In the shadows of the big houses: excavations at a non-elite residential group at Uxbenká, Belize

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Schrag, Amber C.
Prufer, Keith

Households inform us about social relationships in ways public-centered research might exclude. Studies of non-elite settlements also bring attention to the rich diversity that characterized pre-Columbian society. Surprisingly little is known about Maya commoners despite the recent influx of studies that address the residential areas of sites. Even less work of this type has been done in southern Belize where Uxbenká, the site studied, is located. Uxbenká’s settlement system is characteristic of Maya sites, and includes residences, ancillary structures, burials, modified landscape features surrounding the household, and related gardens and agricultural areas. The 2007 excavations and analysis of this residential group settlement offer a fundamental component to our basic knowledge of the site. The excavations were conducted to assess the temporal occupation and functional use of space at one non-elite residential group (SG 21) at the site. The data collected are compared with other residential excavations and survey conducted at Uxbenká and with other sites in order to better assess the social variation of the site. Work at SG 21 aids in the development of a more comprehensive and contextual view of the occupation of Uxbenká.

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Thesis (M.S.) - Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Science, Dept. of Anthropology