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SOCIAL MEMORY AND SACRED SITES IN THE WESTERN MAYA HIGHLANDS: EXAMPLES FROM JACALTENANGO, GUATEMALA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 July 2011

Greg Borgstede*
Affiliation:
Consulting Scholar, American Section, University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 3260 South St., Philadelphia, PA, 19104
*
E-mail correspondence to: borgsted@gmail.com

Abstract

This paper utilizes anthropological and sociological approaches to social memory to analyze the position and relevance of sacred sites among the Jakaltek Maya of the western highlands of Guatemala. Based on archaeological investigations and oral history, the connection between the past and present is analyzed in terms of collective memory, underscoring the importance of specific places and landscape in remembering as well as in reinforcing Jakaltek identity and history. Three distinct sacred sites are discussed, including their archaeological evidence; position (or lack of) in histories; disposition/creation as sacred site; and ties to the community's social memory. Sacred sites and social memory are viewed as a key component of indigenous activism and identity politics as well as an integral aspect to understanding the social context of archaeology in the Guatemalan Maya Highlands.

Type
Special Section: Current Perspectives on Social Memory
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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