The Bioarchaeology of Space and Place

Ideology, Power, and Meaning in Maya Mortuary Contexts

Editors: Wrobel, Gabriel D. (Ed.)

  • Uses well-conceived frameworks for integrating data from various fields (skeletal, archaeological, ethnohistoric, cultural etc)
  • Focuses on individuals and small groups rather than aggregate data in Mayan society
  • Each chapter contains a literature review
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Hardcover $129.00
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Softcover $129.00
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  • ISBN 978-1-4939-4450-7
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About this book

The Bioarchaeology of Space and Place investigates variations in social identity among the ancient Maya by focusing on individuals and small groups identified archaeologically by their inclusion in specific, discrete mortuary contexts or by unusual mortuary treatments. Utilizing archaeological, biological and taphonomic data from these contexts, the studies employ a variety of methodological approaches to reconstruct aspects of individuals’ life-course and mortuary pathways. Following this, specific mortuary behaviors are discussed in relation to their local or regional cultural setting using relevant archaeological, ethnohistoric, and/or ethnographic data in an effort to interpret their meaning within the broader social, political and economic contexts in which they were carried out. This volume covers a number of topics that are currently being debated in Maya archaeology, including identification and discussion of the role and extent of human sacrifice in Maya culture, the use of ancestors for maintaining political power, the mortuary use of caves by both elites and non-elites, ethnic distinctions within urban areas and the extent of movement of people between communities. Importantly, the papers in this volume attempt to test and move beyond static, dichotic categories that are often employed in mortuary studies in an effort to better understand the complex ways in which the Maya conceptualized and manipulated social identity. This type of nuanced case-study approach that incorporates historical, archaeological and theoretical contextualization is becoming increasingly important in the field of bioarchaeology, providing valuable sources of data where small, diverse samples impede populational approaches.

About the authors

Gabriel Wrobel is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Michigan State University and the director of the Central Belize Archaeology Survey (CBAS) project. The primary focus of his research is mortuary contexts in caves and rockshelters in the Caves Branch River and Roaring Creek valleys, in which he seeks to reconstruct funerary pathways and explore aspects of social identity among those placed there. These data inform broader archaeological questions about the sudden and dramatic appearance of sociopolitical complexity in the area during the Middle Classic period, as well as its depopulation in the Terminal Classic period. While most of his research has concentrated on ancient Maya contexts in Belize, he has also worked in the American Southeast, in Kyrgyzstan and in Egypt at the site of Hierakonpolis.

Reviews

“Primarily a study of context and scale, The Bioarchaeology of Space and Place offers scholars of Mesoamerica, bioarchaeology, and mortuary archaeology a suite of illustrative case studies and caveats regarding the analysis of small, biased burial samples. … Wrobel's volume provides a timely reminder regarding the importance of context and multiple lines of evidence to inform on the principles that structure the interment and reveal the identities of the inhumed decedents.” (Danielle S. Kurin, Journal of Anthropological Research, Vol. 71, 2015)


Table of contents (10 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Wrobel, Gabriel D.

    Pages 1-14

  • Sedimenting Social Identity: The Practice of Pre-Columbian Maya Body Partibility

    Geller, Pamela L.

    Pages 15-38

  • Cueva del Lazo: Child Sacrifice or Special Funerary Treatment? Discussion of a Late Classic Context from the Zoque Region of Western Chiapas (Mexico)

    Domenici, Davide

    Pages 39-75

  • A Case Study of Funerary Cave Use from Je’reftheel, Central Belize

    Wrobel, Gabriel D. (et al.)

    Pages 77-106

  • Isotopic Insights into Mortuary Treatment and Origin at Xunantunich, Belize

    Freiwald, Carolyn (et al.)

    Pages 107-139

Buy this book

eBook $99.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4939-0479-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4939-0478-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $129.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4939-4450-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Bioarchaeology of Space and Place
Book Subtitle
Ideology, Power, and Meaning in Maya Mortuary Contexts
Editors
  • Gabriel D. Wrobel
Copyright
2014
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media New York
eBook ISBN
978-1-4939-0479-2
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4939-0479-2
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-4939-0478-5
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4939-4450-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XI, 292
Number of Illustrations and Tables
34 b/w illustrations, 28 illustrations in colour
Topics