Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Figures, Maps, Tables, and Appendices

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pp. ix-xiv

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Preface

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pp. xv-xvi

Proyecto Maya Colonial is the most recently completed subproject of long-term archaeological fieldwork we have pursued in the Petén lakes region since 1973–1974. At that time we had the great fortune to participate in the Central Petén Historical Ecology Project directed by the late Edward S. Deevey Jr., which focused on Lakes Yaxhá and Sacnab at the eastern ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xvii-xix

How to begin? The scholarship most directly represented by the chapters in this volume was carried out between 1994 and 2002 by the chapters’ authors, but the perspectives and interpretations presented here were developed over decades of fieldwork in Petén beginning in the 1970s. During this time we experienced the joy of developing enduring friendships with innumerable Guatemalan and American individuals and families ...

Part 1: Introduction to the Postclassic - and Contact- Period Kowoj

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Chapter 1: Introduction to the Kowoj and Their Pet

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pp. 26-39

The Postclassic period (ca. A.D. 950/1000–1525) in the Maya lowlands of eastern Mesoamerica was long disparaged as one of “decline, decadence, and depopulation” (Chase and Rice 1985a: 1), disdained by archaeologists except for the sites of Chich’en Itza and Mayapán in Mexico’s northern Yucatán peninsula (Map 1.1). To the south, in the dense tropical forests of the modern political unit known as the Department of El Petén, in northern ...

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Part 2: Who Were the Kowoj?

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pp. 17-19

The primary question framing the chapters in this volume is, who were the Kowoj Maya? We approach this question from various starting points with respect to methods and data, emphasizing archaeological data from the site of Zacpet

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Chapter 2: The Kowoj in Geopolitico-Ritual Perspective

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pp. 21-54

The history of the Kowoj in Pet

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Chapter 3: The Kowoj in Ethnohistorical Perspective

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pp. 55-69

The Yukatekan-speaking Kowoj Maya of central Pet

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Chapter 4: The Linguistic Context of the Kowoj

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pp. 70-79

The task of analyzing the linguistic context of the Kowoj in Pet

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Part 3: The Archaeology of the Kowoj

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pp. 81-83

We estimated, on the basis of Proyecto Lacustre’s initial mapping and excavations, that the Late Postclassic occupation of Zacpetén, with an area of 0.23 square kilometers, was 546 persons (Rice and Rice 1990: table 6.5). Our estimates for the Lake Salpetén basin as a whole, based on our transect surveys, were 1,256 persons using an average of 5.4 persons per household and 2,324 using a 10-person household as a basis ...

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Chapter 5: Zacpet

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pp. 85-122

The archaeological site of Zacpetén (historical Sakpeten), a late Kowoj ceremonial and residential center, occupies a cedilla-shaped peninsula extending southward from the northeastern edge of Lake Salpetén, Petén, Guatemala (Maps 5.1 and 5.2). Its occupational history extends from the Middle Preclassic period (ca. 800/700–300 B.C.) until just after the Spanish conquest ...

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Chapter 6: Defensive Architecture and the Context of Warfare at Zacpet

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pp. 123-140

Archival data indicate that the Itza and Kowoj and their allies engaged in intermittent warfare during the seventeenth century. Conflicts in the form of skirmishes, raids, and major combat between the Itza and Kowoj are recorded in ethnohistoric accounts, as are hostilities between the Maya and Spaniards (Avenda

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Chapter 7: Kowoj Ritual Performance and Societal Representations at Zacpet

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pp. 141-172

The Kowoj in Petén grounded their social reality in claims of ancestry from Mayapán, a major Late Postclassic city in Yucatán dating approximately A.D. 1200–1450 (Milbrath and Peraza Lope 2003). Mayapán, along with the earlier Chich’en Itza, were powerful landmarks in the historical consciousness of the Colonial-period lowland Maya ...

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Chapter 8: Residential and Domestic Contexts at Zacpet

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pp. 173-191

A total of 137 residential groups have been mapped on the Zacpetén peninsula; most, if not all, of them had Late Postclassic– to Contact-period components (Rice 1988: 236–238; Rice and Rice 1980), which we associate with Xiw-affiliated groups and the Kowoj. In 1996 Proyecto Maya Colonial excavated five residences, associated architecture, and plaza areas ...

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Chapter 9: Zacpet

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pp. 192-216

Zacpetén’s Group 719 consists of three masonry structures—a tandem open hall (Structure 719), a temple (Structure 721), and a shrine (Structure 720)—on a platform roughly 1200 square meters in area (Map 9.1). The complex is situated between the two temple assemblages, Group A and Group C, on a low ridge that provides the easiest path between the two ceremonial ...

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Part 4: The Archaeology of the Kowoj

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pp. 217-219

The three chapters in Part IV attempt to answer the question “Who were the Kowoj?” through examination of various kinds of pottery they made and used in their daily lives and on ritual occasions. It has long been realized that pottery, because of the multitude of variables involved in its production— variables of its composition, form, surface finishing—provides valuable ...

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Chapter 10: Technological Styles of Slipped Pottery and Kowoj Identity

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pp. 221-237

According to ethnohistorical documents and confirmed by archaeological excavations, ethno-political groups in seventeenth-century Pet

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Chapter 11: The Iconography and Decorative Programs of Kowoj Pottery

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pp. 238-275

Material culture is rarely neutral in its meaning. People who share a common identity and culture will have and display similar symbols of that identity, and these symbols are apparent in their material culture repertoire (Darish 1989; Pollard 1994). Promulgating a common identity through material culture may also establish social boundaries that are maintained ...

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Chapter 12: Incense Burners and Other Ritual Ceramics

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pp. 276-312

During the Postclassic period, as in earlier Preclassic and Classic times, Maya public and private rituals incorporated specialized containers to hold, transport, or process various substances essential to the proceedings. Of these, the most common were pottery vessels for the burning of resins, particularly pom incense (the sap of the copal tree, Protium copal), which ...

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Part 5: Additional Perspectives on the Kowoj

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pp. 313-315

The four relatively short chapters in Part V contribute to the answer to our question, Who were the Kowoj, by adding various perspectives, chronological and behavioral. These perspectives do not so much add new ways to identify the Kowoj archaeologically as they do inform us on their strategies for negotiating relations with their pasts and with the increasingly bitter ...

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Chapter 13: The Symbolism of Zacpet

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pp. 317-326

In 1996 a remarkable disc-shaped stone sculpture was found at the site of Zacpet

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Chapter 14: Postclassic Trade

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pp. 327-339

The political economy of the Postclassic period in Mesoamerica is gener-ally believed to have differed considerably from that of earlier periods. In particular, trade networks and mechanisms are believed to have been dominated by maritime rather than overland routes, with various trading ports, or entrep

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Chapter 15: The Bioarchaeology of Ritual Violence at Zacpet

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pp. 340-367

In 1996, excavations carried out under the auspices of Proyecto Maya Colonial identified and partially excavated a mass grave (Operation 1000) at Zacpet

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Chapter 16: The Kowoj and the Lacandon

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pp. 368-384

Processes of contact, conquest, and colonialism bring about hybridized social configurations built upon the old foundations but molded by new relations of power. Religious systems can be dramatically impacted, especially when colonial powers are obsessed with destroying alternatives to their worldview. This chapter traces transformations of the central ritual ...

Part 6: Conclusions

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Chapter 17: Summary and Concluding Remarks

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pp. 387-395

The preceding chapters have been compiled in an effort to begin to answer the question, Who were the Kowoj? Each chapter in this collection has addressed different kinds of evidence in what has come to be known as a conjunctive approach: indigenous written sources, Spanish sources, linguistics, radiocarbon dating, civic-ceremonial architecture, domestic architecture, decorated ...

References Cited

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pp. 396-438

Index

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pp. 439-458