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Ancient Maya Traders of Ambergris Caye

Written by Thomas H. Guderjan

Publication Year: 2007

Archaeologists are unsure exactly when the Maya inhabited the coastal areas of Belize, but ample evidence exists to support an extensive maritime trade network along the coast by A.D. 600 This volume focuses on the maritime trade network sites on Ambergris Caye, Belize where excavations have revealed remnants of very small villages, or camps, along the Caribbean coastline.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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Title Page, Copyright

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p. v

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pp. 1-6

... this volume was originally published in Belize, the intent was to return something to the people of San Pedro who helped us over the course of three summers of fieldwork (1986-88). At that time, though we did not really know it yet, the town of San Pedro was just developing its tourism business. In 1986, we rented an entire hotel for $10 per day per room! And, I have a photo of First ...

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The Maya

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pp. 7-16

... no one is sure when the first Maya came to Ambergris Caye. For that matter we do not even know when the first people became ethnically 'Maya'. However, there are many things which we do know about the ancient Maya civilization. Most importantly, this was a real civilization in every sense of the word. The Classic Maya had extremely complex political organizations, astronomers, engineers, and even a form of ...

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Ambergris Caye

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pp. 17-19

... the mid-1980s, two groups have been investigating the archaeology of Ambergris Caye. Elizabeth Graham and David Pendergast of the Royal Ontario Museum have worked at the site of Marco Gonzalez on the southern end of the island. The Ambergris Caye Archaeological Project, directed by Tom Guderjan of the University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures at San Antonio, James Garber and ...

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pp. 20-21

Yalamha, literally 'under the water', is entirely submerged in about two feet of water near the entrance to Laguna Frances. Only a scatter of Early Classic pottery and stone artifacts, covering about 300 square meters, can now be found. This small residence may be a clue to why we cannot readily find Early Classic materials on Ambergris. We already know that relative sea level has risen about 50 centimeters since 100 A.D. and one ...

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San Juan [Contains Image Plates]

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pp. 22-28

San Juan juts into the water of the back side of Ambergris, just where boats could easily see it as they completed the trip through the Bacalar Chico canal. At San Juan, we found pottery from the Yucatan, the south coast of Belize, as well as the Peten region of Guatemala and Campeche. We also found several vessels of Tohil Plumbate pottery which was made only on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. There was gray obsidian from highland ...

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Chac Balam

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pp. 29-31

... Chac Balam was another important Maya community of the Late and Terminal Classic periods. The site is located between San Juan and the Bacalar Chico canal with a man made harbor dug to it. The site itself is rather small, covering an area of about 150 meters by 50 meters. The central portion of Chac Balam is a formal plaza about 25 meters square with buildings arranged around it on platforms ...

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Ek Luum

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pp. 32-33

Ek Luum is one of the largest of these sites. located about 250 meters from the present beach, Ek Luum is typical of the windward sites in that it is far enough away from the beach for safety, yet close enough for easy access. It was also built on the shore of the Laguna Cantena within sight of communities like Burning Water and Chac Balam. The major portion of the site is a raised area about ...

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Marco Gonzalez

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pp. 34-35

The Marco Gonzalez site may be the largest ruin on Ambergris Caye. Located about two miles, south of the town of San Pedro, it covers an area of about 355 meters by 155 meters and has at least 53 buildings with a central plaza and several small courtyard groupings. The site's excavators believe that during the Early Classic period, the economy of Marco Gonzalez was based upon exploitation of the vast marine resources which the Caribbean ...

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Basil Jones

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pp. 36-40

The other site on Ambergris Caye which probably dates to the Postclassic period is Basil Jones. South of Rocky Point at the interior of the island is Ambergris Caye's widest section. It is much higher and supports a much different vegetation pattern. Here there is a series of crudely built stone mounds, now nearly destroyed by looting and, perhaps, by the work of Ambergris's first archaeologist ...

Other Publications

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pp. 41-42

E-ISBN-13: 9780817383695
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817354633

Page Count: 52
Publication Year: 2007

OCLC Number: 650060134
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Ancient Maya Traders of Ambergris Caye

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Subject Headings

  • Ambergris Cay (Belize) -- Antiquities.
  • Mayas -- Antiquities.
  • Mayas -- Commerce.
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