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Large-Site Archaeological Methods at Sayil, Yucatan, Mexico: Investigating Community Organization at a Prehispanic Maya Center

Michael P. Smyth and Christopher D. Dore
Latin American Antiquity
Vol. 3, No. 1 (Mar., 1992), pp. 3-21
DOI: 10.2307/971927
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/971927
Page Count: 19
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Large-Site Archaeological Methods at Sayil, Yucatan, Mexico: Investigating Community Organization at a Prehispanic Maya Center
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Abstract

[English] Past Maya communities were composed of a number of social, political, and economic components that were bound together in specific ways. Understanding how such components were organized at the scale of the entire community to form a single functioning entity is an important archaeological issue that is presently not well understood. To address this issue, large-scale research into community organization has been initiated at the Terminal Classic (A. D. 800-1000) Puuc center of Sayil. A program of broad-scale surface collections has systematically covered almost 1.5 km2 of the site's mapped urban area (3.5 km2). Preliminary results from the 1990 field season are providing data related to important components of the community such as social differentiation, economic and subsistence specialization, and the spatial structure of political and religious organization. This study is contributing toward the development of new methods for exploring large archaeological sites and can be employed ultimately to address broader issues concerning societal transformations among the Prehispanic Maya. // [Spanish] Las comunidades de los antepasados mayas estuvieron formadas de un número de componentes sociales, políticos y económicos que fueron unidos en modos específicos. Comprendiendo cómo tales componentes estuvieron organizados-a la escala de toda la comunidad-para formar una sola entidad funcionante es un asunto arqueológico importante que actualmente no está bien entendido. Para abordar este asunto se ha iniciado una investigación a gran escala de la organización de la comunidad en el centro Clásico Terminal (800-1000 D. C.) de Sayil, en las colinas del Puuc. Un programa de recolección de superficie a una escala amplia ha cubierto sistemáticamente casi 1.5 km2 del área urbana mapeada del sitio (3.5 km2). Resultados preliminares de la temporada de campo de 1990 ofrecen información relacionada con componentes importantes de la comunidad, como serán la diferenciación social, las especializaciones de subsistencia y economía, y la estructura espacial de la organización política y religiosa. Este estudio está contribuyendo al desarrollo de nuevos métodos para explorar grandes sitios arqueológicos y poder ser empleado finalmente para dirigir temas más amplias que conciernen las transformaciones sociales de los mayas prehispánicos.

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