K’axob: Ritual, Work, and Family in an Ancient Maya Village


Series: Monumenta Archaeologica 22
ISBN: 978-1-931745-09-3
Publication Date: Jun 2004
Price: Hb $68.00
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Patricia A. McAnany

Shortly after 800 B.C., a village was founded in the wetland and riverine habitat of northern Belize. Now called K’axob, this Maya community grew and prospered through Formative and Classic times. A millennial-long record of Formative life has been investigated archaeologically by peeling back the closelyK’axob stratified layers of superimposed domiciles. These houses, their domestic and mortuary features, and associated artifacts reveal a conscious construction of identity and shed light on the manner in which materiality was manipulated in response to larger political dictates. Longterm stasis in material remains suggests that artisan production played a key role in social reproduction, yet the manner in which access to key resources was increasingly localized intimates a political landscape of crystallizing hierarchies. Subfloor mortuary interments were spatially associated with cuisine-related features such as sherd-lined pits, reflecting a cosmology in which ritual and work were closely integrated. These insights and more are presented in individual chapters that examine the material remains of early K’axob. An accompanying interactive CD provides complementary materials on a scale never before achieved and includes comprehensive data sets, over one thousand images (both photographs and line drawings), a tour of K’axob, and 3-D models of the excavation units.

Table of Contents

Preface to a Hybrid Publication

  • Ch.01: Situating K’axob within Formative Period Lowland Maya Archaeology by Patricia A. McAnany
  • Ch. 02: Landscape of K’axob in Deep and Current Time by Patricia A. McAnany

Part I: The Built Environment

  • Ch. 03: Domicile and Construction Histories by Patricia A. McAnany
  • Ch. 04: Nourishing the Animus of Lived Space through Ritual Catching by Eleanor Harrison-Buck
  • Ch. 05: Soaked and Streamed sustenance: Evidence from Sherd-Lined Pits by Victoria L. Bobo

Part II: Mortuary Ritual

  • Ch. 06: Ancestors: Bioarchaeology of the Human Remains of K’axob by Rebecca Storey

Part III: Pottery

  • Ch. 07: The Potter’s Choice of Clays and Crafting Technologies by Mary Lee Bartlett
  • Ch. 08: Ceramic History of K’axob by Sandra L. López Varela
  • Ch. 09: Pottery Vessels of K’axob by Kimberly A. Berry, Sandra L. López Varela, Mary Lee Bartlett, Tamarra Martz, and Patricia A. McAnany
  • Ch. 10: Artifacts of Fired Cay by Mary Lee Bartlett

Part IV: Stone Tools

  • Ch. 11: Tools of the Trade: Acquisition, Use, and Recycling of Chipped Stone by Patricia A. McAnany and Polly A. Peterson
  • Ch. 12: Obsidian Blades and Source Areas by Patricia A. McAnany
  • Ch. 13: Ground and Polished Stone Tools by Patricia A. McAnany and Justin P. Ebersole

Part V: Personal Adornments and Cosmological Expression

  • Ch. 14: the Art of Shell Working and the Social Uses of Shell Ornaments by Ilean Isel Isaza Aizpurúa
  • Ch. 15: Ornaments of Bone and Semiprecious Stone by Mary Lee Bartlett
  • Ch. 16: The Quadripartite Motif and the Centralization of Power by Annabeth Headrick

Part VI: Biological Resources

  • Ch. 17: Contribution of Fishing and Hunting to Subsistence and Symbolic Expression by Marilyn A. Masson
  • Ch. 18: Mollusca of K’axob: For Supper and Soul by Ryan Harrigan

Part VII: Denouncement by Patricia A. McAnany