A A A

Transition in Maya culture and history

Lamanai, structures that saw occupation and use from collapse through to later periods

Collapse, conquest and colonisation among the Maya

Lamanai plaza group that had occupation through 'collapse'

Archaeological research geared to clarifying the little known critical periods of transition in Maya history began at Lamanai, in northern Belize, in 1998 and are ongoing.

Excavations at the colonial site of Tipu, in central western Belize, ran from 1984 to 1987; artefact analyses, however, are ongoing, with the focus at present on metals.

Lamanai pottery dating to the end of the period of 'collapse'

The periods of transition that are receiving attention are the so-called ‘Maya collapse’ between about A.D. 75 and 1000, and the transition to the Spanish colonial period. We began work in 2009 on the British colonial period.

This research cross-cuts the research network on Archaeology and Empire headed by Andrew Gardner, and the Metals and Metallurgy in the Americas research network headed by Marcos Martinón-Torres.


Related outputs

  • Elizabeth Graham & Tracie Mayfield. Archaeological Analysis of the British Settlement at Lamanai, 1837 To 1868. Submitted to Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology.
  • Andrea Prentice, Elizabeth A. Webb, Elizabeth Graham and Christine White. Inter- and intra-species variations in the δ18O values of tree-ring cellulose in the seasonal tropical forest of Lamanai, Belize. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Revised and resubmitted, January 2011.
  • Control without Controlling. In Politics, History, and Economy at the Classic Maya Site of Motul de San José, Guatemala, ed. By A.E. Foias and K.F. Emery. University of Colorado Press, Boulder. Under review.
  • J.J. Aimers & E. Graham. Type-Variety on Trial. In Maya Ceramic Exchange and Interaction, ed. by J.J. Aimers. University of Colorado Press, Boulder.In press.
  • Darwin at Copan. In Ecology, Power and Religion in Maya Landscapes, ed. by Christian Isendahl and Bodil Liljefors Person. Acta Mesoamerica, Vol. No. to be announced, Verlag Anton Saurwein, Markt Schwaben. In press.
  • Ting, Carmen, Elizabeth Graham, Marcos Martinón Torres. Moulding the 'Collapse': The Technological Characterization of the Terminal Classic Ahk'utu' Moulded-carved vases from Altun Ha, Belize. 10th European Meeting on Ancient Ceramics, The British Museum and UCL, 9-13 September, London. In press.
  • Howie, Linda, Jim Aimers and E. Graham. Fifty Left Feet: The Manufacture and Meaning of Effigy Censers from Lamanai, Belize. 10th European Meeting on Ancient Ceramics, The British Museum and UCL, 9-13 September, London. In press.
  • 2011 Maya Christians and Their Churches in Sixteenth-Century Belize. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, 2011.
  • 2010 Isabel Villaseñor & Elizabeth Graham. The Use of Volcanic Materials for the Manufacture of Pozzolanic Plasters in the Maya Lowlands. Journal of Archaeological Science 37: 1339-1347.
  • 2009 Close Encounters. In Maya Worldviews at Conquest, ed. by L.G. Cecil and T.W. Pugh, 17-38. University of Colorado Press, Boulder.
  • 2009 S. Simmons, D.M. Pendergast & E. Graham. The Context and Significance of Copper Artifacts in Postclassic and Early Historic Lamanai, Belize. Journal of Field Archaeology 34(1): 57-75.
  • 2008 Lamanai Historic Monuments Conservation Project: Recording and Consolidation of New Church Architectureal Features at Lamanai, Belize. FAMSI (Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. http://www.famsi.org/reports/06110C/index.html
  • 2007-2008 Precolumbian Fellowship, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library of Harvard University, Washington, D.C. ‘An Archaeological Perspective on the Colonial Encounter at Tipu and Lamanai’.
Papers presented
  • 2009 Howie, L., J. Aimers and E. Graham. Fifty Left Feet: The Manufacture and Meaning of Effigy Censers from Lamanai, Belize. 10th European Meeting on Ancient Ceramics, The British Museum and UCL, 9-13 September, London.
  • 2009 Prentice, A. E. Webb, C.D. White and E. Graham. Paleoclimate reconstruction at Lamanai, Belize using oxygen-isotope tropical dendrochronology. AGU Joint Assembly 2009, Toronto, Ontario. 24-27 May.
  • 2009 Warfare and the Faces of Tribute. Moctezuma II Symposium, organised by Elizabeth Baquedano and sponsored by the Institute of Historical Research, UL and the Institute of Archaeology, UCL 13th-14th March, London.
  • 2008 C. Patterson & E. Graham. Deconstructing Lamanai: The Impcat of Deforestation and Agriculture on Archaeological Sites in Belize. Paper presented at the Canadian Archaeological Association meetings, Trent University Archaeological Research Centre, Peterborough, Ontario, 8-11 May.
  • 2008 Lamanai, Belize from Collapse to Conquest – Radiocarbon dates from Lamanai. 106th Meeting of the AAA. 28 November to 2 December, Washington, D.C.
  • 2008 Power in Production or Power over Production? In the session, ‘Ancient Maya Economies of Power: Elite Production and Distribution,’ organized by Sarah E. Jackson and Arthur A. Demarest. 73rd Meeting, Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, B.C., 26-30 March.
Public engagement/Impact 
  • 2011 The Myths and Truths of the Maya Collapse. In the session on ‘How Civilisations End’, Current Archaeology Live! 2011. British Museum, 27 February.
  • 2010 The Ancient World Series, Day 4: The Americas (30pp), pp. 16-27. The Guardian/The Observer, 9 November.
  • 2009-2010 Specialist Panel, Characterising the World Archaeology Collections of the Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford. John Fell Research Fund, co-directed by Dan Hicks and Jeremy Coote. [My knowledge of the Contact and early colonial period was particularly useful in identifying the dates and contexts of some of the artefacts.]
  • 2009 Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like—Imagery and Meaning in the 16th-Century Maya-Spanish Encounter. The Joan Vastokis Distinguished Lecture in Art and Archaeology. Trent University Archaeological Research Centre, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. 21st September.
  • 2009 What’s New on the Ancient Maya: The Long View. University of Glasgow, Faculty of Education. Day-long course, 10a.m. to 4p.m. 18th January, Glasgow.
  • 2008 New Light on the Maya Collapse and Conquest. Instituto Cervantes, London. Thursday, 6th November.
  • 2008 Update on the Maya (Lamanai) and the Taino (Los Buchillones, Cuba). Hertfordshire Archaeological Society. Wellyn Garden City, 26 Sept.
  • 2008 Precolumbian Society of Washington, D.C. In Times of Transition: Maya of Belize and the Taino of Cuba. May.
  • 2007 Lamanai and the Collapse. Docents, Dumbarton Oaks Museum, Washington, D.C., October.

Funding

  • British Academy
  • FAMSI (Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies)
  • 2007-08 Precolumbian Fellowship, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library of Harvard University, Washington, D.C, 'An Archaeological Perspective on the Colonial Encounter at Lamanai and Tipu'

Project Leader:


Project Partners:

  • Institute of Archaeology, Belmopan, Belize
  • Christine White, Bioarchaeology, University of Western Ontario (all projects)
  • Linda Howie, University of Western Ontario (Lamanai)
  • Scott Simmons, University of North Carolina, Wilmington (Lamanai)

Keywords:


Further information:


Bookmark and Share