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The Barricade and Abandonment of Chunchucmil: Implications for Northern Maya Warfare

Bruce H. Dahlin
Latin American Antiquity
Vol. 11, No. 3 (Sep., 2000), pp. 283-298
DOI: 10.2307/972179
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/972179
Page Count: 16
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The Barricade and Abandonment of Chunchucmil: Implications for Northern Maya Warfare
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Abstract

[English] A long low mound of rubble incompletely surrounds part of the central zone at the Classic Period site of Chunchucmil, Yucatan, Mexico. This wall was hastily built from stone robbed from nearby buildings and roadbeds and it clearly served as a defensive barricade. All indications are that the barricade represents a one-time event whereupon the site was attacked, overrun, and abandoned. Re-analysis of other known fortified sites across Yucatan's northern plains show some fundamental similarities. I suggest that all sites with barricades still standing suffered wars of annihilation rather than wars of conquest and subjugation by the victors. I suggest that the Chunchucmil distribution node was annihilated because its proximity to consumption centers in nuclear Mesoamerica reduced the competitiveness of other Yucatecan coastal trade sites that were located further away along the Gulf Coast maritime trade route. // [Spanish] Parte de la zona central de Chunchucmil, Yucatán, México, un sitio del periodo Clásico, está parcialmente rodeada por un montículo alargado bajo de escombros. Este muro se construyó apresuradamente con piedras que fueron robadas de los edificios y sacbeob cercanos, y es claro que sirvió como una barricada defensiva. Todo indica que esta barricada representa un evento momentáneo, cuando el sitio sufrió un ataque, fue invadido, y quedó abandonado. Al reanalizar otros sitios conocidos fortificados de las planicies del norte de Yucatán, se aprecian algunas similitudes fundamentales. Mi hipótesis es que todos los sitios con barricadas que aún se mantienen en pie sufrieron guerras de aniquilación y no guerras de conquista y subyugación por parte de los vencedores. La hipótesis más plausible acerca de la aniquilación de Chunchucmil es que la cercanía de este nodo de distribución a los centros de consumo de la parte nuclear de Mesoamérica, redujo la competitividad de otros sitios costeros de intercambio en Yucatán, que se localizaban más alejados de la ruta comercial marina de la costa del Golfo de México.

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