Household archaeology of the Classic Period Lowland Maya

Authored by: Nancy Gonlin

The Maya World

Print publication date:  June  2020
Online publication date:  June  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138492837
eBook ISBN: 9781351029582
Adobe ISBN:


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Household archaeology offers a perspective on the Classic Maya from the analysis and interpretation of the remains of houses and their surrounding features. The house symbolizes the household, the smallest corporate unit of society, and the primary object of study for household archaeologists. This viewpoint has grown out of settlement archeology to inform us about everyday life of kings and commoners alike. Functions of the household (production, reproduction, distribution, transmission, co-residence) are materially manifested in quotidian practices that have implications for socio-political and economic complexity. Houses are expressions of the economy and occupations of the inhabitants, their worldview, religion and ideology, political connections, the reproduction of cultural practices, memory of place, and social relations that contain inequalities within and beyond the house. Technological (e.g., DNA analysis; LiDAR) and theoretical (e.g., archaeology of the night; communities of practice) advances continue to increase our knowledge of how the Classic Maya lived.

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