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Cultural Transformation at the Maya Postclassic Community of Laguna de On, Belize

  • Marilyn A. Masson (a1)

Abstract

Comparisons of Late Classic (A.D. 600-900) and Early-to-Middle Postclassic (A.D. 1000-1400) settlements at Laguna de On illuminate the transformation of Maya society at the community level in the aftermath of the Classic-period collapse. Affluent subsistence production communities such as Laguna de On reflect the emergence of the village as a focal point for social, political, and economic organization at this time, a pattern that persists in the Maya Lowlands to this day. Ties with the past are observed in comparisons of Classic-to-Postclassic domestic and public architectural efforts, burial patterns, faunal remains, lithic tool production and use, and settlement strategy at Laguna de On. Although some technological and material differences are observed in household assemblages of each period, the changes are not interpreted as material reflections of population replacement or ethnic difference. Postcollapse Belize Maya community organization and domestic patterns are analyzed as scaled-down transformations of Classic-period institutions in response to altered conditions of regional demography, ecology, and political geography.

La comparación de las ocupaciones del Clásico Tardío (600-900 d.C.) y del Postclásico Temprano y Medio (1000-1400 d.C.) en la Laguna de On permite delinear la transformación de la sociedad maya al nivel de la comunidad después del colapso del horizonte Clásico. Las transformaciones sociales, políticas y económicas detectables durante el Postclásico en este sitio mantuvieron algunos aspectos de las organizaciones del horizonte Clásico al mismo tiempo que se ajustaban a un sistema global más extenso. Las comunidades ricas en la producción de subsistencia, como la de la Laguna de On, marcan el surgimiento de la aldea como un punto focal de la organización social, política y económica, un patrón que ha persistido en las Tierras Bajas Mayas hasta hoy día. Los nexos con el pasado se pueden observar mediante la comparación de casas y arquitectura pública, patrones de enterramientos, restos de fauna, producción y uso de implementos líticos y estrategias de asentamiento en la Laguna de On. Aunque se han detectado algunas diferencias tecnológicas y materiales en los ajuares domésticos en cada una de las ocupaciones comparadas, dichos cambios no parecen ser el reflejo material de un reemplazo de la población, o de diferencias étnicas. A través del estudio de los sistemas de producción y de la organización comunitaria postclásica se abordan problemas sobre estilo, etnicidad, supervivencia y transformación de la cultura maya. Tal comparación obliga a incorporar los atributos funcionales de los conjuntos de artefactos y elementos arqueológicos en el análisis, más que los estilísticos.

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Cultural Transformation at the Maya Postclassic Community of Laguna de On, Belize

  • Marilyn A. Masson (a1)

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