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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Late to Terminal Classic transition at Lamanai with implications for the Postclassic
by Pierce, Karen L., M.A., University of Colorado at Denver, 2016, 479; 10149341
Abstract (Summary)

The Maya site of Lamanai, located in northern Belize, exemplifies one of the longest occupation spans in the Maya Lowlands. First occupied in the Preclassic (ca. 1500 B.C.) and continuously inhabited through the Classic period “collapse,” Lamanai was thriving when the Spanish arrived in A.D. 1540. Lamanai’s lagoon-side location at the head of the New River, with direct access to the Caribbean Sea, allowed for cultural and economic exchange well beyond the immediate region. The N10[3] architectural group (aka Ottawa Group), located in the Central Precinct of Lamanai, has been interpreted as an administrative and elite-residential complex, or palace, of some significance due to its lengthy occupation span and its location adjacent to two important ceremonial plaza groups in the Central Precinct. During the Late to Terminal Classic period (A.D. 624–962 at Lamanai), the Ottawa Group underwent a major architectural transformation, which may be an indication of changing functions and strategies on the part of Lamanai elites. These modifications may have played a role in Lamanai’s persistence during the transition from the Classic to Postclassic periods in Mesoamerica—a time when other cities were abandoned in the Maya Lowlands.

During the massive remodeling of this Ottawa Group, some masonry structures were razed, while others, such as Structure N10-15, continued to be remodeled. This thesis gives a fresh assessment of the function of the Ottawa Group, describes the architectural sequence of Structure N10-15, and examines the caching patterns present throughout the different architectural stages. When considered together, the architectural changes at Structure N10-15 and associated changes in cache composition and placement signal a change in emphasis shifting away from exclusive elite-led activities associated with divine kingship toward those of a more inclusive and public nature.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Beekman, Christopher
Commitee: Hodgkins, Jamie, Stone, Tammy
School: University of Colorado at Denver
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: MAI 55/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Archaeology, Cultural anthropology
Keywords: Architecture, Belize, Caches, Lamanai, Late to Terminal Classic, Maya, Palace group
Publication Number: 10149341
ISBN: 978-1-369-04459-1
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