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XTOBO, YUCATAN, MEXICO, AND THE EMERGENT PRECLASSIC OF THE NORTHERN MAYA LOWLANDS

  • David S. Anderson (a1)

Abstract

Traditionally, research on the Preclassic Maya has focused on settlements found in the Southern Maya Lowlands. Apart from work at a few well-known archaeological sites in the Northern Lowlands, such as Komchen, Dzibilchaltun, and Yaxuna, the Preclassic Northern Maya had received relatively little attention from scholars. In recent years, however, many previously unreported archaeological sites with Preclassic materials have come to light. In northwest Yucatan, Mexico, a survey carried out by Proyecto Costa Maya encountered 140 sites with Preclassic components, including the site of Xtobo. Xtobo stood out from its neighboring Preclassic sites due to its extent and the size and complexity of its architecture. In addition, initial surveys of the site suggested that it was never reoccupied after the Preclassic period, thereby making it a valuable site for studying the Preclassic period in the Northern Maya Lowlands. After three seasons of fieldwork, the Proyecto Arqueologico de Xtobo was able to build substantially on the initial findings of the Proyecto Costa Maya, mapping 67 ha of settlement, including 387 structures, and carrying out a stratified sample of test pit excavations throughout the site. The project documented a dense and well-organized settlement, which included complex architectural features, such as pyramids, triadic groups, elite residences, and a ballcourt. The settlement at Xtobo shows many signs of a complex sociopolitical organization and interaction with other areas of the Maya region and Mesoamerica. The results of the Proyecto Arqueologico de Xtobo indicate that the Northern Maya Lowlands were an important and integral part of Preclassic Mesoamerica and should be considered in larger cultural reconstructions of the time period.

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E-mail correspondence to: danders3@tulane.edu

References

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