Anthropology •  Archaeology and Latin America

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K'axob: Ritual, Work, and Family in an Ancient Maya Village

Edited by Patricia A. McAnany

Shortly after 800 B.C., a village was founded in the wetland and riverine habitat of northern Belize. Now called K’axob, this Maya community grew and prospered through Formative and Classic times. A millennial-long record of Formative life has been investigated archaeologically by peeling back the closely stratified layers of superimposed domiciles. These houses, their domestic and mortuary features, and associated artifacts reveal a conscious construction of identity and shed light on the manner in which materiality was manipulated in response to larger political dictates. Longterm stasis in material remains suggests that artisan production played a key role in social reproduction, yet the manner in which access to key resources was increasingly localized intimates a political landscape of crystallizing hierarchies. Subfloor mortuary interments were spatially associated with cuisine-related features such as sherd-lined pits, reflecting a cosmology in which ritual and work were closely integrated. These insights and more are presented in individual chapters that examine the material remains of early K’axob. An accompanying interactive CD provides complementary materials on a scale never before achieved and includes comprehensive data sets, over one thousand images (both photographs and line drawings), a tour of K’axob, and 3-D models of the excavation units.


Patricia A. McAnany is a professor of archaeology at Boston University and principal investigator for the K'axob Project.


"In this landmark site report focusing on the intiatial seasons of fieldwork at K'axob, a site with deep stratified deposits in the New River valley of northern Belize, Patricia McAnany, her associates, and the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology have produced a tour de force of archaeological data presentation that sets a new standard for the dissemination of results from multidisciplinary fieldwork and laboratory research. This work is especially noteworthy as a pioneering contribution to "hybrid" publications in both printed and digital formats. ... Although this publication will be used mostly by Mayanists, it provides a model to be emulated by specialists on the archaeology of any part of the globe. K'axob will be of interest to anyone considering digital or hybrid dissemination of research results. ... Even if it were only a text publication, McAnany's K'axob would deserve a place next to classics such as Thomposn and Shepard's Excavations at San Jose, British Honduras (1939), Willey's Prehistoric Maya Settlements in the Belize Valley (1965), Pendergast and Loten's Excavations at Altun Ha, Belize, 1964-1970 (1979), and Hammond's Cuello: An Early Maya Community in Belize (1991). The masterful integration of text and digital presentation, however, places it in an entriely new class of documentation."

-- John W. Hoopes, Journal of Field Archaeology
Vol. 31, 2006, p. 217-219


Published By The Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press

8.5 x 11 in. 480 pages 255 figures, 67 tables