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The Location of Tayasal: A Reconsideration in Light of Peten Maya Ethnohistory and Archaeology

Grant D. Jones, Don S. Rice and Prudence M. Rice
American Antiquity
Vol. 46, No. 3 (Jul., 1981), pp. 530-547
DOI: 10.2307/280599
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/280599
Page Count: 18
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The Location of Tayasal: A Reconsideration in Light of Peten Maya Ethnohistory and Archaeology
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Abstract

An earlier article in this journal suggested that Tayasal, the island capital of the late Postclassic and historic period Itza Maya, was located at Topoxte on Lake Yaxha in the Department of Peten, Guatemala. Study of ethnohistorical sources for the Peten Itza and their neighbors leads us to conclude, however, that Tayasal was in fact in Lake Peten Itza, the location long favored by earlier writers. These sources are reviewed here, and Tayasal is positively located on the island of Flores; tentative locations for other contemporary settlements in the central lakes region of Peten are offered. The current status of Postclassic period central Peten archaeological research is reviewed in light of the known ethnohistory of the region. The need for continuing interaction between archaeological and ethnohistorical research is stressed.

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