Lacandon Maya culture

Continuity and change

Authored by: Joel W. Palka

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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This chapter covers the everyday lives of Lacandon Maya in Chiapas, Mexico, and Peten, Guatemala, and how they have changed over the last few centuries. Cross-cultural interaction has affected Lacandon lifeways in many ways, including population, settlements, social organization, economics, and religion. The study of the Lacandon Maya provides an interesting case study of how archaeological, historical, and ethnographic information converge for a larger and more complete perspective on social dynamics and material changes across time. Additionally, certain aspects of Lacandon culture can be analogs for analyzing past Maya behavior, including settlement types, subsistence strategies, social organization, indigenous technology, and religion. The information from the Lacandon is also important for understanding Maya commoners who have sustained Maya civilization for centuries, and not just elites as dominated in the literature.

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