Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Reverential abandonment: a termination ritual at the ancient Maya polity of El Palmar

  • Kenichiro Tsukamoto (a1)
Abstract
Abstract

Archaeological evidence for Maya termination rituals has been reported from several sites, but spatial analyses based on quantitative data have not previously been undertaken. This study uses spatial analysis of deposits at the Guzmán Group, an outlying architectural group within the Maya centre of El Palmar in Mexico, to identify the participants and their behaviour in the termination ritual, along with associated public activities. Results suggest that participants were Guzmán Group inhabitants, who intentionally placed particular items in specific locations. The size and use-wear of vessels suggest repeated feasting events in the plaza. The study highlights the significance of contextual analyses for a greater understanding of the spatial dynamics inherent in the abandonment processes of early complex societies.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Agurcia R.F. & Fash B.W.. 2005. The evolution of structure 10L-16, heart of the Copán acropolis, in Andrews E.W. & Fash W.L. (ed.) Copàn: the history of an ancient Maya kingdom: 201–37. Santa Fe (NM): School of American Research; Oxford: James Currey.
Coe W.R. 1959. Piedras Negras archaeology: artifacts, caches, and burials. Philadelphia: The University Museum, University of Pennsylvania.
Crown P.L. 1994. Ceramics and ideology: Salado polychrome pottery. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
Deal M. 1985. Household pottery disposal in the Maya highlands: an ethnoarchaeological interpretation. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 4: 243–91. https://doi.org/10.1016/0278-4165(85)90008-X
Dietler M. & Hayden B.. 2001. Digesting the feast—good to eat, good to drink, good to think: an introduction, in Dietler M. & Hayden B. (ed.) Feasts: archaeological and ethnographic perspectives on food, politics, and power: 120. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
Freidel D.A. 1986. The monumental architecture, in Robertson R.A. & Freidel D.A. (ed.) Archaeology at Cerros, Belize, Central America, volume 1, an interim report: 122. Dallas (TX): Southern Mesodist University Press.
Freidel D.A. & Schele L.. 1989. Dead kings and living temples: dedication and termination rituals among the ancient Maya, in Hanks W.F. & Rice D.S. (ed.) Word and image in Maya culture: explorations in language, writing, and representation: 233–43. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.
Garber J.F. 1989. Archaeology at Cerros Belize, Central America, volume II, the artifacts. Dallas (TX): Southern Methodist University Press.
Grove D. 1984. Chalcatzingo, excavations on the Olmec frontier. New York: Thames & Hudson.
Harrison P.D. 2001. Thrones and throne structures in the central acropolis of Tikal as an expression of the royal court, in Inomata T. & Houston S.D. (ed.) Royal courts of the ancient Maya, volume one: theory, comparison, and synthesis: 74101. Boulder (CO): Westview.
Helmke C. & Awe J.J.. 2016. Death becomes her: an analysis of panel 3, Xunantunich, Belize. The PARI Journal XVI: 114.
Hutson S.R., Stanton T.W., Magnoni A., Terry R. & Craner J.. 2007. Beyond the buildings: formation processes of ancient Maya houselots and methods for the study of non-architectural space. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 26: 442–73. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2006.12.001
Inomata T. 2003. War, destruction, and abandonment: the fall of the Classic Maya center of Aguateca, Guatemala, in Inomata T. & Webb R.W. (ed.) Archaeology of settlement abandonment in Middle America: 4360. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.
Inomata T., Triadan D., Ponciano E., Terry R. & Beaubien H.F.. 2001. In the palace of the fallen king: the royal residential complex at Aguateca, Guatemala. Journal of Field Archaeology 28: 287306. https://doi.org/10.1179/jfa.2001.28.3-4.287
Kerr J. 1998. The Maya vase book: a corpus of rollout photographs of Maya vases. New York: Associates.
LaMotta V.M. & Schiffer M.B.. 1999. Formation processes of house floor assemblages, in Allison P.M. (ed.) The archaeology of household activities: 1929. Oxford: Routledge.
Lamoureux-St-Hilaire M., Macrae S., McCane C.A., Parker E.A. & Iannone G.. 2015. The last groups standing: living abandonment at the ancient Maya center of Minanha, Belize. Latin American Antiquity 26: 550–69. https://doi.org/10.7183/1045-6635.26.4.550
Manzanilla L. 2003. The abandonment of Teotihuacan, in Inomata T. & Webb R.W. (ed.) The archaeology of settlement abandonment in Middle America: 91101. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.
Martin S. & Grube N.. 2008. Chronicle of the Maya kings and queens: deciphering the dynasties of the ancient Maya. London: Thames & Hudson.
Matsumoto Y. 2012. Recognising ritual: the case of Campanayuq Rumi. Antiquity 86: 746–59. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X0004789X
McAnany P.A. 1995. Living with ancestors: kinship and kingship in ancient Maya society. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Mills B.J. 1999. Ceramics and the social contexts of food consumption in the northern Southwest, in Skibo J.M. & Feinman G.M. (ed.) Pottery and people: dynamic interactions: 99114. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.
Mills B.J. 2007. Performing the feast: visual display and suprahousehold commensalism in the Puebloan Southwest. American Antiquity 72: 210–39. https://doi.org/10.2307/40035812
Mock S.B. (ed.). 1998. The sowing and the dawning: termination, dedication, and transformation in the archaeological and ethnographic record of Mesoamerica. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
Nelson B.A. 1991. Ceramic frequency and use-life, in Longacre W.A. (ed.) Ceramic ethnoarchaeology: 162–81. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
Pagliaro J.B., Garber J.F. & Stanton T.W.. 2003. Re-evaluating the archaeological signatures of Maya ritual and conflict, in Brown K.M. & Stanton T.W. (ed.) Ancient Mesoamerican warfare: 7589. Walnut Creek (CA): AltaMira.
Pauketat T.R. & Emerson T.E.. 1991. The ideology of authority and the power of the pot. American Anthropologist 93: 919–41. https://doi.org/10.1525/aa.1991.93.4.02a00080
Ramírez Hernández D.M. 2015. Un rito de terminación en el sitio arqueológico El Palmar, Campeche. Unpublished undergraduate dissertation, Universidad Veracruzana.
Rice P.M. 1987. Pottery analysis: a source book. Chicago (IL): University of Chicago Press.
Robertson R.A. & Freidel D.A. (ed.). 1986. Archaeology at Cerros Belize, Central America, volume 1: an interim report. Dallas (TX): Southern Methodist University Press.
Rosenswig R.M. 2007. Beyond identifying elites: feasting as a means to understand early Middle Formative society on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 26: 127. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2006.02.002
Spielmann K.A. 1998. Ritual influences on the development of Rio Grande Glaze A ceramics, in Spielmann K.A. (ed.) Migration and reorganization: the Pueblo IV period in the American Southwest (Arizona State University Anthropological Research Paper 51): 253–61. Tempe: Arizona State University Press.
Stanton T.W., Brown M.K. & Pagliaro J.B.. 2008. Garbage of the gods? Squatters, refuse disposal, and termination rituals among the ancient Maya. Latin American Antiquity 19: 227–47. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1045663500007938
Stross B. 1998. Seven ingredients in Mesoamerican ensoulment: dedication and termination in Tenejapa, in Mock S.B. (ed.) The sowing and the dawning: termination, dedication, and transformation in the archaeological and ethnographic record of Mesoamerica: 3139. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
Sugiyama S. 1998. Termination programs and Prehispanic looting at the Feathered Serpent Pyramid in Teotihuacan, Mexico, in Mock S.B. (ed.) The sowing and the dawning: termination, dedication, and transformation in the archaeological and ethnographic record of Mesoamerica: 147–64. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
Sullivan L.A., Hageman J.B., Houk B.A., Hughbanks P. & Valdez F. Jr. 2008. Structure abandonment and landscape transformation: examples from the Three Rivers region, in Stanton T.W. & Magnoni A. (ed.) Ruins of the past: the use and perception of abandoned structures in the Maya lowlands: 91111. Boulder: University Press of Colorado.
Tozzer A.M. 1941. Landa's Relación de las cosas de Yucatán—a translation (Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology 18). Cambridge (MA): Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology.
Tsukamoto K. 2014. Multiple identities on the plazas: the Classic Maya center of El Palmar, Mexico, in Tsukamoto K. & Inomata T. (ed.) Mesoamerican plazas: arenas of community and power: 5067. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
Tsukamoto K. & Esparza Olguín O.. 2015. Ajpach’ Waal: the hieroglyphic stairway at the Guzmán Group of El Palmar, Campeche, Mexico, in Golden C., Houston S. & Skidmore J. (ed.) Maya archaeology 3: 3055. San Francisco (CA): Precolumbia Mesoweb.
Tsukamoto K., López Camacho J., Campaña Valenzuela L.E., Kotegawa H. & Esparza Olguín O.. 2015. Political interactions among social actors: spatial organization at the Classic Maya polity of El Palmar, Campeche, Mexico. Latin American Antiquity 26: 200–20. https://doi.org/10.7183/1045-6635.26.2.200
Velásquez J.G. 2015. Dedication and termination rituals in southern Moche public architecture. Latin American Antiquity 26: 87105. https://doi.org/10.7183/1045-6635.26.1.87
Walker D.S. 1998. Smashed pots and shattered dreams: the material evidence for an Early Classic Maya site termination at Cerros, Belize, in Mock S.B. (ed.) The sowing and the dawning: termination, dedication, and transformation in the archaeological and ethnographic record of Mesoamerica: 8199. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
Walker W.H. 1998. Where are the witches of prehistory? Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory 5: 245308. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02428071
Recommend this journal

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

Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 3
Total number of PDF views: 40 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 152 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 6th December 2017 - 18th January 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.