Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684bc48f8b-ttgcf Total loading time: 1.293 Render date: 2021-04-14T02:55:53.973Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

Maya Multiples: Individuals, Entries, and Tombs in Structure A34 of Caracol, Belize

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Diane Z. Chase
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816
Arlen F. Chase
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816

Abstract

It is commonly assumed in both the public and professional perceptions of Maya archaeology that tombs serve as time capsules, each representing a single event, and that burials of single individuals were the normal interment type, at least during the Late Classic period (A.D. 550-800). The investigation of Caracol Structure A34 provides excellent examples of tomb re-entry as well as of multiple-individual interment in sealed contexts, both of which contradict current assumptions. Analyses of the excavations also embody a true conjunctive approach by utilizing stratigraphy, osteology, artifacts, and epigraphy. When the archaeological data from Structure A34 are placed within a broader context, single-event single-individual tombs are shown to be but one manner of interment at Caracol. Although the large number of multiple-individual burials and the possibility of widespread tomb re-entry at Caracol may appear aberrant when compared with general interment practices at other Maya sites, the inferred funerary rites are well within the bounds of worldwide cultural practices relating to death and burial.

En la percepción tanto pública como profesional de la arqueología Maya, se supone por lo general que las tumbas funcionaron como cápsulas de tiempo, de las cuales cada una representa un evento único, y que el enterramiento de individuos sólos fue el tipo normal de sepultura, al menos durante el período Clásico Tardío (550-800 d.C.). Investigaciones realizadas en la estructura A34 de Caracol proporcionan excelentes ejemplos de tumbas de re-enterramiento, como también del entierro de múltiples individuos en contextos sellados y esto contradice las suposiciones de la actualidad. El análisis de las excavaciones involucra una verdadera aproximación de conjunto al emplear estratigrafía, osteología, artefactos, y epigrafía. Cuando consideramos los datos arqueológicos procedentes de la estructura A34 en un contexto mas ámplio, observamos que las tumbas de un solo individuo que representan un solo evento constan de un solo un tipo de enterramiento en Caracol. Aunque la gran cantidad de entierros de múltiples individuos y la posibilidad de tumbas de re-enterramiento en Caracol pudieran parecer aberrantes cuando se comparan con las prácticas de enterramiento reportadas en otros sitios Mayas, los ritos funerarios inferidos están dentro de los límites de las prácticas culturales a nivel mundial relacionadas con la muerte y el enterramiento.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 1996

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

Becker, M. J. 1982 Ancient Maya Houses and Their Identification: An Evaluation of Architectural Groups at Tikal and Inferences Regarding Their Function. Revista Española de Antropología Americana 12:111129.Google Scholar
Becquelin, P., and Baudez, C. F. 1979–1982 Toniná: Une Cite Maya du Chiapas, Collection Etudes Mesoamericaines, Tome 1, MAEFM Tomes 2 and 3, ADPF, Editions Récherches sur les Civilisations, Mexico and Paris.Google Scholar
Beetz, C. P., and Satterthwaite, L. 1981 The Monuments and Inscriptions of Caracol, Belize. Monograph No. 45. University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
Bloch, M. 1982 Death, Women and Power. In Death and the Regeneration of Life, edited by M. Bloch and J. Parry, pp. 211230. Cambridge University Press, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bloch, M., and Parry, J. 1982 Introduction: Death and the Regeneration of Life. In Death and the Regeneration of Life, edited by M. Bloch and J. Parry, pp. 114. Cambridge University Press, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chase, A. F. 1985 Archaeology in the Maya Heartland: The Tayasal-Paxcaman Zone, Lake Peten, Guatemala. Archaeology 38(1):3239.Google Scholar
Chase, A. F. 1992 Elites and the Changing Organization of Classic Maya Society. In Mesoamerican Elites: An Archaeological Assessment, edited by D. Z. Chase and A. F. Chase, pp. 3049. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.Google Scholar
Chase, A. F. 1994 A Contextual Approach to the Ceramics of Caracol, Belize. In Studies in the Archaeology of Caracol, Belize, edited by D. Chase and A. Chase, pp. 157182. Monograph No. 7. Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco.Google Scholar
Chase, A. F., and Chase, D. Z. 1987 Investigations at the Classic Maya City of Caracol, Belize: 1985–1987. Monograph No. 3. Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco.Google Scholar
Chase, A. F., and Chase, D. Z. 1994 Maya Veneration of the Dead at Caracol, Belize. In Seventh Palenque Round Table, 1989, edited by M. G. Robertson and V. M. Fields, pp. 5562. Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco.Google Scholar
Chase, A. F., and Chase, D. Z. 1996 Investigations at Caracol, Belize: 1988–1993. Monograph No. 8. Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco, in press.Google Scholar
Chase, D. Z. 1994 Human Osteology, Pathology, and Demography as Represented in the Burials of Caracol, Belize. In Studies in the Archaeology of Caracol, Belize, edited by D. Chase and A. Chase, pp. 123138. Monograph No. 7. Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco.Google Scholar
Chase, D. Z. 1997 Southern Lowland Maya Archaeology and Human Skeletal Remains: Interpretations from Caracol (Belize), Santa Rita Corozal (Belize), and Tayasal (Guatemala). In Bones of the Ancestors: Recent Studies of Ancient Maya Skeletons, edited by S. Whittington and D. Reed. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., in press.Google Scholar
Chase, D. Z., and Chase, A. F. (editors) 1994 Studies in the Archaeology of Caracol, Belize. Monograph No. 7. Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco.Google Scholar
Coe, M. D. 1988 Ideology of a Maya Tomb. In Maya Iconography, edited by E. Benson and G. Griffin, pp. 222235. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.Google Scholar
Coe, W. R. 1959 Piedras Negras Archaeology: Artifacts, Caches, and Burials, Museum Monograph No. 4. University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
Coggins, C. C. 1975 Painting and Drawing Styles at Tikal: An Historical and Iconographic Reconstruction. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
Freidel, D. A. 1990 The Jester God: The Beginning and End of a Maya Royal Symbol. In Vision and Revision in Maya Studies, edited by F. S. Clancy and P. D. Harrison, pp. 6778. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.Google Scholar
Grube, N. 1994 Epigraphic Research at Caracol, Belize. In Studies in the Archaeology of Caracol, Belize, edited by D. Chase and A. Chase, pp. 83122. Monograph No. 7. Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute, San Francisco.Google Scholar
Grube, N., and Scheie, L. 1993 Naranjo Altar I and Rituals of Death and Burials. Texas Notes on Precolumbian Art, Writing, and Culture No. 54. Center of the History and Art of Ancient American Culture, University of Texas, Austin.Google Scholar
Hammond, N., Pretty, K., and Saul, F. 1975 A Classic Maya Family Tomb. World Archaeology 7(1):5778.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Harris, O. 1982 The Dead and the Devils Among the Bolivian Laymi. In Death and the Regeneration of Life, edited by M. Bloch and J. Parry, pp. 4573. Cambridge University Press, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Healy, P., Awe, J. J., and Helmuth, H. 1983 Caledonia (Cayo), Belize: An Ancient Maya Multiple Burial. Paper presented at the XI International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, Vancouver, British Columbia.Google Scholar
Hertz, R. 1960 A Contribution to the Study of the Collective Representation of Death. Reprinted in Death and the Right Hand, translated by R. Needham and C. Needham. Free Press, New York. Originally published 1907, Contribution á une étude sur la représentation collective de la mort. Année Sociologique 10:48137.Google Scholar
Humphreys, S. C. 1981 Introduction: Comparative Perspectives on Death. In Mortality and Immortality: The Anthropology and Archaeology of Death, edited by S. C. Humphreys and H. King, pp. 113. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
Leventhal, R. 1983 Household Groups and Classic Maya Religion. In Prehistoric Settlement Patterns: Essays in Honor of Gordon R. Willey, edited by E. Z. Vogt and R. M. Leventhall, pp. 5576. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.Google Scholar
Leventhal, R., and Dunham, P. 1989 A Regional Model of Political Organization in the Maya Lowlands: An Example from Southern Belize. Paper presented at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Atlanta.Google Scholar
Metcalf, P., and Huntington, R. 1991 Celebrations of Death: the Anthropology of Mortuary Ritual. Cambridge University Press, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Miller, A. 1986 Maya Rulers of Time: A Study of Architectural Sculpture at Tikal, Guatemala. University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
Moholy-Nagy, H. 1987 Early Classic Problematical Deposits: A Preliminary Report on Teotihuacan-Related Burials at Tikal, Guatemala. Paper presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Toronto.Google Scholar
Ricketson, O. G. 1925 Burials in the Maya Area. American Antiquity 3:166169.Google Scholar
Ruz, L., , A. 1965 Tombs and Funerary Practices in the Maya Lowlands. In Archaeology of Southern Mesoamerica, Part One, edited by G. R. Willey, pp. 441461. Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 2, R. Wauchope, general editor. University of Texas Press, Austin.Google Scholar
Smith, A. L., and Kidder, A. V. 1943 Explorations in the Motagua Valley, Guatemala. Contributions to American Anthropology and History No. 41. Publication 546. Carnegie Institution of Washington. Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
Tozzer, A. M. 1941 Landa’s Relation de las Cosas de Yucatan. Papers of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology Vol. 28. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
Ubelaker, D. H. 1974 Reconstruction of Demographic Profiles from Ossuary Skeletal Samples: A Case Study from the Tidewater Potomac. Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology No. 18. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
Watson, J. L. 1982 Of Flesh and Bones: The Management of Death Pollution in Cantonese Society. In Death and the Regeneration of Life, edited by M. Bloch and J. Parry, pp. 155186. Cambridge University Press, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Welsh, W. B. 1988 An Analysis of Classic Lowland Maya Burials. BAR International Series 409. British Archaeological Reports, Oxford.Google Scholar

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 23 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 14th April 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Maya Multiples: Individuals, Entries, and Tombs in Structure A34 of Caracol, Belize
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Maya Multiples: Individuals, Entries, and Tombs in Structure A34 of Caracol, Belize
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Maya Multiples: Individuals, Entries, and Tombs in Structure A34 of Caracol, Belize
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *