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LOWLAND MAYA GENESIS: THE LATE ARCHAIC TO LATE EARLY FORMATIVE TRANSITION IN THE UPPER BELIZE RIVER VALLEY

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 December 2021

Jaime J. Awe*
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Northern Arizona University, 5 E. McConnell Drive, Flagstaff, Arizona86011-5200, United States
Claire E. Ebert
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Pittsburgh, 3302 WWPH, S Bouquet St, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania15260, United States
W. James Stemp
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology, Keene State College, 229 Main Street, Keene, New Hampshire03435-3400, United States
M. Kathryn Brown
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at San Antonio, 1 UTSA Circle, San Antonio, Texas78249-1644, United States
Lauren A. Sullivan
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts02125, United States
James F. Garber
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Texas State University, 266 Evans Liberal Arts, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, Texas78666-4684, United States
*
E-mail correspondence to: Jaime.Awe@nau.edu

Abstract

The transition from the Late Archaic to the Late Early Formative period witnessed profound changes in the Maya lowlands. In addition to the establishment of the first settlements and agrarian communities, this critical phase of cultural development heralded the introduction of ceramics, saw changes in lithic technology, gave rise to inter-regional trade and exchange, and witnessed the introduction of a complex symbolic system expressed on portable objects. In this article, we synthesize data collected over the past several decades by various archaeological projects in western Belize to provide an overview of the cultural changes that unfolded during the Late Archaic to Late Early Formative period in the Upper Belize River Valley. We also provide evidence indicating that it was during this critical transitional period that we begin to see the establishment of several cultural traditions that became uniquely lowland Maya.

Type
Special Section: The Preceramic and Early Ceramic Periods in Belize and the Central Maya Lowlands
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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