Institute of Archaeology


Gabriela Dziki

Thriving at the Time of Collapse: Changes in Architectural Style and Influences During the Transitional Period Between the Late Classic and Early Postclassic in Northern Belize

Gabriela Dziki

Email: gabriela.dziki.13@ucl.ac.uk
Section: World Archaeology



Many scholars argue that the population of the Maya severely declined at the end of the Classic Period (250AD-900AD) leading to a decrease in the construction of monumental architecture followed by site abandonment. My research will explore the changes in both monumental as well as domestic architectural styles at the sites of Aventura, Ka'kabish and Lamanai between the Late Classic Period and the Early Post Classic (AD700-1300). Located in Northern Belize, the three sites are positioned between the Petén region of Guatemala, a place of Classic Maya style prosperity, as well as the coastal region of Belize and Yucatan where many sites grew in the Postclassic period. I wish to research whether architectural styles at the sites reflect changing influences through time and whether other regions of Mexico also played a role in stylistic preferences. I will also explore the possible connections between the sites, especially as Ka'kabish lies only 10km from Lamanai, and Aventura is located on The New River, the same river that facilitated coastal trade to Lamanai.

Previous research at both Lamanai and Aventura has shown the sites thriving while others were declining during this time. I will use data from both previous excavations at all three sites as well as research I have conducted for my MPhil dissertation, in which I reported the results of my excavation at Ka'kabish of a large platform structure that was modified at the time of transition, suggesting continued site occupation. My research will involve further fieldwork at the site of Aventura in 2019 and 2020, where I will excavate two domestic structures to gather further data about architecture at the time of transition. As style alone cannot inform us of construction date, I will also work closely with the ceramicist from these sites in order to obtain dates for building phases.


  • BSc Archaeology, University College London, 2016
  • MPhil Archaeology of the Americas, University of Cambridge, 2017