Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Anthropology
Research at the archaeological site of Kiuic, located in the Puuc zone of the Yucatán Peninsula, has yielded evidence of long and continuous construction activity that starts during the Middle Formative and concludes at the close of the Terminal Classic Period. Since most large stone buildings located at Puuc sites have not been excavated thoroughly, stratigraphic evidence recovered from Kiuic constitutes a unique window on the development of a Puuc site. During the Classic Period, large sites in the Maya region contain monumental architectonic complexes, called royal courts that were the center of social and political life. Excavations indicate that Kiuic’s main architectonic group, Yaxché, underwent multiple episodic transformations before its abandonment. I argue that this group functioned as a royal court during the Late Classic Period. Moreover, excavations indicate that the urbanization process was continuous and resulted in a distinctive, local tradition of urbanization and court authority. In this thesis, I explore the social construction of royal courts from three perspectives: the urbanization process, material expressions of place making, and courtly activity regimes..