Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Anthropology (Cultural Heritage Option)
Department or School/College
Jaime Awe, Michael Monsos
Archaeology, Maya, Architecture, Cahal Pech, Belize
University of Montana
Anthropology | Archaeological Anthropology | Other Architecture
This thesis seeks to understand the human response to extreme environmental, social, and political change during the Terminal Classic (750-1050 CE) at Cahal Pech. Across the Maya lowlands, this period is distinguished by the end of divine kingships, the cessation of new monumental architecture, rapid changes in prestige goods and trade networks, and population decline at many major centers. Cahal Pech, a medium-sized ceremonial center, experienced great shifts in political power and access to resources during the Terminal Classic. This thesis attempts to understand the last occupation of the site, prior to abandonment. Field data for this study is derived from excavations at Plaza H, located in the northeastern portion of Cahal Pech. Research conducted at the Plaza focuses on the Terminal Classic occupation history, architectural features, and evidence of activities. The interpretation presented in this thesis draws from the frameworks of resilience theory and social memory, approaches that emphasizes agency and the ability for societies to reorganize while creatively drawing on the past. The outcome of this research shows that the residents of Cahal Pech during the Terminal Classic succeeded at both the maintenance of noteworthy cultural practices and undertaking radical changes in social scale, demonstrating significant resiliency.
Steffen, Rachel A., "THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT AT PLAZA H, CAHAL PECH: A STUDY IN RESILIENCY" (2020). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 11682.
© Copyright 2020 Rachel A. Steffen