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An Archaeological Reconstruction of Ancient Maya Life at Pacbitun, Belize

Terry G. Powis, Sheldon Skaggs and George J. Micheletti. Foreword by Jaime J. Awe
Publication Year:
272 pages, Illustrated in colour and black and white, 24 tables, 122 figures
Sub-series name:
Archaeology of the Maya, 4
BAR number:


This volume presents the results of 35 years of archaeological research at the Maya site of Pacbitun, located in west central Belize. The site was continuously occupied from 900 BC to AD 800/900. Excavations focused on both the site core and periphery, with investigations centred around housemounds, workshops, causeways, caves, and other karst features. In the site core, we excavated at areas ranging from small domestic houses dating to the Middle Preclassic to large ceremonial architecture (e.g. courtyards, palaces, temples) and complexes (e.g. E Groups) dating to the Late/Terminal Classic periods. From a material culture perspective, we conducted extensive research on ancient Maya use of plants, animals, ground stone tools, musical instruments, and ceramics. Tying all of these aspects together, our project has routinely utilised spatial technologies and 3D modelling (aerial and terrestrial LiDAR, photogrammetry) that help to capture our research efforts, from architecture to material remains, over the long-term.

Terry G. Powis is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Kennesaw State University. Terry conducts research both in the Maya Lowlands of Belize, Central America, and the southeastern United States. He specialises in Maya pottery, diet and subsistence, and the evolution of complex societies.

Sheldon Skaggs is a geoarchaeologist specialising in geophysics and Late Classic Maya archaeology. His current work focuses on ground stone tool production, excavations of palaces structures, and 3D modelling of artifacts and architecture at the site of Pacbitun, Belize. He is an associate professor at Bronx Community College, CUNY.

George J. Micheletti is a graduate student in the Integrative Anthropological Sciences Ph.D. program at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. His research interests focus on 3D modelling, ancestor veneration, ceremonial architecture, political organization, and remote sensing.

Contributors: Arianne Boileau, Nicaela Cartagena, Arlen F. Chase, Kong F. Cheong, Peter Cherico, Nilesh Gaikwad, Brian Gil, Paul F. Healy, Christophe Helmke, Adam King, Michael Lawrence, George J. Micheletti, Michael J. Mirro, C.L. Kieffer, Megan D. Parker, Karen Pierce, Jeffrey A. Powis, Terry G. Powis, Sheldon Skaggs, Jon Spenard, Norbert Stanchly, Tawny Tibbits, Carmen Ting, Andrew J. Vaughan, Jennifer U. Weber.

‘This book is a valuable source for Mayanists and for all researchers interested in how past societies organised and lived in ancient cities around the world.’ Dr Lilia Fernández Souza, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán

‘The method for chemical characterisation and sourcing of granite artifacts using pXRF is entirely new.’ Professor John S. Henderson, Cornell University

‘The quality and range of work presented here is impressive.’ Dr Gabriel Wrobel, Michigan State University

Table of Contents (S2970_9781407356631_ToC.pdf, 149 Kb) [Download]

Foreword and Introduction (S2970_Powis_9781407356631_Foreword_Introduction.pdf, 382 Kb) [Download]