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Publication Date

April 2015


Belize, Anthropology


Pahn-Ti-Pan: The Rise and Fall of Complex Socio-Political and Economic Systems as Attested in Subterranean Site Contexts of Central Belize, C.A. / Shawn Gregory Morton ABSTRACT The question that drives this dissertation is "As integrated and varied ritual contexts, how do changing patterns of pre-Columbian cave use inform on the complex of historical, social, political, economic and related ideological processes in action during the inception, florescence, and collapse of Tipan Chen Uitz and other nucleated centres in the region [Central Belize]?" It is intended to highlight, and within the specific regional context of this dissertation address, a tendency within the speleoarchaeology of the Maya area to isolate itself from broader topics of discourse. Following a brief introduction to the study area and the research project that supports work there-the Central Belize Archaeological Survey project-the remainder of this manuscript is divided into two broad sections. The first is structured along a chain of related concepts and datasets extending from the broad body of literature on ritual and religion, through discussion of the conceptual cave context drawn from epigraphic and iconographic sources, its invocation as recorded in contemporary (or at least, relatively recent) ethnographic contexts and earlier post- Columbian indigenous historic sources, and finally along the well-travelled paths of the archaeological study of caves. This forward section constitutes the web of theories, concepts, methods, and histories within which the rest of my study is caught. The second section deals explicitly with my own primary research in a number of caves located in Central Belize. While the identification of specific ritual motivations-through reference to material and environmental contexts-fell short of initial expectations, I am able to parse patterns from this body of work that serve to distinguish variability in behaviour within these contexts and define a regional pattern of ritual cave use. Thus defined, this manuscript finishes by turning from the dark passages of the Maya cave context to discuss the implications of these patterns on discussions of broader trends/developments in socio-political and economic systems in this region, and particular, in reference to the recently discovered civic-ceremonial centre of Tipan Chen Uitz. A THESIS SUBMITTED TO THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY AND ARCHAEOLOGY , CALGARY, ALBERTA APRIL, 2015 Open Access - Permission by Author(s) See Extended description for more information.

Subject: topical


Subject: geographic





Thesis / Dissertation; serial





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