention. As well as these expression s of the urban royal Maya, some researchers have focused on the common Maya who lived in smaller settlements with less visible architectural remains (Iannone and Connell 2003; Garber 2004; Johnston 2004; Willey et al. 1965). The houses of the common Maya, which formed the bulk of the ancient Maya farming population, were constructed of perishable pole and thatch on low stone or earth platforms, or directly on the ground surface (Wilk and Ashmore 1988). The remains of these houses, which can be seen dotting the modern lands cape in the form of housemounds, form the basis of population estimates (Culbert and Rice 1990). Various researchers have cautioned that an unknown quantity of ancient Maya houses have left no mounded remains, so that population estimates are underestimated (Chase 1990; Johnston 2004; McKillop 1996; Pyburn 1990; Webster and Fretter 1990). The widespread occurrence of invisible houses ad versely affects our ability to evaluate ecological models of the Classic Maya collapse, such as reliance on intensive agriculture and other interpretations founded on ancient population estimates. In addition to invisible structures at known sites, in some cases entire sites are invisible in the modern landscape (McKillop 2002). Our data from the south coast of Belize demonstrate how shovel testing along transects can reveal ancient Maya settlement where there is no surface evidence of settlement, either mounded remains of houses or artifacts. Spatial analysis of artifact distributions using geographic information systems (GIS) reveals the presence and abundance of ancient settlement activity, indicating places of residence and household obsidian artifact Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 291-300. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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Hidden Landscapes in Southern Belize production. In this paper we report the discovery of extensive buried settlem ent evidence at Arvins Landing, on the south coast of Belize, where surface indications indicate the ancient site is restricted to a single low earthen mound. Settlement Surveys in the Maya Area There is a long an d successful tradition of cutting transects through forested areas searching for Maya settlement, ranging from large stone buildings to modest housemounds. Transects radiating in cardinal directions from the center of ancient cities such as Uaxactun, Tikal, La Milpa, and Pacbitun were used to investigate the extent of settlement associated with a single community (Healy et al. 2004; McKillop 2004; Puleston 1983; Tourtellot et al. 2003). Transects between cities, such as the Tikal-Yaxha survey (Ford 1986), investigated urban-rural settlement in relation to different landscapes. Fords (1990) Belize Valley transect survey crosscut several environmental zones leading north from the Belize River. Scarboroughs (1986) settlement survey outside the ceremonial precinct at Cerros included a network of transects in a heavily forested area to discover houses of the common folk at Cerros. The transe ct method of surface inspection has proven successful in locating ancient Maya settlement, although the method misses an unknown number of households that lack mounded or other visible surface remains. Modest Architectural Remains Invisible in Traditio nal Surveys Traditional methods of transect survey and surface inspection is inadequate in areas with modest cultural remains that leave no visible evidence in the modern landscape. As a compliment to surface survey at Copan, Webster and Fretter (1990) found that test pitting revealed 17% more occupation sites than the surface survey indicated. Additionally, with large-scale rural excavation, Webs ter and Fretters estimate revealed 38% more settlement in the area. At Santa Rita (D. Chase 1990), Nohmul (Pyburn 1990), and elsewhere (Ford 1990; Johnston 2004; McKillop 1989), researchers increase the mound count by various percentages to account for houses without mounded remains. At Wild Cane Cay, where the six mounds indicate a population of 33.6 peopl e (using 5.6 people per household X 6 mounds), an alternative population estimate based on household use of obsidian using the density of obsidian provided a much higher population for this 10 acre island site (McKillop 1989). Another dimension of invisible settlement are those modest site s without any surface evidence. Those invisible sites, while representing modest re mains of the common Maya, are largely undocumented in the Maya rainforest, despite successful methods to discover buried invisible settlements elsewhere (Krakker et al. 1983; McKillop and Garrad 1992; Plog et al. 1978; Shott 1985). Shovel-testing along Transects to Discover I nvisible Settlement Remains Shovel testing is the common method of site discovery in forested areas in North America (Krakker et al. 1983; McKillop and Garrad 1992; Plog et al. 1978; Shott 1985). The likelihood of finding buried sites by shovel te sting along transects depends on several factors, including the distance between shovel tests, whether or not the excavated soil is screened, and the density of cultural remains. Reducing the interval between shovel tests and screening excavated soil increases the likelihood of site discovery. A grid network of shovel tests at 10 m intervals was used at the Peacock Site, a late prehistoric Huron village, where the presence of a site was 292

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B. Somers and H. McKillop known from local inform ants and the density of artifacts at Huron villages was known to be high (McKillop and Garrad 1992). Shott (1985) and Kakker et al (1983) that suggest the more intensive the sampling pattern is, the more effective are the results of a shovel test survey. To further increase the effectiveness and efficiency of shovel testing for the purpose of site discovery, Krakker et al. (1983) suggest instead of sampling on a grid, shovel test samples should be staggered from row to row on the survey transect. Most of Krakker et al.s (1983) and Shotts (1985) suggestions are based on their search for circular sites. The optimal strategy in searching for circular sites is to stagger shovel tests in a hexagonal pattern (Krakker et al. 1983). As a discovery technique, some researchers increase the distance be tween shovel tests in areas considered as low probability, but since this decision is based on opinion, it is inadvisable since it presupposes knowledge of site locations! Shovel testing has been used to discover invisible settlement evidence in the Port Honduras region of the south coast of Belize (McKillop 2002; McKillop et al. 2004; McKillop and Winemiller 2004). Only seven sites are visible in the modern landscape by the presence of stone, shell, or earthen mounds, and even at those sites buried settlement evidence extends far beyond the area indicat ed by visible mounds. Stone mounds at Wild Cane Cay, Frenchmans Cay, and Green Vine Snake do not reveal the spatial extent of ancient settlement at each of those island settlements. Several sites marked by a single earthen mound, including Tiger Mound, Killer Bee, and Arvins Landing, have extensive buried settlement beyond the area of the mound without surface artifacts or other architectural features. Apart from the Port Honduras region, shovel testing in the Maya area has not been reported, yet the field conditions would often make this test method advantageous. Anne Pyburn (1990) in her settlement pattern research at Nohmul employed systematic posthole testing to locate invisible features. The posthole testing revealed artifac t concentrations and was used to determine where to locate further excavation. Shovel-Testing in a Forested Area at Arvins Landing Shovel testing along transects was successfully used at Arvins Landing to discover settlement not visible in the modern landscape. Arvins Landing is a site on Joe Taylor Creek at the north end of Punta Gorda. Named after the former landowner, John Arvin, the site was visited in 1991 after its existence was reported to McKillop by the present landowner, Jack Nightingale, at a public lecture in Punta Gorda. In addition to a low earthen mound, a scatter of obsidian and potsherds was visible in a garden near the creek. Test excavat ions in the mound in 1992 and 1993 included shovel testing in transects radiating away from the mound to test for further settlement (Steiner 1994; McKillop 1996). The work revealed extensive evidence of settlement in the form of potsherds and obsidian. Mound excavations directed by McKillop in 1994 revealed the mound to be a low flat substructure composed of fist-sized chert river cobbles, which are locally available. The presence of obsidian bifacial points on the platform raised the possibility that the platform was not a typical household but was wither a public or ceremonial building. The lack of other mounded remains at the site and the presence of buried deposits revealed by shovel testing called for further investigation. The 2003 transect-shovel test program was carried out in order to investigate the extent, if any, of settlement 293

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Hidden Landscapes in Southern Belize extending away from the cleared area of the mound by Joe Taylor Creek into the bush. An overgrown trail from Punta Gorda to Joe Taylor Creek at Arvi ns Landing was re-cut through dense secondary bush and used as the baseline for transect shovel testing. To begin the transect, a second datum was established at the trailhead located 39.1 m, 98 degrees west of north from the main datum near the Arvins Landing mound. Since the trail that formed the baseline meanders, side trails we re aligned parallel to the first trail using a Brunton sighting compass (Figure 1a). With shovel tests measured 10, 20 and 30 meters from the baseline, shovel tests were lined up in an irregular pattern through out the survey area. This staggered pattern was a good way to allow for the discovery of any settlement laid out in a regular pattern. Even with the slow progress in clearing the dense secondary vegetation from each side of the baseline, we extend ed the survey 180 m along the baseline and 30 m to each side. Shovel tests were excavated every 10 meters on the baseline and along each side trail for a total of 126 shovel tests, covering an area of 10,800 square meters. Excavations were continued to sterile soil, which varied from 40 to 60 cm below the ground surface. The soil was screened through inch mesh rocker screens and all artifacts were kept. The shovel tests were back filled. Upon completion of the clearing, excavating, and screening, the baseline and side trails of the transect were mapped with a Lietz Sokkisha Model 116 transit, stadia rod and 100 meter steel tape. Distance, elevation and bearing were recorded in a field journal. All shovel test locations were plotted according to bearings and distances using Microstation software. The data were transferred into Intergraph Geomedia 5.1 and converted to a shape file. Data for each shovel test, including location, elevation, number and weight of obsidian, ceramic, chert and other items were entered into a Microsoft Excel file and joined to the shape file with location data in Geomedia 5.1. Spatial analysis of the data was conducted using Geomedia Grid and Arc View Spatial Analyst. The research design called for excavating shovel tests along side trails from the baseline until we found more than one side trail in succession without artifacts. We were unable to find the boundary of Arvins Landing before the end of the field season. Artifacts were recovere d from every trail along the transect, includ ing 64% (n = 81) of the 126 shovel te sts (Figure 1b). The artifact data, including counts and weights of pottery, obsidian, and chert, were visually displayed in a GIS. The resulting maps showed the modern topography and the location of subsurface artifacts from shovel testing. Artifacts were present throughout the study area, although the relative abundances of different materials varied, providing for interpretations of ancient activity areas. In addition to the distribution of artifacts, the topographic map revealed a low mound that was previously unnoticed in the thick vegetation. The mound is approximately 48 cm in height and 38.5 x 37 m in dimensions. A total of 454 artifacts were recovered. The minimum number of artifacts recovered fr om a shovel test was one, as was the case for 22 shovel tests. The maximum number of artif acts recovered in one shovel test was 68 from st13 (Figure 1b). For shovel tests containing artifacts, 72% had more than one artifact and 12% had more than 10 artifacts. The artifacts recovered included 295 potsherds, one formed clay net weight, 109 obsidian items, and 50 chert items. Pottery was the most common artifact recovered in the transect shovel tests, with 295 sherds recovered from 50 294

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B. Somers and H. McKillop 295 shovel tests (Figure 1c). Thirty-five shovel tests had more than one sherd, 17 shovel tests had five or more sherds, and one shovel test (st13) had 54 sherds. Pottery also was well distributed within the transect survey. Out of the 126 shovel tests, 50 (39%) contained ceramics. Surprisingly for a small settlement, obsidian was a common artifact recovery in the transect, with 41% of shovel tests (n = 53) containing obsidian (Figure 1d). There were 109 obsidian items recovered, with 23 shovel tests containing more than one item. The highest number r ecovered from a single shovel test was 13 obsidian items (st6d). Obsidian included six prismatic blade fragments and 103 (94%) debitage, including flakes, some with cortex, associated with production of obsidian blades and biface production and/or thinning. Chert was recovered from 26 shovel tests (Figure 1e). These shovel tests are scattered throughout th e study area. The chert distribution is sparser than the large continuous zones of di stribution of pottery and obsidian. Among the 26 shovel tests containing chert, 50 items were recovered. In 10 shovel tests, more than one item of chert was recovered, with the highest recorded at st13, which contained 10 items. Much of the chert recovered in the Arvins Landing transect is of low quality and was likely part of the natural environment, and this is reflected in the lack of patterning in the distribution of chert, in contrast to pottery and obsidian. GIS Spatial Analysis The distribution of pottery, obsidian, and chert varies th roughout the transect survey area, both in occurrence and density. In the tran sect, pottery occurs in two distinct locals in the transect, including one area in the western area previously identified as an area of artifact concentr ation (Figure 1c). A second area of pottery c oncentration is in the southeastern part of the transect, from a line connecting st4a, st5a and st6a and includes 17 shovel tests, nine of which yielded five or more sherds. Thirty-three sherds were recovered from st2f, which is the second highest number of sherds per shovel test. A smaller concentration of sherds occurs in the northwestern shovel tests of the transect extending in a northwest direction from st2. This shovel test contai ned the third highest number of sherds with 25 sherds. The occurrence of obsidian in the transect survey is similar to that of potsherds (Figure 1d). The distribution and density of artifacts from the shovel tests was examined using the kernel density calculation in the GIS Arc View Spatial Analyst. This method reveals the locations of ancient Maya settlement activity at Arvins Landing where no surface evidence is available. The weight of artifacts was selected as a better measure of density, since the artifacts are fragmentary. Kernel density is a statistical method used to analyze the spatial distribution of data. Information is used to generalize a c g lo nd U el d d v of st s. T ns 1 of 48,127 individual grid cells. The kernel d e v in a specified search ar ea around each grid cell and dividing by that area (Levine 2002; OSullivan and Unwin 2003). The user for optimal representation of the data set can modify the search area, expressed as search radius in Arc View Spatial Analyst. For this analysis, search radii of 20, 25 and 30 ontinuous surface density for a surroundin cation (Levine 2002; OSullivan a nwin 2003). The out put of a kern ensity is a grid theme with an estimate alue of data per grid cell within the area udy, based on the values from data point he grid theme for this survey area contai 49 rows and 323 columns for a total ensity output is estimated by summing th alue of the data from each datapoint with Figure 1. a) topographic map of Arvins Landing transect showing the locations of shovel tests (st); b) topographic map of Arvins Landing transect showing the locations of shovel tests from which artifacts were recovered; c) topographic map of Arvins Landing transect showing the locations of shovel tests from which ceramics were recovered; d) topographic map of Arvins Landing transect showing the locations of shovel tests from which obsidian was recovered; e) topographic map of Arvins Landing transect showing the locations of shovel tests from which chert was recovered.

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Hidden Landscapes in Southern Belize m eters were used. By using three different sized search radii, relationships of small density areas in the smaller search radius could be compared to the larger density conglomerations of the larger search radius. This tests the strength of smaller density areas with estimation over larger areas. The output of the kernel density calculations will have an estimated distribution of data values per grid cell throughout the area of study. In this study, the values will be converted to standard deviations from the data mean. Density areas will be classified into 2 and 3 standard deviations from the mean data value. In this analysis, kernel density values above 2 standard deviations will show the upper 5th percentile of density lo cations. Above 3 or more standard deviations the density areas will be in the upper .3 percentile. These density areas in the upper percentiles have the highest number of estimated occurrences of artifact values for each grid cell within the survey area. This method is useful for estimating a continuous surface of data values from which hotspots in the dataset can be determined (Levine 2002; OSullivan and Unwin 2003). For this project, these density areas of peak data values are expected to indicate the locations of the most intense ancient cultural activity in the survey area. Twenty, 25 and 30-meter search radii were selected to determine the strength of concentrations of pottery, obsidian, and chert (Figure 2). The cal culations were made for distributions above 2 standard deviations of the mean (Figure 2a-c) and above 3 standard deviations of the mean (Figure 2df). The GIS analysis shows there are distinct areas of concentration for pottery, obsidian, and chert. Each material is concentrated in a different area, suggesti ng spatially distinct activity or discard areas for pottery, obsidian, and chert. Pottery is the only material with two areas of high density (Figure 2b). This distribution likely represents the location of two households in the transect area. There is 80 m separating the two household areas. The average weight of pottery per gr id cell in the kernel density maps using the 20, 25, and 30 m search radii is 0.016 g. The distribution and density of obsidian consists of a large continuous area that includes two areas of higher density separated by about 20 m (Figure 2 a). Like ceramics, there are two obsidian concentrations above 2 standard deviations in the 20-meter search radius. The two obsidian concentrations are closer together than are the ceramic concentrations. The smaller obsidian density area to the north is weaker than the larger density area to the south. The presence of the northern density area is undetectable above 2 standard deviations in the 25-meter search radius and higher. The larger obsidian weight density area to the south is still apparent in the kernel density maps above 2 and 3 standard deviations for all search radii. The average weight of obsidian for all search radii in the kernel density analysis is 0.005 grams per grid cell. The obsidian weight value per grid cell for density areas above 2 standard deviations is 0.018 grams for the 20-meter search radius, 0.016 grams for the 25-meter search radius and 0.015 grams for the 30-meter search radius. At 3 standard deviations and above, the obsidian weight density values per grid cell are 0.025 grams for the 20-meter search radius, 0.022 grams for the 25-meter search radius and 0.020 grams for the 30-meter search radius. Preliminary study of the artifacts indicates they are the discarded remains of domestic life from the Classic and Postclassic periods. The potsherds are fragmentary remains of domestic wares made from locally available clay and temper. In contrast, the obsidian discovered within the transect survey was imported and 296

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B. Somers and H. McKillop Figure 2. a) kernel densities of pottery, obsidian, and chert 2 Standard Deviations with a 20 meter search radius; b) kernel densities of pottery, obsidian, and chert 2 standard deviations with a 25 meter search radius; c) kernel densities of pottery, obsidian, and chert 2 standard deviations with a 30 meter search radius; d) kernel densities of pottery, obsidian, and chert 3 standard deviations with a 20 meter search radius; e) kernel densities of pottery, obsidian, and chert 3 standard deviations with a 25 meter search radius; f) kernel densities of pottery, obsidian, and chert 3 standard deviations with a 30 meter search radius. 297

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Hidden Landscapes in Southern Belize includes both El Chayal and Ixtepeque obsidian from the southern Maya highlands of Guatem ala (based on visual characterization). Compared with many other sites in the Port Honduras area, there is more evidence of blade and biface production at Arvins Landing, as indicated by the debitage. The obsidian consists of flakes, including some with cortex, and fragmentary cores, bu t only six fragmentary prismatic blades. Most other sites in the area have obsidian inventories dominated by finished, albeit fragmentary, prismatic blades. What does the GIS spatial analysis tell us about ancient Maya settlement in the forested area at Arvins Landing? The high density and widespread distribution of pottery suggests a lengthy and permanent settlement. Two households are indicated by the two areas of concentration of pottery. Evidently obsidian blade and biface production took place as part of household activities, as indicated by the distribution of obsidian debitage ove rlapping the ceramic distributions. Conclusions Current assessments of PreColumbian population and settlement patterns in the Maya area of Central America are largely based on visible expressions of ancient settlement in the landscape. Ruins of urban centers with monumental and ceremonial architecture have drawn the most re search attention. This is limiting in that these features are expressions of the elite, who are only a fragment of the ancient population. The study of the house mound has expanded our knowledge of ancient Maya settlement patterns, yet still falls somewhat short because in the assumption that all Maya lived on house mounds. Shovel testing along transects at Arvins Landing revealed the site is much larger than the visible evidence of one chert cobble platform. The site now likely includes two more households and obsidian blade and biface production areas. The combinations of archaeological and geographical methods used in this research were useful in finding evidence of ancient settlement hidden in the modern forested landscape. Shovel testing along transects, combined with spatial analysis of recovered material using GIS, is useful for discovering ancient Maya settlement that is invisible in the modern landscape. In addition to Arvins Landing, shovel testing along transects was successful for discove ring ancient Maya settlement elsewhere in the Port Honduras area of southern Belize in areas where there is no visible evidence of settlement from the ground surface (McKillop 1996, 2002). Combined with traditional surface inspection along trans ects, shovel testing programs provide more inclusive knowledge of the extent of ancient settlement within ancient Maya communities, the distribution of households, activity areas, and ancient population. Acknowledgements. The fieldwork was made possible by a permit from the Institute of Archaeology, National Institute of Culture and History. We appreciate the opportunity to carry out fieldwork on the south coast of Belize and the encouragement and assistance of the staff at the Institute of Archaeology. The research was supported by the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University and by financial contributions from LSU field school students. Travel support was provided to Somers from Robert C. West Graduate Student Awards from the LSU Dept. of Geography and Anthropology. We also appreciate the assistance of others in the LSU Dept. of Geography and Anthropology who helped including Farrell Jones, and 298

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B. Somers and H. McKillop Andrew Curtis with GIS and Mary Lee Eggart for beautifying the GIS maps. We appreciate the hard work and skills of the field school staff, as well as the students. We appreciate the continuing assistance and collaboration of Toledo Institute for Development and the Environment (TIDE), notably Wil Maheia in LSU research. We thank Jack Nightingale both for permission to carry out fieldwork at Arvins Landing, but also for his continuing insights, encouragement, knowledge, and good humor. References Cited Ashmore, Wendy (editor) 1981 Lowland Maya Settlement Patterns University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Chase, Diane Z. 1990 Invisible Maya: Population History and Archaeology at Santa Rita Corozal. In Precolumbian Population History in the Maya Lowlands. Edited by T. Patrick Culbert and Don S. Rice, pp. 199-214. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Culbert, T. Patrick and Don S. Rice (editors) 1990 Pre-Columbian Population History in the Maya Lowlands University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Ford, Anabel 1986 Population Growth and Social Complexity: An Examination of Settlement and Environment in the Central Maya Lowlands. Anthropological Research Paper 35. Arizona State University, Tempe. 1990 Maya Settlement in the Belize River Area: Variations in Residence Patterns of the Central Maya Lowlands, In PreColumbian Population History in the Maya Lowlands. Edited by T.Patrick Culbert and Don S. Rice, pp. 167-182, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Garber, James F. (editor) 2004 The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. Healy, Paul F., Bobbi Hohmann, and Terry G. Powis 2004 The Ancient Center of Pacbitun. In The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley. Edited by James Garber, pp. 207-227. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. Iannone, Gyles and Samuel Connell (editors) 2003 Perspectives on Ancient Maya Rural Complexity Monograph 49, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles. Johnston, Kevin J. 2004 The Invisible Maya: Minimally Mounded Residential Settlement at Itzan, Peten, Guatemala. Latin American Antiquity 15:145-175. Krakker, J. J., Michael J. Shott and P. D. Welch 1983 Design and Evaluation of Shovel-Test Sampling in Regional Archaeological Survey. Journal of Field Archaeology 10:469-480. Levine, N. 2002 CrimeStat: A Spatial Statistics Program fo r the Analysis of Crime Incident Locations, version 2.0 Ned Levine and Asso ciates, Houston and National Institute of Justice, Washington, D.C. McKillop, Heather 1989 Coastal Maya Trade: Obsidian Densities at Wild Cane Cay, Belize, In Research in Economic Anthropology, Supplement 4. Edited by Patricia McAnany and Barry Isaac, pp, 17-56, JAI Press Greenwich, CT. 1996 Ancient Maya Trading Ports and the Integration of Long Distance and Regional Economies: Wild Cane Cay in SouthCoastal Belize. Ancient Mesoamerica 7:4962. 2002 Salt: White Gold of the Ancient Maya. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. 2004 The Ancient Maya: New Perspectives. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio. McKillop, Heather and Charles Garrad 1992 Lost in the Backwoods: The Search for the Peacock Village Site Arch Notes 92(5):7-14. 299

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Hidden Landscapes in Southern Belize 300McKillop, Heather, Aline Magnoni, Rachel Watson, Shannon Ascher, Terance Winemiller, and Bryan Tucker 2004 The Coral Foundations of Coastal Maya Architecture. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeoloy Vol. 1: 347-358. McKillop, Heather and Terrance Winemiller 2004 Ancient Maya Environment, Settlement and Diet: Quantitative and GIS Spatial Analysis of Shell fr om Frenchmans Cay, Belize. In Maya Zoo Archaeology. Edited by Kitty Emery, pp. 57 80, Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, UCLA. OSullivan, D. and D. Unwin, 2003 Geographic Information Analysis John Wiley and Sons, Hoboken, N.J. Plog, Stephen, Fred Plog and W. Wait 1978 Decision Making in Modern Surveys. In Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory, edited by Michael B. Schiffer, pp. 384-422. Academic Press, New York. Puleston, D. E. 1983 The Settlement Survey of Tikal Tikal Reports No.13, Un iversity Museum Monograph 48. University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia. Pyburn, K. Anne 1990 Settlement Patterns at Nohmul: Preliminary Results of Four Excavation Seasons. In Pre-Columbian Population History in the Maya Lowlands, edited by T. Patrick Culbert and Don S. Rice, pp. 183 198, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Scarborough, Vernon 1986 The Dispersed Settlement. In Archaeology at Cerros Belize, Central America. Edited by Robin A. Robertson and David A. Freidel, pp. 23-44. Southern Methodist University Press, Dallas. Shott, Michael 1985 Shovel-Test Sampling as a Site Discovery Technique: A Case Study from Michigan. Journal of Field Archaeology 12:457-468. Steiner, Edward P. 1994 Prehistoric Maya Settlement Along Joe Taylor Creek, Belize Masters Thesis, Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. Tourtellot, Gair, Fransciso Estrada-Belli, John J. Rose, and Norman Hammond 2003 Late Classic Maya Heterarchy, Hierarchy, and Landscape at La Milpa, Belize. In Heterarchy, Political Economy, and the Ancient Maya, edited by Vernon L. Scarborough, Fred Valdez Jr. and Nicholas Dunning, pp. 37-51. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. Webster, David and Ann Corrine Fretter 1990 The Demography of Late Classic Copan. In Pre-Columbian Population History in the Maya Lowlands, edited by T. Patrick Culbert and Don S. Rice, pp. 37-62. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Wilk, Richard R. and Wendy Ashmore (editors) 1988 Household and Community in the Mesoamerican Past. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. Willey, Gordon R., William R. Bullard Jr., John B. Glass and James C. Gifford 1965 Prehistoric Maya Settlement Patterns in the Belize Valley. Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology Vol. 54 Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

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23 LIFE AT THE CROSSROADS: NEW DATA FROM PUSILHA, BELIZE Cassandra R. Bill and Geoffrey E. Braswell Recent excavations at the site of Pusilh a, Belize have revealed a diverse materi al culture assemblage that raises intriguing questions concerning the oc cupational history and development of the Southern Belize sub region, located in the southeastern periphery of the Maya lowlands. Here, we describe significant findings from investigations conducted in 2004, as well as the major components of a provisional ceramic typology. The majority of ceramic material excavated so far date to the Late Classic period and reveal clear lin ks to contemporary complexes from various parts of the Maya area, as well as to non-Maya regions in Honduras. The major focus of the Pusilha Archaeological Project is to investigate patterns of sociopolitical and economic interaction with sout heastern Mesoamerica during the history of the polity, and to determine the effects of shifting connections on local domestic and elite economy. Previous research and our own investigations at Pusilha have yielded an extensive corpus of hi eroglyphic inscriptions (Braswell et al. 2004), site plan and architectural data, and a material culture inventory consisting of both locally produced and imported items. Our research goals necessitate an understanding of the degree and kind of relationships that existed between Pusilha and other sites in southern Belize. We hope that this will allow us not only to understand the development of the polity within a regional context, but also to identify broader trends in the history of the Maya lowlands and the southeastern periphery of Mesoamerica (Figure 1). Richard Leventhals (1990) earlier research at sites in Toledo District, including Pusilha, led him to defi ne southern Belize as a distinct region of the Maya lowlands. For the most part, his definition was based on three architectural features: ballcourts located in walled encl osures, a lack of corbel-vaulted structures, and the extensive use of natural topography in the built environment. A fourth important characteristic of the southern Belize zone is erroneous or eccentric lunar information recorded in hieroglyphic inscriptions. Recently discovered sites in nearby San Luis Peten, Guatemala, also share these characteristics, suggesting that the southern Belize zone may extend to the upper reaches of the Rio Cancuen. In other words, Leventhals archaeological region spans an important connection between the Caribbean Sea and the Rio Pasion and ultimately, Rio Usumacinta watersheds. The location of Pusilha at the juncture of the Poite and Pusilha rivers, therefore, placed it in a strategic position contro lling trade across an important east-west trade route linking the Caribbean to the southern and central Maya lowlands. Pusilha also may have served as an important node on a north-south trade route, articulating trade between the lowlands and the southeast periphery. The upper Mopan region is located just 20 km north of the upper Pusilha River, therefore sites in the eastern Peten and western Belize may have been connected to Quirigua, Copan, and non-Maya Honduras via Pu silha in southern Belize. Strong ceramic evidence for exchange between these regions in Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 301-312. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize

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New Pusilha Data Figure 1. The location of Pusilha, the Southern Belize Region, and other regions of the Maya lowlands. 302

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C. Bill and G. Braswell particular between northern and western Belize and the sou theas tern periphery has been known for some time. The so-called Quetzal Vase, for example, which was found in a royal tomb at Copan, has been stylistically and chemically sourced to Altun Ha (Reents-Budet 1994). Red-slipped bowls of Belize Red types have been found not only at Quirigua, but also at sites in the Naco and Ulua valleys of western Honduras (e.g., Sheptak 1987). Similarly, marble (actually alabaster) vessels from the Ulua Valley have been recovered at a number of sites in the Maya lowlands, including Uaxactun, Altun Ha, and Xunantunich (Sheptak 1987). Thus, active exchange between the eastern Maya lowlands and non-Maya regions of Honduras occurred during the Late Classic period. The intermediate location of Pusilha suggests that this important polity may have linked the eastern Maya lowlands with western Honduras and other parts of the southeastern Mesoamerican periphery. We seek a more comprehensive understanding of the role of Pusilha, and indeed of the entire southern Belize region, in this interaction. We also are studying the chronology and effects of this exchange on local political and economic conditions. Figure 2. The Maya site of Pusilha (after Leventhal 1990:Figure 8). Although we have only conducted two field-seasons of excavation s and a third of survey at Pusilha, a number of patterns informing these questions have begun to emerge. We begin our report here with a brief description of some of the work carried out during the 2004 season at Pusilha, and conclude with a discu ssion of our analyses of ceramics recovered to date. 2004 Field Season During the first two field seasons of investigatio ns at Pusilha, we mapped significant portions of the siteincluding the Gateway Hill Acropolis, the Moho Plaza with its hieroglyphic stair, the Stela Plaza303

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New Pusilha Data Ballcourt I group, and several large settlem ent zones (Figure 2). In 2002, we also conducted a test-p itting program, and excavated and consolidated a partially bulldozed mound. Most importantly, Christian Prager, Co-Director and Project Epigrapher, analyzed the extensive hieroglyphic corpus of Pusilha and reconstructed much of the dynastic history of the site (Braswel l et al. 2004; Prager 2002). To date, 11 rulers of Pusilha and 10 other related individuals have been identified. Seventeen more people, who are not yet chronologically embedded in the history of Pusilha, also have been identified. At least eight warfare events have been noted. The only other site in Belize for which we have a comparably rich hieroglyphic history is Caracol. In 2004, we continued opportunistic mapping of a 1-km2 area cleared and burned for milpa farming. We al so excavated two range structures at the south end of the Gateway Hill Acropolis (Figure 3), as well as two additional struct ures in a large group 150 m west and 55 m below the acropolis. A salvage pit was placed on a third structure in this lower group. During the course of investigations, we ex cavated nine burials dating to the 7th to early 9th centuries A.D. Burial furniture from one elaborate crypt dating to the second half of the Late Classic period contained at least one complete pyrite mirror, hematite sequins, four polychrome vessels, shell ornaments, and two peculiar artifacts including a slate wrench (Figure 4). The placement of bones in this crypt suggest that it was a secondary burial. Analyses of all these ar tifacts, as well as of the many whole and partial ceramic vessels, lithic tools, shell ornaments, human remains, and numerous figurines and figurine molds recovered in 2004 have just begun and will be discussed at future Belize Archaeology Symposia. Figure 3. Gateway Hill Acropolis, Pusilha, showing two structures excavated in 2004. Ceramic Analysis Hieroglyphic inscriptions from Pusilha suggest that the site was occupied by the end of the Early Classic period; the earliest historical (rather than retrospectively mythological) inscription refers to events in A.D. 570. Ceramics recovered from previous explorations of several cave sites in the vicinity of Pusilha include Early Classic markers, such as basal-flanged polychrome bowls, as well as even earlier shoe pots. Nevertheless, the ceramic material we have recovered from architectural contexts at Pusilha all dates to the Late Classic and Postclassic periods. The following discussion of the cerami cs of Pusilha is 304

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C. Bill and G. Braswell 305 Figure 4. Artifacts recovered from Burial 7, an elaborate crypt found in a structure 150 m west of the Gateway Hill Acropolis: (a) shell ornaments; (b) slate wrench and limestone baton; (c) pyrite mirror fragments; (d) hematite ornaments. lim ited to the Late Classic period, c. A.D. 600 to shortly after A.D. 800. The Late Classic assemblage from Pusilha includes elements common throughout most of the Maya lowlands. Such components include: (1) unslipped striated jars, some of which are decorated with appliqud elements (Figure 5); (2) modeled and appliqud censers; (3) both plain and decorated po lished black wares

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New Pusilha Data Figure 5. Striated jars from Pusilha. (Figure 6); and (4) a wide assortment of orange-slipped and cream-slipped polychrome vessels in a variety of forms including bowls, cylinders, and shallow dishes or plates (Figure 7). Also present are large red-slipped bowls and red-slipped jars, some of which are decorated with impressed designs along the shoulder (Figure 8). These same general categories of vessels figure prominently in the ceramic assemblage from the neighboring southern Belize site of Lubaantun, although specific vessel forms differ markedly between the two sites (see Hammond [1975] for a full description of ceramics from Lubaantun). This pattern may reflect separate subregional systems of ceramic production and distribution associated with each site or temporal differences in their periods of occupation. Nevertheless, it is clear that the ceramics from Pusilha and Lubaantun share many features in common, including the presence of coarse-pas ted, short-necked jars of the Puluacax Unslipped type (Figure 9) that appear to be distinctive to southern Belize. Another commonality is the abundance of Late Classic figurines found at both Pusilha and Lubaantun, a pattern also seen in the Upper Pasion region to the west, including the site of Cancuen. Figure 6. Polished black ceramics from Pusilha. More significant is the pattern of interregional ceramic affiliation reflected in the assemblages from both sites. In terms of type and modal frequencies, the Late Classic assemblage from southern Belize has more in common with contemporary assemblages from the Pasion region and, to a certain extent, with northern Peten, than with that of the Belize Valley. The particularly close relation with sites in th e central and southern 306

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C. Bill and G. Braswell Maya lowla nds, rather than with the Belize Valley, is not surprising given the ease of east-west riverine tran sport and the difficult topography of the Maya Mountains. Features of the southern Belize assemblage shared with lowland regions to the west include red-slipped jars, especially those with impressed and stamped designs. Such jars are common in the upper and lower Pasion, the Dolores Valley, and northern Peten. Such vessels are rare or absent in the Belize Valley, although they do appear at sites just to the north of the Maya Mountains, including va rious caves in the Figure 7. Orangeand cream-slipped polychromes from Pusilha. 307

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New Pusilha Data Chiquibul region (Hammond 1975:305) and at Caracol (Chase 1994:174). In addition to these widely shared types and modes, certain components of the Pusilha assemblage have a more circumscribed distribution. Such elements include comales (large, shallow, griddle-like vessels), which are common at Pusilha and in the Upper Pasion and the Dolores Valley regions to the west (Figure 10; Bill 2001; Juan Pedro Laporte, pers. comm. 2000). Thus, although they are apparently absent from Lubaantun, comales appear to be a functional class of vessels Figure 8. Red-slipped bowls and jars from Pusilha. 308

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C. Bill and G. Braswell Figure 9. Puluacax Unslipped jars from Pusilha. Figure 10. Comales from Pusilha. characteristic of utilitarian traditions in the southeastern lowland region. Also noteworthy at Pusilha are certain design elements on polychrome bowls that appear to be extremely rare elsewhere in the Maya lowlands but are very common in various polychrome traditions of the southeastern Mesoamerican periphery. These include the twist-and-bud pattern, which consists of undulating lines with small oval elements attached to them (Figure 11). This common design element at Pusilha also occurs on certain polychromes from eastern El Salvador and other parts of the southeast periphery (Andrews 1976). Additional common motifs on polychromes from Pusilha include small seated birds and seated monkeys. Seated birds are a frequent decorative element on bichrome and polychrome vessels from western Honduras and other parts of the southeast periphery. Seated monkeys also occur on incised vessels from Pusilha and other parts of the lowlands, including the Pasion River region, and monkeys are also a common motif on polychromes from Altun Ha. Although polychrome vessels with these particular motifs are not reported from Lubaantun, it is significant that some of these same elements (including monkeys and birds) are typical of the stamp designs on the impressed red-slipped jars from that nearby site, and that these motifs do not occur on the stamped jars from other parts of the lowlands. Figure 11. Polychrome sherds with the twist-and-bud motif from Pusilha. To date, we have not recovered any examples of Copador Polychrome, which is a distinctive southeastern periphery type characteristic of the Late Classic period in Copan and western El Salvador, and occurs only as an extremely rare import outside of those zones. Neverthe less, recent chemical 309

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New Pusilha Data analyses of Copador Polychrome sherds collected at Pusilha by the British Museum Expedition to British Honduras in the late 1920s reveal that about half were manufactured in the Copan region (Bishop and Beaudry 1994; Bishop et al. 1986). These sherds all come from a large deposit at Pottery Cave, a context that we have reexcavated and now confidently date to near the beginning of the Late Classic period. We note, however, that none of the pieces illustrated by Thomas A. Joyce (1929) appear to be typical of Copador Polychrome that we have seen from Copan or western El Salvador, and there is some question regarding the actual provenance of Pusilha ceramics now curated at the British Museum (see Hammond 1975). Conclusions The ceram ic inventory of Pusilha, including both elite and utilitarian wares, demonstrates significant connections with a number of different regions both within and beyond the Maya area. More work is needed to clarify the Late Classic assemblage from Pusilha and to better identify chronological differences in type and modal frequencies associated with earlier and later face ts of Late Classic activity. Already, however, there exist correlations between different sets of data at the site that together suggest certain patterns in Pusilhas regional and inter-regional affiliations during the Late Classic Period. As reported at the 2003 Belize Archaeology Symposium, Christian Pragers work on the hieroglyphic inscriptions of Pusilha demonstrates ties with a number of different regions, including the Petexbatun and Ro Pasin zones, as well as more ambiguous links with Copan and Quirigua in the southeastern periphery of the Maya area (Braswell et al. 2004). Links to these same regions are evident in certain features of the Late Classic ceramic assemblage from Pusilha, as well as in the iconographic or material culture inventor y of other centers in southern Belize. There is some evidence to suggest, however, that Pusilha external affiliations may have shifted during the Classic period. Pasion-related types ap pear throughout the 7th and 8th centuries, but it is interesting to note that the possible Copador Polychromes from Pottery Cave all come from a context that is relatively early in the occupation of the site. At about this same time -the mid7th century iconographic conventions and two names that appear in the hieroglyphic texts suggest that Pusilha had important connections with Copan. It also is interesting that the Copan tomb containing the Quetzal Vase imported from Altun Ha dates to about this time (Bill 1997). By the mid-8th century, new connections were forged with other regions. Perhaps this later period of occupation at the site was typified by greater economic and political independence at Pusilha, as well as by closer affiliations with other southern Belize centers. The most direct connections to the ceramics from Lubaantun, for example, are seen at th e very end of the Late Classic. The distinctive Puluacax Unslipped type, which appears to have had a longer history at Lubaantun, is entirely restricted to surface contexts at Pusilha. Our closest and truly, the only direct ceramic connection to the Belize Valley is imported Belize Red pottery. Belize Red also appears only at the very end of Classic occupation of the site, which we tentatively date to c. A.D. 770 830. With the exception of a w hole vessel recovered from a late burial (Figure 12), Belize Red sherds are found exclusively in surface contexts at Pusilha. Hammonds (1975) analysis similarly indi cates a late occurrence for Belize Red pottery recovered at Lubaantun. Thus, during the last decades of the Classic period, the southern Belize 310

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C. Bill and G. Braswell region becam e economically linked to the Belize Valley for the first time in its history. Figure 12. Belize Red plate recovered from Burial 3, Gateway Hill Acropolis. Obsidian procurement data also suggest a reorganization of interregional exchange links near the end of the Classic period. During the 7th and 8th centuries, virtually all obsidian consumed at the site came from the El Chayal, Guatemala, source: a pattern linking Pusilha to most sites in the Maya lowlands. By the early 9th century, however, more obsidian from Ixtepeque and even some from Pachuca, Hidalgo, and Zaragoza, Puebla was traded to the site. As sites in the central and southern lowlands suffered demographic decline, remaining populations broadened their economic ties, shifted their trade links, and obtained obsidian from new sources Braswell, among others, has noted a similar pattern at Xunantunich in the Belize Valley and even further west in the Peten Lakes region particularly during the 9th century. Exotic Mexican obsidian appeared at Pusilha for the first time during the Terminal Classic period, as did Fine Orange from the northwestern Maya area. Both Pachuca and Zaragoza obsidian began to enter that region in quantity at the ve ry end of the Late Classic period, so perhaps Fine Orange and Mexican obsidian were brought together to Pusilha from the Gulf Coast. Thus, although our analyses of the data from Pusilha have only just begun, we have already observed significant ties with certain regions during specific periods of time. Further investigation of these ties will enhance our understanding of trade connections within and beyond the Maya lowlands during the Late Classic and Terminal Classic periods. Ongoing analysis of the ceramics and other artifacts from Pusilha is aimed at determining the nature and timing of Pusilhas regional and interregional connections with the Pasion zone, the southeast peri phery, and lastly the Belize Valley both to ev aluate their role in the developmental trajectory of the site itself and to examine the effects of sociopolitical change on interaction networks in the Maya area. Acknowledgments. The 2004 field season of the Pusilha Archaeological Project was generously funded by the Archaeology Program of the National Science Foundation (SBE-0215068) and the International Research Fellowship Program of the National Science Foundation (INT0202581). We thank the more than 100 men from San Benito Poite Village who have worked on our project, as well as Ms. Sonja Schwake, graduate student at UCSD. We also gratefully acknowledge the help and assistance of members of the Institute of Archaeology, particularly Dr. John Morris and Dr. Jaime Awe. Fi nally, we thank Mr. Eduardo Cus for his critical intervention on behalf of the project. References Cited Andrews, E. Willys V 311

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New Pusilha Data 3121976 The Archaeology of Quelepa. El Salvador Middle American Research Institute Publication No. 42, Tulane University, New Orleans. Bill, Cassandra R. 1997 Patterns of Variation and Change in Dynastic Period Ceramics and Ceramic Production at Copn, Honduras. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Tulane University. University Microforms, Ann Arbor. 2001 Tipologa y anlisis preliminar de la cermica de Cancun. In Proyecto arqueolgico Cancun: informe no. 2, temporada 2000, edited by Arthur A. Demarest and Toms Barrientos, pp. 170255. Instituto de Antropologa e Historia, Guatemala and the Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville. Bishop, Ronald L., and Marilyn P. Beaudry 1994 Appendix B: Chemical Compositional Analysis of Southeastern Maya Ceramics. In Ceramics and Artifacts from Excavations in the Copn Residential Zone, by Gordon R. Willey, Richard M. Leventhal, Arthur A. Demarest, and William L. Fash, Jr., pp. 407443. Volume 80, Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Cambridge, MA. Bishop, R. L., M. P. Beaudry, R. M. Leventhal, and R. J. Sharer 1986 Compositional Analysis of Copador and Related Pottery in the Southeast Maya Area. In The Southeast Maya Periphery: Problems and Prospects edited by Patricia A. Urban and Edward M. Schortman, pp. 143-167. University of Texas Press, Austin. Braswell, Geoffrey E., Cristian M. Prager, Cassandra R. Bill, and Sonja A. Schwake 2004 Recent Archaeol ogical and Epigraphic Research at Pusilh, Belize: Report of the 2001 and 2002 Field Seasons. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Volume 1: 333-345. Chase, Arlen F. 1994 A Contextual Approach of the Ceramics of Caracol, Belize. In Studies in the Archaeology of Caracol, Belize edited by Diane Z. Chase and Arle n F. Chase, pp. 157193. Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute Monograph 7, San Francisco. Hammond, Norman 1975 Lubaantun: A Classic Maya Realm. Monographs of the Peabody Museum, No. 2. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Joyce, Thomas A. 1929 Report on the British Museum Expedition to British Honduras, 1929. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 59:439-457. Leventhal, Richard M. 1990 Southern Beli ze: An Ancient Maya Region. In Vision and Revision in Maya Studies edited by Flora S. Clancy and Peter D. Harrison, pp. 124-141. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque Prager, Christian Manfred 2002 Die Inschriften von Pusilha: Epigraphische Analyse und Rekonstruktion der Geschichte einer klassischen MayaSttte. M.A. thesis, Philosophischen Fakultt, Rheinischen Friedrich-WilhelmsUniversitt zu Bonn, Bonn, Germany. Reents-Budet, Dorie 1994 Painting the Maya Universe: Royal Ceramics of the Classic Period Duke University Press, Durham, NC. Sheptak, Russell N. 1987 Interaction between Belize and the Ulua Valley. In I nteraction on the Southeast Mesoamerican Frontier: Prehistoric and Historic Honduras and El Salvador edited by Eugenia J. Robinson. BAR International Series 327, Oxford.

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24 DESIRE AND POLITICAL INFLUENCE THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE SIBUN RIVER VALLEY Patricia A. McAnany, Eleanor Harrison-Buck, and Satoru Murata Political turbulence incumbent upon the collapse of the southern lowland dy nasties is set against the local history of the Sibun Valley, a cacao-producing region in central Belize. New data from recent excavationsclosely dated by radiocarbon analysesindicate that political influence over the valley was actively contested at the end of the Classic period. The hegemony of the Petenattested in ceramics and architectureappears to have been challenged by the growing power of the northern Yucatec region, likely Chichen Itza. Changing patterns of ritual architecture and mortuary practices hint at the political re-orientation of the Sibun valley inhabitants, specifically the construction of circular shrines and use of distinctive accoutrements in burial furnishings. Ironically, the largest site in the valley, the Hershey site, displays none of the northern traits and, in fact, has yielded a deposit of Terminal Classic disarticulated skeletal remains that suggests a site of conflict. Strategically located relative to the active trade routes of the Caribbean Inner Channel, the Sibun Valley enjoyed ready access to a market for their highly desired cacao crop. This study provides a textbook example of the manner in which a production locale became enmeshed in the larger webs of competing political spheres. Anthropologist Sidney Mintz (1985) has written of the profound manner in which sugar production in the Caribbean transformed global cuis ine during Colonial times. The unmitigated desire for this sweetener par excellence engendered spheres of colonial influence and political domination. Sweetness and political power became inextricably linked in a manner that often characterizes the production and distribution of a highly desired luxury good. Sugar was not grown in the Caribbean during Pre-Columbian times, but another equally desirable cr op one that also transformed European and world cuisine was cultivated in the high rainfall Caribbean valleys of the eastern Maya Lowlands: cacao. This paper examines a production locale specifically the Sibun River valley where cacao is still grown today and archaeological evidence can be marshaled in support of the notion that Terminal Classic cacao-farmers in this valley found themselves enmeshed in competing spheres of political influence (McAnany et al. 2003). Background to Study Ancient cultivation of the tree crop cacao is notorious difficult to detect; trees produce only small amounts of pollen and the pods and seeds tend to biodegrade quickly in the bacterially active tropics. To date, some of our best indicators of ancient cacao production come from evidence of its consumption. Hieroglyphic texts on Classic-period pottery vessels often include the glyph for cacao or ka-ka-wa in association with a royal title (Houston, Stuart and Taube 1992; MacLeod and Reents-Budet 1994; Stuart 1989). Cacao appears to have been a beverage in high demand at royal courts for ritual practice and well as sumptuary banquets. The custom of cacao drinking is now known to extend back to the Preclassic period as cacao residue has been isolated from the fabric of Preclassic spouted vessels from the Belizean site of Colha (Powis et al. 2002; Hurst et al. 2002). Moreover, burned cacao wood has been identified in Preclassic deposits at sites in northern Belize specifically Kaxob and Cuello (Hammond and Miksicek 1981:260Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 313-327. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize

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Sibun River Valley Archaeology 269; Turner and Miksecik 1984: T able 1). The presence of both residue and wood suggests that the regi on of Belize may have been one of the first areas in which cacao cultivation as well as the process of seed fermentation and roasting was refined and integrated into lowland Maya ritual and culinary practices. During the time period addressed in this paper the Late to Terminal Classic period the population of the Lowlands can be counted in the millions and perhaps as many as a dozen seats of royal power competed for hegemony within a highly dynamic and fractious political environment. Each capital supported a palace precinct that was the locale of sumptuous feasts during which cacao was served. The events described in the text of Panel 3 from Piedras Negras, a Classic Maya city located in northwestern Guatemala on the banks of the Usumacinta River, provides a dramatic case in point (Martin and Grube 2000:149) in which a nighttime dance performance was followed by the drinking of chile -laced cacao. Ironically, the areas in which Classic Maya royal courts flourished central Peten and the Northern Lowlands (most notably Chichen Itza) were not zones of prolific cacao production. Consequently, we can assume that there was considerable political interest in the well-watered valleys of the Caribbean watershed (Figure 1). In one of those valleys the Sibun drainage members of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project are investigating a pattern of ancient settlement and cave visitation that is consonant with cacao production. Xibun Archaeological Research Project Dedicated to docum enting the archaeology of all time periods from Archaic through Col onial the Xibun Archaeological Research Project is named after an early Colonial spelling of the Sibun River (Jones 1989). Initi ated in 1997, four seasons of fieldwork ha ve resulted in the survey and mapping of 22 surface settlements (nine of which have been tested through excavation) and 18 caves (Figure 2; McAnany 1998; McAnany 2002; McAnany and Thomas 2003; McAnany, HarrisonBuck, and Morandi 2004). The many components of this project include dissertation research by Ben Thomas, Polly Peterson, Steven Morandi, and Eleanor Harrison-Buck. Pottery from surface settlements and caves is currently under analysis by Sandra L. Lpez Varela (see chapter in this vo lume), human bone by Rebecca Storey, and faunal remains by Norbert Stanchly. Palynological research on cores retrieved from oxbows is underway by John Jones, analysis of macrobotanical remains by Kirsten Tripplett, soils analysis by Pat Farrell, and geomorphological studies by Thomas Bullard. The imprint of the Spanish and Anglo-African Colonial periods is under study by Steven Morandi and Daniel Finamore, respectively (see chapters in this volume). Without a doubt, the most populous time period within the valley was the Late-to-Terminal Classic (A.D. 800950), which is the focus of this paper. Although cave ritual is not extensively discussed here, it is important to note that a complementary body of evidence regarding Late-to-Terminal Classic subterranean cave ritual is currently under study by Polly Peterson. Since total survey coverage of the Sibun valley could scarcely be completed during a lifetime of fi eldwork, we selected five sampling units or tr ansects that crosscut the valley (Figure 2). Transect 1 is positioned at the base of the spectacular Sibun Gorge; Transect 2 is located just upriver from the confluence of the Sibun and Caves Branch rivers; Transect 3 straddles both sides of the Churchyard road; Transect 4 includes the area of Gracy Rock; and Transect 5 encompasses the land around 314

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P. McAnany et al. Freetown Sibun. W e have made an effort to survey for residential sites on both sides of the river but it is clear that the bulk of our documented settlements are located on the north bank of the river while the majority of cave locales have b een found in the SibunManatee karst which borders the southern side of the Sibun Valley (with the important Figure 1. Maya Lowlands showing the location of th e Sibun Valley (illustration by B. Thomas). 315

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Sibun River Valley Archaeology exception of Actun Chanona, which is located in th e Hummingbird karst at the base of the Sibun Gorge). There are profound differences in Late-to-Terminal Classic material remains among settlement sites that are (a) tucked into the shadow of the Maya Mountains Transects 1 and 2; (b) located midway along the course of the river Transect 3; and (c) in proximity to the coast Transect 5. Here, the highlights of this tripartite pattern are presented along with preliminary interpretations as to their significance. Figure 2. Archaeological sites in the Sibun Valley and the five sampling transects studied by the Xibun Archaeological Research Proj ect (illustration by B. Thomas). 316

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P. McAnany et al. Late-to-Terminal Classic Settlement in the Sibun Valley Although caves adjacent to the Sibun Valley have yielded Preclassic pottery (see Lopz Varela, this volume), these deposits appear to represent long-distance pilgrimage to these remarkable subterranean caverns. After four seasons of survey, mapping, and deep excavations thr oughout the valley, no Preclassic deposits have been unearthed and precious few Early Classi c sherds have been retrieved. Excavators have probed into the alluvium underlying Late Classic constructions only to find a rapidly diminishing frequency of poorly preserved artifacts with no underl ying Early Classic or Preclassic construction units In light of this fact, our current under standing of the Sibun Valley occupational trajectory can be phrased in terms of a strong Late Classic settlement that peaked during the Terminal Classic and, in patc hy locations, survived through the Postclassi c period and into Spanish-Colonial times. In the Shadow of the Maya Mountains Decades ago the predominant site of the upper valley was named Hershey because it was surrounded by a cacao orchard once owned by Hershey Foods, Inc. (see Figure 3 for a plan of the Plaza A monumental complex). Only the monumental core of th e site is shown in Figure 3. Dispersed satellite settlements around this monumental complex extend as far as 8 km to the north where a cluster of 28 low platforms has been documented at Queso Blanco (Murata et al. 2004). As Thomas (2004) has noted, the site core of Hershey contains not only the largest mass of monumental architect ure in the valley but also a built environment that appears to emulate Peten architectural traditions. Most notable in this respect is the small ballcourt (Figure 4) that is situated immediately to the southeast of the main pyramid (Figure 3) an arrangement that is analogous to the Temple 1 plus effigy ballcourt complex of Tikal and more generally to the size and locations of ballcourts at Xunantunich and El Pilar (Leventhal and Ashmore 2004: Fig. 10.1; Ford 2004: Fig. 15.2) An axial trench placed between the two platform structures of the Hershey ballcourt revealed the presence of an earlier non-ballcourt structure and no evidence of an earlier playing surface that might pre-date the Late-Terminal Classic construction (King 2004). Further evidence linking Hershey with the Peten sphere surfaced during excavation of a badly looted pyramid in Group B, located on a high basal platform less than 100 meters from the active (and sometimes overflowing) channel of the Sibun River (Morandi 2004: see especially Fig. 11.5). While cleaning the front faade of the structure, an incised sherd was found that bears a portion of the crossed band emblem glyph of Naranjo surmounted by a late version of the kuhul ajaw (godly king) prefix (Stephen Houston, pers. comm. 2003). The presence of Naranjo has been detected at the Belize River valley site of Buenavista in the form of a polychrome cylinder with a hieroglyphic band that identifies the vessel as that of a ruler of Naranjo (Houston, Stuart and Taube 1992; Taschek and Ball 1992). Similarly, the presence of this incised emblem-glyph sherd from Hershey suggests that the political influence of Naranjo extended even further to the east, edging along the northeastern face of the Maya Mountains. From the hieroglyphic record of Naranjo, it is clear that the peak of Naranjos political power was achieved during the late 7th through 8th centuries; we can only suggest that cacao production near the Hershey site provided a catalyst for interest in the upper Sibun Valley. The political turbulence of the Terminal Classic period a time when the 317

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Sibun River Valley Archaeology influence of the Peten waned and that of the Northern Yucatec capitals strengthened is indicated in poignantly human terms in another excavation at th e Hershey site. In a narrow passageway that links the main plaza to the ballcourt area, excavators revealed several clusters of disarticulated human bone deposited directly beneath the collapse of the passageway masonry (Figure 5; Harrison-Buck and Cesario 2004). Dr. Rebecca Storey has been able to identify the partial remains of seven individuals: an 18 month-old child, a 6-year old, a 10-year old, two late adolescents who perhaps were in their early 20s, one -something male, and one individual aged 40-50 years of age. Although Dr. Storey is extremely cautious regarding appellation of the term sacrifice to Maya skeletal remains, the presence of cut marks and trophy portions of the skeleton leaves little doubt as to the tragic and likely conquest-li nked circumstances Figure 3. The Group A monumental complex of the Hershey site (illustration by B. Norris, S. Morandi, and E. Harrison-Buck). 318

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P. McAnany et al. Figure 4. The ballcourt at the Hershey site under excavation (Operation 55, view from the western mound; photo by P. A. McAnany). 319

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Sibun River Valley Archaeology that produced this deposit. Ironically, the rem ains are highly fragmented yet the bone is well preserved, an unusual combination in a humid tropical environment. Such preservation would likely occur if the human remains in the passageway were quickly buried, perhaps by purposeful dismantling of the upper portion of the passage walls in an act of termination. The age profile of the human remains bears an uncanny resemblance to an extended family grouping and this notion is further supported by the fact that the 40-50 ye ar-old and the something male share an unusual dental cusp pattern. Additionally, the presence of incisors with inlays indicates the high status of these individuals w ho likely met a violent death during a time of political turbulence. The evidence of Terminal Classic violence and Late Clas sic connections with Naranjo that has come forth from the Hershey site reinforces a prevailing model of Lowland Maya geo-politics in which powerful rulers forged inter-polity alliances, sponsored acts of martial aggression against other enemy polities, and generally sought to control territories from which highly desired luxury goods such as cacao might be procured. Hieroglyphic texts compiled by Martin and Grube (2000) reveal the precarious position of Naranjo a gateway site located in Guatemala immediately west of the Belizean border that sought to control the rich resources of the Caribbean valleys (Figure 1). Ten of eighteen (56%) known hieroglyphic texts that feature Naranjo in Figure 5. Excavation of a narrow passageway (Operation 54) showing masonry sidewalls at the Hershey site (photo by P. A. McAnany). 320

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P. McAnany et al. reference to regional interaction contain statem ents of martial conflict (Martin and Grube 2000:21). This evidence suggests to us that the resources of the Belize zone were actively contested during the Late Classic period. Midway along the River Course Indian Creek, one of the m ain tributaries of the Sibun River, joins the waters of the Sibun in the middle section of the valley (Figure 2). At this confluence, the site of Pakal Na (surrounded today by a citrus orchard) wa s built upon the western bank. Possessing no pyramidal architecture, the site nonetheless cont ains an expansive 3meter tall platform that appears to have been the residence in both life and death of a very influential Terminal Classic male. In an expanded axial trench through this large structure, we uncovered a complex mortuary deposit that included the sub-cranial skeleton of an extended male and the partial, disarticulated remains of at least three other individuals (Figure 6; Harrison and Acone 2003). In order to properly bury the focal male, a huge 1.5 m deep by 3 m long pit had been dug. Judging from the amount of charcoal beneath the skeleton, a wooden platform had been cons tructed to support the corpse. Ceremonially burned at some point during the mortuary ri tual, charred wood from this bier yielded an AMS date with a 2sigma range of AD 687-959 (Arizona Lab number AA55938), clearly a Terminal Classic interment. The skeletal structure of the focal male indicates that he had well a developed muscular structure, above-average height, and is likely to have lived over 60 years (Storey 2004:274). Hi s active lifestyle apparently had resulted in a dislocation of the posterior right humerus that had partially healed (Storey 2004:274). Perhaps a canoe paddler, a ball player a warrior or all three associated artifacts indicate the high Figure 6. Burial 1 from Pakal Na (illustration by S. Morandi and K. Acone). likelihood that his active lifestyle included martial activity. War trophies specifically an intricately carved skull mask and a trophy head surrounded this focal male. The skull mask was carved with notable iconography: a mat design on the dome of the frontal region, a kahk (fire) glyph on the forehead, and avian and canine/feline cartouches on the sides of the mandible that contains drilled holes for suspension. In reference to the iconographic content of the stucco frieze on the Castillo of Xunantunich, Fields (2004:186) notes that cranial torches denote ancestors and also are associated with sacrifices that maintain the reciprocal relationship between gods and humans. The similarity of the anim al iconography to that found at Chichen Itza (Tozzer 1957: Fig. 86), Tula (Healan 1989: Fig. 3.8), as well as Late Postclassic sites (w here it is thought to represent martial sodalities) adds weight to 321

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Sibun River Valley Archaeology the notion that this la rge, robust m ale was a warrior who was buried with his war trophies. Of the five pottery containers associated with the main interment, two pyriform vessels a popular form in Yucatan are the most distinctive and suggestive of links with the North. In short, if this distinctive individual was native to the Sibun Valley, he was surrounded in death by powerful Yucatec symbols. Alternatively, he may have been transplanted from the North, sent to supervise the transpor t by cargo canoe of a desired luxury good that could have been shipped down river and to the north by way of the Inner Channel, the calm waters of the intercoastal area between the mainland and the barrier reef. Oxygen isotopic analysis, currently underway by Dr. Christine White at the University of Ontario, will help to clarify the origins of th is individual who was buried at Pakal Na. Regardless of the birthplace of this older male, the presence of this type of burial with the accoutrements discussed above is not typical for Terminal Classic sites of Beliz e and indicates that some characteristic of the Sibun Valley likely its cacao production had engendered a political relationship with far-flung northern cities, possibly the primate capital of Chichen Itza. In Proximity to the Coast Downriver fro m Pakal Na, settlement configuration changes and a new architectural form appears at several of the larger settlements that contain at least one focal plaza (Thomas 2004) Specifically, the three sites of Pechtun Ha, Samuel Oshon, and Augustine Obispo each contain a circular shrine structure (see Figure 2 for location of sites and Figure 7 for an example of an excavated circul ar shrine; also see Harrison and Acone 2002; Harrison 2003; Harrison-Buck 2004). Such buildings highly unusual during the Early and Late Classic-periods are suspiciously absent from Transect 4 sites in the Gracy Rock area and, of course, from the Peten-affiliated Hershey site. The only shrine structure identified at Hershey was an isolated, conical-shaped rubble mound (Structure 536) located east of the main plaza. Tested in 2003, it was found to be a four-sided eastern shrine, reminiscent of Peten and Belize Valley patterns to the west (see Figure 3 for location of Structure 536; Harrison-Buck and Buck 2004). What then do these circular structures indicate? Each is smoothly incorporated into the built environment of their respective plazas and does not appear to be a later additi on. All three excavated shrines exhibit multiple phases of construction consisting of an initial walled circular building followed by infilling and conversion to a circular platform. Excavation of the shrine at the Augustine Obispo site revealed the footprint of an earlier and completely buried circular structure. Radiocarbon AMS dates for the Obispo structure suggest 8th century initial construction followed quickly by conversion from a one-roomed building into a platform structure. Two-sigma calibrated age ranges based on radiocarbon assays exhibit complete overlap between the earlier and later construction phases: AD 758-891 and AD 758-887 respectively (lab numbers AA58920 and AA58919). Continued use through the 9th century is indicated by a third radiocarbon assay on charcoal from a midden that formed after the later construction phase and yielded a two-sigma calibrated range of AD 883-1018 (lab number AA58918). Conch shell namely Strombus and Melongena generally litter the surface in front of the shrines and near re-positioned, uncarved st elae (Figure 8). As the whorl of the conch elsewhere is iconic of the wind deity an aspe ct of Kukulkan or 322

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P. McAnany et al. Quetzalco atl, it is likely that the entire package circular shrine, conch shells, and repositioned stelaeindexes a Late-toTerminal Classic ideological shift in the lower Sibun Valley. The fact that these shrines are smaller versions of the circular shrines found in the northern Yucatan most famously the Caracol at Chichen Itza further intimates that this shift likely signals strengthening political influence from the North in the affairs of the Sibun Valley. To the north of the Sibun Valley, circular shrines have been documented at Nohmul, Caye Coco, Ambergris Cay, and several other strategic locations (Chase and Chase 1982; Rosenswig and Masson 2001; Guderjan 1995). To our knowledge, those in the Sibun Valley re present the southern extent of this ideological expression. Relatively under-populat ed by Late Classic standards, nonethele ss, the Sibun Valley contains material remains that indicate welldefined links with distant places. The most likely explanation for this pattern lies in the potential of the valley to produce cacao and the well-cultivated desire for this product in every corner of the Maya lowlands. Figure 7. Excavated portion of the circular structure at the Samuel Oshon site showing the arc of the exterior wall (photo by K. A. Berry). Concluding Thoughts Political turbulence incum bent upon the collapse of lowland Maya Classic dynasties and the strengthening power of the Yucatec capitals has be en viewed through the local history of a chocolate-producing valley in central Belize. New data from recent excavations suggest that political influence over the valley was actively contested at the end of the Classic period. The influence of the Peten dynasties attested in ceramics and architecture appears to have been challenged by the growing power exerted by the northern 323

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Sibun River Valley Archaeology Figure 8. Lower portion of an uncarved stela (on right) and associated conch shells found in front of the circular structure at the Augustine Obispo site (20-cm scale in foreground; photo by P. A. McAnany). Yucatec region. Changing patterns of ritual architecture and mortuary practices reveal the political re-orientation of the inhabitants of the lower Sibun valley. The largest site in the valley the Hershey site appears to have stayed within the Peten sphere until the end. A deposit of Terminal Classic disarticulated skeletal remains found within a restricted passageway suggests that those in power at the Hershey site may have met a violent end. In reference to the Caribbean, Mintz (1985: xvi) has commented upon the manner in which production locales can be caught up in the skeins of imperial control spun in far away distant capitals. In a fashion parallel to the sugar production and export industry of the Caribbean region, the unmitigated desire for cacao appears to have engendered spheres of colonial influence and domination. From the perspective of Xibun Maya cacao farmers, chocolate and political power were inextricably linked. Acknowledgment s The authors wish to thank the Institute of Archaeology for organizing the 2nd Annual Belize Archaeology Symposium at which this paper was presented and also for permitting field research during the 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2003 field seasons. Our gratitude goes especially to those who wore the hat of Commissioner during the old days of the Department of Archaeology: Mr. George Thompson, Mr. Brian Woodye, and Dr. John Morris. We wish to express our appreciation to the many Belizeans who have facilitated this research in so many different ways. Some have granted permission to survey and excavate on their privately owned lands while others have provided food, shelter, and vehicle support. For those Belizeans who worked side-byside with us in the field, swinging a machete or a shovel, we owe a very special debt of gratitude. We also acknowledge the contribution of the many Boston University field school students and volunteers. We are grateful to the following agencies that provided funding for this field research: Ahau Foundation, Boston University Division of International Studies, and the National Science Foundation (BCS0096603). References Cited Chase, D. Z. and A. F. Chase 1982 Yucatec Influence in Terminal Classic Northern Belize. American Antiquity 47:596-614. Fields, V. M. 2004 The Royal Charter at Xunantunich. In The Ancient Maya of th e Belize Valley: Half a Century of Archaeological Research edited by J. F. Garber, pp. 180-190. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. 324

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P. McAnany et al. Ford, A. 2004 Integration among Communities, Centers, and Regions: the Case from El Pilar. In The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley: Half a Century of Archaeological Research edited by J. F. Garber, pp. 238256. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. Guderjan, Thomas H. 1995 Maya Settlement and Trade on Ambergris Caye, Belize. Ancient Mesoamerica 6(2): 147-159. Hammond, N. and C. Miksicek 1981 Ecology and Economy of a Formative Maya Site at Cuello, Belize. Journal of Field Archaeology 8:259-269. Harrison, E. 2003 A Circular Shrine and Repositioned Stelae at the Oshon Site (Operation 24). In Between the Gorge and the Estuary: Archaeological Investigations of the 2001 Season of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project, edited by P. A. McAnany and B. S. Thomas, pp. 165-185. Submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. On file, Boston University, Department of Archaeology, Boston, MA. Harrison, E. and K. Acone 2002 Further Investigations at Pechtun Ha: Feasting and Mass Importation of Cave Speleothems. In Sacred Landscape and Settlement in the Sibun River Valley: XARP 1999 Survey and Excavation edited by P. A. McAnany, pp. 123-140. SUNY Institute of Mesoamerican Studies Occasional Paper 8. Albany, NY. Harrison, E. and K. Acone 2003 Revisiting the Mortuary Deposits of Structure 130 at Pakal Na (Operation 22). In Between the Gorge and the Estuary: Archaeological Investigations of the 2001 Season of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project, edited by P. A. McAnany and B. S. Thomas, pp. 99-121. Submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. On file, Boston University, Department of Archaeology, Boston, MA Harrison-Buck, E. 2004 Circular Shrine at the Augustine Obispo Site (Operation 32). The Sibun Valley from Late Classic through Colonial Times: Investigations of the 2003 Season of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project, edited by P. A. McAnany, E. HarrisonBuck, and S. Morandi, pp. 19-39. Submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. On file, Department of Archaeology, Boston University, Boston, MA. Harrison-Buck, E. and D. G. Buck 2004 The Eastern Shrine of Group A (Operation 57). In The Sibun Valley from Late Classic through Colonial Times: Investigations of the 2003 Season of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project, edited by P. A. McAnany, E. Harrison and S. Morandi, pp. 165-170. Submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. On file, Department of Archaeology, Boston University, Boston, MA. Harrison-Buck, E. and C. D. Cesario 2003 Passageway from the Main Plaza to the Ballcourt (Operation 54). In The Sibun Valley from Late Classic through Colonial Times: Investigations of the 2003 Season of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project, edited by P. A. McAnany, E. Harrison and S. Morandi, pp. 115-145. Submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. On file, Department of Archaeology, Boston University, Boston, MA. Healan, D. M. 1989 Tula of the Toltecs: Excavation and Survey University of Iowa Press, Iowa City. Houston, S. D., D. Stuart and K. A. Taube 1992 Image and Text on the Jauncy Vase In The Maya Vase Book, Volume 3 edited by J. Kerr, pp. 499-512. Kerr Associates, New York. Hurst, W. J., S. M. Tarka, Jr., T. G. Powis, F. Valdez, Jr. and T. R. Hester 2002 Archaeology: Cacao Usage by the Earliest Maya Civilization. Nature 418:289290. Jones, G. 1989 Maya Resistance to Spanish Rule: Time and History on a Colonial Frontier 325

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Sibun River Valley Archaeology University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. King, J. L. 2004 The Ballcourt at the Hershey Site (Operation 55). In The Sibun Valley from Late Classic through Colonial Times: Investigations of the 2003 Season of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project, edited by P. A. McAnany, E. Harrison and S. Morandi, pp. 147-154. Submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. On file, Department of Archaeology, Boston University, Boston, MA. Leventhal, R. M. and W. Ashmore 2004 Xunantunich in a Belize Valley Context. In The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley: Half a Century of Archaeological Research edited by J. F. Garber, pp. 168179. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. MacLeod, B. and D. Reents-Budet 1994 The Art of Calligraphy: Image and Meaning In Painting the Maya Universe: Royal Ceramics of the Classic Period edited by D. Reents-Budet, pp. 106-163. Duke University Press, Durham. Martin, S. and N. Grube 2000 Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya Thames & Hudson, London. McAnany, Patricia A., editor 1998 Caves and Settlements of the Sibun River Valley, Belize: 1997 Archaeological Survey and Excavation. Submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. On file, Department of Archaeology, Boston University, Boston, MA. 2002 Sacred Landscape and Settlement in the Sibun River Valley: XARP 1999 Survey and Excavation SUNY Institute of Mesoamerican Studies Occasional Paper 8. Albany, NY. McAnany, P. A., E. Harrison-Buck, and S. Morandi, (eds.) 2004 The Sibun Valley from Late Classic through Colonial Times: Investigations of the 2003 Season of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project. Submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. On file, Department of Archaeology, Boston University, Boston, MA. McAnany, P. A. and B. S. Thomas, editors 2003 Between the Go rge and the Estuary: Archaeological Investigations of the 2001 Season of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project. Submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. On file, Boston University, Department of Archaeology, Boston, MA. McAnany, P. A., B. S. Thomas, S. Morandi, P. A. Peterson and E. Harrison 2002 Praise the Ahaw and Pass the Kakaw: Xibun Maya and the Political Economy of Cacao In Ancient Maya Political Economies edited by M. A. Masson and D. A. Freidel, pp. 123-139. Altamira Press, Walnut Creek. Morandi, S. 2004 Construction Sequences at the Group B Pyramid (Operation 56) In The Sibun Valley from Late Classic through Colonial Times: Investigations of the 2003 Season of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project, edited by P. A. McAnany, E. Harrison and S. Morandi, pp. 155-164. Submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. On file, Department of Archaeology, Boston University, Boston, MA. Murata, S., S. Morandi, D. G. Buck, and C. D. Cesario 2004 Survey and Excavations at Queso Blanco. In The Sibun Valley from Late Classic through Colonial Times: Investigations of the 2003 Season of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project, edited by P. A. McAnany, E. Harrison and S. Morandi, pp. 95-111. Submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. On file, Department of Archaeology, Boston University, Boston, MA. Mintz, Sidney W. 1 985 Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History Viking Penquin, Inc., NY. Powis, T. G., F. Valdez, Jr., T. R. Hester, W. J. Hurst and S. M. Turka, Jr. 2002 Spouted Vessels and Cacao Use among the Preclassic Maya. Latin American Antiquity 13(1): 85-106. 326

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P. McAnany et al. Rosenswig, Robert M. and Marilyn A. Masson 2001 Transformation of the Terminal Classic to Postclassic Architectural Landscape at Caye Coco, Belize. Ancient Mesoamerica 13:213-235. Storey. R. 2004 Burial Interments of Pakal Na. In The Sibun Valley from Late Classic through Colonial Times: Investigations of the 2003 Season of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project, edite d by P. A. McAnany, E. Harrison and S. Morandi, pp. 271-282. Submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize. On file, Department of Archaeology, Boston University, Boston, MA. Stuart, D. 1989 Hieroglyphs on Maya Vessels In The Maya Vase Book, Volume 1, edited by J. Kerr, pp. 149-160. Kerr Associates, New York. Tascheck, J. T. and J. W. Ball 1992 Lord Smoke-Squirrels Cacao Cup: the Archaeological Context and SocioHistorical Significance of the Buenavista Jauncy Vase In The Maya Vase Book, Volume 3 edited by J. Kerr, pp. 490-497. Kerr Associates, New York. Thomas, B. S. 2003 Maya Settlement and Political Hierarchy in the Sibun River Valley, Belize, Central Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Archaeology, Boston University, Boston, MA. Tozzer, A. 1957 Chichen and its Cenote of Sacrifice Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology Vol. 11-12. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Turner, B. L., II and C. H. Miksicek 1984 Economic Plant Species Associated with Prehistoric Agriculture in the Maya Lowlands. Economic Botany 38(2): 179193. 327

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Sibun River Valley Archaeology 328

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25 THE CONSTRUCTION OF SOCIAL SPACE AND PRODUCTION IN THE SIBUN RIVER VALLEY Sandra L. Lpez Varela and Christopher D. Dore From the Maya Mountains into the Caribbean, the water flows of the Sibun River Valley shaped and conditioned the lives of its Maya inhabitants from the Middle Formative to Colonial times. This landscape included the natural resources that were used for the construction of the buildings and monuments. These buildings stood as expressions of the societal forces that created them. Elements of the natural landscape, such as caves, were images and engendered symbols that represented individuals thoughts and actions. This simultaneously natural and cultural landscape helped to maintain, promote, and undercut the power of those who ordered the modification, construction, or materialization of its contents. Research presented here suggests that the producers of this social landscape also used other practices, such as pottery making, to create encultured places. The result of both spatial and a spatial analysis of pottery from the Sibun Ri ver Valley supports that the makers of pottery understood and manipulated the natural environment as they translated into clay representations of individuals lives and behaviors. Introduction Research along the Sibun River Valley yielded a comp rehensive pottery sample from the Middle Formative to Colonial times (Figure 1). This long sequence illustrates how ancient Maya potters confronted a diversity of production challenges to meet social demands regarding everything from cuisine preferences to cave rituals. Potters appropriated and transformed the natural and social environment to make pots. Both environments are intertwined, changed through history, and evidently conditioned the production of pottery. Social space derives from a variety of individual practices and actions that give each member of society their own level of performance and competence (Lefeb vre 2004:33). Each society creates its own space and translates it into symbols, artifacts, buildings, mountains or caves (see Lefebvre 2004; Low and Lawrence Zuiga 2003). These objects are self-experienced and selfperceived within this social space, creating a sense of place (Tuan 2003). In this way, pottery is presented here as a tool to approach social space. The understanding of pottery as embedded with social meaning blends the social concerns of post-processualism and postmodernism. The realization that pottery is produced in a social space establishes a radical departure from previous studies in the Maya region. This position is contrary to the position that the only use of artifacts is to construct and compare culture-histories by ordering artifacts through a variety of methods (for example Rice, Demarest, and Rice 2004:7). Results from these studies provide relative chronologies but do not really advance our un derstanding of the dynamics of pottery production, the challenges that potters faced in the past, or the sources of potters inspiration regarding form and design elements. Needless to say such studies are not consistent with a fundamental goal of our discipline: the study of human behavior. So, the methods used by archaeologists including systems of classification, material studies, or spatial techniques should aim to reveal the social Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 329-338. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize

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Production in the Sibun Valley River space where artifacts such as pottery are produced. The essential goal of this study that conceives pottery as the result of social practice is to learn abou t the institutions in a society that influence individual acts, and also about the individual acts that serve to create society within a natural environment (Bourdieu 2000; Lefebvre 2004). The first assumption in our analysis is to understand that in the manufacture of an artifact several transformational stages are involved and that potters had to decide which resources to use and which form to make to satisfy social need (Lemmonier 1980; van der Leeuw 1993). The European schools studying technologies as a social practice referred to the production process as a chane opratoire. This approach involves the use of archaeometric techniques and experimentation that hopefully will be applied shortly to the Sibun River Valley pottery. Figure 1. Overview of the Sibun River Valley. The technological characteristics of the pottery contain inform ation about the economic system, influencing not only food consumption and preparation, but also constraining the production of a suitable vessel form. This correlation was noted in a previous technological analysis of Late Formative jars from Kaxob, revealing potters knowledge of clay properties to make cooking vessels (Lpez Varela 2004). This type of vessel re quires the preparation of a clay body with a non-calcareous matrix and coarse crystalline calcite temper (Lpez Varela 2004:162). This recipe is known to potters worldwide and is used for cooking or boiling liquids. However, it was not always necessary to create a particular form to satisfy social demands, as reallocating a 330

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S. Lpez Varela and C. Dore vessel from a settlement into a cave could change its meaning. The spatial recycling of pottery emphasized the meaning and significance of partic ular spaces along the Sibun River Valley. Also, potters received stylistic and form conventions from a largescale sphere of influence that includes, at various times, the Peten, Teotihuacan, the Usumacinta-Pasion regions, and even northern Yucatan. Here, we present some examples of how pottery reproduced these distant spaces. Also, pottery performed in space, for example, as it engendered a symbolic personage represented in censers. When distinctive elements or glyphs where painted or carved in the walls of a vessel it became an element dramatizing power. In the following discussion, we illustrate how pottery contributed to the organization of space, constructed or contested power and ideology, but above all, how individual practices were lived in space across time. The Spatial and Political Transformation of the Sibun River Valley during the Early Classic The central portion of the Sibun River Valley is within relatively close distance to the Belize River Valley, where evidence of Early and Middle Formative settlements is increasingly growing (see e.g. Garber et. al. 2004). Shortly after the settling of Maya communities in the Belize River Valley, the Sibun River was possibly populated during the Middle Formative. Results from our previous research suggested that the earliest evidence of human occupation occurred in the caves of the Middle and the Upper Valleys of the Sibun River. Recent studies identify Middle Formative pottery at the Hershey site, located on the Upper Valley. This opens the possibility to suggest that the Middle Formative occupation of the Central Valley remains under Late Classic buildings and plazas. The shifting into Tzakol pottery modes in the Sibun River Valley reveals a relative uniformity in the making of vessels in various regions of the Maya Lowlands. In the Sibun River Valley, Early Classic pottery follows Tzakol modes of the Central Peten (Figure 2). Ceramic indicators of Early Classic settlement within the Sibun Valley restrict to Triunfo Striated jars, Balanza Black bowls and a few red bowls of the localized ware Mountain Pine Ridge Carbonate. The caves of the Sibun-Manatee karst continued to attract ritual supplicants that deposited the pottery repertoire of the Early Classic that includes Aguila Orange and polychromes such as Actuncan Orange Polychrome and Dos Arroyos Orange Polychome vessels. The homogeneity in the distribution of Tzakol modes involves a centralized power exerting control over pottery production and styles. In the Central Peten, the elites ruling Tikal, for example, tried to control important lowl ands-highlands trade routes and to cut-off possible competitors in the buffer zone, such as Seibal, by the end of the Late Formative (Sabloff 1975:234). The political control of Tikal had extended into the Upper Usumacinta region by the end of the Early Classi c (see Lpez Varela 1998). The political gr owth of Tikal is related to Teotihuacan elites that entered the Maya Lowlands at round 378 AD (Martin and Grube 2000:29). During this period in the history of Tikal, pottery was used an emblem of power and identity. The adoption of the tripodal cylinder vess el, either painted, gouged, incised or with a ppliqus, is just an example. In the Sibun River Valley, fragments of a gou ged-incised tripod cylinder lid and a rounded bowl were deposited in the cave of Actun Ibach, The pattern of crisscro ssed, gouged-incised intertwined bands is si milar to those found on tripod vases and lids from Teotihuacan 331

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Production in the Sibun Valley River Pottery Group 3 as defined by Sejourn (1988: figs. 36, 102, 107). The placing of this pottery in the sacred realms of the underworld is an indica tion that this Valley shared a political identity with its Central Peten neighbors. This suggestion is reinforced by the distribution of Aguila Orange in the Maya Lowlands that usually correlates to those polities under the influence of the Tikal-Teotihuacan elites (Lpez Varela 1998). Since both types of pottery occur in the Sibun River Valley, it is possible that this area was part of the Tikal realm until the Middle Classic. By the end of the sixth century, an attack on Tikal by an allied Calakmul-Caracol (Martin and Grube 2000:29) eventually led to an increasing disengagement with a foreign identity and the emblematic pottery of the Central Highlands. This event caused a rapid settlement all along the Sibun River Valley (see McAnany et al. 2004). Figure 2. Distribution of Early Classic pottery. Reinstating Past Identities during the Late Classic During the Late Classic period, settlements were established throughout the Sibun River Valley from the base of the Maya Mountains down to the coastal estuarine environment (Figure 3). The growth of construction activities parallels that of pottery making and it reflects in a wider variety of forms, uses of applications and slips. The making of jars included new clay body recipes that conditioned its function and size. Cave and settlement assemblages include jars from the Cambio, Encanto, and Tinaja groups that were very popular, for example, in the central Peten, the Usumacinta and the Pasion regions. In 332

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S. Lpez Varela and C. Dore the Sibun Valley, these groups were complemented by the production of local red wares such as Dolphin Head Red and the Vaca Falls ceramic group. These jars and serving bowls and dishes satisfied the cooking and storage demands of both large and small communities for almost three centuries. When these jars were placed inside a cave chamber that symbolized the Underworld, the meaning of the domestic formula most certainly changed. The darkness of these Underworld caves was painted with color with the placing of polychrome pottery of the Saxche and Palmar traditions. These groups were also represented in the settlements, as such, were participating in a larger sphere of production styles that included the Usumacinta, the Pasion, central Peten, the Belize Valley and, as far south as, the Alto Salama River (Ciudad Ruiz 1988) and Alta Verapaz (Arnauld 1987). Figure 3. Distribution of Late Classic pottery. For the L ate Classic, ceramicists have observed that part icular Late Classic pottery styles return to a size and shape reminiscent of Early Classic or even Late Formative styles. For instance, at the site of Pakal Na, the focal individual of a multiple interment was interred with a complete but fractured pedestal conical bowl with a restricted orifice. Like the Duck Run bottle of the Late Classic, this form seems to constitute a revival of a Formative vessel shape with the new addition of a pedestal base. Distant similarities in form can trace back to the Locona Phase (1500 1350 B.C.) in the Mazatan region of the Chiapas Coast (Clark and Pye 2000: Fig. 18). Vessels with a basal dome shape are also found in burials and caches at Chiapa de 333

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Production in the Sibun Valley River Corzo, many of which date to the Horcones phase (0 100 A.D.) or earlier (Agrinier and Lowe 1960; Agrinier 1964; Lowe 1960). A band of crosses near the rim of a Late Postclassic pedestal vessel appears in the Codex Mendoza (Folio 68r) carrying cacao (Berdan and Anawalt 1992: Fig. 14.9). As the vessel is identified as containing cacao, the X motif may well mark the function of a vessel as a cacao-drinking container. At Pakal Na, the presence of such a container in the burial of a powerful and influential male is not surprising. After all, ethnohistoric sources indicate that the Sibun Valley was an important cacao producer during the Colonial period and that production likely originated during earlier times. The Political Turmoil of the Late/Terminal Classic In some parts of the Maya Lowlands, the advent of fine-paste ceramics may be a hallmark of the Terminal Classic. However, potters in the Palenque region and the coastal plains of Tabasco were making Fine Brown and Fine Black wares during the Early Cla ssic (Lpez Varela 1998). These wares predat e the later Altar, Balancan, Chablekal and Tres Naciones Groups (Rands 1973, 1987). In the Belize and the Sibun River Valley, fine paste pottery may be traced to the Late Classic, when potters were producing Belize Red vessels (Gifford 1976:226, 255). Towards the end of the Terminal Classic period in the Usumacinta and Pasion region, Pabellon Modeled-carved fine paste pottery was crafted with scenes of interaction, possibly narrating the presence of a foreign population. In the caves and settlements of Belize, modeled-carved vessels were used for a similar purpose. These vessels, called Belize Valley Modeled-carved by Helmke, Colas and Awe (1998:96), were made with local clay resources a nd also tend to contain scenes of warrior confrontations perhaps a leitmotif of the Terminal Classic. In the Ulua Valley to the south, modeled-carved vessel narratives do not always show confrontational scen es (Joyce 1987:397) notes. Clearly, Maya potters had been making and experimenting with fine paste for centuries prior to the Terminal Classic period, questioning recent assertions that the dispersal of fine paste ceramics may have been inspired by a messianic martial cult of Quetzalcoatl/Kukulcan (see Ringle, Gallareta and Bey 1998). The distribution of fine wares do tell us about the increasing political power of the elites from Palenque environs and the use of this malleable kind of pottery that was used to express different narratives or non at all. To understand the events surrounding the 9th and 10th centuries, we should address the impact of the numerous brief alliances held by Maya, disclosing a high level of competence held among Maya rulers for power, prestige, and resources. The profound political instability, most likely affected the economy of the Maya Lowlands causing population levels to plummet, leaving Maya settlement concentrations in the Yucatan Peninsula, the Guatemala Highlands and parts of Belize. The events that follow in the history of the Maya are referred as the Postclassic. In the Sibun, Postclassic vessels reflect the persistence of producti on styles as potters continued to produce pyriform jars, pedestal base cylinders, and open tripod bowls with bulbous or effigy mold ed supports (Figure 4). Pottery as a Performer of Different World-views Between 1560-1630, the Spanish Caribbean colonies (i ncluding Belize) were receiving simple coarse tin-glazed wares such as Santo Domingo Blue-on-White and Sevilla Blue-on-Blue. This pottery likely 334

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S. Lpez Varela and C. Dore was made by Christianized Moslems of Arabic-Berber descent living in Seville. One distinctive piece of pottery is an orange, non-glazed vessel spout modeled into an open-mouthed lion (Figure 5). The open-mouthed lion was depicted in different type of pottery vessels, for example, ink holders. At some later time, this spout was deposited in the most impressive cave in the valleyActun Chanonathat is located at the base of the Sibun Gorge. The shape and execution of this lion effigy bears a remarkable resemblance to those found in the Lions Courtyard of the Alhambra in Granada. The marble fountain is decorated with the 12 lions that symbolize the Koranic and Biblical images of paradisea garden with four rivers. Water spouts from the mouths of the lions and cascades into a square pool and then into four canals Figure 4. Distribution of Postclassic pottery. Figure 5. Open-mouthed lion vessel housed at the Institute of Archaeology in Belmopan. 335

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Production in the Sibun Valley River oriented to the cardina l points. All of these elements, water, plant fertility, directionality and the transition of humans into a paradisiacal world were shared elements of Maya, Spanish, and Moslem cosmologies. No wonder this extraordinary piece of pottery was placed as an offering within a portal to the Maya Underworld. Acknowledgements. This investigation derives from the Xibun Archaeological Project (XARP) conducted by Patricia A. McAnany under a National Science Foundation Grant (BCS-0096603) and support from the Division of International Programs at Boston University. The project could only be possible with permission of the Department of Archaeology under the Ministry of Tourism (Permit No. DOA/H/2/1/03). We thank the people of Belize for their hospitality after twelve years of pottery studies. References Cited Agrinier, Pierre 1964 The Archaeological Burials at Chiapa de Corzo and their Furniture. Papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation Publication 12, Number 16. New World Archaeological Foundation, Brigham Young University Provo, Utah. Agrinier, Pierre and Lowe, Gareth W. 1960 The Mound 1 Tombs and Burials. In Mound 1 Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas Mexico. Excavations at Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas, Mexico, Papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation Number 8:3954. New World Archaeological Foundation, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Arnauld, Marie Charlotte 1987 Regional Ceramic Development in Alta Verapaz. In Maya Ceramics Papers from the 1985 Maya Ceramic Conference, edited by P. Rice y R. Sharer, pp. 307-328. BAR International Series 345 (ii), British Archaeological Reports, Oxford. Berdan, Frances F. and Patricia R. Anawalt 1992 The Codex Mendoza 4 vols. The University of California Press, Berkeley. Bourdieu, Pierre 2000 Esquisse dune Thorie de la Pratique, prcd de Trois Etudes dEthnologie Kabyle (Orig. pub. 1972.) ditions du Seuil, Paris. Ciudad Ruiz, Andrs 1988 Desarrollo cermico en el Alto Samala, Guatemala. Ceramica de Cultura Maya 15:93-130. Clark, John and Pye, Mary E. 2000 The Pacific Coast and the Olmec Question. In Olmec Art and Archaeology in Mesoamerica edited by John E. Clark and Mary E. Pye, pp. 217-251, Studies in the History of Art 58, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, New Haven, National Gallery or Art, Washington, D.C. Garber, James, M. Kathryn Brown, Jaime Awe and Christopher Hartman 2004 The Terminal Early Formative Kanocha Phase (1100-900 B.C.) at Blackman Eddy. In: Archaeological Investigations in the Eastern Maya Lowlands: Papers of the 2003 Belize Archaeological Symposium edited by Jaime Awe, John Morris and Sherilyne Jones, pp. 13-25. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol 1. The Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize Gifford, James C. 1976 Prehistoric Pottery Analysis and the Ceramics of Barton Ramie in the Belize Valley Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology 18, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Helmke, C., G. B., P. R. Colas, and J. J. Awe 1998 Comments on the Typology, Epigraphy and Iconography of the Actun Tunichil Muknal Vase and the Belize Valley Modeled-carved Vessels. In The Western Belize Regional Cave Project a report of the 1997 Field Season edited by Jaime J. Awe, pp. 93-140. Department of Anthropology Occasional Paper No. 1, University of New Hampshire, Durham. 336

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S. Lpez Varela and C. Dore Joyce, Rosemary 1987 The Terminal Classic Ceramics of Cerro Palenque, Honduras: a Southeastern Outlier of the Boca Ceramic Sphere. In Maya Ceramics Papers from the 1985 Maya Ceramic Conference Edited by P. Rice and R. Sharer, pp. 397-428. BAR International Series 345 (ii), British Archaeological Reports, Oxford. Lefebvre, Henri 2004 The Production of Space. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA. Lemmonier, Pierre 1980 Les Salines de lOuest: Logique Technique, logique sociale Editions de la Maison des Sciences de lHomme, Presses Universitaires de Lille, Paris. Lpez Varela, Sandra L. 1998 El anlisis cermico de Yaxchiln y Pomon: un ejemplo para entender la estructura econmica y poltica en la zona del Usumacinta. En Modelos de entidades polticas mayas, editado por Silvia Trejo, pp. 183-207. Primer Simposio de las Mesas Redondas de Palenque. CONACULTAINAH, Mxico. 2004 Ceramic History of Kaxob. En: The Early Years. En: Kaxob: Ritual, Work, and Family in an Ancient Maya Village, edited by Patricia A. McAnany. Monumenta Archaeologica 22. Los Angeles: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA. Lpez Varela, Sandra L. and Lord, Wallis 2004 Studies of Sibun Pottery. In Sibun Valley from Late Classic Through Colonial Times: Investigations of the 2003 Season of the Xibun Archaeological Research Project, edited by Patricia A. McAnany, Eleanor Harrison-Buck, Steven Morandi, pp. 185-211. Boston University, Department of Archaeology, Boston. Lowe, Gareth W. 1960 The Mound Caches. In Mound 1 Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas Mexico. Excavations at Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas, Mexico, Papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation Number 8:55-105. New World Archaeological Foundation Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Low, Setha M. and Lawrence-Zuiga, Denise 2003 The Anth ropology of Space and Place, locating culture. Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA. Martin, Simon and Grube, Nikolai 2000 Chronicle of the Maya Kinds and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya Thames and Hudson, London. McAnany, Patricia A., Satoru Murata, Ben S. Thomas, Sandra L. Lpez Varela, Daniel Finamore and David G. Buck. 2004 The Deep History of the Sibun River Valley. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Volume 1: 295-310. Rands, Robert L. 1973 The Classic Maya Collapse: Usumacinta Zone and Northwestern periphery. In The Classic Maya Collapse edited by P. Culbert, 165-205. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 1987 Ceramic Patterns and Traditions in the Palenque Area. In: Maya Ceramics Papers from the 1985 Maya Ceramic Conference edited by P. Rice and R. Sharer, R. BAR International Series 345 (i):203-238. British Archaeological Reports, Oxford. Rice, Prudence M., Demarest, Arthur A., and Rice, Don S. 2004 The Terminal Classic and the Classic Maya Collapse in Perspective. In The Terminal Classic in the Maya Lowlands, Collapse, Transition and Transformation edi ted by Arthur A. Demarest, Prudence M. Rice and Don S. Rice, pp. 1-11. University Press of Colorado, Boulder. Ringle, William M., Gallareta Negrn, Toms and Bey, George J. III 1998 The Return of Quetzalcoatl. Evidence for the spread of a world religion during the Epiclassic period. Ancient Mesoamerica 9:183-232. Sabloff, Jeremy A. 1975 Excavations at Seibal: Ceramics Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 13(2). Harvard University, Cambridge. 337

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Production in the Sibun Valley River 338 Sejourn, Laurette 1988 Arqueologia de Teotihuacn, la Cermica Primera Reimpresin Fondo de Cultura Econmica. Mxico, D.F. Tuan, Yi-Fu 1977 Space and Place, the Perspective of Experience. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. Van der Leeuw, Sander 1993 Giving the Pott er a Choice, Conceptual Aspects of Pottery Techniques. In Transformation in Material Cultures since the Neolithic, edited by Pierre Lemmonier, pp. 238-288. Routledge, London.

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26 HOUSEHOLD AND COMMUNI TY RITUAL IN A MAYA FARMING COMMUNITY: THE 2003 SEASON AT THE CHAN SITE, BELIZE Cynthia Robin, Chelsea Bla ckmore, and Michael Latsch The Chan site is an ancient Maya farming community in we st-central Belize, which was occupied continuously from the Middle Preclassic to Early Postclassic periods (ca. 900 B. C. A.D. 1250). This article presents the results of the second season of a multi-year archaeological research project at Chan. In 2003 we completed our survey of the site identifying 583 mounds and 1258 agricultural terraces in a 3.29 square kilometer area. 2003 was also our initial year of excavations. Research in both domestic and public plaza areas r evealed new insights into the ritual practices of Maya farmers, from th e humblest farmer to the leaders of the farming community. Given Chans lengthy occupation, excavation data on rituals provides evidence concerning both the nature and changes in farmers ritual practices over the expanse of Pre-Columbian Maya history. Ritual, religion, and worldview are key aspects of any culture. Initially archaeologists shied away from studies of ritual and religion because it was thought that it would be more difficult to get at the beliefs and ideas of long deceased peoples than it would be to study more concrete and material aspects of peoples lives such as their trade and economy. It was fields such as Maya archaeology, which illustrated that we could find the evidence in the archaeological record needed to understand ancient peoples ri tual and religion. Over the past decades increasing interest and research into the subject of Maya worldviews has produced a plethora of information on the ritual practices and religion of the upper echelons of Maya society. In part this is because the Maya royalty and nobility recorded their religious beliefs and practices in hieroglyphic writing and elaborate artistic media. For these social strata, ritual was a key aspect of social and political life and the organization of large civic-centers. But given the absence of ancient texts and images about other social groups in Maya society, how can we understand their rituals and beliefs? Were Maya farmers simply the masses that filled the open plazas of larg e Maya civic-centers? What role did ritual and religion play in the smaller farming communities that made up the majority of the Maya countryside? Given the absence of hieroglyphic and iconographic evidence about Maya farmers ritual and religion, we must look wholly to the materials and spaces of the archaeological record for evidence of their rituals and beliefs. Up until as recently as 1998, Johnston and Gonlin noted in a review of the meaning of co mmoner houses that our ability to understand commoner worldview through the poorly preserved remains of Maya commoner houses had yet to be demonstrated. New research in 2003 at the Maya farming community of Chan in Belize is changing this perspective by revealing information on the religious practices and views of Maya farmers including the views of the humblest farmer to the leaders of the farming community. While understanding farmers ritual is certainly a more difficult task than understanding royal ritual because the places and objects that farmers likely used in ritual were of ten ordinary and their ritual significance coul d be overlooked the Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 339-347. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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The 2003 Season at Chan Site Chan rese arch indicates that a willingness to look for ritual in ordinary objects and places can reveal potent information on ritual in a farming community. The Chan Site Chan is located in west-central Belize, situated at the center point between larger civic-centers located 4 to 6 kilometers to the north, south, east, and west (Figure 1). To the west lies Xunantunich and Actuncan, to the north, Nohoch Ek, Buenavista, and Cahal Pech, to the east Dos Chombitos and Guacamayo, and to the south, Las Ruinas de Arenal. Chan lies in an interfluvial area of undulating limestone uplands between the Mopan and Macal branches of the Belize river in a region of high, rounded hills (with peaks less than 160 meters; Smith 1997). Across Chans hilly terrain its ancient inhabitants construc ted and utilized a productive agricultural landscape of hillslope and cross-channel terraces. Figure 1. Location of the Chan site. The 2003 season completed the settlement survey of the Chan site, identifying 583 mounds and 1258 agricultural terraces in a 3.29 square kilometer area (Wyatt and Kalosky 2003; Figure 2). In terms of residential architecture Chan was a small farming community, 83% of mounds identified at Chan are less than 1 meter in height and 40% are less than 50 centimeters in height. Chans farmers invested heavily in terrace agriculture, on average there were 382 agricultural terraces per square kilometer at Chan and terraces covered roughly 24% of all terrain (Wyatt and Kalosky 2003: 26). This density of terraces is higher than that reported from settlement surveys conducted in the region surrounding the Chan site which have documented densities of between 164 and 227 terraces per square kilometer (see Ashmore et al. 1994; Neff et al. 1995; Yeager and Co nnell 1993). Thus it appears that Chans rounded limestone hills many have been particularly well suited or well adapted for terrace agriculture (Juarez in Robin et al. 2002: 21-23). Chans Central Group Excavations at Chan in 2003 focused on Chans central platform group (group C001), the only mound group at Chan to have mounds over 3 meters in height (Figure 3). The layout of Chans central group in terms of formality and directionality is comparable, albeit at a smaller scale, with that seen at larger civic-centers across the Maya area (compare Ashmore 1991; Ashmore and Sabloff 2002). The central group has an east-west focus. Current 2004 excavations have identified the eastern structure as an ancestral shrine (Meierhoff, Kestle, and Kalosky in Robin 2004 in prep.). The east-west focus of the shrines in Chans central group may relate to the Preclassic founding of the site as an east-west focus predominates in Maya Preclassic sites or it may relate to Chans agrarian specialization as the agricultural cycle has a ritual 340

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Robin et. al associa tion with the ea st-west cycle of the sun in Maya cosmology (Ashmore and Sabloff 2002; Hans en 1998). Along the northern edge of the central group is a structure with masonry benches that supported a wattle-and-daub building. Michael Latsch supervised excavations in the northern structure (Str. 2) in 2003 (Latsch 2003). Provisional field excavation artifact and architectur al data suggest that this structure was a public residence of a leading and founding family at Chan. Throughout the Maya area leaders of major civic-centers placed their residences in northern location within their centers because north represents power in Maya cosmology (Ashmore 1991). Figure 2. The Chan Settlement Survey. Shaded areas indicated new survey areas from 2003. Arrow points to the humble farmstead discussed later in this article. Excavations in 2003, in the central group focused on two locations, the aforem entioned excavations of the northern structure (Operation 2) and excavations in the center of the plaza (Operation 1) supervised by Chelsea Blackmore (Blackmore 2003). Evid ence for ritual from these two excavations combined with evidence from 1996 excava tions for ritual in 341

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The 2003 Season at Chan Site Figure 3. Location of 2003 excavations in Chan's central platform group (group C-001). one of the humblest farming households at Chan (Robin 1999, 2002) provide new insights into domestic and community ritual in a farming community, from the homes of the humblest farmer to that of the community leader. House Dedication Ritual of the Humblest Farmer A unique find of a dedicatory cache offered following the construction of the first house at one of Chans humblest farmsteads located south of the central group illustrates how a humble farming family consecrated their new home (see Figure 2). Although the larger community of Chan has a long history of o ccupation, this humble farmstead was occupied for only a short time established late in Chans sequence during the late Late Classic period (670-780 A.D.) Upon building their home residents placed ordinary river cobbles collected from nearby streams and a used and broken fragment of a greenstone axe over a sealed miniature chultun (a subterranean chamber) that was dug at the rear of their house along its central axis. The cobbles had distinctive colorations. The north cobble had two white lines, the south cobble had one yellow line, the west cobble was half black and half red with the black half towards the west and the red half towards the east, and at the center of these was a broken and heavily battered fragment of a greenstone axe. This colordirectional symbolism was being invoked by farmers to consecrate their home as the center of the world axes (located at the green center of the cardinal directions and color associations displayed by the river cobbles). In ordinary homes, across the Maya countryside, farmers consecrated their houses as a central place for the family (Robin 1999, 2002). The color/directional symbolism displayed in this humble house dedication cache parallels that invoked by Maya royalty in their caches and organizational models of the world (e.g. Ashmore 1991; Ashmore and Sabloff 2002). Where royalty used exotic objects such as jade in their caches, humble farmers used colored river cobbles. Further, in modern Maya communities, Maya farmers have continued to use similar color/directional symbolism in rituals to sanctify their houses an d fields (e.g., Hanks 1990; Vogt 1976). House Dedication Ritual of the Farming Community Leader At the opposite end of Chans social spectrum, community leaders residing in the central group, like the humble farmer or the regal ruler, also consecrated the construction of their homes. The northern residence in the central group was constructed at the onset of Chans hist ory during the Middle Preclassic period (ca. 900-300 B.C.) plausibly by founding residents of the community. Across the subsequent generation to the Late Classic period (A.D. 600-780), a sequence of 27 structure floors 342

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Robin et. al and f ills were constructed in this location (Latsch 2003; LeCount 2003; Figure 4). Each new house was centered upon and superimposed above the previous house. Residents of the northern structure placed a single piece of jade on the floor below and at the center of the first structure in this location. Cons truction Fill 25 (see Figure 4) covered the ja de deposit. The jade piece was likely an intentional deposit because of its precise location and the general absence of jade in the construction fills of the northern structure. Again residents of Chan are marking the center of their home with the color green to consecrate their home as the center of the world axis. Perhaps unsurprisingly, community leaders are using exotic objects such as jade, while humble farmers use local greenstones and river cobble to consecrate the centrality of their homes. Community Ritual in Chans Central Plaza Following the lead of evidence from contemporary Maya farming communities where people come together to worship at the center of their community (e.g., Hanks 1990; Vogt 1976), in 20 03 excavations were undertaken at the cente r of Chans central plaza, which is both the social and spatial center of the larger farming community, in an attempt to locate evidence for community center ritual. The results of these excavations exceeded any outcome we could have imagined prior to our excavations. Preliminary ceramic analysis indicates that for over 2000 years, spanning Chans entire occupation history (900 B.C. A.D. 1250) people from Chan came to the center point of their community to perform rituals. A complex, stratified sequence of ritual deposits was uncovered at the center of the plaza, which included an ancestral burial, 6 caches cut into or placed upon bedrock, 2 altars, a shrine, and a stela (Blackmore 2003). Figure 4. Stratigraphy of the Nort hern Structure (Str. 2) on Chans Central Plaza. Initially, in the Preclassic period (900 B.C. A.D. 250) the physical remains of these rituals took th e form of burials or caches dug into or placed on bedrock. The items incorporated into the caches include both local and non-local items such as ceramic vessels (Figure 5), incense burners, figurines, jade and gr eenstone ornaments, Spondylus shell beads and pendants, slate and obsidian objects. The most intriguing cached object was a stalactite from a cave. Later in the Classic and Postclassic periods (A.D. 250 1250) ritual remains 343

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The 2003 Season at Chan Site Figure 5. Seven Cache Vessels from Chans Central Plaza (Special Deposit 4). took the form of altars and shrines. Two altars were sequentiall y dedicated with two objects cached on their surface, a figurine and an incense burner (Figure 6). A singlecourse high square shrine was constructed around the final altar and associated with a 2 meter high stela (Figure 7). Finding a stela, probably of Terminal Classic date (A.D. 780-890) at Chan was un expected. The stela had been broken into over 9 pieces, thus it had not previously been observed at the site. The finding of a late stela suggests that at the end of the Classic period, as the power of Classic Maya ro yalty was waning, the trappings of their regal political offices, such as stela, were being co-opted into the politico-ritual inventor ies of the leaders of increasingly smaller communities across the Maya countryside that never utilized this politico-symbolic form previously in the Classic period. The 2000-year sequence of rituals at the center of Chans central plaza documents a tremendous continuity in the ritual use of a single sacred spot at the center of a farming community. Two lines of evidence illustrate how Chans residents maintained a social memory concerning previous ritual practices performed in the plaza. After its initial deposition the locatio n of the ancestral burial was either remembered or rediscovered later in Chans history as Blackmores (2003) osteological and excavation evidence illu strate. The burial was re-entered at least two times and the skull and upper portions of the body were removed, plausibly for veneration. The final dedicatory offering in the center of the plaza consisted of an incense burner stand, a jade and shell necklace a figurine, and an incense burner. Intr iguingly the incense burner stand appears to be a heirloom object as only half of the stand was interred on Chans final phase altar, the other half having previously been interred with the penultimate altar. Like the repeated reentering of the burial, the hierlooming of objects attests to the memory and remembrances of earlier ritual practices that formed part of subsequent ritual enactments. Figure 6. Jaguar God of the Underworld Figure (Special Artifact A37) cached on Altar 2, the penultimate altar in Chan s central plaza. Scale Drawing. 344

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Robin et. al Figure 7. Refitted 2 meter high stela from Chans central plaza. The configuration of ritual knowledge invoked during the rituals performed in Chans ce ntral plaza attest to the early development and subsequent transmission of types of ritual knowledge on the part of farmers in a small farming community that are typically attributed to the Maya royalty and nobility. The color green, in the form of jade and greenstone, is being used to mark a nd designate the cosmic center. The underworld in the form of the stalactite or a figural image of the jaguar god of the underworld is being used to make the center point of the community. Discussion Centrality was a critical aspect of ritu al practices at the farming community of Chan. From humble farmers to community leaders, people consecrated their homes as representing central places in their world. Community members made the center of their community a sacred space through 2000 years of ritual practices. The Chan data illu strates that many of the foundational concepts recorded in royal and noble Maya hieroglyphs, art, and architecture are also co re concepts in Maya farmers religious practices. Some of these core concepts are: the importance of sacred ancestors in defining human history, the importance of the card inal directions and color symbolism in centering and consecrating important places within the Maya world axes, the importance of central places and their association with the color green, the underworld, and the center of the universe. Maya religion was not just an elite religion or a state relig ion it was practiced on a much more pervasive social scale by families in their homes and within local communities as well as at the public political forums of civic-centers. Since Chan was occupied for 2000 years we can not only talk about the nature of farmers ritual, but we can find out how ritual in a farming community changed and developed through time. Our data from the Preclassic period at Chan suggests that many of the ideas that we see elites propagating in their royal ritual practices in the Classic period were in fact deri ved or co-opted from concepts that farmers developed in their household and community rituals. Evidence from later periods further suggests that as the power of the Classic Maya royalty waned towards the end of the Classic period, Chan community leader s re-claimed aspects of royal ritual practice, such as the use of stelae, which had not previously been accessible to members of this farming community in the Classic period. While the rulers of larger civiccenter in the Maya area may have controlled the labor of hundreds if not thousands of slaves, commoners, or volunteers to build temples and monuments within the sacred ceremonial precincts of their civic-centers, 345

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The 2003 Season at Chan Site these m onumental places could be defaced, dismantled, or fall out of use after the political decline of a city and its ruling family. The farming residents of Chan were able to maintain the sacred nature of their community through more than 2000 years of rituals by consecrating the center of their community. Acknowledgements. Funding for the 2003 excavations at Chan was provided by the National Science Foun dation Archaeology Division and International Research Fellowship Program and Northwestern University. We thank our research sponsors at the Belize Institute of Archaeology, Director Jaime Awe and Deputy Directors John Morris and Brian Woodye and the hard work of the Institute st aff in putting together the 2004 Belizean Archaeology Symposium and preparing this volume. We thank the dedicated work of the 2003 Chan excavation team: Nestor Alfaro, Jeff Buechler, Don Bernabe Camal Sr., Edwin Camal, Jonny Camal, Ifrain Chan, Don Ismael Chan, Everaldo Chi, Elvis Chi, Omar Chi, Ciro Hernandez, Ethan Kalosky, Lisa LeCount, David Lentz, Susan Mai, Don Salvador Penados, Don Cruz Puc, Marta Puc, Carlos Salgueros, Glenis Smith, Horace Smith, and Andrew Wyatt. The 2003 Chan excavations were conducted with the kind permission of Don Ismael and Derrick Chan from San Jose Soccutz, Belize. We thank our colleagues in the upper Belize river area for their continued support of our fieldwork. References Cited Ashmore W. 1991 Site-Planning Principles and Concepts of Directionality among the Ancient Maya. Latin American Antiquity 2:199-226. Ashmore W., S.V. Connell, J.J. Ehret, C.H. Gifford, L.T. Neff, and J.C. Vandenbosch 1994 The Xunantunich Settlement Survey. In Xunantunich Archaeological Project: 1994 Field Season, edited by R.M. Leventhal and W. Ashmore, pp. 248-290. eport submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan. Ashmore W. and J. Sabloff 2002 Spatial Orders in Maya Civic Plans. Latin American Antiquity 13: 201-215. Blackmore C. 2003 Operation 1, C-001. In The Chan Project: 2003 Season, edited by C. Robin, pp. 36-51. Report submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan. Hanks W.F. 1990 Referential Practice: Language and Lived Space among the Maya. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Hansen R.D. 1998 Continuities and Disjunction: The PreClassic Antecedents of Classic Maya Architecture. In Function and Meaning in Classic Maya Architecture, edited by S.D. Houston, pp. 49-122. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. Johnston K.J. and N. Gonlin 1998 What do Houses Mean? Approaches to the Analysis of Classic Maya Commoner Residence. In Function and Meaning in Classic Maya Architecture, edited by S.D. Houston, pp. 141-185. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. Latsch M. 2003 Operation 2, C-001. In The Chan Project: 2003 Season, edited by C. Robin, pp. 52-62. Report submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan. LeCount L .J. 2003 Preliminary Ceramic Analysis at C-001. In The Chan Project: 2003 Season, edited by C. Robin, pp. 30-35. Report submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan. Neff L.T., C. Robin, K. Schwarz, M.K. Morrison 1995 The Xunantunich Settlement Survey. In Xunantunich Archaeological Project: 1995 Field Season, edited by R.M. Leventhal and W. Ashmore. Report submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan. 346

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Robin et. al Robin C. 1999 Towards an Archaeology of Everyday Life: Maya Farmers of Chan Nohol, Belize. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania. 2002 Outside of Houses: The Practices of Everyday Life at Chan Nohol, Belize. Journal of Social Archaeology 2:245-268. 2004 The Chan Project: 2004 Field Season. Report submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan. Robin C., W.D. Middleton, M.K. Morrison, and S. Juarez 2002 The Chan Project: 2002 Survey Season. Report submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan. Smith J.R. 1997 Geology and Hydrology of the Lower Mopan and Macal River Valleys. In Xunantunich Archaeological Project: 1997 The Final Season, edited by R.M. Leventhal and W. Ashmore, pp. 174-196. Report submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan. Vogt E.Z. 1976 Tortillas for the Gods: A Symbolic Analysis of Zinacanteco Rituals. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. Wyatt A. and E. Kalosky 2003 The 2003 Chan Survey. In The Chan Project: 2003Season, edited by C. Robin, pp. 14-29. Report submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan. Yaeger J. and S.V. Connell 1993 Settlement Archaeology at Xunantunich. In Xunantunich Archaeological Project: 1993 Field Season, edited by R.M. Leventhal and W. Ashmore, pp. 172-202. Report submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan. 347

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27 EXPLORING THE ROLE OF ANCIENT MAYA TEMPLES AT YALBAC, BELIZE Lisa J. Lucero Throughout the world, places of worship temples or churches are built to honor various gods, patron deities, or as places for religious expression and experiences. Scholars interpretations of Late Classic (c. A.D. 550 850) Maya temples have been relatively vague on their roles and functions except in cases where they served as stages for royal ceremonies. Since the majority of secondary centers such as Yalbac, do not have written or obvious iconographic records, I explore the possibility of temple a ttributes revealing histories given their crucial role in daily social, religious, and political life. The analysis of evidence from looters trenches at Yalbac, while preliminary, has exciting implications regarding the role of temples and their potential to serve as text on Classic Maya society. Introduction Throughout the world, places of worship temples or churches are built to honor various gods, patron deities, or as places for religious expression and experiences. Temples are also major landmarks and create the need for labor, as in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and South India (e.g., Morrison 1993). Temples link towns and their rural hinter lands through periodic ceremonies, festivals and feasts, and represent an impressive commitment of resources to faith (Stein 1977:25) as witnessed in their maintenance, ritual specialists, and support st aff. Inscriptions and iconography note to whom the temple was dedicated as well as who constructed it, they highlight the kinds of donations including land and vi llage revenues. Temples also serve as the core of royal public life because re ligion is vital for political legitimating monarchs fund temples and conduct most of their ceremonies at temples. Rites revolve around royals and their ancestors to show that they have the mandate of heaven (e.g., Chang 1983) because worldwide rulers are associated with prosperity (Hocart 1970[1936]: 128-155). In Egypt, for example, everyone relied on the pharaoh to perform key rites to ensure that the Nile would bring adequate water (Hassan 1994). The king was the major intermediary between heaven and earth. In brief, crossculturally temples provide sanctuary, a home for gods, a place to worship and pray a stage for religious and political ceremonies, festivals and feasts, storage for food and supplies, workshops for the manufacture of sacred and profane goo ds, a depository for offerings, and a place to redistribute food and gifts. Scholars interpretations of Late Classic (A.D. 550-850) Maya temples have, however been relatively silent on these matters (cf. Loten 2003; Taube 1998). While well described, discussion of temples rarely focuses on more than the basic function of serving as stages for elites and kings to perform religious ceremonies. This is somewhat surprising since Maya centers are famous for their temples, which are inscribed or decorated with vibrant scenes, focusing on the builders of temples kings, their families, and their ancestors. Gods played a secondary role. The history or function of the temple, however, is not revealed by this monarch-centric focus. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 349-356. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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Exploring the Role Yalbac Temples W ere all Maya temples built the same, or do temples show variability? In either case, did they serve varied functions? Were temples built for different gods, or did they all have similar functions? Were they funded by different groups of people, not just kings? Different groups could include wealthy families or elites, lesser royals or nobles, or even community members. The fundamental question is: Why did the Maya build so many temples? Before we can address these questions, we need more concrete information about temple histories. In this paper, I present preliminary data from temple looters trenches at Yalbac that show promising results re garding variability. Since the majority of secondary centers like Yalbac do not have written records, I explore whether or not temple attributes can reveal histories indicating that temples were crucial in daily social, religious, and political life. Attributes explored include frequency of temples within centers, size differences, location with regard to other monumental architecture, layout and accessibility (private or restricted), history of use, and construc tion patterns including style, labor, materials, decorative features, and ritual deposits. Yalbac Yalbac site is located under jungle canopy, near pockets of good agricultural land, along Yalbac Creek, a perennial stream on the eastern border of the southern lowlands (Graebner 2002a, 2002b; Lucero 2004; Lucero et al. 2004). J. Eric Thompson made brief mention of an eastern group of Yalbac in the 1930s (1939:2, 282), but appeared to have inadvertently missed the site core (Figure 1). Plaza test pits yielded ceramics dating from c. 300 B.C. through A.D. 900, or the Late Preclassic through the Terminal Classic period. The six pyramid temples at Yalbac range from 8 to 16m in height of which five exhibited looters trenches (LTs). The looters trenches were recorded in profiles during the 2002-2004 seasons and yielded important clues as to construction sequences. At present, the temples all appear to lack summit structures and plaster floors; some have cut-stone terraced facades and dry and mortared boulder and cobble core fill. Surface ceramics indicate the temples were used through the Late Classic period (A.D. 550-850), even though the Maya began building some much earlier in the Late Preclassic (300-100 B.C.) (e.g. Plaza 3 temples). All temples are located on large open plazas, though Plaza 3 is slightly more restricted than Plaza 2. These two plazas contain the two tallest te mples, Str. 2A (40 x 36 m, 16 m tall) and Str. 3A (45 x 25 m, 11 m tall), and Plaza 2 has the only ballcourt. Interestingly, the western structure of the ballcourt is attached to the front of the temple rather than at the back as one finds at Xunantunich and Cahal Pech; either the Maya no longer used the temple or moved the staircase to the si de, or they built the temple after the ballcourt, perhaps to enclose the plaza (John Morris, pers. comm., 2004). Str. 3A and Str. 3D (45 x 25, 8 m tall) are the only temples with wings on the north and south sides, which likely contain tombs (Jaime Awe, pers. comm. 2004). Plaza 2 temples are on average bigger than Plaza 3 temples (15,960 cm3 vs. 7,792 cm3). Plaza 2 temples have more faced stones on average (19% vs. 12%) and are thrice the average size of the Plaza 3 temples (1,318 cm2 vs. 435 cm2). Shaped stone blocks are faced on all exposed sides, especially on the front sides of temples. The back or sidewall blocks appear to be faced only on one side (e.g. LT 7 and LT 29, Str. 3A). The exposed core fills at Str. 2E (40 x 36 m, 8 m tall) and Str. 2F (30 x 30 m, 10 m tall) have mortar, usua lly of marl, plaster, gravel, or sand. In contra st, Str. 3A and Str. 350

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L. Lucero 3B (20 x 20 m 6 m ta ll) have both mortared and dry core fills; while dry core fill requires less materials and labor, it is more difficult to contain and is more unstable (Schele and Mathews 1998:30). Core fill boulders are larger on average in Plaza 2 temples, averaging 569 cm2 compared with 416 cm2 at Plaza 3 temples, and they comprise a greater proportion (30% vs. 15%). However, Plaza 3 temples have more similarly sized (sorted) faced stone and core fills (boulders, small boulders, and cobbles); for example, the average range difference of Plaza 3 faced stone is 564 cm2 compared with 1887 cm2 at Plaza 2 temples. The Maya may have used more midden deposits since we found greater quantities of sherds in Plaza 3 temples (though they might Figure 1. Yalbac. 351

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Exploring the Role Yalbac Temples represent item s broken by looters). In sum, the Maya built bigger Plaza 2 temples using larger stone blocks an d mortared fills, and used more sorted fills for Plaza 3 temples. In a preliminary comparison with contemporary construction patterns of three residential compounds within 500 m of the site core, it is clear that the Maya used larger faced stones and boulders (length is greater than 15 cm) at temples. Small boulders (length: between 11-15 cm) and cobbles (length: 1-10 cm) are more comparable in size. For example, the eastern mound (23 x 9 m, 2.5 m tall) of Site 4, an elite compound consisting of seven structures around a plaza, has standing walls constructed with faced stone blocks. They range from 50 to 362 cm2, whereas those from temple LTs range from 251 to 1678 cm2. The range decreases as site size diminishes; Site 14, a U-shaped elite struct ure (28.5 x 18 m, 3 m tall) (Graebner and Lucero 2003), has standing walls with faced stones ranging from 40 to 350 cm2 and Site 18, a commoner house (9.5 x 9.5 m, 1.5 m tall) (Lucero and Graebner 2003), has low walls with faced stones ranging from 38 to 294 cm2. Temple LTs have also revealed that construction patters differ from acropolis type construction patterns, (Str. 1A, 55 x 45 m, 20 m tall) (Hooper 2004a, 2004b), the surface ceramics of which date to the Late Classic. The upper most acropolis LTs (1 and 2) exposed vaulte d ceilings, a possible roof comb, red-plastered walls, a molded and plastered throne bench, thick walls (0.71 m), and standardized cut limestone (Figure 2). When the Maya filled in these rooms before rebuilding, they used sorted fill and a compact plaster mortar. Plaster floors are thick (5 cm+) and of high quality (fine, hard). Plaster has relatively high labor costs (Abrams 1998). From LT 4 on the upper west terrace of the royal residence, we recovered architectural decoration from the looters back dirt consisting of stucco fragments with traces of red paint. The LT on at the base of Str. 1A on Plaza 1, LT 17, exposed construction styles more similar to LTs at the temples (boulder core fill, faced stone faade, and no obvious plaster floors), as well as a speleothem fragment, (considered sacred to the Maya as portals to the Xibalba). Figure 2. Acropolis architectural features. We do not know much about ritual deposits because looters apparently were quite successful in removing caches and grave goods. However, since looters were not interested in broken items and left them behind, we do have some idea; for example, LT 9 at Str. 3B revealed a Late Classic burial immediately unde rneath the eastern summit stone facade, most of which was destroyed by loot ers (Figure 3). The remaining lip-to-lip vessels contained drilled shell, obsidian points, and a cut and polished jaguar tooth. From a lithic concentration at the roots of an uprooted tree, (likely from over a tomb) at the northeast side of Str. 3D, we recovered thousands of thin fine-grained pastel-colored chert blades and flakes. The Maya were known to place thousands of chipped chert or obsidian flakes and blades over the lintel or roof of a tomb, in caches, such as those found at Tikal (Moholy-Nagy 1997). During the clean-up of LT 8, Str. 3D, we also recovered human skull fragments, a complete unmodified clam 352

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L. Lucero shell, a slate disc (l ikely a mirror backing), obsidian blades, a marine shell disc, and many decorated sherds from vases, jars, plates, and bowls. During the clean up of LT 21, Str. 2F, we foun d a figurine fragment of a head, perhaps of God N (Figure 4). While the exact significance of this deity is not totally agreed upon, God N is definitely associated with the celestial world as, for example, a sky-bearer, and is also associated with sacred mountains (Taube 1992:92-99). God N is often depicted with Chaak the rain god, another celestial connection. Finally, the ballcourt alley test excavations yielded several speleothem fragments. The architectural differences among temples and between other structure types are obvious and may indicate to whom they are dedicated and by whom they were built. To address these issues, we plan in future seasons to collect more information on temple histories, ar chitectural features including terraces, staircases and plastered surfaces and decorative features including masks, inscribed or painted walls, doorways, or lintels, as well as stelae or altars. We also intend to investigate labor expenditure which would be needed for each Late Classic building phase (e.g., river or quarried cobbles, the perc entage of plaster in mortared fills, and the type of limestone used), and the location, quantity, quality and diversity of ritu al deposits, Figure 3. Structure 3B, LT 9 burial. Concluding Remarks Did Str. 2F serve as a r ain/celestial 353

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Exploring the Role Yalbac Temples tem ple (God N)? It is attached to Str. 2G, which on closer inspection might turn out to be an artificial pool ( it is quite steep on all sides). What is the significance of the ballcourt being attached at the front of the largest temple (Str. 2A)? Were the ballcourt and temple a stage for re-enacting creation rites, since ballcourts play a large role in origin myths (Schel e and Miller 1986:243245)? Its proximity to the acropolis might indicate it association with the ruling family. Further, its location on the largest and most accessible plaza indicates large audiences. Plaza 3 temples might represent a necropolis, perhaps for founding and royal families; the large plaza size suggests that public ceremonies took pl ace, whatever their purpose. Architectural and ritual data are critical when centers lack obvious iconographic and hieroglyphic records. Even when the records are present, they focus on kings, not gods. Does this mean that temples without inscriptions were built by non-royals, or were they all built by the royal family and thus did not require kings to claim the obvious? If all temples were similarly built, does this indicate that they served multiple functions for example, seasonal ceremonies, feasts, games, royal rites, and other public events? If temples show variability, does it indicate that they were built by different groups (e.g., factions) or that they were built for different gods or functions? Do differe nces only indicate their being built at different times in the Late Classic (cf. Jones 1996, 2003)? These questions are critical, especially since most secondary centers such as Yalbac lack inscriptions and/or public iconography. The results presented, while preliminary, have exciting implications regarding the role of temples and their potential to serve as text on Classic Maya society. Figure 4. Figurine fragment from Structure 2F, perhaps of God N. 354

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L. Lucero Acknowledgments. I want to thank the Institute of Archaeolog y for their continued support, especially Jaime Awe and John Morris. I also want to thank the organizers of the conference, especially Sherilyne Jones. Continued support from Robert Vitolo is invaluable, as is that from New Mexico State University and field school students Sandra Andrade, Joanne Baron, Adam Lujan, Ivy Luchetti, and Chad Norred. None of the fieldwork would have been possible without the support and friendship of field assist ants Zedikiah Scott, Cleofo Choc, Jose Ernesto Vasquez, Isabel Ascencio (Don Luna), and Henry de Paz. Finally, I want to thank Nadine Gray for taking time out from her dissertation research to conduct the chronological assessment of the ceramic assemblages. References Cited Abrams, Elliot M. 1998 Sites as Structures: The Construction Process and Maya Architecture. In Function and Meaning in Classic Maya Architecture edited by S. D. Houston, pp. 123-140. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D. C. Chang, K. C. 1983 Art, Myth, and Ritual: The Path to Political Authority in Ancient China Harvard University Press, Cambridge. Graebner, Sean M. 2002a Monumental Architecture and the Ancient Maya: The Royal Acropolis at Yalbac, Central Belize. M.A. Thesis. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces. 2002b Ancient Maya Royal Courts: Yalbac, Central Belize. In Results of the 2001 Valley of Peace Archaeology Project: Saturday Creek and Yalbac edited by L. J. Lucero, pp. 73-83. Report submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Belize. Graebner, Sean M., and Lisa J. Lucero 2003 Residential Yalbac: Site 94N22N-14. In Results of the 2002 Valley of Peace Archaeology Project: Yalbac edited by L. J. Lucero, pp. 18-41. Report submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Belize. Hassan, Fekri 1994 Population Ecology and Civilization in Ancient Egypt. In Historical Ecology: Cultural Knowledge and Changing Landscapes edited by C. L. Crumley, pp. 155-181. School of American Research Press, Santa Fe. Hocart, Arthur M. 1970 [1936] Kings and Councillors: An Essay in the Comparative Anatomy of Human Society Edited by R. Needham. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Hooper, John M. D. 2004a Energetic Investment in the Acropolis at Yalbac, Belize: A Comparative Approach. M.A. Thesis. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces. 2004b Yalbacs Royal Acropolis: Looters Trench Operations. In Results of the 2003 Valley of Peace Archaeology Project: Yalbac edited by L. J. Lucero, pp. 13-35. Report submitted to the Institute of Archaeology, National Institute of Culture and History, Belize. Jones, Christopher 1996 Excavations in the East Plaza of Tikal Tikal Reports No. 16. University Museum Publications. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. 2003 The Tikal Rena issance and the East Plaza Ball Court. In Tikal: Dynasties, Foreigners, and Affairs of State edited by J. A. Sabloff, pp. 207-225. School of American Research, Santa Fe. Loten, H. Stanley 2003 The North Acropolis: Monumentality, Function, and Architectural Development. In Tikal: Dynasties, Foreigners, and Affairs of State edited by J. A. Sabloff, pp. 227252. School of American Research, Santa Fe. Lucero, Lisa J. 2 004 Exploring Classic Maya Politics: Yalbac, Central Belize. In Archaeological 355

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Exploring the Role Yalbac Temples 356Investigations in the Eastern Maya Lowlands: Papers of the 2003 Belize Archaeology Symposium, edited by J. Awe, J. Morris, and S. Jones, pp. 83-91. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Volume 1. Institute of Archaeology, National Institute of Culture and History, Belmopan, Belize. Lucero, Lisa J., Scott L. Fedick, Andrew Kinkella, and Sean M. Graebner 2004 Ancient Maya Settlement in the Valley of Peace Area, Belize. In Archaeology of the Upper Belize River Valley: Half a Century of Maya Research, edited by J. F. Garber, pp. 86-102. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. Lucero, Lisa J., and Sean M. Graebner 2003 Residential Yalbac: Site 94N22N-18. In Results of the 2002 Valley of Peace Archaeology Project: Yalbac edited by L. J. Lucero, pp. 42-50. Report submitted to the Department of Archaeology, Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Belize. Moholy-Nagy, Hattula 1997 Middens, Construction Fill, and Offerings: Evidence for the Organization of Classic Period Craft Production at Tikal, Guatemala. Journal of Field Archaeology 24:293-313. Morrison, Kathleen D. 1993 Supplying the City: The Role of Reservoirs in an Indian Urban Landscape. Asian Perspectives 32:133-151. Schele, Linda, and Mary Ellen Miller 1986 The Blood of Kings: Dynasty and Ritual in Maya Art George Braziller, New York. Stein, Burton 1977 Temples in Tamil Country, 1300-1750 A.D. Indian Economic and Social History Review (Delhi) 14:11-45. Taube, Karl 1992 Major Gods of Ancient Yucatan Studies in Pre-Columbian Art and Archaeology No. 32. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D. C. 1998 The Jade Hearth: Centrality, Rulership, and the Classic Maya Temple. In Function and Meaning in Classic Maya Architecture edited by S. D. Houston, pp. 427-478. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D. C. Thompson, J. Eric 1939 Excavations at San Jose, British Honduras Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication No. 506. Carnegie Institution, Washington, D. C.

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28 THE POLITICAL ORGANI ZATION OF THE BELIZE VALLEY: EVIDENCE FROM BAKING POT, BELIZE Carolyn M. Audet and Jaime J. Awe Research addressing the Late to Terminal Classic political organization of the Belize Valley has usually focused on three main loci of power: Xunantunich, Buenavista del Cayo, and Cahal Pech. While the relationship between these centers remains unclear, the Peten site of Naranjo is often attributed as the dominant polity controlling the valley at this time. Most discussions on the politics of the valley have rarely addressed the role of Baking Pot in this arena. Recent research at Baking Pot, however has uncovered new evidence that may help illuminate its place within this inter-site hierarchy during the Late and Terminal Classic periods. Introduction Research addressing the Late to Terminal Classic political organization of the Belize Valley has usually focused on three main loci of power: Xunantunich, Buenavista del Cayo, and Cahal Pech (Figure 1). While the relationship between these centers remains unclear, the Peten site of Naranjo is often attributed as the dominant polity controlling the valley at this time. Most discussions on the politics of the valley have rarely addressed the role of Baking Pot in this arena. It is possible that the previous dearth of published material has restricted most researchers from integrating it into their proposed political landscape (Leventhal and Ashmore 2004, Ball and Taschek 2004). Recent research at Baking Pot, however, has uncovered new evidence that may help illuminate its place within this inter-site hierarchy during the Late and Terminal Classic periods (Figure 2). Within the last few years, excavations at Baking Pot have focused on two causeway termini structures, several temples, the elite palace complex, and three plazuela groups. The evidence we have thus far uncovered leads us to suggest that Baking Pot was an important player in the local politics in the Belize Valley. The graves of three rulers and those of three additional elite individuals suggest connections with the sites throughout the Maya lowlands and beyond. In addition, the quality of the site co re architecture, the caches, and the number of stela, suggest that while Baking Pot is no Tikal, it certainly was a center of importance within the Belize Valley. Previous Research on the Political Organization in the Belize Valley Until recently, Joseph Ball and Jennifer Taschek have been the most vocal advocates of the proposed Naranjo control over the Belize Valley during the Late Classic period. In their view, Naranjo administered this control by establishing a seat of power at Buenavista del Cayo. Evidence for the Buena Vista Naranjo relationship is represented primarily by the discovery of numerous ceramic vessels, found in palace dumps and royal tombs that originated in the ea stern Peten region of Guatemala. Based on the similarity of the ceramic remains, Ball argues that Naranjo controlled Buenavista, Cahal Pech, Baking Pot, and Barton Ramie. Their breakdown of the sociopolitical situation within the Belize Valley is somewhat more difficult to understand. While Ball and Taschek believe that Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 357-364. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize

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Investigations at Baking Pot Buenavista is the adm inistrative center of the valley during the Late Classic period, they see a unique internal division of political and social roles between the major sites. They believe that Buenavista del Cayo was an administrative and political center while Cahal Pech and Xunantunich had a more restricted role; that of residences or ritual pilgrimage centers for local elites. Taschek and Ball sugges t that Cahal Pech was the summer home for those ruling at Buenavista from the mid-seventh century onwards (1991, 2004). In their recent article in The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley: Half a Century of Archaeological Research they write, and we quote in our reconstruction, we identify the hilltop Cahal Pech citadel as serving primarily a high elite if not regal residential and private ritual function throughout much of the year, with Buenavista providing both a theater for many important communal, administrative, economic, and public ceremonial services and activities as well as a warm and cozy rainy season residential alternative (2004: 198). Figure 1. Map of the upper Belize Valley showing the location of sites mentioned in the text. During the sam e time, Taschek and Ball argue that Xunantunich was an empty ceremonial center that stood as a pilgrimage destination for the elites of the valley. They see Xunantunich superseding Buenavista del Cayo when it began to function as an administrative and public ceremonial locus for the valley around 800 A.D. They believe that these functions were moved to Xunantunich due to the unsettled and violent political climate that existed during the Terminal Classic period throughout much of the Maya lowlands: th e hilltop location of Xunantunich was more easily defended than 358

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C Audet and J. Awe the valley bottom site of Buenavista del Cayo. We, and others such as Leventhal and Ashmore, have serious concerns with Taschek and Balls interpretations. In their 2004 article, Leventhal and Ashmore took much of what Ball and Taschek wrote and modified it to better fit the data they found during their seven seasons of excavation at Xunantunich. They believe that Naranjo controlled Buenavista del Cayo during the early part of the Late Classic and later, after reemerging from a period of inactivity, refocused their domination squarely on Xunantunich between 780 and 820 A.D. Instead of Xunantunich being built during a hiatus of Naranjos control, they see Naranjo very much as the impetus for the growth and development of the site into the form that we see today (Leventhal and Ashmore 2004). They note that the site layout, a partially legible Naranjo emblem glyph located on Stela 8, and the stylistic similarities between this stela with counterparts at Naranjo, provide convincing evidence, which suggests the subservience of Xunantunich to its Peten neighbor. We believe that Ashmores settlement survey coupled with Lisa LeCounts ceramic analysis adequately negates Ball and Tasc heks argument for Xunantunich being an empty ceremonial center before 800 A.D. Awes research at Cahal Pech, along with common sense knowledge of Belize weather patterns, also provides little support for their argument that Cahal Pech was merely a summer home for Buenavista elites. (Indeed, there are no variations in temperature between Cahal Pech and Buena Vista at any time of the year.) An important question that thus continues to plague us is just what is the true relationship between seemingly independent Belize Valley communities during the Late to Terminal Classic period and how were these relationships affected by external influences. Evidence from Baking Pot To better understand where Baking Pot (Figure 2) fits within this changing political landscape, we turn now to the recent archaeological research that has been conducted at the site by the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project (Audet and Awe 2004a and b, 2003). Baking Pot is located along the alluvial banks of the Belize River, 10 kilometers northeast of the town of San Ignacio (Figure 1). Over the past three seasons the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project has uncovered evidence that may clarify Baking Pots position within the local political hierarchy. This evidence comes from burial goods discovered within the graves of three rulers located in Group 1, numerous other elite interments, as well as construction sequences and patterns found throughout the site. Our analysis suggests that the role Naranjo played within the valley may not have been as all encompassing or as long lasting as previously indicated and that Baking Pot was likely an independent polity, at least during the Late Classic period. Tombs 1 and 2 from Structure E Tom bs 1 and 2 at Baking Pot were found near the summit of the Eastern shrine in Plaza 2 of Group 1. These two burials date to the Late Classic 1 or Tiger Run phase and both contain the remains of what we believe were rulers from Baking Pot. Tomb 1 dates to between 580 and 680 A.D. This burial contained hundreds of jade objects, including three jade pectorals, a jade necklace with 54 beads, a 182 piece jade mosaic mask and a single jade earflare. Ten monochrome ceramic vessels, including 6 Sotero Red-Brown bowls and vases, three 359

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Investigations at Baking Pot Figure 2. Map of the monumental site core of Baking Pot. 360

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C Audet and J. Awe Mountain Pine Red dishes, and an unidentified orange bowl surrounded the area where the skeleton would have laid. Nine eccen tric flints carved in various shapes were discovered throughout the tomb. Most of the skeleton had been removed sometime in antiquity, disturbing the original location of the jade mask, the pectorals and the necklace. The removal of skeletal remains from burials is well documented at Maya and Mesoamerican sites (Chase and Chase 1989, Headrick 1999). This practice was associated with the tradition of ancestor worship and the removal of an individuals skeletal remains generally reflected a hi gh status within the community. Tomb 2, located just east of Tomb 1, dates to between 550 and 650 A.D. This burial contained the remains of a single individual, who, like its neighbor, was also a ruler. Unlike the large quantity of jade that accompanied Tomb 1, the individual in Tomb 2 was adorned by numerous unique shell artifacts. Seven ceramic vessels, including five Saturday Creek Polychrome dishes and two Sotero Red-Brown vases were located south of the individuals head. The images painted on the dishes include deer, serpents, bird, armadillo, and a Water Lilly jaguar. Twelve carved Spondylus shells were discovered under the skeleton. Two large earflares with separate shell plugs were discovered, one near the skull and the second near the pelvis. Both were covered with thin jade flakes that were likely glued onto the shell to create the appearance of jade earflares. Two carved shell objects of unknown function were al so discovered. The upper piece is an unusual shape, with a square top and a concav e lower section that allowed for easy fitting with a flat, circular piece. It is the upper section that has the intricate carving. One side has an image of a seated fox or possibly a vulture. The creature is depicted with outstretched arms and a wavy object on its lap. The eye is made from a small jade chip that was still in place when the shell was uncovered. The carved image resembles depictions of the Vulture God, who is a ruler (the image is a logographic substitute for ajaw king) and a scribe (Coe and Kerr 1997). These two tombs are ornate and certainly reflect the wea lth and/or status that these rulers were able to accrue during their tenure. However, it is interesting to note that all of the ceramics within them were locally produced, with the exception of two dishes. One of these dishes was an import from either western Belize or the eastern Peten, while the second was from Buenavista del Cayo. The lack of foreign ceramics included in these tombs contrasts strongly with the grave goods discovered in the burial of a later ruler, suggestin g to us that these individuals did not desi re status enhancing items from one particularly powerful community, perhaps indicating its autonomy. The discrepancy between both the form of the burial, the types of objects interred, and the placement of these items suggests a break in tradition between the tombs of these earlier rulers and Burial 1 from Structure B. Burial 1, Structure B, Group 1 Structu re B is located in Plaza 2 of Group 2 across from the Eastern Group where we discovered the two earlier burials. While this individual was not interred within a tomb, the quality and quantity of his grave goods, along with the location of the burial, suggest he was an indi vidual of high status within the community. Eleven vessels were discovered within the interment, along with a single elaborately carved jade pendant. Almost all of the vess els were broken, and with the exception of a miniature 361

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Investigations at Baking Pot polychrom e vase, these ceramics were separated and placed in various locations around the body. We have no similarly styled burials from Baking Pot, even from interments of contemporaneous date. Seven of the ceramic vessels are of foreign origin, with pa rticularly strong ties to Buenavista del Cayo, Holmul, and Naranjo. Four are Cabrito Cream Polychrome vessels (Figure 3), including one with the image of the Holmul dancer (Figure 4), which dates to between 660 and 800 A.D. Other well known varieties from this tomb include two Belize Red dishes, a Puhui-zibal Composite vase, and a single large Daylight Orange: Darknight Variety dish. The discovery of the Daylight Orange type was surprising, considering its Terminal Classic date, pushing the dating of this burial into the 9th century. Figure 3. One of the Cabrito Cream-polychrome vessels from Burial 1 (drawing by G. Valenzuela). The epigraphic information deciphered from the miniature vase suggests that it was manufactur ed at Naranjo, as the patron of the vessel was likely Kahk Ukalaw Chan Chaahk, a Naranjo Lord that ruled from A.D. 693-728 (Helmke et al. 2004; Martin and Grube 2000). This vase has prompted others to argue that Naranjo had their strongest influence over the valley during the reign of this ruler, since Naranjo appears to experience a slight hiatus both before and after his reign. However this does not entirely correspond with the dating for Naranjos influence at Buenavista del Cayo, nor with perceived Naranjo domination at Xunantunich. Figure 4. Cabrito Cream-polychrome vase with Holmul Dancer scene (photo by C. Helmke). While foreign ceramics found within a tomb do not explain or clarify relationships between polities, they may suggest particular influences and perceived hierarchies among elites. During the period between 550 and 700 A.D. the artifacts found in the tombs of two Baking Pot rulers do not strongly suggest any external ties with the eastern Peten. They have all the trappings of rulers from larger centers throughout the Maya lowlands, including large quantities of exotic goods, but there does not appear to be any patron site referenced in the grave offerings. In 362

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C Audet and J. Awe addition, artifacts interre d with both of these ruler s include the ajaw title, suggesting that they maintained at least some degree of autonomy and independence. Therefore, the evidence for Naranjo influence at Buenavista that dates to this early period does not seem to extend out towards Baking Pot, at least not in the ceramic offerings found in the graves of our elite individuals. The ceramics interred with the individual in Structure B tell a different tale. But what does it mean to have seven vessels originating from the eastern Peten or Buenavista del Cayo in a single burial, particularly when ma ny of these vessels were constructed long before they made it into this grave? It would be foolhardy to claim that we have clear evidence for Naranjo influence and/or domination during this Terminal Classic period at Baking Pot from the remains associated with a single ruler. However, these ceramics may have been gifted to an earlier ruler who passed them down a generation or two before they were interred within the grave. Why all these Naranjo and Homul style ceramics would have been placed with this one individual is certa inly up for debate, however it is clear that if Naranjo influence was felt at Baking Pot it was not until later then we see at Buenavista del Cayo and perhaps earlier or coeval with Xunantunich. If Naranjo did choose to exert its influence into the Valley we have few reasons to suspect it was done through diplomatic means. During much of the 8th century Naranjo was at war with one polity or another. Epigraphic evidence points to numerous burnings and conquests of communities, most of modest size, but even Tikal was not immune to these attacks. If they were interested in controlling the Belize Valley, it was likely not a peaceful undertaking nor would it necessarily have lasted for long periods of time. This may explain why we see evidence for contact vary from site to site. In addition, our research has led us to believe that each of these larger centers in the valley, including Xunantunich, Buenavista del Cayo, Baking Pot, Pacbitun, and El Pilar were independent polities that provided their local po pulations with fullservice functions. None operate solely as residences of elites, summer homes, or empty ceremonial centers. Differences in accessibility can likely be attributed to geographic location: site s built on hilltops were more restricted given the limited space on which to build, wher eas sites like Baking Pot and Buenavista which are located on the alluvial valley can afford to be more spread out. These sites contain similar architectural forms, including ba llcourts, palaces, administrative structures, temples, and shrines. The similarity of structure types and sizes indicates similar functions were likely taking place at all of these major centers. The relative lack of carved stela dating to the Late and Terminal Classic periods in the Belize Valley makes it difficult to determine shifts in power and alliance over short peri ods of time. We will likely never know the political tug of wars with the same detail and accuracy as they do in the Peten region of Guatemala; however changes in caching practices, elite level ceramic trade, burial customs, architectural design and layout, as well as local ceramic spheres can be used in conjunction with each other to propose various theories. While this paper focused on only a tiny piece of the puzzle, future work will incorporate all of these characteristics in an effort to determine the shifting alliances and influences that affected Baking Pot and the Belize Valley in general. 363

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Investigations at Baking Pot 364 References Cited Audet, Carolyn M. and Jaime J. Awe 2004a The Form, Function, and Significance of Causeway Termini Structures at Baking Pot, Belize: Implications to Lowland Maya Ritual Architecture. Paper presented at the Society for American Archaeology Meetings in Montreal. 2004b Whats Cooking at Baking Pot: A Report on the 2001-2003 Seasons. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Volume 1: 49-59. 2003 Excavations of Structure E, Group 2, Baking Pot In The Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project 2002 Field Season Report Edited by Carolyn M. Audet and Jaime J. Awe. On file with the Department of Archaeology, Belize Ball, Joseph W. and Jennifer T. Taschek 2004 Buenavista del Cayo: A Short Outline of Occupational and Cultural History at an Upper Belize Valley Regal-Ritual Center. In The Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley: Half a Century of Archaeological Research. Florida, A and M University, Tallahassee. 1991 Late Classic Lowland Maya Political Organization and Cent ral Place Analysis: New Insights from the Upper Belize Valley. Ancient Mesoamerica 2 (2):149-166. Chase, Arlen F. and Diane Z. Chase 1989 The Investigation of Classic Maya Warfare at Caracol, Belize. Mayab 5:5-18. Headrick, Annabeth 1999 The street of the dead it really was: mortuary bundles at Teotihuacn. In Ancient Mesoamerica Nashville, TN. 10(1): 69-85 Leventhal, Richard M. and Wendy Ashmore 2004 Xunantunich in a Belize Valley Context. In T he Ancient Maya of the Belize Valley: Half a Century of Archaeological Research. Florida, A and M University, Tallahassee. Martin, S. and N. Grube 2000 Chronicle of Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya. Thames and Hudson, London.

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29 ACT LOCALLY, THINK INTERNATIONALLY: THE POTTERY OF BAKING POT, BELIZE Dorie Reents-Budet, Ronald L. Bishop, Carolyn Audet, Jaime Awe, and M. James Blackman This paper examines pottery from Classic period (A.D. 250-850) Maya burials and other special contexts in Group 1 at Baking Pot, Belize, located in the western Belize River Valley. The multi-disciplinary research addresses questions of the nature, direction and degree of interaction between Baking Pot and its neighbors both near and far. Our investigations combine neutron activation analysis of the vessels pastes with traditional archaeological type:variety assessments and art historical analyses of style and iconography. The combined research indicates that Baking Pot developed vigorous ceramic traditions in-step w ith those sites in its immediate cultural vicinity. The pottery also implies relatively strong and consistent relations with Buenavista del Cayo and other centers in western Belize. Long distance relations are indicated with Caracol and sites in southern Belize as well as with Holmul and other centers in the eastern Peten. The most distant relationship indicated by the pottery is with a site either in the Guaytan area of the middle Motagua River Valley of southern Guatemala or one in Veracruz, Mexico. Introduction Chemical analysis of 121 potsherds and whole vessels excavated at the ancient Maya site of Baking Pot, in the Cayo District, Belize by the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project was undertaken to addres s questions of the nature, direction and degree of interaction between Baking Pot and its neighbors, both near and far. The pottery came from burials and building fill deposits of architectural features in Group I, including Structure 209, Structure E, Structure B, and the adjacent Structures 196, 198 and 199. A few general comments can be made from an overview of the chemical composition of the pastes of these samples. First, the ceramic types that we believe to be local products are characterized by broad chemical variability, which indicates the presence of a number of different paste recipes in use by Baking Pots potters (Figure 1a, Table 1). The variability suggests they were exploiting diverse local clay resources and tempering materials, as well as using imported volcanic ash as a tempering agent. The high variability among the 121 samples in percentages of ash versus carbonate temper similarly indicates the simulta neous presence of different paste recipe traditions among the sites workshops. For example, Baking Pots ceramists sometimes added so much calcium carbonate that it comprised 50% of the paste body whereas other potters were adding less than 2% carbonate temper. The choice of carbonate or ash temper crosscuts most of the slipped wares, and sometimes they alternate in vessels of the same ceramic type. We interpret these data as a negative indicator of intensive specialization in ceramic production at Baking Pot, at least as far as is discernable from a relatively small sample base in comparison to the total Classic period output of Baking Pots ceramic workshops. That is to say, the chemical variability of the 121 samples points to production not in highly specialized workshops operating under the strict control of a su pervisory patronage or other administrative system but instead to Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology, Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 365-386. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH Belize.

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The Pottery of Baking Pot, Belize relatively independent producers following idiosyncratic paste recipes. The apparent lack of workshop specialization in the Group 1 pottery contrasts with our research results at neighboring Buenavista del Cayo and Cahal Pech (Reents-Budet et al. 2000). From these sites we sampled Late Classic pottery from palace middens and rela ted elite contexts in the centers of both sites. The paste chemistry and stylistic attributes of Buenavistas locally-made, slipped pottery are remarkably similar and consistent among the more than 230 analyzed samples, which implies shared paste recipes by ceramists exploiting the same clay resources and tempering materials. The vessels congruent formal features, including vessel form, slip and post-fire paint colors, use of pictural space, and pictorial, iconographic and hieroglyphic imagery also imply the sharing of artistic canons and adherence to predetermined creative parameters. Together these characteristics suggest that the pottery from elite contexts at Buenavista and Cahal Pech was produced at workshops in close contact with each other and by artisans following the same patterns of production. In turn, th ese data imply that the workshops were operating under some type of controlled management, which likely was connected to the ruling elite at both sites (Reents-Budet et al 1994:36-71). Vessels from the Caracol area: BVB007 Str. 209, Burial 3 Polychrome plate Vessels from Buenavista del Cayo: BVB001 Str. 209, Burial 1 Belize Red plate BVB020 Str. 209, Building cach e Benque Viejo polychrome dish BVB015 Group E, Burial 2 Garza polychrome plate BVB016 Str. B, Burial 1 Cabrito Cream-polychrome dish BVB018 Str. B, Burial 1 Groove-incised bichrome vase BVB103 Str. 198, Unit 1 Benque Viejo Orange-polychrome Vessels from western Belize or eastern Peten: BVB009 E Group, Burial 2 Polychrome plate BVB029 Str. B, Burial 1 Balanza black vase with stucco Vessels from Holmul, the Holmul area & eastern Peten: BVB011 Str. B, Burial 1 Cabrito Cream-polychrome vase (Holmul) BVB019 Str. B, Burial 1 Cabrito Cream-polychrome dish (Holmul) area BVB025 Str. B, Burial 1 Cabrito Cream-polychrome vase (a site in the Eastern Peten but probably not Holmul) Imported vessels of unknown origin: BVB005 Str. 209, Burial 1 Vase (likely from western Belize) BVB026 Str. 209, Burial 2 Four-chambered flute (perhaps from the Motagua River Valley or Veracruz, Mexico) Table 1. Ceram ic production controlled by the ruling elite is not broadly evident among all samples from Baking Pots Group 1. This is not to say, however, that specialized ceramic production did not exist at the site. For example, the artistic and technical quality of painted and carved ceramics excavated in the 1960s by Gordon Willey and colleagues from burials in Group 2, 366

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D. Reents-Budet et al. which they interpr et as local wares, attest to a specialized ceramic tradition (Willey et al. 1965). Local specializati on also is attested by Urita Gouged-incised vessel from the adjacent Bedran Group (Colas, Helmke, Awe and Powis 2002). Instead, the seeming lack of specializa tion suggested by the chemical variability in the Group 1 pottery may be a result of these samples being proportionately weighted towards ceramic types representing non-specialized wares made in a variety of local workshops rather than the products of se lect ateliers under the tutelage of the sites ruling elite. Further, the kinds of ritual activities that took place in Group 1 may have dictated the use of quotidian pottery rather than that made in regal workshops such as we found in the palace ceramic collections at Buenavista and Cahal Pech. Therefore, the nature of the ritual events that took place in Group 1, including that of the burials interred here, may be a primary causative factor underlying the lack of specialization indicated by the vari able paste composition of the pottery. A second result of the sampling program is the identification of a few Group 1 vessels as imports from other sites, their origins implying interaction with these locales. The majority of the foreign samples came from Buenavista del Cayo, although a few others originated at more distant lowland Maya sites. This contrasts with research results from Buenavista that identified the movement of many vessels between Buenavista and Cahal Pech as well as significant numbers imported to Buenavista from sites in the eastern Peten, including Holmul, Yaloch, Naranjo, Yaxha and Uaxactun. Among the more distantly imported pottery in the Baking Pot corpus are two Cabrito Cream-polychrome vases (BVB011, BVB019; Figures 1b and 2c) and a plate (BVB009; Figure 1d) from Holmul and its immediate vicinity, and a unique tiny cylinder vase with rim whistle that was made somewhere in the Naranjo-HolmulYaloch area (BVB025; Figure 1e). Among the samples from nearby Buenavista del Cayo are a polychrom e dish (BVB020; Figure 1f) and a groove-incised bichrome vase (BVB018; Figure 2b). From Caracol came a polychrome plate (BVB007; Figure 2a), and from an undetermined origin came an unusual 4-chambered flute (BVB026; Figure 2c). A synopsis of the workshop locations of these imported vessels is listed below. Interestingly, these non-local wares were consistently found in special contexts, including elite burials and building dedication caches in Structure B and Structure 209, both being ritual buildings with special socio-political and religious connotations (Audet and Awe 2002:1, 9-10). These vessels constitute material evidence of Baking Pots socio-political and/or economic interaction, th eir workshop origins indicating the sites pr imary Classic period focus having been to sites in the western Belize River Valley and those of the adjacent region in eastern Guatemala. This pattern recalls the interaction sphere of Buenavista del Cayo and Cahal Pech (Reents-Budet, Bishop, Ball, and Taschek 2000) and, as far as is discernable from the available data, also of Caracol. The strongest, or at least the most consistent, relations were with Buenavista del Cayo during the Late Classic period. The individual interred in Structure B Burial 1 had the greatest number of imported wares in his tomb, seven of the eleven vessels having come from Buenavista del Cayo and the Holmul area. Caracol seemingly developed its own interaction spheres, through time pursuing relations variously with sites in the western Belize Valley, the eastern and central Peten, southward towards Pusilha and Copan and southwest into the Dolores region of southeastern Guatemala. Arlen and Diane Chases 367

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The Pottery of Baking Pot, Belize Figure 1 a) Monochrome and polychrome sherds excavated from Group 1, Baking Pot, Belize. (All photographs by D. Reents-Budet unless otherwise noted.); b) BVB011, a Cabrito Cream-polychrome footed jar made at Holmul. From Str. B, Burial 1; c) BVB019, a Cabrito Cream-polychrome cylindrical dish made in the Holmul vicinity. From Str. B, Burial 1; d) BVB009, an orange polychrome plate whose style suggests it is a local product but whose paste chemistry does not match that of other locally produced wares and resembles only a polychrome vase made either in western Belize or the eastern Pete n. From E-Group, Burial 2; e) BVB025, a tiny Cabrito Cream-polychrome cylinder vase with whistle-rim, made in the eastern Pete n region but not at Holmul. From Str. B, Burial 1; f) BVB020, a Benque Viejo polychrom e dish made at Buenavista del Cayo. From Str. 209, cache. 368

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D. Reents-Budet et al. Figure 2. a) BVB007, a polychrome plate made in the vicinity of Caracol. From Str. 209, Burial 3; b) BVB018, a groove-incised bichrome vase made at Buenavista del Cayo. From Str. B, Burial 1; c) BVB026, one of a pair of thin-walled flutes made outside Belize. From Str. 209, Burial 2; d) BVB080 and BVB081, Terminal Classic fine paste sherds of the Sahcaba type from Baking Pot. From Str. 198 fill; e) BVB012, a red-slipped plate made in a local workshop. From Str. B, Burial 1. 369

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The Pottery of Baking Pot, Belize upcom ing analysis of the Caracol ceramics promises to clarify its dynamic and complicated interaction history. The two ceramic flutes (Figure 2c) from Burial 2 of Structure 209 may indicate an international connection to the Gulf Coast region of Mexico where this style of in-line flute has been widely reported. However, multi-note, in-line aerophones were produced by many Mesoamerican cultures, and among the lowland Maya one reported from Guaytan located in the middle Motagua River Valley (Smith and Kidder 1943: Fig. 34e). More paste compositional and stylistic investigations are needed to ascertain the origin of this pair of wind instruments. Suffice it to say, however, that these two delicate fl utes indicate longdistance connections on the part of Baking Pot and a special identity for the person with whom they were interred. A few Terminal Classic period fine past e sherds also were sampled (the Sahcaba type; BVB080, BVB081, BVB091; Figure 2d). They are visually similar to Sahcaba fine paste pottery iden tified at Tikal, and also share the relatively high proportion of calcite temper that helps to distinguish the Sahcaba group from Pabellon pottery. However, the aggregate chemical profile of these Baking Pot fine paste sherds matches that of other pottery from Baking Pot as well as being generally similar to both fine paste and other Late and Terminal Classic pottery types from Caracol and Lamanai. Therefore, these three fine paste sherds from Baking Pot represent the products of workshops in the western Belize Valley that were making their own versions of Pabellonlike pottery. The investigative procedure for the Baking Pot pottery began with sampling 20 whole vessels from special deposits and 101 potsherds that were th ought most likely to represent local production. The sherd choices were based on Carolyn Audets initial sorting of the pottery followed by the senior author independently conducting the same visual inspection of the pottery from the Group 1 excavation lots. We believe this procedure provides a sufficient overview of the archaeological types and kinds of pastes that characterize Classic period ceramic production at Baking Pot as represented by the Group 1 pottery collection. A comparison of the whole vessels chemical compositions with those of the sherds provides the basis to determine if the vessel were loca lly made or imported to Baking Pot. Subsequently, their comparison with the 28,000 other examples in the Maya Ceramic Survey Project chemical database (Dept. of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution) provides indications of the or igins of the imported wares. The following is a discussion of the sampled pottery from each of the special deposits from Group 1 with a special emphasis on issues of site interaction and political history. Structure B, Burial 1 Samples BVB011, BVB012, BVB013, BVB014, BVB016, BVB017, BVB018, BVB019, BVB025, BVB029, BVB101 This is one of the most interesting burials from Group1 given that seven of the eleven sampled vessels were imported to Baking Pot. The workshop origins of these include Buenavista del Cayo and the eastern Peten, especially the Holmul area. The burial was discovered 2.4 m below the surface of Structure B located on the western side of Plaza 2 of Group 1. It faces Structure E, a shrine complex. The burial was placed beneath the floor of the penultimate structure, and unlike the other tombs discussed here, was not a stone-lined or capped enclosure. The skeleton was placed on the chambers dirt floor and then covered with a 10 cm layer of stucco. The 370

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D. Reents-Budet et al. body lay face up with head to the south, the most typical position for burials at Baking Pot. Ten of the eleven ceram ic vessels were intentionally broken and scattered over and around the legs and feet of the interred. Only the miniature vase with whistle rim (BVB025; Figure 1e) was found intact. The individual wore around his neck the highest quality carved jadeite pectoral bead found to date at Baking Pot, the image perhaps being that of the Maize god. The location of this burial and its rich offerings suggest this is the interment of a ruler of Baking Pot, which may date to the 9th century A.D. Four of the plates in this burial are likely local product; including three monochrome wares (BVB012, BVB013, BVB101; Figure 2e) and perhaps also the Daylight Orange plate BVB014 (Figure 3a). They are chemically similar to other Belize Red and Rubber Camp Brown plates or dishes (e.g. BVB021, BVB084) and a Floral Park rim sherd (BVB120) found in Group 1. The four plates also share paste chemistry with Sotero Red-brown tall bowls from Burials 1 and 2 in Structure E (BVB094, BVB097), with unslipped and monochrome incised jar rim sherds (BVB046, BVB073), and an un-typed plate rim sherd (BVB084). The Daylight Orange plate (BVB014) is chemically similar only to BVB044, a sherd from another Daylight Orange plate. That they are slightly different from all other Baking Pot samples implies either a different local paste recipe or perhaps the plates had been made at another nearby site in the Belize Valley whose clays have a slightly different composition from those around Baking Pot. Four Cabrito Cream-polychrome vessels from Burial 1 were produced outside the Belize Valley (BVB011, BVB017, BVB019, BVB025). BVB011 (Figure 1b), a tecomate -shaped vase with pedestal support, was imported to Baking Pot from Holmul. From workshops located elsewhere in the Holmul-Naranjo-Nakum triangle come a plate (BVB017; Figure 3b), a dish (BVB019; Figure 1c), and a tiny vase with a unique rim modeled to form a whistle, its paste chemistry indicating it was made from highly weathered clay (BVB025; Figure 1e). Unfortunately, the nominal phrases in the Primary Standard Sequence texts on all these vessels are mostly eroded, making it difficult to discern a pers onal name or title. However, Christophe Helmke (Helmke et al. 2004; Grube and Martin 2004: II-67) believes the name of the Naranjo ruler Kahk Ukalaw Chan Chaahk, who ruled from AD 755-ca. 780, is recorded on BVB025. BVB011 is chemically and stylistically similar to two unprovenienced Holmul-style vases MS0603 and MS1125 (or K0703; for images, see the Kerr Maya Vase Database on the website of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies [ www.famsi.org ]). Plate BVB017 (Figure 3b) and dish BVB019 (Figure 1c) likel y were made in the same vicinity. They are chemically similar to some pottery found at Holmul and Naranjo as well as to Tikal dancer plates (Reents-Budet et al. 1994:197-199) and other cylinder vases made in workshops located in the regions east of Tikal. Also from this eastern Guatemala area came a Chinos Black-on-cream sherd found at Buenavista (MSBX75; Houston, Stuart and Taube 1992:506, Fig. 10). Two vessels from Burial 1 were made in elite pottery workshops at Buenavista del Cayo (BVB016 and BVB018). BVB016 (Figure 3c) is a Cabrito Cream-polychrome dish whose paste chemistry matches that of other painted pottery made in the palace workshops at Buenavista. These also are chemically similar to Saxche Orange polychrome-type vessels from the same workshops (MSBX32 and MSBX58; Figure 3d). Additional chemical similarity is noted with an unprovenienced vase in Belizes 371

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The Pottery of Baking Pot, Belize Figure 3. a) BVB014, a Daylight Orange plate made locally but in a workshop using an idiosyncratic paste recipe that may relate to some type of specialized production. From Str. B, Burial 1; b) BVB017, a Cabrito Creampolychrome plate made in the Holmul area of th e eastern Peten. From Str. B, Burial 1; c) BVB016, Benque Viejo polychrome dish made at Buenavista del Cayo. From Str. B, Burial 1; d) MSBX58, a Saxche Orange polychrome vase made at Buenavista del Cayo and chemically similar to BVB016; e) MSBV58, an unprovenienced vase in Belizes national collections whose paste chemistry resemb les that of MSBX58 and BVB016, indicating that it too was made at Buenavista del Cayo; f) MSBX80, a groove-incised and red-slipped vessel made at the North River Lagoon site but found at Buenavista del Cayo, its paste chemistry matching that of BVB018. From Str. 198 fill. 372

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D. Reents-Budet et al. nationa l collections in Belmopan (MSBV58; Figure 3e), which now can be considered a product of elite workshops at Buenavista del Cayo. BVB018 (Figure 2b) is a grooveincised bichrome cylinder that was made at Buenavista del Cayo. Its paste chemistry matches that of many locally made Cabrito Cream-polychrome vessels and other unslipped or monochrome incised vessels. In turn, these match a Cabrito Creampolychrome cylinder vase found at Caracol (CPO108), and monochrome groove-incised sherds found at the North River Lagoon Site 1 (MSBX80; Figure 3f) and Uaxactun (MSU216). These data indicate that all were made in the same workshops at Buenavista del Cayo. BVB029 (Figure 4a) is a monochrome black composite-form vase with post-fire stucco decoration. It was imported to Baking Pot, although its point of origin remains undetermined. It exhibits some chemical similarity to a sample from Holmul (MSH022), although the lack of similarity with all other Holmul pottery in our chemical database implies that MSH022 was not made at Holmul. Therefore both BVB029 and MSH022 were imported to their respective sites from another locale in western Belize or the eastern Peten. Structure E, Tomb 1 Samples BVB024, BVB028, BVB092, BVB093, BVB094, BVB095, BVB096, BVB098, BVB099, BVB100 Structure E is the primary building of an E-Group complex at the heart of Group 1. It is reached by a long causeway whose entrance into the group is guarded by Structure 209 (the so-c alled Ticket Booth; see below). The final phase at the summit of Structure E seemingly did not support a masonry building, although excavation below its stucco floor discovered a thick layer (4-6 cm) of chert flakes that had been deposited atop the capstones of two tombs. The tombs, oriented north-south and dating to ca. A.D. 650, were constructed of limestone blocks cemented with lime plaster. They are among the most elaborate tombs ever found at Baking Pot, both in terms of the chambers stone vaulted construction and the burial offerings. This is not surprising given that E-Groups, and especially their eastern shrine buildings, throughout the Maya lowlands are associated with elite burials and ancestral veneration rites (Chase and Chase 1995:99101, Clark and Hansen 2001:22-24). More than 5,000 chert flakes covered the nine capstones and floor of Tomb 1, and 240 obsidian blades were scattered on the chambers floor. Nine eccentric flints were placed throughout the tomb, each less than 15 cm long and made of blue-gray chert. Most of the skeletal material had been removed in ancient times, although remaining bone fragments indicate that the interred was an adult. The person was adorned with 240 pieces of jadeite, including a necklace of 54 beads, 3 large belt plaques (dimensions: 17 cm l. x 6 cm w.), one earflare (its mate being found below in Tomb 2, likely the pairs original provenience), and 182 pieces from a mosaic portrait mask, one of wh ich is incised with the hieroglyph ajaw (lord). These adornments strongly imply that the interred individual was a member of the ruling elite, perhaps even the paramount leader of Baking Pot. Eight carved Spondylus shells and three carved mother-of-pearl shells were also likely part of the mosaic burial mask, two of the latter being carved in the form of a jaguar and the gl yph for white ( sak ). Together these might be part of the name or title of the interred individual, read Sak Balam. A small, circular obsidian object completes the tombs artifact inventory, which is of the size and shape to have been the pupil of the mosaic mask. 373

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The Pottery of Baking Pot, Belize Figure 4. a) BVB029, a black-slipped composite-form vase with post-fire stucco decoration, its paste chemistry identifying it as an import from an undetermined site in west ern Belize or the eastern Peten. From Str. B, Burial 1; b) BVB093, a Sotero Red-brown dish made in a local workshop. From E-Group, Burial 1 (western); c) BVB100, a Belize Red plate made in a local workshop. From E-Group, Burial 1 (western); d) BVB006, an orange polychrome plate decorated with the image of an armadillo, its paste containing a high proportion of calcium carbonate temper. It may have been made locally or at a nearby site in western Belize. From E-Group, Burial 2; e) BVB015, an orange polychrome plate decorated with the image of a bird, the plates paste chemistry suggesting it may have been made locally or at a nearby site in western Belize. From E-Group, Burial 2; f) BVB010, a orange polychrome plate decorated with the image of two feathe red serpents, the plates paste chemistry suggesting it may have been made locally or at a nearby site in wester n Belize. From E-Group, Burial 2. 374

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D. Reents-Budet et al. The ten plainware and monochrome red or brown slipped pottery from the tomb date to the Tiger Run ceramic complex (A.D. 580-680). All likely represent local production. The eight vessels cluster together with many from Structure E Tomb 2 (see below), all being characterized by a proportionately high amount of calcite temper. The non-decorated nature of these vessels would suggest the burial of a lower status individual, an interpretation that clearly is not valid given the sumptuous nature of the other bu rial offerings and the tombs location in one of the most important buildings at Baking Pot. Tomb 1, then, presents an excellent opportunity to reassess assumptions of status based on a burials ceramics. The Sotero Red-Brown bowls (BVB024, 092, 093, 094, 095, 098; Figure 4b) have similar paste chemical profiles, indicating the sharing of paste recipes and clay resources among their respective workshops and potters. A notable feature, however, is the variation in vessel forms among the five Sotero Red-brown bowls and a stylistically and chemically related orange ware bowl (BVB096). Similarly, the three Mountain Pine Red or early versions of Belize Red plates (BVB028, 099, BVB100; Figure 4c) each has a slightly different basal form, two have carbonate temper (BVB099 and BVB100) and one has volcanic ash temper (BVB028), yet their general paste chemistry and slip char acteristics indicate they were made in workshops sharing clay resources, paste recipes and surface finishing techniques. Therefore, we may conclude that variations in vessel form, tempering material, and surface variations were acceptable features, perhaps relating to individual expression and/or workshop identity, the Baking Pot workshops seemingly not constrained to follow a single shape or color format. Structure E, Tomb 2 Samples BVB006, BVB008, BVB009, BVB010, BVB015, BVB027, BVB097 Tomb 2 was found adjacent to the eastern wall of Tomb 1. It predates Tomb 1 (ca. A.D. 550-650), and too co mprises a vaulted, stone-lined chamber cove red with more than 5,000 pieces of chert flakes. Tomb 2, which surprisingly was filled with dirt, contained the remains of a female between the ages of 40-45 years. She originally was adorned with a pair of jadeite earflares, one of which was found in the tomb whereas its mate was placed into Tomb 1. This movement of artifacts likely took place when the tombs were re-entered in an tiquity, the one earflare being displaced to the burial above. Other artifacts include a painted mother-of-pearl shell, 12 Spondylus shells placed underneath the body, 2 canine teeth pendants, a hematite fragment, 12 jadeite fr agments glued to two shell fragments, and a large decayed object covered with stucco (i nitially though t to be a codex but may be some other stuccoed object or a clay laminate item such as the head piece of an elaborate headdress; H. Beaubien pers. comm. 2003). Although the burial included far less jadeite body adornments than Tomb 1, it included seven unusual pottery vessels and one Terminal Classic ceramic censer, which was placed in the tomb when it was reopened during later veneration rites (ca. A.D. 800-900 based on the censers date). The elaborate pottery vessels and the presence of two shell objects carved with logograms for the word ajaw or ruler indicate that, like Tomb 1, the occupant was of high status and likely a member of the ruling family of Baking Pot. All seven vessels, including five Saturday Creek polychrome plates and two plainware bowls (Sotero Red-brown), were made in the western Belize Valley, some locally and some imported from neighboring locales. They reflect the broad variability in paste composition that characterizes Group1 375

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The Pottery of Baking Pot, Belize ceram ics, the variability here due in large part to differences in tempering material. For example, BVB006 has 36% calcium carbonate whereas BVB009 has 2% and BVB010 has 23%, yet all three plates are stylistically similar and typologically the same. The two Sotero Red-brown plain ware bowls (BVB027, BVB097) are chemically similar to other carbonate tempered samples from Baking Pot, including three Sotero Red-brown bowls (BVB024, BVB093 and BVB094), a monochrome red plate BVB101 (from Structure B, Burial 1), a Belize Red plate (BVB021) and a Rubber Camp Brown plate rim sherd (BVB084). A notable feature of this burial is the high proportion of polychrome plates in relation to the other pottery forms in the tomb (a 5:2 ratio). The plates also are notable for their renderi ngs of five different animals in the center of each plate. Two have naturalistic portrayals of an armadillo (BVB006; Figure 4d) and a long-beaked bird with a black-painted cropped crest (BVB015; Figure 4e). The other two depict supernatural animals, including two entwined feathered serpents (BVB010; Figure 4f), a supernatural image elsewhere associated with the heavens, and the Waterlily Jaguar (BVB008; Figure 5a), a preternatural being of the underworld. The center of plate BVB 009 (Figure 1d) is highly eroded, and the only visible forms are what may be a long curled tail and hoof-like foot. In the southwest corner of the burial were stacked BVB009 on top of BVB015 (the plate with bird image). In the southeast corner were stacked the armadillo plate atop the Waterlily Jaguar plate atop the serpent plate (top to bottom: BVB006, BVB008, BVB010). The plates may pertain to a specific narrative pertinent to the deceased and/or the internment rites. These animals frequently appear in Maya myths and epic tales, including that of the 16th century Popol Vuh. However, we have found no single myth featuring this particular grouping of animals. The paste composition of the polychrome plates (BVB006, BVB008, BVB009, BVB010, BVB015) is variable, although they likely are products of workshops located in western Belize. Their painting style recalls many others from sites in the region and spanning late Hermitage through Tiger Run phases, including Barton Ramie (Gifford 1976: Figs. 96, 115; Willey, Bullard, Glass, and Gifford 1965: Figs. 221f,h; 229), Rio Frio Cave E (Pendergast 1970: Fig. 6), Eduardo Quiroz Cave (Pendergast 1971: Fig. 8), Caracol (Chase and Chase 1987: Figs. 22e,h, 36a,d). There are no chemical matches for BVB006 (the armadillo plate) due to the high proportion of calcium carbonate in the sample, and similarly no close matches for BVB008 (the Waterlily Jaguar plate), BVB010 (the feathered serpents plate) and BVB015 (the long-beaked bird plat e). Stylistic and typological features suggest they were made in the region although whether locally or at another western Belize site is impossible to determine at this time. BVB009 is chemically different fr om the other plates, although its congruent stylistic features might indicate all are the products of related workshops. Yet its closest chemical match is an unprovenienced Cabrito Creampolychrome vase (MS1420, K4669 and K4619), the combined data leading to the suggestion that the vase and BVB009 were made in associated workshops that likely were located in the western Belize or eastern Peten area. BVB058, an eroded plate sherd from Str. 209, also is a member of this chemically defined group. 376

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D. Reents-Budet et al. 377 Figure 5. a) BVB008, an orange polychrome plate decorated with the image of the Waterlily Jaguar supernatural, the paste chemistry suggesting it may have been made locally or at a nearby site in western Belize. From E-Group, Burial 2; b) BVB022, a monochrome red plate made locally, its paste recipe including a high proportion of calcium carbonate temper. From Str. 209, Burial 1; c) BVB001, a monochrome red plate wh ose style is identical to BVB022 although volcanic ash was used as the tempering material in contrast to calcium carbonate as was used for BVB022. Its aggregate paste composition indicates it was made at Buenavista del Cayo. From Str. 209, Burial 1; d) BVB079, a monochrome red, groove-incised (gadrooned) cylinder vase sherd from Cahal Pech whose paste chemistry closely resembles that of BVB001 and BVB103 and BVB121, all made in workshops at Buenavista del Cayo. From Cahal Pech; e) MS0915, an unprovenienced monochrome red, groove-incised (gadrooned) cylinder vase chemically similar to BVB001, BVB079, BVB103 and BVB121, all having been made in workshops at Buenavista del Cayo; f) MS1781, an unprovenienced polychrome bowl vase chemically similar to BVB001, BVB079, BVB103 and BVB121, all having been made in workshops at Buenavista del Cayo.

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The Pottery of Baking Pot, Belize Structure 2 09 (Ticket Booth) Burial 1 Samples BVB001, BVB004, BVB005, BVB021, BVB022 Structure 209 is located on the eastern side of a 300 m long by 15 m wide causeway linking Baking Pots main ritualadministrative Groups 1 and 2, the structure abutting the causeway 50 m south of it juncture with Group 1. This type of entrance structure is typical of important socio-political-ritual complexes in the western Belize Valley (e.g. at Cahal Pech [Awe, Grube, and Cheetham, in press], Buenavista [Ball 1993], Pacbitun [Healy 1990:250], and Naranjo). Structure 209 comprises a series of three elliptical terraces surmounted by an upper platform with both elliptical and straight walls. Three stairways on the mounds western side lead to the second terrace. Two altars and three fragments of a ca. 2 m. tall stela were found on the northern and western sides of the mound. No evidence of carving was evident on any of these monuments. Four burials were found in Structure 209 along its central axis. Burial 1 was found under the terminal phase stairs on the western side of the platform, and likely dates to the Terminal Classic period (A.D. 800-900). A stone-lined cist was capped with large limestone slabs that were laid directly atop the body. A single male individual, 30-40 years of age, lay supine in the chamber. Grave goods included seven whole pottery vessels (three Belize Red plates, one polychrome dish, an orange bichrome bowl and two small ollas). Three jadeite objects adorned the body. Two fragmented earflares were found at either side of the cranium, each with six carved semi-circles lending a floral-like form to the ear flare. Inside the persons mouth was found a small jadeite carved into the shape of a human molar. To the left of the pelvis was found a single green obsidian blade. Five of the seven whole vessels from this tomb were sampled, including three Belize Red plates, a polychrome cylinder vase and an orange wa re dish. The three similar monochrome plates (BVB001, BVBB021, BVB022; Figure 5b) include two that are local products (BVB021 and BVB022) with chemical compositions similar to other Belize Red and untyped monochrome red plate sherds excavated from Group 1. Their slightly different patterns of relatedness to other Baking Pot samples results from differing amounts of carbonate temper in the samples. However, when they are normalized to a given scandium value, the data reveal their similar paste composition. In contrast to the high amounts of carbonate temper in BVB021 and BVB022, the third plate BVB001 (Figure 5c) is tempered with volcanic ash. Its chemical profile is similar only to a couple of vessels found at Baking Pot (BVB103 and BVB121) and Cahal Pech (BVB079; Figure 5d), whose chemical compositions indicate they likely were imported from Buenavista del Cayo. BVB001 also is chemically similar to eight sherds/vessels fo und at Caracol (the ceramic type, painting style and photographs of these samples currently are not available to the senior author and thus of undeterminable provenience) and to scores of sherds and whole vessels from the palace middens at Buenavista, all of which have been determined to be local products (Reents-Budet, Ball, Taschek and Bishop 2000). Therefore, we believe BVB001 to be an import to Baking Pot from Buenavista del Cayo. Its chemical composition also recalls unprovenienced vases whose paste chemistry indicates they too were made at Buenavista del Cayo (MS0050, MS0915 [Figure 5e], MS0917, MS1688 / K5850, MS1781 [Figure 5f]), and two vessels from earlier excavations at Baking Pot (MSBP02 [Figure 6a], MSBP15), one from Barton 378

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D. Reents-Budet et al. 379 Figure 6. a) MSBP02, an orange polychrome vase from Baking Pot whose paste chemistry is similar to BVB001, BVB079, BVB103 and BVB121, all having been made in workshops at Buenavista del Cayo; b) MSBV19, a polychrome dish found in Actun Balam, its paste chemistry being similar to BVB001, BVB079, BVB103 and BVB121, all having been made in workshops at Buenavista del Cayo; c) BVB004, an orange-paste dish with red slip decoration whose paste chemistry suggests it is the pr oduct of a local, specialized ceramics workshop. From Str. 209, Burial 1; d) BVB005, a polychrome dish painted with a Primary Standard Sequence hieroglyphic text whose paste chemistry does not match that of local production. From Str. 209, Burial 1; e) MSBV23, an unprovenienced polychrome dish in Belizes national collections whose style resembles BVB005, its paste chemistry not being similar to those of ceramic production at Baking Pot, Buenavista del Cayo or Caracol; f) BVB003, an unusual cylinder vase with avian effigy spout and post-fire yellow and white paint. From Str. 209, Burial 2.

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The Pottery of Baking Pot, Belize Ra mie (MSBR52), a painted dish from Actun Balam (MSBV19; Figure 6b), and a sherd each from Holmul (MSH450), Naranjo (MSNJ09) and Xunantunich (MSXU52). The ash-tempered orange ware dish painted with simple geometric designs (BVB004; Figure 6c) is not chemically similar to any sample in the database other than a sherd from Barton Ramie (MSBR73) and an unprovenienced Early Classic lidded dish (MS1241). Its composition is somewhat similar to a few samples from Baking Pot, including a Benque Viejo Polychrome dish BVB030 (from a cache in Structure 209), a monochrome red plate rim sherd BVB114 (from the fill of Structure 199), and polychrome sherds from Gordon Willeys excavations in Group 2 (MSBP01, MSBP10, MSBP11 and MSBP14). However, this chemical similarity may reflect their common ash temper rather than the potters sharing clay resources and paste recipes. It is possible that these Baking Pot painted ceramics are the products of local workshop(s) that specialized in the production of polychrome pottery, their chemical differences reflecting paste recipes specific to polychrome ceramics production. If this be the case, it would account for BVB004 not matching any of the 120+ unslipped and monochrome samples from Baking Pot. The most unusual vessel from this burial is a polychrome cylinder vase painted with a Primary Standard Sequence hieroglyphic text (BVB005; Figure 6d), now highly eroded such that the hieroglyphs generally are not discernable. The vase is tempered with volcanic ash and has a corresponding low carbonate composition. It is not similar to any sample in the database, and displays only weak clustering tendencies with other volcanic ash tempered samples. The vase s painting style, however, recalls two other polychrome vessels from the western Belize Valley, including MSBV23 (K5658; Figure 6e), an unprovenienced vase in the Belize national collections also with no matches in the chemical database, and a polychrome dish sherd from Baking Pot (MSBP14). Buenavista and Cahal Pech may be eliminated as the vases workshop locations due to the complete lack of chemical similarity with the hundreds of samples from these two sites. The available evidence, then, suggests that BVB005 was not made at Baking Pot, Buenavista or Cahal Pech. Its general chemical and stylistic features recall pottery associated with Uaxactun, Guatemala (MS1444, K1743; see ReentsBudet et al. 1994:114-115), although MS1444 probably was not made at the site due to its paste compos itional features being different from those that typify Uaxactun ceramic production. Structure 209 (Ticket Booth) Burial 2 Samples BVB003, BVB026 Burial 2 was found on the central axis of Structure 209 and laid directly on Floor 2, which is located 153 cm below the terminal floor above. A single individual was found in the cist, which was encircled and capped by large limestone bloc ks. Some had been laid directly on the body. The male individual of 19-23 years of age was laid prone with head to th e south. His left arm and left leg bones were missing, likely removed when two later graves (Burials 3 and 4) were placed to the west of Burial 2. Offerings include three pottery vessels, two large ceramic flutes, two jadeite beads, a mother of pearl shell pendant, two conch shell buttons, two pyrite-inlaid ceramic disks whose position suggests their having been ear ornaments, and a large stuccoed object of perishable mate rial (only its stucco covering remains). The object was semicircular in form, and the stucco was painted in red, green and blue although the original 380

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D. Reents-Budet et al. design was im possible to determine due to the mixed nature of the deposit. It is conjectured that this was a large wooden bowl or dish decorated with stucco and paint. Two of the five ceramic objects were sampled. Most unusual is a wide cylinder vase with a modeled avian spout/handle (BVB003; Figure 6f), embellished with post-fire paint in yellow and white. Its modeled form and coloration suggest the avian represents a cu rassow. Although the modeled spout/handle is hollow and could function as a spout, in practice liquid would exit from the main orifice of the vessel before it would travel through the spout and exit from the birds beak. The paste composition of BVB003 has no chemical matches in our database although its stylistic and typological features suggest it is a local product. The vase clusters with Mountain Pine Red and Sotero Red-brown vessels from Structure E Burial 1 (see above) and has low linkages with BVB101, a redware plate from Structure B Burial 1, and a Sotero Red-brown dish from Group E Burial (BVB024). Yet its chemical dissimilarity from all other Baking Pot and Belize Valley samples implies a different paste recipe. Zoomorphic spouts are rare in the Maya lowlands, but spouted vessels were relatively common during the Preclassic period and survive into Early Classic times at other Belizean sites. These include spouted vessels from Santa Rita Mound 6 (Gann 1918: Fig. 24g), San Estevan (Bullard 1965: Figs. 12a, 14d), and Barton Ramie (Gifford 1976: Figs 16n, 26b-e) where zoomorphic modeled handles extends back to the Middle Preclass ic Jenney Creek phase (Gifford 1976: Fig. 17a). All considered we are unable to determine the origin of this unusual vessel although our working hypothesis considers it a western Belize, perhaps even local, product. Burial 2 included a unique pair of nearly identical four-chambered flutes (BVB026; Fig. 2c). They were placed next to the right thigh and hip of the interred body. The flutes are extremely thin-walled and were crushed into many fragments by the burial environment. They are decorated with geometric designs in red slip paint, and a modeled representation of a human head is attached to the mouthpieces midpoint. Only one of the two flutes was sampled (BVB026) because their formal similarities strongly indicate a common orig in and because their fragile, thin-walled condition made sampling extremely difficult. The chemical composition of BVB026 does not match anything in our database Based on stylistic features and other archaeological indicators, we entertain the idea that they were made in the Gulf Coast lowlands of Mexico. Contacts with Veracruz are indicated by artifacts and architectural styles at other contemporaneous Maya sites including Tikal, Kaminaljuyu and Montana (Pacific Coast of Guatemala) (Braswell 2003:33, 3839). However, multi-note, in-line aerophones were produced by many Classic period Mesoamerican cultures, the Maya among them. For example, one from Guaytan, located in the Motagua River Valley (Smith and Kidder 1943: Fig. 34e), seems to have been made locally due to the visual similarity of its paste to other vessels that Smith and Kidder believed were made in Guaytans workshops. More research needs to be done to determine the origin of this pair of flutes. Structure 209, Burial 3 and Burial 4 Samples BVB002, BVB007 Burials 3 and 4 were located in the center of the upper platform and 3.2 meters below the terminal phase floor of the structure. The interments were placed next to each other in a small tomb chamber that was then filled with di rt and sealed with a 381

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The Pottery of Baking Pot, Belize Figure 7. a) BVB002, a monochrome orangeware dish made locally. From Str. 209, Burial 3; b) MS0571, an unprovenienced polychrome plate whose paste composition recalls that of plate BVB007, both being stylistically similar to plates excavated at Pusilha by T.A. Joyce in 1929. (Photograph by R. Bishop); c) MS0920, an unprovenienced polychrome plate whose paste composition recalls that of plate BVB007, both being stylistically similar to plates excavated at Pusilha by T.A. Joyce in 1929. (Photograph by R. Bishop); d) MSBV08, a bowl from Caracol; e) MSBV53, a round-sided bowl from Xunantunich. Their chemical compositions recall those of BVB007, MS0571, and MS0920; f) MSC356/MSC388, a lidded tripod vase found in the tomb of Yax Kuk Mo, the founder of Copans Classic period ruling dynasty, its paste chemistry indicating an origin from a site in western or southern Belize, perhaps Caracol (photograph by Ellen Bell and Robert Sharer). 382

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D. Reents-Budet et al. series of large cap stones. Burial 3 is the primary funerary focus of the tomb and Burial 4 seems to be an offering to individual 3. Burial 3 was a female individual at least 55 ye ars of age, laid in a prone position with head to the south. Grave goods include 16 bone hairpins, 6 jadeite objects (2 large beads and two pairs of earflares), 3 obsidian blades with tapered ends, and 7 ceramic vessels. Vessel 1 (BVB007; Figure 2a) and Vessel 2 were placed next to the skeletal remains of Burial 4. Vessel 3 is a monochrome black vase with stucco decoration. Vessel 4 is a tall monochrome brown bowl in which was nested a monochrome red-orange tall bowl (Vessel 5, BVB002; Figure 7a). The burial also contained two pl ainware brown vases (Vessels 6 & 7). The two sampled vessels from these mixed burials represent a locally produced orangeware dish (Vessel 2, BVB002; Figure 7a) and a polychrome plate (Vessel 1, BVB007; Figure 2a) made somewhere in western or perhaps southern Belize. The paste chemistry of the plate lacks any close match in the database, but it is similar to two unprovenienced plates (MS0571, MS0920; Figures 7b and 7c) that recall pottery excavated at Pusilha by T.A Joyce (Joyce 1929: Pl. XL I, Fig. 4; Pl. XLII, Fig. 4). Stylistically and chemically MS0571 resembles the polychrome plate BVB015 with bird image from Burial 2 of Structure E (Figure 4e). The chemical composition of plate BVB007 (Figure 2a) vague ly recalls pottery excavated at Buenavista and Caracol, although relatively high Euclidean distances between the plate and the pottery from these two sites likely exclude either as the origin of BVB007. Its closest correspondence is to three pottery samples from Caracol (CPO005, CPO093, CP0446), although due to the current lack of descriptive and visual data of the Caracol samples we do not know what type or style of pottery is represented by these three samples. The available data, however, suggest that BVB007 and the three sherds found at Caracol may have been made in the same locale. We hope that future research can identify this place. Plate BVB007 also chemically recalls two polychrome bowls in Belizes national collections, including a round-sided polychrome bowl found at Caracol (MSBV08; Figure 7d) and a similar blackbackground polychrome bowl found at Xunantunich (MSBV53; Figure 7e). Of the Buenavista examples, the most similar is MSBX37, a black bac kground dish that stylistically recalls the Caracol bowl (MSBV08). The Baking Pot plates paste chemistry also recalls a monochrome brown sherd found at the site (BVB049), neither of which resembles the paste chemistry of locally produced wares. All considered BVB007 most likely was made in the Caracol area or at a s ite further south near Pusilha. A final point is the striking chemical similarity of plate BVB007 and MSC388/MSC388 (Figure 7f), an Early Classic lidded tripod dish from the tomb of Yax Kuk Mo, the founder of the Copan dynasty. Previous research identified this tripod dish as an import to Copan from somewhere in the central of eastern Peten lowlands. We now can narrow its origin to western Belize, perhaps even to Caracol. Given the monumental records from Caracol, Pusilha and Nim Li Punit that indicate relations wi th Copan (Grube 1990; Grube, MacLeod and Wanyerka 1999; Marcus 2004:371; Martin and Grube 2000:201; Wanyerka 1996), the presence of a pottery vessel from western or southern Belize in the tomb of Copans dynastic founder is not out of place. Conclusions In summary, our investigations of the pottery from Baking Pot Group 1 indicate 383

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The Pottery of Baking Pot, Belize that the site had developed vigorous ceram ic traditions that were in-step with those of its immediate cultural vicinity. The ceramics also point to relatively strong and consistent relations with Buenavista del Cayo, a regional center of notable power that seemingly functioned as an intermediary between western Belize and the dynamic polities of the eastern Peten. Baking Pot, too, may have been in direct contact with these other sites, especially Holmul and its nearby satellite centers. Baking Pot likely, too, had direct interaction with Caracol and likely also sites to its south and west, perhaps extending as far as the Guaytan area in southern Guatemala. In short, although the prevailing view of ancient Baking Pot may characterize it as an inconsequential, backwater locale, our date indicate instead that it was a robust population center participating fully in the social, political and economic enterprises that typify Classic Maya civilization. Acknowledgements: The chemical and art historical research is the work of The Maya Ceramics Project, initiated through the Research Laboratory, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Department of Chemistry, Brookhaven National Laboratory, under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy, funding provided by Mr. Landon T. Clay (Boston) and the late C. C. (Todd) Aikins (Wichita, Kansas). The project moved to the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Educati on and later to the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. The ac tivation analysis is directed by Dr. James Blackman at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. We acknowledge the intellectual and technical support of Drs. Garmon Harbottle, Edward V. Sayre, and Lambertus van Zelst, also of Drs. Arthur Beale and Richard Newman of the Department of Conservation Science, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. We thank collectively the directors and curators of museums in Belize, Canada, England, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and the United States who have opened their collections for research We are especially grateful to colleagues throughout Mexico and Central America for access to collections and other critical assistance. We thank Barbara and Justin Kerr for technical assistance, observations and free access to their Maya ceramics photographic archive. Finally, we express our sincerest gratitude to all Mayanist archaeologists who have assisted the project through granting access to their excavated materials and giving welcome advice and thoughtful, collegial criticism. References Cited Audet, Carolyn, and Jaime Awe (eds.) 2002 The Belize Valley Archeological Reconnaissance Project; A Report of the 2002 Field Season Edited by J. Awe and C. Audet. Manuscript on file at the Institute of Archaeology, Government of Belize. Belmopan. Awe, Jaime, Nikolai Grube, and David Cheetham n.d. Cahal Pech Stela 9: A Preclassic Monument from the Belize Valley. In The Preclassic Maya of the Belize Valley edited by P. Healy and J. Awe. Manuscript. Ball, Joseph 1993 Cahal Pech, The Ancient Maya and Modern Belize: The Story of an Archaeological Park San Diego State University Press. San Diego, California. Bullard, William 1965 Stratigraphic Excavations at San Estevan, Northern British Honduras Occasional Paper 9. Art and Archaeology, Royal Ontario Museum and University of Toronto. Toronto. Chase, Arlen, and Diane Z. Chase (eds.) 1987 Investigations at the Classic Maya City of Caracol, Belize: 1985-1987 Pre384

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D. Reents-Budet et al. Columbian Art Research Institute Monograph 3. San Francisco. 1995 External Impetus, Internal Synthesis, and Standardization: E-Group Assemblages and the Crystallization of Classic Maya Society in the Southern Lowlands. In The Emergence of Lowland Maya Civilization: The Transition from the Preclassic to the Early Classic edited by N. Grube, pp. 87102. Acta Mesoamericana Vol. 8. Verlag von Flemming. Berlin. Clark, John, and R. Hansen 2000 The Architecture of Early Kingship: Comparative Perspectives on the Origins of the Maya Royal Court. In Royal Courts of the Ancient Maya vol. 2, edited by T. Inomata and S. Houston. Westview Press, Boulder. Colas, Robert; C. Helmke, J. Awe, and T. Powis 2002 Epigraphic and Ceramic Analyses of Two Early Classic Maya Vessels from Baking Pot, Belize. Mexicon XXIV(2):3338. Gann, Thomas 1918 The Maya Indians of Southern Yucatan and Northern British Honduras Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 64. Smithsonian Institution. Washington, DC. Grube, Nikolai 1990 A Reference to Waterlily Jaguar on Caracol Stela 16. Copan Notes 68 Copan Acropolis Archaeological Project, Institute Hondureo de Antropologa e Historia, and The Department of Art and Art History, University of Texas at Austin. Grube, Nikolai, B. MacLeod, and P. Wanyerka 1999 A Commentary on the Hieroglyphic Inscriptions of Nim Li Punit, Belize. In Research Reports on Ancient Maya Writing no. 41. Center for Maya Research, Washington, DC. Grube, Nikolai and Simon Martin 2004 Patronage, Be trayal and Revenge: Diplomacy and Politics in the Eastern Maya Lowlands, Notebook for the XXXVIIIth Maya Hieroglyphic Forum at Texas edited by Nikolai Grube, pp. II.1-II-95. The University of Texas at Austin. Healy, Paul 1990 Excavations at Pacbitun, Belize. Preliminary Report on the 1986-1987 Investigations. Journal of Field Archaeology 17(3): 247-262. Helmke, Christophe G.B., Jaime J. Awe and Harri J. Kettunen 2004 Hieroglyphic Inscriptions of the Belize Valley: Implications for Socio-political Landscape and Dynastic Interactions. Paper presented at the XXVIIIth Texas Maya Meetings, University of Texas at Austin, March 11th 2004. Houston, Stephen, David Stuart and Karl A. Taube 1992 Image and Text on the Jauncy Vase. In The Maya Vase Book, Volume 3 edited by Justin Kerr, pp. 499-508. Kerr Associates, New York. Joyce, T.A. 1929 Report on the British Museum Expedition to British Honduras, 1929 Vol. LIX. Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. London. Marcus, Joyce 2004 Primary and Seco ndary State Formation in Southern Mesoamerica. In Understanding Early Classic Copan edited by E. Bell, M. Canuto, and R. Sharer, pp. 357-374. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Philadelphia.Martin, Simon, and N. Grube Martin, Simon and Nikolai Grube 2000 Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya. Thames and Hudson, London and New York. Pendergast, David 1970 A.H. Andersons Excavations at Rio Frio Cave, British Honduras (Belize). Royal Ontario Museum Art and Archaeology Occasional Paper 20. Toronto. 1971 Excavations at Eduardo Quiroz Cave, British Honduras (Belize). Royal Ontario Museum Art and Archaeology Occasional Paper 21. Toronto. 385

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The Pottery of Baking Pot, Belize 386Reents-Budet, Dorie, Joseph Ball, Jennifer Taschek, and Ronald L. Bishop 2000 Out of the Palace Dumps: Ceramic Production and Use at Buenavista del Cayo, Belize. In Ancient Mesoamerica 11(1), pp. 99-121. Reents-Budet, Dorie, Joseph W. Ball, Ronald L. Bishop, Virginia M. Fiel ds, and Barbara MacLeod 1994 Painting the Maya Universe: Royal Ceramics of the Classic Period Duke University Press, Durham, North Carolina and London. Smith, A.L., and A.V. Kidder 1943 Explorations in the Motagua Valley, Guatemala. Contributions to American Anthropology and History no. 41. Reprinted from Carnegie Institute of Washington, Publication 546, pp. 101-182. Washington, D.C. Wanyerka, Phil 1996 The Carved Monuments of Uxbenk, Toledo District, Belize. Mexicon XVIII(2): 29-35. Willey, Gordon, William Bullard, John Glass, and James Gifford 1965 Prehistoric Maya Settlements in the Belize Valley Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, vol. LIV. Harvard University. Cambridge.

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30 POLITICAL ECOLOGY IN UPPER NORTHWESTERN BELIZE Jon C. Lohse, Timothy Beach, Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, and Nicole Little Evidence from across upper northwestern Belize indicates dramatic changes in Maya social and political organization from the end of Early Classic through the Late Classic (from ca. A.D.450 onward). These transitions are visible in the material record through altered growth trajectories of site centers, shifting rural settlement, and in patterns of regional ceramic production. We also find evidence for differences in the ways certain natural resources came to be utilized and for important environmental changes, including rising water tables and, later on, droughty conditions. In marshalling these data, we see the Late Classic (ca. A.D. 600 to 850) organization of our study area to be the result of combined inputs from and requirements of multiple quarters of society, including urban and rural residents as they responded to both natural forces and the well-documented political developments across the Maya Lowlands. Introduction Over the past four seasons, our project has adopted an approach to understanding regional political organization in upper northwestern Belize that we term political ecology. W hile the primary aim of our research is to understand changes in the political organization of centers and their sustaining populations, particularly from the end of the Early Classic through the Late Classic, assumptions implicit to our approach require that we examine multiple lines of evidence from multi-disciplinary perspectives. These assumptions include (1) that local political arrangements were the result of negotiated re lations between nearsite and hinterland producers and site centerdwelling elites, and (2 ) the ability of both urban elites and hinterlanders to put into practice strategies for achieving their livelihoods and maintaining their role(s) in society was subject in pa rt to outside forces that were often beyond peoples ability to control. These assumptions direct our research to both site center and outlying residential areas; move us to use comparative data on political conditions and histories from across the Maya Lowlands (such as from epigraphy and iconography, rank-order comparisons of major centers, and controlled excavations of elite contexts from palaces and funerary temples); and require that considerable attention be given to reconstructing past environments and understanding how they changed through time. This approach is particularly well suited to understanding political organization in a region of the Lowlands in which epigraphic texts and iconographic depictions of rulers and their actions are sorely lacking. Most commoner producers were intimately linked to localized resources such as arable land, potable and agricultural water, chert outcrops, clay beds, and others (Lohse and Valdez 2004). In exploiting each resource, they enacted a variety of productive technolog ies and organized themselves variously so as to maximize social labor efficiency. As natural conditions changed, however, idealized technological and labor arrangements must also have changed. Conversely, central elites, who relied on utilitarian and surplus food production, often utilized exotic luxury goods as one way to engender support. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 387-403. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize.

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Political Ecology in Upper Northwest Belize Artifacts of high craf tsmanship or from nonlocal materials were redistributed to acquiescent followers as a means of securing loyalty. Accordingly, th ose of exalted status were vulnerable to disruptions in longdistance networks th at supplied these important exotics. Critical services may also have been provided to the population, including sponsoring important ceremonies and rituals or organizing possible market events for the distribution of goods. Redistributing luxury items and providing services were not mutually exclusive elite strategies, though determining which was more commonly practiced in certain time periods can serve as a sensitive indicator of the nature of local political relations. From this perspective, political arrangements evident in site construction histories, including special purpose buildings and plaza spaces; the degree to which individual rulers are glorified on monuments and in elaborate burial facilities; and the distribution and size re lationship of centers in a region are the resu lt of not only elite demands of followers time, energy, and labor, but also of th e responses to those demands. Our political ecological perspective, therefore, occupies the conceptual area of overlap between the fields of political organization and environmental resource management and exploitation and how both changed over time. Regional Political Geography and History Upper nor thwestern Belize lies in the Three Rivers Region, and is noteworthy for what appears to be a densely packed political landscape, at least during Late Classic times. No fewe r than seven large or major centers are present, including La Milpa, Maax Na, Dos Hombres, Gran Cacao, Wari Camp, Blue Creek, and Ixnoha (Figures 1, 2). Each of these sites has at least one ball court; Dos Hombres and La Milpa are the only centers with two courts. Additionally, Great Savanna lies only four kilometers south of Gran Cacao; while no data are available from the site, preliminary reconnaissance indicates it to be a large center. To better understand political history and environmental change, we have divided the research area into two environmental zones, the Upland Hill and Bajo Terrain to the west and the Escarpment Ecotone to the east (Lohse et al. 2004). Little is known of the construction histories of most centers in the region, although Late Preclassic and Early Classic data from Blue Creek are fairly robust and indicate the importance of luxury goods in elite strategies for underwriting their social position. Exotic materials are frequently encountered in ritual deposits such as caches, building dedications, or burials, and are often found associated with elite activities, indicating that they were important components of strategies for currying support from locals as a means of integrating communities along lines of obligation and unbalanced reciprocity. For example, an abundance of jade (numbering over 1,000 pieces) has been recovered from excavations from a variety of contexts, including both the site center and nearby settlements. Of these pieces, over 90% were found in Late Preclassic or Early Classic contexts (Guderjan 2002). Biosilicate residue analyses of cache vessels from the site have revealed th at silica-rich sponges from coastal regions were commonly included in votive offerings (Bozarth and Guderjan 2004) during the same time periods. Finally, Barret t (2004) has recorded a substantial decrease in the frequency of chert from the Northern Belize Chert Bearing Zone (also called Colha chert) from the Late Preclassic and Early Classic into the Late Classic periods Together these data indicate that Preclassic and Early Classic long distance trade ne tworks ran through 388

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Jon Lohse, et al. northweste rn Belize from multiple points of origin, including the Caribbean coast, eastern Belize, and the Motagua Valley in Honduras, brining materials important to local elites and their ac tivities. While it is impossible to say whether these routes first went through other regions or major centers, ceramic stylistic studies show Preclassic and Early Classic affinities between northwestern Belize and the central Peten (Kosakowsky and Sagebiel 1999; Sullivan 2002), and it is likely that major Peten centers such as Tikal played a key role in organizing overland trade routes across the Lowlands at this time. Figure 1. Map of upper northwestern Belize and adjacent northeastern Peten, showing important centers and hinterland sites. Abundant Late Classic data are available f or most sites, and major construction efforts have been documented across the region, especially La Milpa and Dos Hombres. Settlement studies indicate that most of the populations surrounding these two centers dates to this period as well (Lohse 2001; Robichaux 1995; Tourtellot et al. 2003). La Milpa, in particular, was an impressive city with no fewer than 16 stelae in its main plaza an d an estimated 70,000 389

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Political Ecology in Upper Northwest Belize inhabitants at its peak in ca. A.D. 700-800. In addition to rapid site expansion, all ball courts at th ese two sites are from the Late Classic (Houk 1996; McDougal 1997; Schultz et al. 1994), a nd La Milpa rulers embarked upon an ambitious building program involving outlying minor centers at cardinal points almost exactly three and a half kilometers from the main plaza (Tourtellot et al. 2003). Water management systems were also built utilizing plazas as catchment surfaces, with runoff directed into central reservoirs. Thes e reservoirs drained downslope through a series of terraced fields and, eventually, into the low-lying bajo agricultural systems th at surround the site (Kunen and Hughbanks 2003; Scarborough et al. 1995). In this way, La Milpa evidences a well-ordered and strongly integrated community with elites providing administrative, ceremonial, and agrarian services for the population. Dos Hombres is the second largest cente r in the region, and based on similarity in site plan may have been integrated into La Milpa Late Classic hegemony (Houk 2003). Earlier components at both sites appear to have been utterly dwarfed by later constructions, indicating not just the to-be-expected differences in scale and magnitude, but also Figure 2. Maps of important site centers in upper northwestern Belize, reproduced at the same scale to indicate size differences. No site map is available for Wari Camp. 390

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Jon Lohse, et al. changes in the ve ry nature of the political histories of these cente rs as they exploded onto the Late Classic landscape. In contrast to the Preclassic and Early Classic, Late Classic exchange networks are difficult to reconstruct, largely because of the infrequency of exotic goods. Ceramic studies, however, show strong stylistic affinities between northwestern Belize and the Belize River Valley to the south and the Becn region to the north (Kosakowsky and Lohse 2003; Kosakowsky and Sagebiel 1999; Sullivan 2002; Sullivan and Sagebiel 2003), su ggesting that earlier overland trade routes were reorganized away from the central Pete n. Concurrent with these shifts in exchange patterns, elite residences in central precincts become privatized, with access restricted by newly built walls or closing off of previously open stairways and ramps. This pattern has been noted across the Maya Lowlands (Joyce and Weller n.d.), and indicates a sharp increase in the social distance maintained between elites and commoners. Additionally, ball courts appear for the first time at all sites in the region except Blue Creek and Ixnoha. The significance of the wide spread appearance of ball courts at this time is not perfectly clear, bu t it undoubtedly has important implications for the organization of regional politics. Additionally, surrounding settlements increase dramatically in size and density, and research has indicated that decision-making corporate groups began playing important roles in managing local agrarian resources (Giacometti 2002; Hageman and Lohse 2003; Lohse 2001). While there is little to no evidence from within the region to explain the source of disruptions to luxur y exchange systems, the transformations noted above do coincide generally with the defeat of Tikal at the hands of Calakmul and perhaps Caracol in A.D. 562 (Martin and Grube 2000). This event altered the political and economic landscape of the Lowlands, effectively ending for some time the regional dominance of Tikal. Although northwestern Belize shows no evidence of having participated in this event, even peripherally, like many other regions it is sure to have felt the ripple-like effects in terms of interrupted trade and exchange patterns and perhaps also receiving in-migrating populations seeking to escape from areas of political violence and unrest. In any event, by the end of the Early Classic local elites appear to have lost a great deal of their ability to create and spend ideological capital (Inomata 2001) in the form of luxury or highly desired exotic items as a way of integrating their surrounding settlements. Classic Period Environmental Change While the political landscape was significantly altered by th e close of the Early Classic, the natural landscape was similarly undergoing important transformations. Some changes were human induced from generations of settlement and forest clearing, while others, such as rising water tables and climate changes, were not. Regardless, hinterlanders whose livelihoods were tied to certain fixed resources were forced to respond to these changing conditions by adapting new productive technologies and by reorganizing themselves on the landscape so as to efficiently deploy their social labor. The important effect of these responses in terms of local political arrangements was that the amount of time and energy available for yielding to elite demands for participating in site center building programs or witnessing ritual ceremonies steadily diminished, contributing further to the unraveling of the relationships between rulers and subjects. Paleoenvironmental research has been carried out by a number of researchers in the Three Rivers Region for nearly a 391

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Political Ecology in Upper Northwest Belize decade (Beach et al. n.d. ; Beach et al. 2002; Dunning and Beach 2000; Dunning et al. 2003; Dunning et al. 1999; Scarborough et al. 1995). This work has recovered information from around bajo systems surrounding La Milpa and from along the base of Rio Bravo Escarpment, allowing archaeologists for the first time to be able to offer generalized environmental reconstructions for nearly the entire region (Figure 3). In both areas, deforestation began at least with the beginning of the Preclassic, ca. 900 B.C. Moderate to high soil erosion from sloping areas buried the extant ground surface, identified in soil unit profiles as the Ekluum Paleosol; this buried soil is a regional marker and dates to between 1200 B.C. to ca. A.D.80 or so (Beach et al. n.d.). Prior to this protracted process, bajos around La Milpa were perennial wetlands, with ground water seeping to the surface and running off in slowly meandering courses. Low-lying areas along the base of the escarpment were dry for the most part. By the end of the Late Preclassic, lowland water tables st arted to rise, perhaps in response to sea level change. Analyses of water chemistry from across the region, by Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, has shown that some aquifers carried an extremely heavy load of dissolved minerals and salts. In particular, this includes a series of springs that surface along the base of the Rio Bravo Escarpment. From the end of the Preclassic through most of the Early Classic, ground surfaces along the escarpment base aggraded through soil erosion from nearby uplands, periodic flood events, and from minerals, especially gypsum, precipitating out of the groundwater. This same geochemical process relating to a Preclassic sea level transgression has been documented farther downstream along the Rio Hondo (Pohl et al. 1996; Pope et al. 1996). By close to the end of the Early Classic, soil erosion around bajo margins was severe enough to have choked off most ground water seepage within the bajos transforming them from perennial wetlands to seasonally inundated swamps. This posed a challenge not only to agricultural production in the bajos themselves, but also on the denuded slopes surrounding bajo margins. Also around this time, farmers in low-lying areas along the base of the escarpment began to modify their fields in response to rising water tables and sediment buildup by excavating drainage ditches. As wetlands encroached upon previously dry areas, not only were new farming strategies required, but some reconfiguration of settlement patterning was also necessitated. From the end of the Early Classic onwards, only elevated terrain was suited for habitation while most of the surrounding low-lying areas were transformed into either seasonally inundated fi elds or parcels drained through complexes of canals (Figure 4). It is estimated that this natural process and response extends across as much as six square kilometers of low-lying area near the base of the escarpment. Available environmental data from Upland Hill and Bajo and the Escarpment Ecotone for the later parts of the Classic period are spotty. In low-lying areas along the escarpment range, the tops of soil profiles have been plowed or cleared away by modern farming and settlement. Accordingly, we know little of how the Late or Terminal Classic Maya continued to respond to the changes noted earlier. In the Upland Hill and Bajo terrain, however, another episode of m oderate soil buildup has been documented associated with Late and Terminal Classic settlements (Beach et al. n.d.). While understanding the source and nature of this process requires additional research, it is possible that the faint paleosols that have been found in these areas 392

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Jon Lohse, et al. Figure 3. Generalized environmental reconstructions for Upland Hill and Bajo (top) and Escarpment Ecotone (bottom) ar eas of upper northwestern Belize. 393

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Political Ecology in Upper Northwest Belize can be linked to the sudden increase in regional populations, perhaps including m igrants into the areas around the sites of La Milpa and Dos Hombres (e.g., Dunning and Beach 2000:196; Tourtellot et al. 1995). Farmers in these areas were forced to implement such practices as they could, including expansive terrace and berm construction, to manage the remaining soils and their moisture content (Beach et al. 2002). It is our cont ention that these practices required changes in settlement configuration as well as new arrangements for the sharing of social labor for field management and terrace or berm construction and maintenance. Responses to Changes in Politics and Environment While our research has spent much of the past seasons gathering data on environmental change, we have also explored some responses to these changing conditions as they played a part in regional political organization. Much of this research is ongoing, and below we present only some preliminary findings. These findings include new evidence for changes in hinterland ritual behavior in the early part of the Late Classic and source analysis of pottery manufacture and raw clay resource exploitation. Figure 4. Aerial photographs of drained field complexes near Rosita (top), Blue Creek (bottom left) and Gran Cacao (bottom right). All are in low-lying areas affected by rising mineral-rich water tables during the Classic, near the base of the Rio Bravo Escarpment. Hinterland Ritual Research in 2001 and 2002 (supervised by Gregory Zaro) at the nonresidential Quincunx Group, and in 2003 and a nearby patio group (supervised by W. David Driver), both lo cated two and a half kilometers southwest of the Blue Creek center, recorded important evidence for ritual activities associated with solar observations and the underworld (Driver 2003; Zaro and Lohse 2005). The 394

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Jon Lohse, et al. Qunincunx Group is a five-m ound complex dating to the early part of the Late Classic period (Laura Kosakowsky, personal communication 2002). Its asymmetrical layout (Figure 5) corresponds with Maya concepts of the symbolic structure of the universe, with a central component surrounded by four elements at cardinal or, as in this case, intercardinal positions. Our research at this important group, together with on-site observati ons both near (within one or two days, weather permitting) and on the summer solstice, suggest that it provided controlled sight lines for monitoring at least the sunrise on June 21 Elsewhere in the Maya world (Aveni 2001; Milbrath 1999) and in Mesoamerica (prajc 2001), constructions were designed and built to accomplish this task, though these nearly always consist of mo numental temples, special purpose buildings, or platforms found in site centers. Investigations showed that the nearby patio group was built and probably occupied at the same time the Quincunx Group was in used (Driver 2003). A small eastern shrine was excavated, yielding a small cyst burial containing a modest assemblage of four vessels; a fifth vessel was found outside the burial chamber in a cache deposit (Kosakowsky 2003). Among the vessels in the burial chamber was a Saxche Orange polychrome bowl (Figure 6) showing a scene of a tripartite figure believed to be God N, with his female consort, in the proces s of administering a hallucinogenic enema. God N is commonly associated with the Underworld as well as enema ritual, and the presence of this iconography at this small group is noteworthy. Together with the nearby solar observatory, we suggest that the early Late Classic social and political climate may have been such that hinterland farmers were either required or permitted to assume oversight over important symbolic behavior associated with calendar rituals, the underworld, and agricult ural rites involving fertility and renewal. These finds provide an important indication of the (in-)ability of central elites at Blue Creek to administer such needs during the early phase of the Late Classic period. Regional Ceramic Manufacture and Exchange From 2001 to 2003, collaborative efforts were undertaken to study changes in the regional production and exchange of ceramic wares, particularly across the transition from the end of the Early Classic into the Late Classic (Kosakowsky and Lohse 2003; Little et al. 2004a, 2004b). Combining type-variety with instrumental neutron activation analyses (INAA), we sought to link finished ceramics recovered through excavation with local clay resources in determining patterns in the movement of certain finished goods between and among political centers and their sustaining hinterlands. (The reader is referred to Little et al. (2004b) for a discussion of the methods used in INAA and the 33 elements that were measured in short, middle, and long counts.) Through the efforts of Dr. Laura J. Kosakowsky, sherds recovered from excavations at both center and rural contexts were selected for sampling; these were limited to Aguila Orange (Early Classic) and Achote Black (Late Classic) specimens, which were found to be widely occurring across the study area. Additionally, samples of raw clay materials were taken from adjacent to each excavation area included in the sample. Over 300 individual specimens were processed at the Missouri University Research Reactor (MURR), and to this database was added a number of specimens that had been previously processed by the Programme for Belize Archaeology Project (Lyle 2000; Manning 1997). 395

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Political Ecology in Upper Northwest Belize Samples fell into six groups on the basis of their elemental composition (Figure 7), and some preliminary observations can be made of these results. First, while clays of the Maya lowlands are generally seen as badly suited to this kind of analysis because of their poorly di fferentiated geologic character, one of the samples taken from between Ixnoha and La Milpa did match compositional Group 1 at better than 50% confidence. These results suggest that pottery utilizing this material had its origins somewhere in the western half of our research area. Second, the most evident pattern in compositional group distribution is the widespread adoption of Group 2 ceramics in the Late Classic. While we cannot yet say wh ere this pottery was being Figure 5. Plan of the hinterland Quincunx Group, believed to have served as a solar observatory during the early part of the Late Classic. 396

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Jon Lohse, et al. m ade, it is clear that dramatic changes occurred by the Late Classic in terms of regional economic patterns. Finally, sites with larger sample sizes, including Blue Creek and Ixnoha, show fewer clay sources represented in consumed pottery in the Late Classic than in Early Classic. While additional sampling is re quired to verify this conclusion, it appears as if the variety of source materials represented in Late Classic ceramic assemblages was diminished from the Early Classic. This might be taken as evidence of controlled or administered ceramic production and exchange across the region. Given its rapid growth as an administrative center, it is possible that La Milpa can be associated with this development. Concluding Comments Given the low frequency of epigraphic and ico nographic evidence, research carried out in upper northwestern Belize m ust necessarily rely on multiple lines of material evidence when addressing questions of political organization. In this vein, one of our guiding assumptions has been that monumental centers are but one element of social communities (after Yaeger and Canuto 2000) that extend out into sustaining hinterlands and that members of these dispersed political communities, occupying different roles and statuses in this continuum, negotiated their local political arrangements through a variety of strategies. Tradition, heritage, ethnic and social identity, and unequal access to certain kinds of knowledge and material goods were often used to help such strategies succeed to the point where the material realities of daily life appear out of balance to outside observers, leading to misstatements about elite authority and ability to wield absolute decision-making power (Lohse and Valdez 2004). Another of our guiding assumptions has been that hinterlanders, most of whom occupied common social positions, were grounded to an extreme degree in the local environment, and that to understand their contributions to local politics, attention must be given to understanding changes in and the manipulation of agrarian and utilitarian resources. Figure 6. Rollout illustration of Saxche Orange polychrome enema bowl recovered from residential excavations near the Quincunx Group. One of the ultimate goals of our research, mapping ancient political entities onto the landscape, is no easy challenge and many of the different models that have been proposed by others for the ancient Maya are in part a product of the lines of evidence used in their definition. Adding to the complexity of this task is the fact that both communities and states are known to have fluctuated in size and sway over time (Demarest 1992; Marcus 1993, 1998; Martin and Grube 1995, 2000). Given this, we feel that integrating info rmation gleaned from political hinterlands not only provides a firmer and more empirical understanding of the lifeways of commoner producers, but also provides a more sensitive indicator for 397

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Political Ecology in Upper Northwest Belize the ebb and flow of political tides over a region. Below are presented th ree potential scenarios for how the upper northwestern Belize Late Classic region might be mapped. Scenario A (Figure 8, top) shows a La Milpa-centric landscape. This model is based partly on the rank order theory that larger sites control nearby smaller sites. This scenario receives support not only from the monumental size of th e La Milpa center, but also from its vast sustaining populations, the efforts at providing an array of services including some form of water control and Figure 7. Preliminary results of INAA an alysis of ceramics and raw clay fro m across upper northwestern Belize, showing six elemental compositional groups defined by zirconium and chromium content (top) and the distribution of compositional groups by site and time period (bottom). Sites showing either 50% or 100% occurrence of a particular compositional group are probably reflecting a small sample size (n=6). See Figure 1 for locations of sites included in this sample.X 398

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Jon Lohse, et al. Figure 8. Three potential scenarios (A, to p, B, middle, and C, bottom) of the upper northwestern Belize Late Classic political landscape, based on different approaches an d integration of different forms of data. Polygons are approximations only. 399

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Political Ecology in Upper Northwest Belize m anagement, the high number of stelae (no other site in the region has more than three), the crystallization of a cruciform site plan that conforms with widely held beliefs about the order of the cosmos, and perhaps its entry into regional ceramic production and exchange markets. No data from hinterland surroundings are represented in this scenario. Scenario B (Figure 8, middle) presumes that each monumental site core was politically inde pendent, yielding a fractured landscape marked by many small polities. Similarly, this scenario depicts no hinterland data, and it should also be stated that this model receives no real support from current theories or epigraphically-derived understandings of anci ent Maya politics. Scenario C (Figure 8, bottom) depicts sustaining areas of different sizes and extents to mirror the distribution of natural resources available to different sites in their respective settings. Site catchment areas in the Escarpment Ecotone are linear and arranged in an east-west fashion to reflect not only the distance between north-south neighboring communities, but also the orientation of regional geologic features and, presumably, natural resources. Features such as escarpments and waterways run south-tonorth, meaning that most natural resources will be similarly distributed and that eastwest catchments would have ensured greater access to more environmental variability and, hence, community sustainability. Conversely, polygons in the Upland Hill and Bajo are more symmetrical in their extent and form, reflecting the distribution of resources in those settings. In truth, the Late Classic reality was probably a combination of these and/or perhaps other models, incorporating different classes of information not considered here. Additionally, the Early Classic landscape was almost certainly quite different. Nevertheless, our primary point is that political organizations and communities included a very wide va riety of individuals of different social pos itions. All faced daily challenges, held expectations that were conditioned by their prev ious experiences, practiced strategies for success in their endeavors, and were affected by outside forces that were often times beyond their ability to control. But to fully understand the whole, archaeologists must subject each of these parts to examination. Acknowledgements. The research presented herein has been funded by the Maya Research Program, the National Geographic Society, the Ahau Foundation, the Missouri University Research Reactor, and Georgetown and George Mason Universities. We are gr ateful to all of these entities and organizatio ns for their support. Additionally, we have drawn liberally from data generated by our re search colleagues in the region, including the La Milpa Archaeology Project, directed by Drs. Norman Hammond and Gair Tourtellot, the Programme for Belize Archaeology Project, under the direction of Dr. Fred Valdez, Jr., and the Maax Na Archaeological Project, directed by Drs. Les lie Shaw and Eleanor King. The dialogue and congeniality of these individuals and their respective staff members and students is sincerely appreciated. Finally, and most importantly, we are indebted to the Institute of Archaeology, National Institute of History and Culture, of Belize for permitting our research. References Cited Aveni, Anthony F. 2001 Skywatchers. Revised edition. University of Texas Press, Austin. Barrett, Jason W. 2004 Constructing Hierarchy Through Entitlement: Inequality in Lithic Resource Access among the Ancient Maya of Blue Creek, Belize Unpublished Ph.D. 400

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Jon Lohse, et al. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Texas A&M University, College Station. Beach, Timothy, Nicholas Dunning, Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, and Jon Lohse n.d. Ancient Maya Impacts on Soils and Soil Erosion. Catena Manuscript in press. Beach, Timothy, Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, Nicholas Dunning, Jon Hageman, and Jon Lohse 2002 Upland Agriculture in the Maya Lowlands: Ancient Maya Soil Conservation in Northwestern Belize. The Geographical Review 92:372-397. Bozarth, Steven R., and Thomas H. Guderjan 2004 Biosilicate Analys is of Residue in Maya Dedicatory Cache Vessels from Blue Creek, Belize. Journal of Archaeological Science 31:205-215. Demarest, Aurthur A. 1992 Ideology in Ancient Maya Cultural Evolution: The Dynamics of Galactic Polities. In Ideology and Pre-Columbian Civilizations edited by Arthur A. Demarest and Geoffrey W. Conrad, pp. 135-157. School of American Research Press, Santa Fe. Driver, W. David 2003 Inter-Community Architectural Variations: Excavations Conducted in the Blue Creek Settlement Zone. In 2003 Season Summaries of the Blue Creek Regional Political Ecology Project edited by Jon C. Lohse, pp. 53-80. Report on file with the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan. Dunning, Nicholas, and Timothy Beach 2000 Stability and Instability in Prehispanic Maya Landscapes. In Imperfect Balance: Landscape Transformations in the Precolumbian Americas edited by David L. Lentz, pp. 179-202. Columbia University Press, New York. Dunning, Nicholas, John G. Jones, Timothy Beach, and Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach 2003 Physiography, Habitats, and Landscapes of the Three Rivers Region. In Heterarchy, Political Economy, and the Ancient Maya: The Three Rivers Region of the East-Central Yucatn Peninsula edited by Vernon L. Scarborough, Fred Valdez, Jr., and Nicholas Dunning, pp. 14-24. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. Dunning, Nicholas, Vernon Scarborough, Fred Valdez, Jr., Sheryl Lu zzadder-Beach, Timothy Beach, and John G. Jones 1999 Temple Mountains, Sacred Lakes, and Fertile Fields: Ancient Maya Landscapes of Northwestern Belize. Antiquity 73:650-660. Giacometti, Antoine A. 2002 The Role of Plaza Complexes in Hinterland Settlements at the Maya Site of Blue Creek, Belize. Unpublished Masters Thesis, Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Guderjan, Thomas H. 2002 Patterns of Maya Jade Disposal at Blue Creek, Belize. Manu script on file, Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Anthropology. Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. Hageman, Jon B., and Jon C. Lohse 2003 Heterarchy, Corporate Groups, and Late Classic Resource Management in Northwestern Belize. In Heterarchy, Political Economy, and the Ancient Maya: The Three Rivers Region of the East-Central Yucatn Peninsula edited by Vernon L. Scarborough, Fred Valdez, Jr., and Nicholas Dunning, pp. 109-121. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. Houk, Brett A. 1996 The Archaeology of Site Planning: An Example from the Maya Site of Dos Hombres, Belize Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Un iversity of Texas at Austin. 2003 The Ties that Bind: Site Planning in the Three Rivers Region. In Heterarchy, Political Economy, and the Ancient Maya: The Three Rivers Region of the East-Central Yucatn Peninsula edited by Vernon L. Scarborough, Fred Valdez, Jr., and Nicholas Dunning, pp. 52-63. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. Inomata, Takeshi 2001 The Power and Ideology of Artistic Creation: Elite Craft Specialists in Classic Maya Society. Current Anthropology 42:321-349. 401

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Political Ecology in Upper Northwest Belize Joyce, Arthur A., and Errin T. Weller n.d. Commoner Ritual, Resistance, and the Classic-to-Postclassic Transition in Mesoamerica. In Commoner Ritual, Commoner Ideology : Evidence from Households and Beyond Across Ancient Mesoamerica edited by Nancy Gonlin and Jon C. Lohse. Manuscript in review, University Press at Colorado, Boulder. Kosakowsky, Laura J. 2003 Blue Creek Regional Political Economy Project Ceramics2003 Season Report. In 2003 Season Summaries of the Blue Creek Regional Political Ecology Project edited by Jon C. Lohse, pp. 15-28. Report on file with the Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan. Kosakowsky, Laura J., and Jon C. Lohse 2003 Investigating Multivariate Ceramic Attributes as Clues to Ancient Maya Social, Economic, and Political Organization in Blue Creek, Northwestern Belize Report submitted to the Ahau Foundation, on file with the authors, Tucson and Austin. Kosakowsky, Laura J., and Kerry Sagebiel 1999 The Ceramic Se quence of La Milpa, Belize. Mexicon XXI:131-136. Kunen, Julie L., and Paul J. Hughbanks 2003 Bajo Communities as Resource Specialists: A Heterarchical Approach to Maya Socieconomic Organization. In Heterarchy, Political Economy, and the Ancient Maya: The Three Rivers Region of the East-Central Yucatn Peninsula edited by Vernon L. Scarborough, Fred Valdez, Jr., and Nicholas Dunning, pp. 92-108. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. Little, Nicole, Laura J. Kosakowsky, Robert J. Speakman, Michael D. Glascock, and Jon C. Lohse 2004a Early and Late Classic Ceramic Resource Utilization in Northwestern Belize. Poster presented at the 69th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Montreal. Little, Nicole C., Laura J. Kosakowsky, Robert J. Speakman, Michael D. Glascock, and Jon C. Lohse 2004b Characterizatio n of Maya Pottery by INAA and ICP-MS. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 262(1):103-110. Lohse, Jonathan C. 2001 The Social Organization of Late Classic Community: Dos Hombres, Northwestern Belize. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, The University of Texas at Austin. Lohse, Jon C., Timothy Beach, Laura Kosakowsky, and Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach 2004 Regional Views on the Late Classic from the Blue Creek Area of Northwestern Belize. In Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 1:211-222. Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize. Lohse, Jon C., and Fred Valdez, Jr. 2004 Examining Ancient Maya Commoners Anew. In Ancient Maya Commoners edited by Jon C. Lohse and Fred Valdez, Jr., pp. 121. University of Texas Press, Austin. Lyle, Anthony S. 2000 Investigating Social Inequality: A Comparative Analysis of Late Classic Maya Residential Sites in the Three Rivers Region Masters Thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at San Antonio. McDougal, Steven R. 1997 Archaeological Investigations at Ballcourt 2, Dos Hombres, Belize Unpublished Masters thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of Cincinnati. Manning, Andrew P. 1997 The Assessment of Urban Cultural Roles from the Archaeological Record: A Ceramic Perspective Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, The University of Texas at Austin. UMI Microform, Ann Arbor. Marcus, Joyce 1993 Ancient Maya Political Organization. In Lowland Maya Civilization in the Eighth Century A.D., edited by Jeremy A. Sabloff and John S. Henderson, pp. 111-183. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. 1998 The Peaks and Valleys of Ancient States: An Extension of the Dynamic Model. In Archaic States, edited by Gary M. Feinman and Joyce Marcus, pp. 59-94. 402

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Jon Lohse, et al. School of American Research Press, Santa Fe. Martin, Simon, and Nikolai Grube 1995 Maya Superstates. Archaeology 48:4146. 2000 Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya Thames and Hudson, London. Milbrath, Susan 1999 Star Gods of the Ancient Maya: Astronomy in Art, Folklore, and Calendars University of Texas Press, Austin. Pohl, Mary D., Kevin O. Pope, John G. Jones, John S. Jacob, Dolores Piperno, Susan D. deFrance, David L. Lentz, John A. Gifford, Maries E. Danforth, and J. Kathryn Josserand 1996 Early Agriculture in the Maya Lowlands. Latin American Antiquity 7:355372. Pope, Kevin O., Mary D. Pohl, and John S. Jones 1996 Formation of Ancient Maya Wetland Fields: Natural and Anthropogenic Processes. In The Managed Mosaic: Ancient Maya Agriculture and Resource Use edited by Scott L. Fedick, pp. 165-176. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City. Robichaux, Hubert Ray 1995 Ancient Maya Community Patterns in Northwestern Belize: Peripheral Zone Survey at La Milpa and Dos Hombres Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, The University of Texas at Austin. Scarborough, Vernon L., Matthew E. Belcher, Jeffrey L. Baker, Garry Harris, and Fred Valdez, Jr. 1995 Water and Land at the Ancient Maya Community of La Milpa. Latin American Antiquity 6:98-119. Schultz, Kevin C., Jason J. Gonzlez, and Norman Hammond 1994 Classic Maya Ballcourts at La Milpa, Belize. Ancient Mesoamerica 5:45-53. prajc, Ivan 2001 Orientaciones astronmicas en la arquitectura prehispnica del centro de Mxico Instituto Nacional de Historia e Antropologa, Mxico, D.F. Sullivan, Lauren A. 2002 Dynamics of Regional Integration in Northwestern Belize. In Ancient Maya Political Economies edited by Marilyn A. Masson and David A. Freidel, pp. 197-222. Alta Mira Press, New York. Sullivan, Lauren A., and Kerry L. Sagebiel 2003 Changing Political Alliances in the Three Rivers Region. In Heterarchy, Political Economy, and the Ancient Maya: The Three Rivers Region of the East-Central Yucatn Peninsula edited by Vernon L. Scarborough, Fred Valdez, Jr., and Nicholas Dunning, pp. 25-36. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. Tourtellot, Gair, Francisco Estrada Belli, John J. Rose, and Norman Hammond 2003 Late Classic Maya Heterarchy, Hierarchy, and Landscape at La Milpa, Belize. In Heterarchy, Political Economy, and the Ancient Maya: The Three Rivers Region of the East-Central Yucatn Peninsula edited by Vernon L. Scarborough, Fred Valdez, Jr., and Nicholas Dunning, pp. 37-51. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. Tourtellot, Gair, III, Norman Hammond, and John Rose 1 995 Reversals of Fortune: Settlement Processes at La Milpa Paper presented at the First International Symposium of Maya Archaeology, San Ignacio, Belize. Yaeger, Jason, and Ma rcello A. Canuto 2000 Introducing an Archaeology of Communities. In The Archaeology of Communities; A New World Perspective edited by Marcello A. Canuto and Jason Yaeger, pp. 1-15. Routledge Press, New York. Zaro, Gregory, and Jon C. Lohse 2005 Agricultural Rhythms and Rituals: Ancient Maya Solar Observation in Hinterland Blue Creek, Northwestern Belize. Latin American Antiquity 16(1). 403

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Political Ecology in Upper Northwest Belize 404

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31 LIFE AND LIVELIHOOD OF THE PREHISTORIC MAYA OF NORTHWESTERN BELIZE Fred Valdez, Jr. Twelve seasons of archaeological research in northwest Belize allow for analysis and interpretation of many ancient Maya activities. The Programme for Belize Archaeological Project (PfBAP) has continued efforts of survey, mapping, and excavation in an attempt to understand the social, political, and economic interrelationships between minor and major settlement areas. While large site investigations have been generally assigned to specific research agendas, the PfBAP continues a significant push to researching sma ll sites and rural settlements. Large sites and their locations across the landscape are described. Re search concerning the smaller settlements and general landscape manipulation is the focus of this presentation. Where and how were the Maya utilizing the NW area of Belize for their livelihood? What kind of life did these activities provide for mo st of the Maya? Settlement locations, artifacts (production and consumption), and general patterns of land use all serve to help define ancient Maya life in NW Belize. While certain interpretations are presented as preliminary, many of the findings will certainly be substantiated as research continues in this special region of the Maya lowlands. Introduction Beginning in 1992, the Programme for Belize Archaeolog ical Project (PfABP) has maintained a continued presence conducting research in northwest Belize. The PfBAP is located on property owned by Programme for Belize. The research area is known as the Rio Bravo Management and Conservation Area (RBMCA, Figure 1). The PfBAP persistent research effort includes survey, mapping, and excavation in an attempt to understand the social, political, and economic interrelationships between minor and major settlement areas (Adams et al. 1993; Houk et al. 1993; Adams 1995; Adams and Valdez 1995; Scarborough et al. 2003). The emphasis on multidisciplinary research in addition to traditional archaeological studies has provided the opportunity to see the ancient Maya from varied perspectives including soil studies, water management, and ceramic thin sectioning to mention a few. This form of interdisciplinary research is known and practiced by many projec ts in the lowlands (for example, recently at San Bartalo, William Saturno personal communication 2004; and at Holmul, Francisco EstradaBelli personal communication 2004), and most notably among various programs of research in Belize (Chase and Chase 1994; Iannone and Herbert 2003; to name a few). Some of these research trajectories within the PfBAP allow for analysis and interpretation of many ancient Maya activities concerning issues that have been difficult to assess from standard archaeological research. The interest of this presentation is to look at how various, not necessarily all, ancient Maya communities in northwest Belize may have adapted to their environments (physical, social, political, etc.). While large site investigations have been generally assigned to specific research agendas (Scarborough et al 1992, 1995; Houk 1996; Lohse 2004; King and Shaw 2003), the PfBAP continues a significant push to researching sm all sites and rural settlements (Sullivan 1993, 1997; Hughbanks 1995; Munoz 1995; Robichaux 1995; Walling 1995). In this paper, large sites as well as smaller settlements will be Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol. 2, 2005, pp. 405-412. Copyright 2005 by the Institute of Archaeology, NICH, Belize

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Life and Livelihood of Northwestern Belize Maya addressed particularly in term s of their occurrence across the landscape. The Prehistoric Maya Landscape The RBMCA area is topographically varied as defined by escarpm ents, west to east, the La Lucha Escarpment, the Rio Bravo Escarpment, and the Booths River Escarpment (Figure 2). These present an approximate elevation transition of 200 meters. Figure 1. Map of NW Belize and the RBMCA (after Scarborough et al. 2003). 406

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F. Valdez Jr. Large sites on the RBMCA currently number five known, another reported by PfB rangers, and at least tw o others anticipated given settlement and topography expectations. The five known sizeable sites are La Milpa, which is the third largest site in the country of Belize (following Caracol and Lamanai), Dos Hombres (Figure 3) which is about 70-75% the size of La Milpa, Maax Na, and Gran Cacao which are nearly the size of Dos Hombres, and Great Savanna (only one plaza mapped, but reported to be near the size of Gran Cacao). The intriguing discovery in the RBMCA, since the start of the PfBAP, is the number of large sites and their relative proximity. The occurrence of these large centers implied a large population, but the si gnificance of this implication went unappreciated until settlement studies were pursued. Figure 2. Map of escarpments in NW Belize (after Houk 2003). Having the se centers in relative proximity (e.g., DH is 12.5km s/se of La Milpa, and 8km se of Maax Na, and Maax Na is 7km of La Milpa), also brings into question the numbers of elites, how they contended with each other and what/how much did they control to maintain their polities. One point is clear and verified by the several years of survey and mapping, the landscape around these centers was utilized extensively and intensively. There seemed to have been a worldview that filled all available space or in essence, a full landscape. Commentary about smaller sites and rural settlement is warranted to help provide substance concerning issu es of livelihood in 407

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Life and Livelihood of Northwestern Belize Maya Figure 3. Map of Dos Hombres (after Houk 2003). the prehistoric RBMCA. It is research concerning the smaller settlements and general landscape manipulation that is a significant focus of this presentation. Where and how were the Maya utilizing the NW area of Belize for their livelihood? What kind of life did these activities provide for most of the Maya? Properly documented data concerning settlement locations, artifacts (production and consumption), and general patterns of land use all serve to help define ancient Maya life in NW Belize. It should be noted that the NW Belize area is a highly complex system of microenvironments providing varied resources that lead to broad settlement (Scarborough et al. 2003). The landscape between the major centers is filled with smaller sites, groups, houses, terraces, and other features (Walling 1995, 2004) indicating a complete and busy utilization of the region. Several sites are lithic production zones (Lewis 1995; Tovar 1995) while others are de finitely involved in intensive agricultural activities such as hillside terracing on escarpment faces and knolls (Walling 2004; Hyde and Grazioso 2004). In several locati ons are also ancient wells (Tovar, Valdez, and Scarborough 2004) that could have provided locations with dependable water in terms of supply and quality at least through the Late Classic. A pattern thus far revealed for most of the rural areas (as investigated for the last decade) indicates an ancient farming and/or production community characterized by integrated hydrological and residential architecture (for example, at Medicinal Trail). Cross-channel terraces are another form of landscape modification associated with several outlier settlement zones as evidenced near the Barba Group mapped and tested by Hageman. In any case, the various features of Maya adaptation in these away from the center areas represent substantial ancient planning and coordinated construction. The Rio Bravo flood plain is another area of high productivity that may have been extensively and intensively cultivated. Annual flooding that re plenishes the soils are event types seen in other areas of the world. Additionally, cul tivation occurred in other stream, river, and inundated areas in the form of channeled fields familiar to most Mayanists. Unfortunately, presented here is an emphasis on agricultural activities and perhaps stone tool production. The reason behind this rather narrow information source is mostly an issue of preservation. It is likely 408

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F. Valdez Jr. that within the RBMCA were m any resource specialized communities. This notion may be further supported by the presence of occupied microenvironments and perhaps the differences in settlements across the landscape. Recent research into ceramic production has demonstrated that local clays are excellent for production of clay bodies as well as slips (Clint Swink pers. comm. 2004). There remains, however, no evidence for kilns or other ceramic producing signatures. One interesting find is that it may have very highly unlikely that ceramics were produced during the ra iny season, presuming the past seasonality was similar to todays. If correct, pottery production may have been a seasonal endeavor at least in terms of construction, drying, and firing. Much of the data concerning dispersed settlements and the specific interpretation(s) of the data have been compiled by many researchers on the PfBAP. Hugh Robichaux (1995), Stan Walling (2004), Jon Lohse (2001), Jon Hageman (2004), Rissa Trachman (2004), and Richard Meadow s (2004) are among those responsible for helping to expand our knowledge of the dispersed settlement (Figure 4) and some of the activities at these distant locations. Trachman (2004), for example, is taking the settlement area data and moving significantly forward to provide an analysis of issues concerning gender and identity. Life and Livelihood The question of how the ancient Maya were doing in the RBMCA remains a general reconstruction th at can be modified with new data and analysis. The large centers certainly seemed to prosper throughout much of their history (Late Preclassic to Terminal Classic). Most (all upland) sites were abandoned in the Terminal Classic. M onumental construction, elite burials with significant furniture, etc. all point to an area of great significance and prosperity in the great Maya realm. The numerous smaller sites and settlement speak to an area that was highly productive, extensively, and intensively populated. The landscape modifications along with the settlements show that most of the area was utilized in some capacity. Among the smaller settlements is that simple utilized flakes, chert debitage, and cores in most, if not all, hous ehold groups indicate probable ad hoc tool creations on a local level (Walling 2004). Although we find and identify these tools, their specific function remains unknown. These might have been everyday tools or item s for a particular perishable production (feathers, etc.). The skeletal remains support the notion of a generally healthy population for most of the periods. The bones also show, however, various eviden ces of trauma and physical ailments (arthritis) common to many populations Frank Saul and Julie Saul personal communication 2004). Another interesting issue is that at one settlement, Chawak Butoob, unlike other area, could look down into Dos Hombres (the presumed social and political superiors) about 2 km to the NE (Walling 2004). The allowed positioning must have stemmed from the value of production at the small settlement area. The ideational landscape is also of great significance. At Dos Barbaras, a small site west from Dos Hombres is at least on small un-carved stela that may have been stuccoed and molded or painted. The Chawak Butoob settlement also displays an un-carved monument. Both finds indicate rural/distant areas recognized & involved in ritual and perhaps historical events. Stan Walling working in this settlement zone, that seems focused on terracing and related activities, has re cently discovered a significant ball court. Walling (2004) will be reporting on the find shortly. 409

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Life and Livelihood of Northwestern Belize Maya Final Comment As a general statement, evidence from the RBMCA indicates a robust society, active in production and consumption, and one that must have been integrated into a greater whole through the involved elite. Whether the various segments of the entire region were organized in a system of hierarchy or heterarchy (or both) is not at issue here, but that the region seems to have segments dependent upon each other and thus provided for a long continuous history is of great interest. It is clear that life and livelihood in the greater RBMCA area involved daily activities of subsistence production and consumption as well as an integrated system of ritual and beliefs. Political and social integration seem likely, but the specifics of direct ties between centers small and large remain obscure. While certain interpretations are presented as preliminary, many of the findings will certainly be substantiated as research continues in this spec ial region of the Maya lowlands. Figure 4. Map of settlement transect section from Dos Hombres (after Lohse 2001). References Cited Adams, Richard E.W. 1995 The Programme for Belize Regional Archaeological Proj ect: 1994 Interim Report, Introduction. In The Programme for Belize Archaeological Project: 1994 Interim Report edited by Richard E. W. Adams and Fred Valdez, Jr.: I15.The Center for Archaeology and Tropical 410

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F. Valdez Jr. Studies and The University of Texas at San Antonio. Adams, Richard E.W. and Fred Valdez Jr. (editors) 1995 The Programme for Belize Archaeological Project. 1994 Interim Report The Center for Archaeology and Tropical Studies, The University of Texas at San Antonio. Chase, Diane and Arlen Chase (editors) 1994 Studies in the Archaeology of Caracol, Belize. Monograph 7, Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute. San Francisco. Houk, Brett A. 1996 The Archaeology of Site Planning: An Example from the Maya Site of Dos Hombres, Belize. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. University of Texas at Austin. Houk, Brett A., Paul J. Hughbanks, and Fred Valdez, Jr. 1993 Preliminary Findings of the 1992 PfB Archaeological Survey. In The Programme for Belize (PfB) Archaeological Project: Report of Field Activities, 1992, edited by R. E. W. Adams and Fred Valdez, Jr.: 27-34. The University of Texas at San Antonio. Hughbanks, Paul J. 1995 Research at Guij arral (RB18), 1994. In The Programme for Belize Archaeological Project: 1994 Interim Report edited by Richard E. W. Adams and Fred Valdez, Jr.: 73-77. The Center for Archaeology and Tropical Studies and The University of Texas at San Antonio. Hyde, David and Liwy Grazioso 2004 Report of Field Activities from the 2004 Season. Ms. On file at the Mesoamerican Archaeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin. Iannone, Gyles and James Herbert (editors) 2003 Archaeological Investigations in the North Vaca Plateau, Belize: Progress Report of the Fifth (2003) Season Social Archaeology Research Program, Department of Anthropology, Trent University. Peterborough. Lewis, Brandon S. 1995 The Role of Sp ecialized Production in the Development of Sociopolitical Complexity: A Test Case from the Late Classic Maya. Unpublished PhD. dissertation, the University of California at Los Angeles. Lohse, Jon 2001 The Social Organization of a Late Classic Maya Community: Dos Hombres, Northern Belize. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. University of Texas at Austin. Munoz, A. Rene 1995 Excavations at RB11, the Gateway Site; Report of 1994 Activities. In The Programme for Belize Archaeological Project: 1994 Interim Report edited by Richard E. W. Adams and Fred Valdez, Jr.: 68-72. The Center for Archaeology and Tropical Studies and The University of Texas at San Antonio. Robichaux, Hubert R. 1995 Ancient Maya Community Patterns in Northwestern Belize: Peripheral Zone Survey at La Milpa and Dos Hombres. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin. Scarborough, Vernon, Fred Valdez, and Nicholas Dunning (editors) 2003 Heterarchy, Political Economy, and the Ancient Maya University of Arizona Press. Tucson. Scarborough, Vernon L., Matthew E. Becher, Jeffrey L. Baker, Garry Harris, and J. D. Hensz 19 92 Water Management Studies at La Milpa, Belize. Report submitted to National Geographic Society; Department of Archaeology, Belize; and Programme for Belize. Department of Anthropology, University of Cincinnati, Ohio. Scarborough, Vernon L., Matthew E. Becher, Jeffrey L. Baker, Garry Harris, and Fred Valdez, Jr. 1995 Water and Land at the Ancient Maya Community of La Milpa. Latin American Antiquity 6:98-119. Sullivan, Lauren A. 1993 Overview of Excavations at Las Abejas, 1992. In The Programme for Belize (PJB) Archaeological Project: Report of Field 411

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Life and Livelihood of Northwestern Belize Maya 412Activities, 1992 edited by R. E. W. Adams and Fred Valdez, Jr.: 20 -26. The University of Texas at San Antonio. 1997 Classic Maya social organization: a perspective from Las Abejas. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. University of Texas at Austin Tovar, Lynne 1995 RB-45: Investigations of Domestic Lithic Technology and Production. In The Programme for Belize Archaeological Project: 1994 Interim Report edited by Richard E. W. Adams and Fred Valdez, Jr.: 118-124. The Center for Archaeology and Tropical Studies and The University of Texas at San Antonio. Trachman, Rissa 2004 Ph.D. dissertation in progress. Department of Anthropology. The University of Texas at Austin. Walling, Stanley L. 1995 Bajo and Floodplain Sites Along the Rio Bravo; 1994 S