Hun Tun hinterland complexity : investigations of a commoner settlement in northwestern Belize

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2016-05

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Dodge, Robyn Leigh

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Abstract

This dissertation focuses on hinterland social complexity in northwestern Belize. The archaeological site of Hun Tun was investigated to understand ancient Maya life ways in a household context. The site itself contributes to the institutions that form social complexity during the Late Classic Maya Chronology. Hun Tun is located on the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area in northwestern Belize and serves as the location for this dissertation research. Hun Tun research is part of a collaborative research endeavor aimed at understanding the various institutions that form Maya society. Initial data for this project began with the creation of a site map and cursory test-pit excavations. Survey expeditions yielded an abundance of information regarding the potential for long- term research poised to answer questions about social complexity at the household level. Settlement pattern studies began as the first priority of research following the traditions of following in the traditions of Willey (1953), Ashmore (1981, 1991), Ashmore and Sabloff (2002), Villamil (2007) and others. Whereas, ancient Maya commoner studies focuses on the support groups and their roles participating in ancient Maya society became a long-tern research endeavor at Hun Tun. Ancient Maya commoners serve as a focus for this study due to the size and scale of Hun Tun. Commoners are appropriate for a study regarding social complexity because they successfully adapt “to their social environments,” responding to external forces and pressures applied by others (Lohse and Valdez 2004). These adaptations can be observed in the Hun Tun archaeological record Other examples of Hun Tun social complexity at the household level include the recruitment of high quality limestone material, complex architecture, storage and maintenance of clay, and various examples of commoner rituals. Hun Tun is an agent of social formation, which challenges preconceived notions of household social complexity in a Late Classic hinterland context.

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