Ritual, Violence, and the Fall of the Classic Maya Kings

Ritual, Violence, and the Fall of the Classic Maya Kings
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Publisher: University Press of Florida. Format: Book. See details. See all 3 brand new listings. Buy It Now. Add to cart. Be the first to write a review About this product. Show More Show Less. Chase ; see also Johnson While surplus production at Caracol appears to have been undertaken within households, distribution took place in markets located in plaza areas within the site center and in conjunction with causeway terminus groups as noted above.

These markets provided access to both local items and to goods that were brought into the site from some distance. The density of settlement, its place-bound nature, and the dendritic roads all served to enhance the ability of the epicenter to both provision and control the city and its populace.

Chase ; Mathews and Garber Ancient Maya history derived from epigraphy and the long-studied Maya calendar system not only provide a framework for archaeological research at Caracol and other Maya sites but also provide a window into ancient Maya views of time Rice , Placing monuments on katun year period of time endings is typical of most polity centers throughout the Maya Lowlands, but apart from these stone markers the recognition of these temporal cycles is difficult to see in the archaeological record.

The ceremonies to commemorate the beginning of the 8th baktun 8. Classic period monuments from Caracol further highlight the importance of cyclical time Beetz and Satterthwaite Not only were stelae erected at appropriate year katun endings, but Caracol specifically created and placed katun-specific altars Satterthwaite Chase a ; D. Chase a rather than solely in association with the death of specific individual. It fact, it would appear that the majority of Caracol ritual was directly linked to the commemoration of cyclical time.

Many Caracol residential groups contain formal tombs and burials that include multiple individuals D. Chase , ; D. Chase , b , who may have been deposited in accord with particular temporal cycles rather than immediately following the death of a particular individual; the remains from some of these individuals would have been curated for a period of time, possibly in the mortuary shrine, until an auspicious time for burial D.

Blanton and Fargher ; see also Carballo et al. Under collective action, people tend to receive more services from the government but more rules are required to maintain order. Blanton and Fargher see collective action as having the potential to be more democratic and not completely autocratic; we would argue that collective action also can be fostered by a hierarchical government as a management strategy.

Chase , a term borrowed from literature on business management strategies Pfeffer In symbolic egalitarianism, outwardly visible differences in status and compensation are minimized and motivation to collaborate is increased. However, it is important to note that symbolic egalitarianism means that there are actual differences in wealth, status, and control. What appears to be collective action is actually a hierarchical strategy for societal control. Not only did the people of Caracol share a ritual and symbolic identity, they also shared prosperity during the Late Classic period.

While the quantity of items may have varied across status levels, all households at Caracol had access to imported obsidian, polychrome pottery, marine shell artifacts, and jadeite. This illusion of equality is also borne out in the widespread distribution of tombs, ritual vessels, and personal adornments such as earflares and dental inlays at Caracol. The latest monument known from Caracol dates to AD It is possible that populations continued to live in the surrounding settlement for some time; however, by AD there is no clear evidence of sustained occupation within the urban core.

Much speculation exists about the impact of extended drought combined with land exhaustion on the Classic Maya collapse e. Caracol provides an alternative view of this era in Maya prehistory. Caracol was abandoned during a time of increased rainfall and not drought based on data in Kennett et al. Evidence at Caracol as described below is in accord with divergent scenarios that look at the broader context of the collapse e. For Caracol at least, it appears that other human-induced change led to site abandonment. Toward the end of the Late Classic period, multiple changes occurred at Caracol, and the Terminal Classic period is characterized by marked differences from the preceding era.

Just before AD , the hieroglyphic record, relatively silent during the preceding century, reappeared on stone monuments, providing a renewed focus on the Caracol dynasty A. Many of the latest monuments at Caracol also differ from their predecessors in portraying two individuals rather than the ruler alone A.

Some show the presumed Caracol ruler in a scene of alliance with a lord from another site, while others show bound prisoners.

To some extent, these scenes of collaboration, parlay, and subjugation mimic those found on modeled-carved ceramics of the Terminal Classic A. Two Late Classic tombs at the base of Structure B19 on Caana were desecrated at the beginning of the Terminal Classic, infilled with building materials, and then sealed beneath new plaster floors.

A cache of Terminal Classic vessels was interred at the summit of the building. We would see these events as being linked to the political transition from one dynasty to a new one. The changes, however, are far more extensive. Not only did dynastic monuments reappear, but a greater separation developed between the elite and the rest of the population. Long-distance trade items, once available to all in at least limited quantities, were held only by the elite and not available to the population at large A.

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“A valuable contribution to our knowledge of the events surrounding the collapse of the ancient Maya in the Late and Terminal Classic periods, particularly the. Maya kings who failed to ensure the prosperity of their kingdoms were subject to various forms of termination, including the ritual defacing and.

Chase , suggesting a breakdown in the market economy. No longer was there a shared identity, symbolic egalitarianism, or shared prosperity. Like all urban environments, Caracol was dependent on the existence of multiple complex organizational systems. To understand the impact of research at Caracol on Maya archaeology, we need to contextualize investigations within the changing field of Maya studies. When we started work at Caracol in , there was a substantial database of archaeological research available to Maya scholars, but long-term work at a site using varied research designs was not common.

The primary corpus of excavated materials available to Maya researchers was derived from the work of the Carnegie Institution of Washington at various sites—particularly Kaminaljuyu Kidder et al. Smith ; R. Smith in Mexico—most of which had been widely critiqued by Taylor for their lack of a conjunctive approach.

Other excavations were carried out by researchers at select academic universities throughout the s—s. These institutions and the various sites that they had investigated formed the milieu and background for most interpretive works about the ancient Maya.

http://stuntmomfilm.com/uploads/multnomah/4014-young-explorers.php The projects generally had excavated large central architectural precincts and incorporated settlement pattern study, a consideration of agricultural practices, and conjoined epigraphic and archaeological investigations where practical into their research designs. In spite of all of these investigations and numerous advances in deciphering hieroglyphs, eliciting agricultural practices, and studying settlement, at the start of the CAP many aspects of ancient Maya society were still unclear. Even the chronological frame of reference for the Maya was still being addressed, both for the Preclassic Coe ; Hammond and Postclassic A.

Chase and Rice ; Sabloff and Andrews While the spectacular art of the Classic period was well known and appreciated e. Having worked at a Late Postclassic capital D. Chase , we hoped that our research at Caracol could serve as a form of the direct historic approach in highlighting differences and similarities in ancient Maya society as we moved farther back into the archaeological past. Research at Caracol has impacted Maya archaeology in a variety of ways.

Brett A. Houk, Ph.D.

From the beginning, we have maintained a focus on the relationship between history and archaeology, which meant trying to correlate the hieroglyphic record with the archaeological one. This has proved both productive and problematic. As we did at Santa Rita Corozal D. Chase , our intent has been to use archaeology not only to confirm but also to refine or potentially correct history. One place to start was the identification of rulers and the correlation of these rulers and their hieroglyphically described events with the archaeological record. The major structures in downtown Caracol have all been investigated and most have yielded tombs.

Yet, five epicentral tombs and one terminus tomb are associated with hieroglyphic dates. There are two kinds of dates: those on capstones indicating when the chamber was closed and those on walls that are taken to be death dates A. Chase c , p. On the summit of Caana, the central tomb in Structure B19 has a death date of 9. The tomb at the base of Structure A37 in the Central Acropolis probably was closed in 9. The tomb intruded into Structure A3 had the chamber sealed in 9.

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Knot Ajaw was born in 9. Thus, there is no possible correspondence between the rulers and the dated tombs. The tombs with texts all date to times when a given ruler was alive and in the mid-point of their reign. In spite of the inability to correlate historically known individuals with their physical remains at Caracol, the hieroglyphic record has provided dates, events, and relationships that could be tested in the archaeological record, including the impact of warfare and the relationship of monument construction to site prosperity, as noted above.

These studies further confirmed what we had noted at Santa Rita Corozal D. Chase a , b. These topics are considered in greater depth below.

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Salazar, Gabriel []. College Literature. By extension, the sacrifice of a human life was the ultimate offering of blood to the gods, and the most important Maya rituals culminated in human sacrifice. Radiocarbon dating uncertainty and the reliability of the PEWMA method of time-series analysis for research on long-term human-environment interaction W. Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. Modern-day experts provide windows into the Mayan world. Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, gentleman, apothecary, ploughboy, thief.

Because of the dated hieroglyphic data and importance of the recorded events, Caracol also has been instrumental not only in epigraphically based histories and discussions Martin and Grube , ; Schele and Freidel but also in considerations about the sizes and kinds of Maya polities A. Chase b , b ; Fox et al. The Caracol archaeological data also make it clear that Maya history cannot be categorized only as a struggle between Tikal and Calakmul e.