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Social Reorganization and Household Adaptation in the Aftermath of Collapse at Baking Pot, Belize

Hoggarth, Julie A. (2013) Social Reorganization and Household Adaptation in the Aftermath of Collapse at Baking Pot, Belize. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation focuses on the adaptations of ancient Maya households to the processes of social reorganization in the aftermath of collapse of Classic Maya rulership at Baking Pot, a small kingdom in the upper Belize River Valley of western Belize. With the depopulation of the central and southern Maya lowlands at the end of the Late Classic period, residents in Settlement Cluster C at Baking Pot persisted following the abandonment of the palace complex in the Terminal Classic period (A.D. 800-900). Results from this study indicate that noble and commoner households in Settlement Cluster C continued to live at Baking Pot, developing strategies of adaptation including expanding interregional mercantile exchange and hosting community feasts in the Terminal Classic and Early Postclassic periods.

Breaking from the strict social hierarchies of the Classic period, households were increasingly participating in mercantile exchange in the Terminal Classic and Early Postclassic periods, with exotic luxury items becoming more evenly distributed throughout the community, particularly among commoner households. The even distributions of exotic items, coupled with low-level production of local resources, suggests that households were engaging in interregional networks of exchange, although this did not involve a complete reorganization of economic production. New relationships between noble and commoner households were forged, as noble households hosted large-scale community feasts during the Terminal Classic and Early Postclassic periods. Although households were not found to have been utilizing Pan-Mesoamerican symbols as a form of status differentiation, they did display local Maya iconography on ceramics and other media, displaying a sense of shared identity and cohesion. However, this and other forms of shared identity, such as burial practices, shifted in the transition to the Postclassic period. Overall, households at Baking Pot developed innovative strategies to adapt to the changing social landscape following the sociopolitical collapse of the Classic Maya polity, playing a prominent role in the in the processes of social reorganization in the Postclassic period.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hoggarth, Julie A.jah82@pitt.eduJAH82
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee Chairde Montmollin, Olivierolly@pitt.eduOLLY
Committee MemberBermann, Marcbermarc@pitt.eduBERMARC
Committee MemberDrennan, Robert D.drennan@pitt.eduDRENNAN
Committee MemberPutnam, Laralep12@pitt.eduLEP12
Date: 26 February 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 November 2012
Approval Date: 26 February 2013
Submission Date: 7 December 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 264
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ancient Maya, Household Archaeology, Classic Maya Collapse, Social Reorganization, Postclassic period, Baking Pot
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2013 19:48
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:08


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