Situating households within an urban community: recent research at Aventura, an ancient Maya city

Zachary A. Nissen, Kacey C. Grauer, Hannah Hoover, Gabriela Dziki, Erin Niles, Debra S. Walker, Anna Moles, Cynthia Robin

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Recent excavations at the Maya site of Aventura, Belize provide insights into the social, economic, and environmental resources available to the residents of its ancient urban community. In 2019, the Aventura Archaeology Project (AAP) horizontally excavated three households and continued vertical test-pit investigations across commoner and elite domestic groups. The horizontal excavations, comparable to previous excavations of households in 2018, provided new insights into the similarities and differences between structures, features, burials, and middens across status groups at Aventura. One household excavation, Group 54, elucidated commoners’ access and relationships to a nearby water management feature. Commoner household excavations at Group 24, one of the smallest mound features identified by the AAP survey, revealed that even the smallest of Aventura’s households had access, though limited, to cut limestone blocks for domestic architecture. Excavations of an elite patio group, Group 38, to the north of the site core provided architectural data which complicate distinctions between elite and non-elite households. These excavations of households across the site also revealed a pattern of primary and secondary subfloor-burial deposits across elite and non-elite groups, which may indicate an attempt to socially integrate households of all statuses into Aventura’s urban community. Vertical test excavations further support Aventura’s community was inhabited over the long-term, with multiple households revealing Early and Middle Classic materials, and all households revealing occupation during the Late to Terminal Classic transition. Together, household excavations provide insights into the social, economic, and environmental forces that shaped the lives of Aventura’s urban community, bringing better focus to heterogenous and enduring urban populations during dynamic periods of Maya society.
Originele taal-2English
TitelResearch Reports in Belizean Archaeology
UitgeverijBelize Institute of Archaeology
Hoofdstuk21
Pagina's257-264
Aantal pagina's8
Volume18
StatusPublished - 2023

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