The early classic encounter : an examination of the cultural and historical implications of an ancient Maya palace at El Diablo, El Zotz, Guatemala.
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This dissertation is focused on the development and historical implications of the Early Classic El Diablo Palace, located at the Maya site of El Zotz, Guatemala. This study demonstrates that El Diablo Palace had five construction phases, all of them dating to the Early Classic period (A.D. 250-600). The earliest structures consisted of small platforms and temples, built on top of a hill. However, after the year A.D. 378, the architecture became more monumental and was decorated with molded stucco. Its location also shifted. Prior to A.D. 378, elite architecture was commonly built on top of hills, but during the second part of the fifth century the royal family of El Zotz moved downhill, into the valley. I suggest that the motivation behind the selection of a new landscape and the construction of monumental architecture was the alliance between El Zotz and Tikal after the arrival of Sihyaj K’ahk’. To better understand the implications of this alliance, I examine two important factors related to the A.D. 378 event. First, I propose that the Gulf of Mexico commerce road that crossed the territories of at least 11 settlements, including the Parka's region, was used by Sihyaj K’ahk’. Second, I study the consequences of the conquest of Tikal by the foreign warrior, which I propose created a period of peace, or Pax Tikalensis across the central Petén region. This period of relative peace was the main reason for the selection of a less-defensive landscape at El Zotz, and also played an important role in the standardization of central Petén traditions in the Southern Maya region. Finally, in this dissertation I explain how the research at El Zotz and the arrival of Sihyaj K’ahk’ also has implications in the 21st century, due to the fact that this historical event and El Zotz were selected by the Guatemalan government as destinations for a new tourist route with the intention to reinforce a nationalistic agenda in Guatemala. May not exceed 350 words. It should be a continuous description, not disconnected notes or an outline.