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RUBBISH OR RITUAL? CONTEXTUALIZING A TERMINAL CLASSIC PROBLEMATICAL DEPOSIT AT BLUE CREEK, BELIZE: A response to “Public Architecture, Ritual, and Temporal Dynamics at the Maya Center of Blue Creek, Belize” by Thomas H. Guderjan

  • Sarah C. Clayton (a1), W. David Driver (a2) and Laura J. Kosakowsky (a3)

Abstract

In this paper we present the results of our analysis of the contents and context of a Terminal Classic “problematical deposit” at Blue Creek, in northwestern Belize, and consider the kinds of behaviors, ritual and otherwise, that may have been responsible for it. We argue that the deposit is secondary, and not the result of a termination ritual in which whole vessels are smashed in situ on the front of a monumental structure in the site center. Based on analysis of the ceramics found in the deposit, specifically the number of whole pots and the forms of vessels represented, as well as a careful consideration of the stratigraphic evidence, we hypothesize that this problematical deposit may represent the transported remains of feasting events that occurred elsewhere at Blue Creek. The research that we present here has important implications for understanding the behaviors and events that occurred prior to the abandonment of Maya sites during the Terminal Classic period (a.d. 830/850–1000). Furthermore, we offer a methodology for the interpretation of problematical deposits that too often go unanalyzed and demonstrate that detailed investigation of such deposits contributes to a greater understanding of Maya ritual behavior.

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Corresponding author

E-mail correspondence to: sarah.clayton@asu.edu

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