Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Social Identity Across Landscapes: Ancient Lives and Modern Heritage in a Q'eqchi' Maya Village
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The Maya Mountains region of southern Belize is crucial for examining social identity among ancient Maya settlements during the Classic period (AD 250-900) because of its cultural and geographic marginality. It is often the spaces and regions in-between perceived centers of power and influence that produce dynamic expressions of identity through their diverse social relationships. The first goal of the Aguacate Community Archaeology Project (ACAP) was to illuminate the ancient economic and social relationships between political centers and hinterland settlements in the Maya Mountains region and investigate the construction of a regional social identity during the Classic period. The second goal was to conduct a community-based archaeology project in which local Maya people were considered not only stakeholders in the creation of archaeological knowledge, but collaborators in the implementation of the research. Excavations were conducted at Kaq'ru' Ha', a residential and administrative site located on Aguacate land. In addition, excavations were conducted at Sites 9 and 10, two small residential sites also on Aguacate land. This dissertation includes my analysis of architecture, ceramic and lithic artifacts, and mortuary patterns in order to argue that Kaq'ru' Ha' was constructed during the Early Classic period (AD 250-600) and was most closely affiliated with Uxbenk√° and, later, the Lubaantun social and economic spheres. These data show that rural sites were participating in a region-wide social identity, while maintaining a strong connection to a local landscape. Also, I present the results of the community archaeology efforts - a heritage center and site conservation initiative. As such, Kaq'ru' Ha' is the fulcrum for a discussion of the creation and consumption of archaeological knowledge in southern Belize.