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PRECLASSIC MAYA OCCUPATION OF THE ITZAN ESCARPMENT, LOWER RÍO DE LA PASIÓN, PETÉN, GUATEMALA

  • Kevin J. Johnston (a1)

Abstract

Maya elites and commoners intensively occupied the Itzan escarpment, located in the lower Río de la Pasión drainage system of Petén, Guatemala, during the Preclassic and Protoclassic periods. Itzan was colonized during the Xe phase of the Middle Preclassic period, and its occupation intensified during the late Middle and Late Preclassic periods, when elite residential and ceremonial facilities were erected. During the Late Preclassic and Protoclassic periods, the escarpment was dominated by Chaak Ak'al, a large site distinguished by massive pyramids and lengthy wall-like constructions, which undoubtedly served as a polity capital. Subsequent to the Protoclassic period, the locus of activity atop the escarpment shifted back to Itzan, which served as a polity capital through the Late Classic period. From data collected at Itzan, Chaak Ak'al, and other sites of the lower Río de la Pasión drainage system, a picture of regional Preclassic Maya political geography is emerging.

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E-mail correspondence to: johnston.213@osu.edu

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