Skip to main content
×
Home

Reconstructing Classic Maya Socioeconomic Differentiation and the Collapse at Dos Pilas, Peten, Guatemala

  • Joel W. Palka (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

Three field seasons of extensive residential archaeology at Dos Pilas, Peten, Guatemala, provide important data for the examination of ancient Maya social structure and the Classic Period collapse in the Petexbatun region. A sampling strategy guiding excavations in structures of different size and architectural configuration enables us to reconstruct the multifaceted, segmented nature of Maya social inequalities and helps to elucidate the effects of the collapse on the lives of people of various socioeconomic ranks and statuses. Other significant findings of the project include hieroglyphic vessels and stone sculptures in nonroyal elite domestic compounds, postcollapse occupation in the settlement, as well as continued craft production and interregional trade into Terminal Classic times and after elite abandonment of the site. The results of household archaeology at Dos Pilas, which demonstrate that elites were affected first and foremost during the collapse, support theories of intensified elite competition, socio-political instability, and warfare for the Maya downfall in the Petexbatun Region, and not environmental degradation or breakdowns in interregional trade.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Abrams Elliot M. 1994 How the Maya Built Their World: Energetics and Architecture. University of Texas Press, Austin.
Ball Joseph W., and Taschek Jennifer T. 1991 Late Classic Lowland Maya Political Organization and Central-Place Analysis: New Insights from the Upper Belize Valley. Ancient Mesoamerica 2: 149166.
Carmean Kelli 1991 Architectural Labor Investment and Social Stratification at Sayil, Yucatán, Mexico. Latin American Antiquity 2: 151165.
Chinchilla Oswaldo 1990 Operación DP14: Investigaciones en el Grupo N5–6. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Infonne Preliminar #2, Segunda Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A. and Houston Stephen D., pp. 120145. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Crumley Carole L. 1995 Heterarchy and the Analysis of Complex Societies. In Helerarchy and the Analysis of Complex Societies, edited by Ehrenreich Robert M., Crumley Carole L., and Levy Janet E., pp. 16. Archeological Papers No. 6. American Anthropological Association, Arlington, VA.
Culbert T. Patrick (editor) 1973 The Classic Maya Collapse, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.
Demarest Arthur A. 1989 Conclusiones: Algunas interpretaciones Cultural-históricas preliminares sobre los resultados de la temporada de 1989. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #1, Primera Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A. and Houston Stephen D., pp. 225232. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Demarest Arthur A. 1993 Violent Saga of a Maya Kingdom. National Geographic 183(2):94111.
Demarest Arthur A. 1995 Investigaciones en el complejo Murcielagos: Objetivos, metodología y operaciones de mapeo. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #6, Sexta Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A., Valdés Juan Antonio, and Escobedo Héctor, pp. 261269. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Demarest Arthur A. 1996 War, Peace, and the Collapse of a Native American Civilization. In A Natural History of Peace, edited by Gregor Thomas, pp. 215248. Vanderbilt University Press, London.
Demarest Arthur A. 1997 The Vanderbilt Petexbatun Regional Archaeological Project 1989–1994: Overview, History, and Major Results of a Multidisciplinary Study of the Classic Maya Collapse. Ancient Mesoamerica 8: 209227.
Demarest Arthur A., and Valdés Juan Antonio 1995 Guerra, agresión politica y el colapso de la civilización maya clásica en la région Petexbatun. In VIII Simpósio de Investigaciones Arqueológicas en Guatemala, 1994, edited by Laporte Juan Pedro and Escobedo Hector L., pp. 777781. Ministerio de Cultura y Déportes, Guatemala.
Demarest Arthur A., López Nora María, Chatham Robert, Emory Katherine, Palka Joel, Morgan Kim, and Escobedo Héctor 1991 Operación DP28: Excavaciones en las murallas defensivas de Dos Pilas. In Proyecto Arqueológico Régional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #3, Tercera Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A., Inomata Takeshi, Escobedo Héctor, and Palka Joel, pp. 208241. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Demarest Arthur A., O'Mansky Matt, Wolley Claudia, Van Tuerenhout Dirk, Inomata Takeshi, Palka Joel, and Escobedo Héctor 1997 Classic Maya Defensive Systems and Warfare in the Petexbatun Region: Archaeological Evidence and Interpretations. Ancient Mesoamerica 8: 229253.
Dumont Louis 1980 Homo Hierarchies: The Caste System and Its Implications. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Dunning Nicholas P. 1991 El uso prehispánico de la tierra y la historia cultural de la región del Ríoo de la Pasión: Una re-examinación. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #3, Tercera Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A., Inomata Takeshi, Escobedo Héctor, and Palka Joel, pp. 887895. Institute de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Emery Katherine 1991 Operación DP33: Excavaciones en el Gr. O4–6 de Dos Pilas. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #3, Tercera Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A., Inomata Takeshi, Escobedo Hector, and Palka Joel, pp. 332357. Institute de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Emery Katherine, Foias Antonia, and Wright Lori 1991 Operación DP26: Excavaciones en el Grupo M5–5. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #3, Tercera Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A., Inomata Takeshi, Escobedo Héctor, and Palka Joel, pp. 169205. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Emery Kitty, Poche Kelley, and Brandon R. Joseph 1992 Operación DP7: La continuación de excavaciones en el Grupo L4–4. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #4, Quarta Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A., Inomata Takeshi, and Escobedo Héctor, pp. 3558. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Escobedo Héctor L. 1991 Operación DP30: Excavaciones en el Grupo Habitacional P5–1. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #3, Tercera Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A., Inomata Takeshi, Escobedo Héctor, and Palka Joel, pp. 256310. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Escobedo Héctor L., Wright Lori, Chinchilla Oswaldo, Symonds Stacey, and Robles María Teresa 1990 Operación DP8: Investigaciones en “El Duende.” In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #2, Segunda Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A. and Houston Stephen D., pp. 277333. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Fallers Lloyd A. 1973 Inequality: Social Stratification Reconsidered. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Fash William L. 1983 Maya State Formation: A Case Study and Its Implications. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Foias Antonia E. 1996 Changing Ceramic Production and Exchange Systems and the Classic Maya Collapse in the Petexbatun Region. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Foias Antonia E., and Bishop Ronald L. 1997 Changing Ceramic Production and Exchange in the Petexbatun Region, Guatemala: Reconsidering the Classic Maya Collapse. Ancient Mesoamerica 8: 275291.
Foias Antonia E., and Brandon R. Joseph 1992 Excavaciones en el grupo tardío L4–3: Operación DP1. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #4, Quarta Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A., Inomata Takeshi, and Escobedo Héctor, pp. 1329. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Fried Morton H. 1967 The Evolution of Political Society. Random House, New York.
Graham Ian 1967 Archaeological Explorations in El Peten, Guatemala. Publication No. 33. Middle American Research Institute, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA.
Haviland William, and Moholy-Nagy Hattula 1992 Distinguishing the High and Mighty from the Hoi Polloi at Tikal, Guatemala. In Mesoamerican Elites: An Archaeological Assessment, edited by Chase Diane Z. and Chase Arien F., pp. 5060. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
Hendon Julia A. 1991 Status and Power in Classic Maya Society: An Archaeological Study. American Anthropologist 93: 894918.
Houston Stephen D. 1987 The Inscriptions and Monumental Art of Dos Pilas, Guatemala: A Study of Classic Maya History and Politics. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Yale University, New Haven, CT.
Houston Stephen D. 1993 Hieroglyphs and History at Dos Pilas: Dynastic Politics of the Classic Maya. University of Texas Press, Austin.
Houston Stephen, and Mathews Peter 1985 The Dynastic Sequence of Dos Pilas, Guatemala. Monograph No. 1. Precolumbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco.
Inomata Takeshi 1995 Archaeological Investigations at the Fortified Center of Aguateca, El Petén, Guatemala: Implications for the Study of the Classic Maya Collapse. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Inomata Takeshi 1997 The Last Day of a Fortified Classic Maya Center: Archaeological Investigations at Aguateca, Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica 8: 337351.
Kintz Ellen R. 1983 Class Structure in a Classic Maya City. In Coba: A Classic Maya Metropolis, edited by Folan William, Kintz Ellen R., and Fletcher Laraine A., pp. 161178. Academic Press, New York.
Kurjack Edward B. 1974 Prehistoric Lowland Maya Community and Social Organization: A Case Study at Dzibilchaltun, Yucatan, Mexico. Middle American Research Institute, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA.
Lenski Gerhard E. 1966 Power and Privilege: A Theory of Social Stratification. McGraw-Hill, New York.
McGuire Randall 1983 Breaking Down Cultural Complexity: Inequality and Heterogeneity. In Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory, vol. 6, edited by Schiffer Michael B., pp. 9192. Academic Press, New York.
Marx Karl 1969 On Class. In Structured Social Inequality: A Reader in Comparative Social Stratification, edited by Heller Celia S., pp. 1423. Macmillan, New York.
Netting Robert McC. 1982 Some Truths on Household Size and Wealth. American Behavioral Scientist 25: 641662.
Paine Richard R., and Fréter AnnCorinne 1996 Environmental Degradation and the Classic Maya Collapse at Copan, Honduras (a.d. 600–1250): Evidence from Studies of Household Survival. Ancient Mesoamerica 7: 3748.
Palka Joel W. 1990 Operación DP15: Excavaciones en el Grupo Residencial K4–1. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #2, Segunda Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A. and Houston Stephen D., pp. 146165. Institute de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Palka Joel W. 1991a Operación DP19: Excavación de la Estr. L5–47 y sus alrededores. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #3, Tercera Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A., Inomata Takeshi, Escobedo Hector, and Palka Joel, pp. 123137. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Palka Joel W. 1991b Operación DP32: La Excavación de Estr. P4–22 y posibles actividades post-colapso. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #3, Tercera Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A., Inomata Takeshi, Escobedo Héctor, and Palka Joel, pp. 325331. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Palka Joel W. 1991c Los Patrones de Asentamieto de Dos Pilas. In Proyecto Arquelógico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #3, Tercera Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A., Inomata Takeshi, Escobedo Héctor, and Palka Joel, pp. 872894. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Palka Joel W. 1995 Classic Maya Social Inequality and the Collapse at Dos Pilas, Petén, Guatemala. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Palka Joel W., and Foias Antonia E. 1991 Operación DP2: Excavaciones en la Plaza Mayor de Dos Pilas. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #3, Tercera Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A., Inomata Takeshi, Escobedo Héctor, and Palka Joel, pp. 1236. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Palka Joel W., and Moscoso Fernando 1992 Operación DP37 del Grupo 05–2: Excavaciones en unidades residencies del Post-Colapso. In Proyecto Arquelógico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #4, Cuarto Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A., Inomata Takeshi, and Escobedo Héctor, pp. 133165. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt Univerrsity, Nashville, TN.
Palka Joel W., Stuart David, and Houston Stephen 1996 A Classic Maya Initiation Ceremony? Dos Pilas Panel #19. Submitted to Center for Maya Research Reports on Maya Hieroglyphic Writing, Washington, DC.
Rathje William, and McGuire Randall H. 1982 Rich Men … Poor Men. American Behavioral Scientist 25: 705715.
Sjoberg Gideon 1960 The Preindustrial City: Past and Present. The Free Press, New York.
Sharer Robert 1977 The Maya Collapse Revisited: Internal and External Perspectives. In Social Process in Maya Prehistory, Essays in Honour of Sir J. Eric S. Thompson, edited by Hammond Norman, pp. 532552. Academic Press, New York.
Smith Michael E. 1987 Household Possessions and Wealth in Agrarian States: Implications for Archaeology. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 6: 297335.
Stiver Laura, Glascock Michael D., and Neff Hector 1992 Socioeconomic and Historical Implications of Obsidian Source Analysis from Dos Pilas, Petexbatun Region, Guatemala. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Tourtellot Gair 1988 Excavations at Seibal: Peripheral Survey and Excavation: Settlement and Community Patterns. Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology Vol. 16. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Weber Max 1969 Class, Status, Party. In Structured Social Inequality: A Reader in Comparative Social Stratification, edited by Heller Celia S., pp. 2433. Macmillan, New York.
Webster David L., and Gonlin Nancy 1988 Household Remains of the Humblest Maya. Journal of Field Archaeology 15: 169190.
Webster David, Sanders William, and van Rossum Peter 1992 A Simulation of Copan Population History and Its Implications. Ancient Mesoamerica 3: 185198.
Willey Gordon R., and Leventhal Richard M. 1979 Prehistoric Settlement in the Copan Valley. In Maya Archaeology and Ethnohistory, edited by Hammond Norman and Willey Gordon, 75102. University of Texas Press, Austin.
Wolley Claudia 1995 Investigaciones en la Estructura N5–3A del Grupo Murcielagos. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #6, Sexta Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A., Valdés Juan Antonio, and Escobedo Héctor, pp. 281289. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Wolley Claudia, and Wright Lori E. 1990 Operación DP7: Investigaciones en el Grupo L4–4. In Proyecto Arqueológico Regional Petexbatun: Informe Preliminar #2, Segunda Temporada, edited by Demarest Arthur A. and Houston Stephen D., pp. 4465. Instituto de Antropología e Historia, Guatemala, and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.
Wright Lori E. 1994 The Sacrifice of the Earth? Diet, Health, and Inequality in the Posion Maya Lowlands. Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago, Chicago.
Wright Lori E. 1997 Biological Perspectives on the Collapse of the Pasion Maya. Ancient Mesoamerica 8: 267273.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Ancient Mesoamerica
  • ISSN: 0956-5361
  • EISSN: 1469-1787
  • URL: /core/journals/ancient-mesoamerica
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 92 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 391 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 18th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.