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Contextualizing Xunantunich in the late classic upper Belize Valley through investigations of Structure A9

Slocum, Diane Lynn (2018) Contextualizing Xunantunich in the late classic upper Belize Valley through investigations of Structure A9. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Following their 1990s research at Xunantunich, archaeologists with the Xunantunich Archaeological Project (XAP) hypothesized that this Upper Belize Valley site rose rapidly from a minor political center to a powerful regional polity during the Late Classic period (AD 600-900). The XAP researchers further suggested that this rapid rise was influenced by Xunantunich’s relationship with the more powerful polity of Naranjo in the nearby Petén Department of Guatemala. Their argument was based in part on a Late Classic period building program at Xunantunich, which, they claimed, resulted in a site layout that resembles that of Naranjo. In this thesis, I investigate Structure A9, a Late Classic temple-pyramid in Xunantunich’s civic-ceremonial center. Through the excavation of Structure A9 and the analysis of architectural and cultural remains recovered from this and other structures previously excavated at Xunantunich, I examine whether A9 provides evidence to support the late and rapid development of the center, the structure’s regional and local sociopolitical significance, and the hypothesized influence of Naranjo on Xunantunich’s dramatic Late Classic period growth. I conclude that architectural evidence from A9 and other structures in the site core support the argument for the site’s unprecedented, late development, and two hieroglyphic panels placed in front of the structure provide strong evidence for Xunantunich having close political ties with Naranjo in the latter 7th century. Furthermore, the hieroglyphic panels and a contemporaneous tomb within Structure A9 suggest that the pyramid was built to commemorate a specific individual associated with a geopolitical event.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: architecture; Maya; Maya politics; tomb
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Anthropology
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2018 16:47
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5304

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