Classic Maya palace complex at Actuncan, Belize: a functional analysis of room architecture and ceramic assemblages

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This thesis aims to shed light on activities that took place during the Late and Terminal Classic period (ca. A.D. 600 - 1000) in eight contexts within the Maya palace complex at Actuncan, Belize. The form and paste composition of ceramic vessels gives insight on the potential function(s) of the spaces in which they were found. Combining ceramic data with an examination of a palace’s architecture and floor plan can allow one to infer function. Three types of structures were found within Actuncan’s palace complex: administrative structures, residential structures, and ancillary structures. Each of these groups has different criteria regarding architectural elements and layout, and ceramic assemblages. In addition, this research examines the socio-political status of the Late Classic inhabitants of Actuncan’s palace complex and their relationship to a nearby site, Xunantunich. Examining differences in palace architecture and associated ceramic assemblages from sites that were simultaneously occupied can shed light on hierarchical relationships. In particular, the frequency of ash ware rims and Chunhuitz group rims are examined. This research provides data to support the notion that Actuncan was subordinate to Xunantunich during the Late Classic period.

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