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MORTUARY RITUAL AND FAMILY POLITICS AT FORMATIVE AND EARLY CLASSIC K'AXOB, BELIZE

  • Patricia A. McAnany (a1), Rebecca Storey (a2) and Angela K. Lockard (a3)
    • Published online: 01 January 1999
Abstract

Mortuary interments from Formative and Early Classic deposits of the Maya site of K'axob, northern Belize, show significant variation in four aspects: burial position, number of interments within a burial facility, incidence of secondary interments, and types of associated burial accoutrements. Burial data for more than 100 individuals of both sexes and all age grades indicate that these changes over time are significant. The implications of these patterns for heightening our understanding of mortuary ritual are explored in depth. Evidence suggests that tightly wrapped seated and flexed burials represent the Late Formative onset of more protracted rituals involving prolonged displays of ancestors. Terminal Formative mortuary deposits featuring collections of curated ancestor remains indicate the “gathering of ancestors,” generally at a locale at which a monumental structure was later built. Sex and age distributions within multiple interments (both primary and secondary) reflect the familial character of burial locales, particularly at the centrally located Operation I. Burial accoutrements demonstrate the connectivity of K'axob to general cosmological armatures of Maya society. Increasingly individualized artifacts indicate the socially diacritical role of burial offerings.

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Ancient Mesoamerica
  • ISSN: 0956-5361
  • EISSN: 1469-1787
  • URL: /core/journals/ancient-mesoamerica
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