Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 June 2016
The Spaniards established several congregaciones or missions in central Petén, Guatemala, shortly after the 1697 conquest of the region to help control local indigenous populations. Recent investigations at the church and community of Mission San Bernabé revealed details about the entangled relations of Mayas and Spaniards. Foucault's four technologies of domination help explicate these power relations as they were played out in the small settlement and the church at its center. Material culture differed in many ways from that of the pre-conquest Itzas, but was clearly predominantly “Maya.” Spanish-style goods and burial patterns were found as were hybrid ceramic wares, the Spanish-style artifacts most common in an elite residence, reflecting that Maya elite acted as brokers with the Spaniards. The occupants also incorporated Spanish domesticates into their diets. Some changes likely resulted from various ethnic groups residing in the same settlement, but others were the product of indigenous adaptations to the situation of contact. Nevertheless, it is clear that the mission anchored a number of strategies of domination that subdued the occupants of San Bernabé.