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DOLL EYES, DOLL MOUTH: AN ANALYSIS OF SIX CERAMIC FIGURINE HEADS FROM TERMINAL CLASSIC CAHAL PECH BELIZE BY MALLORY FENN A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology Under the Sponsorship of Anthony Andrews and Gabrielle Vail Saraosota, Florida April, 2013
ii ACKNOWLEDG MENTS To the members of my baccalaureate committee, Dr. Tony Andrews, Dr. Uzi Baram, and Dr. Gabrielle Vail for their patience, understanding and guidance. To my parents Bonnie and Leonard Fenn, my grandmother Carol Brafford, aunt Linda Rose, uncle Neil Fenn and sister Shannon Fenn, with eternal gratitude for their unflagging confidence, support, and commitment to shenanigans: I lu lu! To all the rest of my precious friends, family, and any overlap in between: to Aida n Bailey, Anne Sophie Staebler, Megan Gautier, Taylor Parker, Andi Burt, Faith Benamy, Francesca Leyva, Sherise Gamble, Hannah Brown, Julia True, James Sheridan, Gail Fish, Lauren Ali, Michelle Leahy, Ariel Hensley, Niki Montanero, Ian Larkin, Taylor Bufor d, Marisa Facey, George Kaplan, Kelly Kenny, Yamilah Kenny Lauren Sorondo Team Anthro, Team Drunk Feminists, and all overlap thereof To Dr. Jaime Awe, for giving me this project as well as the opportunity to work as an artifact illustrator with the Beli ze Valley Archaeologica l Reconnaissance Project (BVAR), and t o the workers, staff and students of BVAR's 2012 field season, without whom this thesis could never have been written.
iii TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ACKNOWLEDG MENTS ii TABLE OF CONTENTS iii LIST OF FIGURES iv ABSTRACT v CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION 1 CHAPTER II: RESEARCH ON LATE AND TERMINAL 5 CLASSIC MAYA FIGURINES CHAPTER III: TERMINAL CLASSIC SOCIOPOLITICAL CLIMATE 20 CHAPTER IV: FIGURINE ANALYSIS 30 CHAPTER V: CONCLUSION 41 WORKS CITED 45
iv LIST OF FIGURES Page FIGURE 1 Map of the Maya area 1 FIGURE 2 Map of t he Belize Valley 2 FIGURE 3 Figurine depicting autosacrifice from Postclassic Santa Rita Corozal 4 FIGURE 4 Temple of the Seven Dolls figurines, Dzibilchaltun 12 FIGURE 5 Outer assemblage of Structure 213 figurines, including four bacabs 13 FIGURE 6 Classic e ra Altun Ha cache 24 FIGURE 7 Plaza A cache associated with Structure A 3 stairwell 3 1 FIGURE 8 Plaza A cache associated with Structure A 3 s tairwell 3 1 FIGURE 9 Map of Cahal Pech site core circa 2006 3 2 FIGURE 10 Figurine A2.L1 423 3 3 FIGURE 11 Terminal Classic Altar de Sacrificios whistle figurines 3 3 FIGURE 12 Figurine CP.A4 451 3 4 FIGURE 13 Figurine CP.A3.L1 K52 3 5 FIGURE 14 Terminal Classic Altar de Sacrificios figurine 3 6 FIGURE 15 Terminal Classic Altar de Sacrificios figurine 3 6 FIGURE 16 Classic era Uaxactun head fragment 3 6 FIGURE 17 Figurine CP.A3.Rm2BRI.L2 419 3 7 FIGURE 18 "Grotesque" Terminal Classic Altar de Sacrificios fragments 3 7 FIGURE 19 Figurine CP.A2.61 422 3 8 FIGURE 20 Figurine CP.A2.L2 424 3 9
v Doll Eyes, Doll Mouth: An Analysis of Six Ceramic Figurine Heads from Terminal Classic Cahal Pech, Belize By Mallory Fenn New College of Florida, 2013 ABSTRACT Ceramic figurines are one of the most common classes of artifact in the Maya world, although in depth studies of this type of artifact did not begin until then late 20th century. Figurines offer representations of numerous facets of Maya life and embody glimpses into Maya worldviews. This thesis presents a comparative stylistic analysis of a sample of six Terminal Classic ceramic figurines from Cahal Pech, in modern day San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize. It attempts to further elucidate the sociopolitical climate if Terminal Classic Cahal Pech, better understand trade relations between Cahal Pech and other Maya Lowlands sites, and ascertain whether deeper meanings may be held within the figurines themselves. ____________________ Dr. Anthony Andrews Division of Social Sciences ____________________ Dr. Gabr ielle Vail Division of Social Sciences
1 CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION Cahal Pech in the Maya Area The Maya area, situated geographically in Central America between n orthern Mexico and Belize (Joyce 2003: 11), has been home to Maya culture since the Formative period (Awe and Campbell 1990: 2). While Maya material culture is highly variable geographically and among different time periods, ancient Maya culture was connected by an overarc hing cosmology including themes found most prominently in Figure 1. Map of the Maya area (from http://www.yucatan revealed.com )
2 the Popol Vuj (the K'ich Maya account of creation), a complex writing system incorporating both logographic and syllabic glyphs, extremely accurate knowledge of astronomy, and the practice of human sacrifice and auto sacrifice as part of a pantheistic belief system. Many of t hese cultural traits have persisted until recent times despite the destruction of codices and suppression of cultural expression by Spanish friars in the Postclassic (Coe 1987: 13). Figure 2. The Belize Valley (Drafted by James F. Garber; Chase and Garber 2004: 2) Cahal Pech, a site located near San Ignacio in present day Belize, was a mid size ceremonial center of notable importance throughout the Classic era. Situated on a
3 steep bank over looking the Macal River, Cahal Pech was situated at an ideal location for participating in the trade networks which connected sites throughout the Belize River Valley (the region encompassing Cahal Pech, Baking Pot, Barton Ramie and Lower Dover, which are positioned within the Maya Lowlands). Translating to "Place of the Ticks," decades of excavations have prove n that Cahal Pech is in fact one of the oldest sites in the Maya Lowlands, having first been established as a settlement in the Formative period (A we and Cambell 1988, 1990: 2). Though truly a sprawling settlement, the site core at Cahal Pech has captured the interest of archaeologists more than any of its other sections due its monumental architecture (as well as the need to prevent looting and r ecover as many artifacts from looters as possible). Cahal Pech's site core consists of Plazas A, B, C, D, E, F and G: while these plazas all vary in size, each has a number of structures surrounding them and defining their borders (Plaza A is bordered by Structures A 1, A 2, A 3 and A 4, Plaza B is surrounded by B 1, B 2, B 3 and B 4, and so on). In addition to these plazas, the site core includes eastern and western ball courts, and a number of intrusive burials throughout the site (Santasilla 2011: 37). This thesis is particularly concerned with three caches wherein figurines were found within Plaza A and Structures A 2 and A 3 (to be discussed in Chapters 3 and 4). Figurines in Maya Culture Anthropomorphic figurines are nearly ubiquitous throughout th e Maya area and have been found constructed of wood, jade and, primarily, of pottery. There is a widespread appreciation for figurines as a form of Maya art, some of which were
4 thought to have been produced in artisan colonies (Corson 1976). Figurines ha ve been found to represent various styles of clothing and headdresses, to portray both elites and commoners, the youthful and the old, gods and supernatural beings, mundane household activities and sacred rituals (though dichotomies such as these were not always considered mutually exclusive). Figurines were produced by a number of different techniques, including but not limited to the use of ceramic molds. Though having undergone a great deal of stylistic evolution through the centuries, figurines are st ill used in certain Maya ceremonies today, and these data are often useful in the analysis of figurines (McVickers 2012: 218) Usually found within burials or domestic contexts, the purpose of figurines is a question which has been plaguing Maya archaeology for decades. Despite a wealth of material evidence such as marks of wear and tear, paint residue, and the ability to reve rse engineer the figurine creation process thanks to the preservation of ceramic molds, archaeologists remain largely perplexed by figurines and have increasingly been turning to body theory and feminist theory (see Chapter 2) in order to explore what deep er meanings figurines may have held for the ancient Maya. Figure 3 F igurine depicting autosacrifice from Postclassic Santa Rita Corozal (drawing by author after Chase 1991: Fig. 9).
5 Arc hitectural History of Cahal Pech Large scale monumental construction at Cahal Pech began in the Early Preclassic and continued into the Terminal Classic: Structure B 4 is thought to be one of the oldest structures at the site, dating to the Early Preclassic and providing evidence of construction throughout Cahal Pech's history. Work on Structure A1 is thought to have ended between the 6th and 7th centuries, when it was enlargened in the Laman ai Type Building style: Structure A 2's terminal phase may have also been during the 7th century (Awe and Campbell 1988: 15, 18). Context of Figurine Sample The purpose of this thesis is to provide an analysis of six Terminal Classic ceramic figurines recovered from numerous points in Plaza A, a courtyard surrounded by elite structures in the site core of Cahal Pech. Plaza A is the portion of Cahal Pech whose access was most restricted; the significance of this fact will be discussed further along with the changes Cahal Pech underwent in the Terminal Classic in Chapter 3 and in light of the physical context of the six figurines in Chapter 4. Chapter Summaries Chapter 2 will focus on the history of figurine studies in Maya archaeology, beginning with Mary Butlers' 1935 article 'A Study of Maya Mouldmade Figurines', dealing specifically with archaeologists' methodologies for figurine categorization and analysis and the theoretical frameworks within which archaeologists have situated their analyses.
6 Chapter 3 will discuss the sociopolitical climate of the Terminal Classic, a unique period of social change, political turmoil and environmental disturbance. After an overview of how the Terminal Classic was first defined and how that definition has shifted throughout the late 20th century and beyond due to changing theoretical paradigms in Maya archaeology (Rice, Demarest and Rice 2004), Cahal Pech's place in the Terminal Classic will be further defined. Along with a discussion on how Belize Valley Maya sites interacted with each other in the Terminal Classic period. Chapter 4 features the actual analysis of the figurine sample in question, offering a comparative study between the stylistic features of these Terminal Classic Cahal Pech figurines and similar figurines throughout the Terminal Classic Maya Lowlands. Chapter 4 will also feature a discussion of the significance of the physical context of the figurines, as well as the assemblage of artifacts they were found with. In all, this thesis aims to elucidate the possible meanings held by six figurines found in three caches throughout Cahal Pech's Plaza A by examining their archaeological context and where they fit within the theoretical paradigms which have fairly recently been developed within the study of Maya figurines, as well as figurines in general.
7 CHAPTER II: RESEARCH ON LATE AND TERMINAL CLASSIC MAYA FIGURINES The study of ceramic figurine s is a relatively new focus within Maya archaeology, one which only began in earnest during the early 20th century. Though the body of research on Maya figurines remains small in comparison to the study of monumental art the corpus of figurines held in mu seum collections and detailed in archaeological reports is enormous Maya figurines have been recovered in locales as far south in Central America as El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, and are present in the archaeological record from the Archaic at P iedras Negras to the Postclassic at Labn To wit, a wide variety of artifacts are encompassed by the umbrella term figurine including ocarinas whistles and censers. Figurines are largely anthropomorphic (though animals and supernaturals do compose a fair share of their subject matter), and may be hand sculpted, moldmade, or admixtures thereof (Butler 1935). They take on forms ranging from the fantastic and celestial to the realistic, and even to the grotesque, and like other forms of Maya ceramic art could be painted, incised and carved, or left unslipped (Smith 1971a: 64). It is this wide variety of subject matter which allowed for archaeologists to begin taking on the daunting challenge of categorizing figurines in the early 20th century. Early Figurine Studies While anthropomorphic figurines have been inventoried and catalogued from the inception of ancient Maya archaeology, enough figurines had been amassed in
8 museum collections b y the early decades of the twentieth century to make wide ranging attempts at classification viable T he first few large scale studies which focused on figurines specifically were descriptive undertakings. In her landmark piece A Style in Maya Mouldmade Figurines, Mary Butler (1935: 641) writes style i s taken as the primary criterion, with type of person shown, the subject matter, as secondary criterion Butler's sample was wide ranging geographically and temporally, surveying the whole of the Maya area from the Archaic phase to the Postclassic phase : a feat which has not been replicated with the same success since. Butler's sample is massive featuring moldmade figurines from Guatemala, Mexico and Belize. This first attempt at categorization divid ed figurines into moldmade and hand modeled pieces first and foremost. From there, Butler separated her figurines, all of which were moldma de in the round, into "Style X" -characterized by a high degree of verism and detail work -and "Style Y," less realistic and less concerned with detail Within the se two larger categories, Butler separated figurines into numbered groups such as X1, X2, X3 and so on, based on the positioning of the figurine's body -"hands at sides," "arms crossed," etc (Butler 1935: 641, 652) This study provided the groundwork fo r all 20th century figurine analyses and remained the only regional summary of figurines for four decades (Corson 1976). A Study on Moldmade Figurines has continued to be cited in discussions on figurine by archaeologists for decades. Tatiana Proskouriako ff's report on the artifacts of Mayapan, carbon dated from roughly 1015 AD to 1315 AD, catalogs the highly varied collection of artifacts that were recovered from the Postclassis site during the Peabody Museum sponsored digs in
9 the early 1950s. Proskouriak off divides her collection first by the material of the artifacts and then by their physical features and functions, cross referencing design motifs carved into the figurines with those found in the Dresden and Madrid codices. Focusing on descriptions of f igurines from one site rather than a survey of figurines across the Maya area, Proskouriakoff's contribution to the monography Mayapan Yucatan Mexico is typical of many early figurine typologies but was nonetheless heavily influential on the studies follow ing it (Proskouriakoff 1965: 329, 331). Gordon Willey's The Artifacts of Altar de Sacrificios (1972) drew heavily upon these early studies, making use of both Butler's Type X and Type Y as well as her method of categorization. While he does not attempt a cataloguing of figurines as exhaustive as Butlers' work (his report being focused on several types of artifacts and not focused solely on figurines), he does pay his respects, asserting that her study "was a good beginning, but it has not been followed up, and lamenting that figurine classification, for the most part, has proceeded on an ad hoc, site report basis... and this report is no exception" (Willey 1972: 60). Typology and Interpretations of Figurines Robert and Barbara Rand s landmark study Pottery Figurines of the Maya Lowlands (1965) provided an equally ambitious as well as concise overview of ceramic figurines throughout the whole of the Maya lowlands, separating figurine categories chronologically into the Preclassic, Classic, Termin al Classic and Postclassic. Relying heavily on Mary Butler's pioneering piece, the Rands outlined the traits which differentiate assemblages of figurines throughout the history of ancient
10 Maya culture from one another, discussing the use of molds, what t raits were most common among figurine traditions in particular historical phases, and how these were used to determine the geographic spread of cultural exchange and chronologies both within figurine development and at Maya sites. Robert Rands produced another typology that same year: Classic and Postclassic Pottery Figurines of the Guatemala Highlands (1965) Focusing on Kaminaljuyu's abundance of figurines in the Preclassic as opposed to the decline of figurine production in the Terminal Classic and Postclassic, thi s article serves as the continu ation of Alfred Kidder's Preclassic Pottery Figurines of the Maya Lowlands (1965) This focus on the development of figurine traditions at one site, rather than an overarching history, would come to be favore d by archaeologists focusing on figurines. Though a comparative approach is Christopher Corson's Maya Anthropomorphic Figurines from Jaina Island, Campeche (1976) focused on figurines fabricated on Jaina Island in the Postclassic that were at the time ho used among the collections of numerous museums. Corson was the first to attempt a true stylistic typology of Jaina figurines, and his finished product proved to be exhaustive. Corson divided them into several categories, differentiating them by criteria such as the style of headdresses, hair, or clothing, the perceived sex of the figurine, whether a figurine was painted or unpainted, and/or whether a figurine was holding something in its hands and then into further subgroups within these categories ( Cors on 1976: 4, 9, 127 148) Tatiana Proskouriakoff's The Artifacts of Mayapan (1962) separated a collection of limestone carvings recovered from Mayapan in the early 1950s into categories based
11 on what the figurines were carved to resemble, as diagnosed by fa cial features, the inclusion of headdresses and ear flares, the representation of turtle shells, and glyphs. Much of this imagery is dedicated to images of gods and supernaturals R.E. Smith's The Pottery of Mayapan (1971) inventoried a number of anthopomorphic figurines, effigy censer fragments, and figurine molds, dividing collections from Mayapan, the Sacred Cenote at Chichen Itza and Labna. These figurines were distinguished from the larger collection of pottery and non anthropomorphic censer s recovered from the three sites and listed with descriptions of whether paint was still present, the size of the artifact, hypotheses about what purposes any perforation in their clay may have held, whether any damage was sustained (and if so, to what deg ree), and what context they were recovered from. Some notable examples of Smith's figurines include an anthropomorphic whistle recovered from the burial of three children, several exquisite, complete effigy censers and a number of ceramic molds (Smith 197 1: 98 115). These studies served largely to catalog and describe the corpus of figurines found throughout the Maya area. While attempts are still being made to develop an over arching theory of figurines (Stocke r 1991: 1 ), more recent reports continue to focus on the artifacts of a single site (though comparisons are often made in discussions on artistic motifs and trade patterns). T ypes of Contex ts Burials, Caches, Termination Rituals
12 Figurines are most commonly found in a fragmented state and within burials. Most famously, this has been confirmed to be the case at Jaina and Mayapan (Corson 1976; McVicker 201 2: 215 Proskouriakoff 1962; Smith 1971a). It is rare to find fully intact figurines; when this is the case, they are most likely to be nestled within caches, which are equally uncommon (Rands and Rands 1965: 558). Such caches have been excavated througho ut the Maya Lowlands, with several found at the Temple of the Seven Dolls at Dzibilchaltun (Andrews 1959), Palenque and Santa Rita (Rands and Rands 1965: 559). Unfortunately, as with most factors touched on in early studies of figurines, context was listed in a descriptive manner and not discussed in much detail save in discourses on dating. Arguably the most famous figurines found in a burial context (due in part to their sheer numbers and to the artistry with which they were produced), Corson's Jai na Island sample has provided a wealth of information and allowed for the creation of a highly detailed burial chronology for Jaina. Though it has not escaped its share of criticisms, Corson's study is still lauded as "a more refined typology which is sti ll useful today" decades after its publication (McVicker 2012: 2016) Figure 4 Temple of the Seven Dolls figurines, D zibilchaltun (Andrews IV 1959: 105).
13 In addition to figurines themselves, ceramic figurine molds have also been found in burial contexts (Smith 1971b: 100). Archaeologists have derived a great dela of insight on the fabrica tion of figurines from their molds, as many are still able to produce "positives" the impressions left by the mold eventually seen on the completed figurine (Smith 1971b: 100; Willey 1972: 72). These have helped to make the distinction between moldmade a nd hand modeled figurines more salient and recognizable to archaeologists. Willey dedicates a short section in his report on Altar de Sacrificios to three ceramic molds, postulating that the molds themselves were produced by being pressed over a ceramic core and noting, perhaps most significantly, that even fragmented Terminal Classic molds are not recovered at a rate anywhere near that of the figurines they produced (Willey 1972: 74). Maya anthropomorphic figurines have also been recovered from caches within house mounds, ceremonial complexes and elite dwellings.. While most figurines depicting supernaturals were restricted to a ceremonial context, smaller versions of these were present within house mounds, presumably for use within personal shrines (Proskouriakoff 1962: 331 336 ). Figure 5 In situ illustration of outer assemblage of Structure 21 3 figurines, including the four bacabs (Chase and Chase 1988: 49).
14 The Temple of the Seven Dolls' titular figurines were found within an intrusi ve burial, deposited by breaking through the ceiling of a Classic structure during the Dzibilchaltun Terminal Classic period. The placement of the figurines within a "plaster tube in the floor of the structure and the resemblance the figurines held to sy mptoms of certain diseases led archaeologists to hypothesize about the figurines' possible involvement in spiritual and religious practices (Andrews IV 1959: 96 108). One of the most significant studies on figurine caches in recent years came from Santa R ita Corozal in Belize, excavated by Diane and Arlen Chase in the 1970s and 1980s. The Chases recovered numerous caches of ceramic figurines, at least two of which included both anthropomorphic and animal figurines. Arguably the most notable of these, found within the core of Structure 213, included four bacab figures perfo rming penile auto sacrifice (presumably with stingray spines) on the backs of turtles. Bacabs are described in the Chilam Balam of Chumayel as "Four stand as gods/ four as Bacabs/ They caused their [the core less peoples'] destruction"; the bacabs were i nstrumental in both the destructions and reestablishment of different Maya creations and serve to hold up the world (Knowlton 2010: 65), thus being of particular significance for ceremonies involving both renewal and termination. It is this association o f the bacabs with creation, destruction, and the maintenance of daily existence which led the Chases to posit that the four anthropomorphic figurines possessed directional significance (Chase and Chase 1988: 51). Though deposited several centuries after t he Cahal Pech cache this study is concerned with, the Santa Rita cache and others like it provide evidence for the continuation of Late Classic rituals into later time periods (McVicker 2012: 223)
15 Terminal Classic Period Figurines Stylistically, the Te mple of the Seven Dolls figurines are somewhat unique among Terminal Classic style complexes with the human form represented in a more abstract fashion than is typical for that phase. While most other Terminal Classic figurines of the Maya lowlands are t ypified by a fair amount of verism and attention to detail, the Seven Dolls figurines possess even less detail than Butler's Style Y. They do, however, bear a striking resemblance to the symptoms of certain diseases 1 leading archaeologists to wonder whet her they were involved in some ritual involving or relating to healing (Andrews IV 1959: 105). Christopher Corson's extensive sample of figurines from Jaina Island date to the Terminal Classic and Postclassic; these exquisitely crafted works have played no small role in drawing attention to the study of ancient Maya figurines. Corson's meticulous methodology for classifying the Jaina figurines saw him divide them into three main groups -the Jaina Group, Jonuta Group and Campeche Group -and then to create numbered and lettered subdivisions within those. Each subdivision of figurines is identified by its average height, perceived sex of the figurines, what type of paste was used, whether it was molded, handmodeled or a combination thereof, whether any figurines possessed facial adornments, hairstyles of the figurines, clothing, paint colors, any other decorative features and any associations with figurines categorized into other groups; four forms of headdresses an d six forms of ear ornaments were identified. All 1 The protrusions on the backs of Dzibilchaltun's "seven dolls" have been c ompared to Gibbous deformations associated with advanced Pott disease, a form of skeletal tuberculosis (Mackowiak et al. 2005: 516)
16 of these traits as well as other adornos 2 were also classified and graphed to track the developments in their various styles over the use of Jaina Island. This allowed Corson (1976: 127 148) to both "defin e principal artifact types in the Jaina complex" and to "facilitate analysis of the duration and changing modes of stylistic element categories". Corson's study also included a chapter on geographic relations, tracing patterns in figurine fabrication in l ieu of performing chemical analyses: a special emphasis was placed on Teotihuacano headdress variants (Corson 1976: 153 155). Gordon W illey whose late career focused heavily on the southern Maya Lowlands, attempted a detailed categorization futher sepa rating hand modeled and moldmade figurines further into different styles. Altar de Sacrificios figurines were unearthed from within mounds and structures throughout the site, the majority of them being fragments of whistles and head fragments. Drawing again on Butler's study o f "Style X" and "Style Y" figurines, Wyllie's report on Altar de Sacrificios separates figurines stylistically into Maya men and women (largely based on styles of hair and clothing), double heads, "monsters" and "grotesques" (to b e defined in Chapter 4). The majority of these figurines date to the Terminal Classic phase (Willey 1972: 19, 28, 37, 44, 50). Jaina style figurines were recently revisited by Donald McVicker, who, like many scholars before him challenged Corson's inte rpretations of the uses and meanings of Jaina style figurines : The traditional interpretations of Jaina figurines have focused on stylistic categories and uncritical acceptance of European models for Maya courtly culture. [...] This can be as misleading as placing a figure from a Nativity scene in a 2 adornments
17 grave as a symbol of Christian fidelity ( McVicker 2012: 218) McVicker also reviewed theories on the nature of Jaina Island's settlement confirming that Jaina society was stratified and possessed a burial cult unparalleled throughout the whole of the Maya area (McVicker 2012 : 228). The figurine fragments this study is concerned with were all recovered from Plaza A at Cahal Pech, in association with Structures A 2 and A 3, an elite complex within the site c ore. The Terminal Classic sample of figurines from Cahal Pech is an assortment of hollow and solid figurines, a variety o f ceramic production techniques and tempers, and subject matter ranging from representation of women to grotesques ." Though this smal l sample is a diverse one all six head fragments share a common trait: as evidenced by uneven breaks at their necks, each are thought to have been purposely snapped off from their bodies, potentially as part of a post abandonment ritual (Awe 2012, perso nal communication). Figurines and Body Theory Having focused for several decades on categorizing figurines based on stylistic factors such as ceramic temper, representations of apparel, or the shape of a figurine's face figurine interpretation trends turned towards body theory which began to be incorporated into archaeologists' analyse s of figurines and other artifacts in the early1990s. Following the lead of theorists like Judith Butler who introduced new thoughts abou t gender and th e body into academic literature -namely, the notion of gender performativity, that gender is a phenomena sustained by continued reproduction rather
18 than an inborn quality (Butler 1990) -figurine studies have shifted its focus from describing and categorizing figurines to more closely examining how they had been used by the ancient Maya, imagining how the ancient Maya envisioned figurines, and exploring how their uses may have intersected with societal class and gender roles Linda Schele a lso contributed to this paradigm shift in figurine studies claiming that Palenque figurines may have been used to reconstruct ritual scenes somewhat analogous to those of Christian nativities (McVicker 2012: 218, 230). While not focusing exclusively on figurines, Past Bodies: Body Centered Research in Archaeology ( and Robb 2008) includes an article by Rosemary Joyce entitled When the body is solid but the flesh is hollow inside Joyce writes that scholars must consider potential attitudes t he ancient Maya may have held towards the adornment of li ving bodies, and reconsider their own assumptions about the dichotomy between living and constructed bodies -that is, the assumption that the ancient Maya viewed the bodies of human beings and those of figurines as diametrically opposed entities rather than being considered equivalent to one another (Joyce 200 8 : 42). It is only very recently that a collectio n of articles focusing solely on Mesoamerican figurines has been published, featuring work by Joyce Mesoamerican Figurines: Small Scale Indices of Large Scale Social Phenomena (2008) features discussions on embodiment, social discourse, the information f igurines can provide about the sociopolitical climate in which they were fabricated, and perhaps most profoundly, an outline as to what elements (Scale, Production Process, a nd Contexts of Use and Disposal ) are likely to be encompassed by Mesoamerican fig urine studies as it becomes a more concrete and well established field (Joyce 2009). In addition to this
19 new focus on the politics of representing the human body, scholars are also exploring the way the ancient Maya wo uld have experienced figurines, rather than simply describing signs of wear and tear and offering short analyses. Examining their size as an indication of how they would have been held and used rather than simply focusing on categorizing figurines by vario us qualities and their status as constructed bodies as a possible response to the "construction" of living bodies through the use of tattoos, clothing, jewelry and other types of adornment (Joyce 2 008: 42). The study of figurines has made leaps and boun ds theoretically since it began as a purely descriptive endeavor, with archaeologists beginning to focus on figurines by attempting to form rudimentary categories, in some cases reluctantly or not at all (Stocker 1991: 1). Where theories on the usage of fi gurines were first formulated based on perforations in their clay (fairly straightforward in the case of whistles, as one can imagine), signs of wear and tear, and physical context, scholars have begun to engage in discussions of figurines on much higher l evels of theory, and the potential this massive class of ancient Maya artifact holds is steadily being unlocked.
20 CHAPTER III: SOCIOPOLITICAL CLIMATE OF THE TERMINAL CLASSIC Studies on the Maya Terminal Classic Life in the Terminal Classic Maya Lowlands was one rife with climatic shifts (Moyes et al. 2009) political upheaval and social change, all of which manifested differently among elites and commoners, though experiences within these groups were varied as well (Ashmore, Yaeger, and Robi n 2004: 302). First introduced to the Mayanist lexicon at a conference on ceramics in 1965, defining, interpreting and dating the Maya Terminal Classic has been a source of contention among archaeologists for decades (Rice, Demarest, and Rice 2004: 3, 9). The Terminal Classic phase was considered by early 20th century Mayanists to be the commencement of a "dark age" of "debauchery" and cultural decline due to the abandonment of monumental centers disappearance of new stelae and monumental structures (alo ng with the use of the Long Count dates they are often associated with), and the discovery of "problematic deposits" of refuse throughout the Maya Lowlands. These were considered at first to be refuse, though archaeologists now understand them to be termin ation deposits (Stanton 2008: 233) (Moyes et al 2009: 200). From the 1940s on, ancient Maya culture was thought to have risen and fallen in the tripartite temporal dance of the rise of the Classic phase from 600 AD to 800 AD, the collapse circa 850 AD, an d the Postclassic phase from roughly 850 AD on. (Marcus 1995: 21). The interpretation of the Terminal Classic as a time of cultural and political devolution began to be reexamined and fall out of favor in the 1990s and 1980s with the
21 growing number of st udies on termination deposits, the codices and the quality of art produced in the Terminal Classic. The attitude Mayanists currently hold towards the "collapse" which began during the Terminal Classic throughout the Maya Lowlands was first advanced as ear ly as 1973 (2007: 329). Today, the notion of the "collapse" of Maya society has been rejected by a few scholars. These scholars see the Terminal Classic as a stage of development between the Late Classic and the Postclassic varying with the history of ea ch site, rather than a uniform phase throughout the Maya area (Aimers 2007: 331). This new definition is due to the highly variant narratives experienced by Maya Lowlands sites: while most followed the abandonment trajectory associated with older views of the Terminal Classic and Postclassic, Lamanai, Caracol and El Pilar, among other sites, experienced a great deal of monumental construction in the Terminal Classic. The Terminal Classic is also the point at which Chichen Itza rose to political prominence, coinciding with the addition of new structures (though there is some controversy regarding the timing of Chichen Itza's rise to power) (Kamp et. al 2006: 411) Elites and commoners During the late ninth century, the soc ietal structure of ancient Maya polities was in flux: the influence the k'ujul ajaws 3 once held securely was waning, and the social stratification which had characterized the Preclassic and Classic phase s was becoming far less pronounced (LeCount 2007: 331 ). Mayanists have developed a number of theories to explain this relatively sudden shift in class relations, one involving flagging beliefs in a divine mandate to rule. Many connect theories on a declining trust in Maya 3 The most powerful rulers of Maya city states, literally translated as "Holy King (Coe and Van Stone 2005: 69).
22 royals to the debilitating drought s experienced throughout the Terminal Classic (Moyes et al. 2009: 176), though such environmentally deterministic explanations are falling out of favor in favor of the more nuanced views on changes in the Terminal Classic mentioned previously. Terminal Classic Xunantunich is a particularly salient example of this shift in social relations. Where painted ceramics had previously served as elite goods, excavations of Xunantunich saw these ceramic sherds recovered from humbler house mounds in addition to e lite's structures, both dating to the Terminal Classic. The even dispersal of ceramic types between classes has been advanced as evidence for a less pronounced social hierarchy in Late Classic Lowland Maya society (2001: 949). This data has since been i nterpreted as an attempt by elites to forge ties with commoners in troubled times, a lack of elite control of prestige goods, or an attempt by commoners to establish an identity separate from the elite of th e site core (Aim ers 2007: 331) While kingship and monumental construction was flagging in some portions of the Maya Lowlands in the Terminal Classic, Tikal, Calakmul and Chiapas proved to be outliers. At Tonina and Tikal, dynasties stretched into 9th century, while monuments were erected at Calakm ul into the early 9th century. Chichen Itza and Uxmal exhibited monumental construction during this time as well: the prodigious level of construction seen at these sites is indicative of the type of social stratification which was in the process dissolv ing throughout much of the Maya Lowlands at that time (Martin and Grube 2008: 9, 23).
23 Termination Rituals & Caches Many caches recovered throughout the Terminal Classic Maya Lowlands are associated with termination deposits, the result of termination a ctions. These have been defined by Shirley Mock as "generally [including] the defacement, mutilation, breaking, burning, or alteration of portable objects (such as pottery, jade, or stone tools), sculptures, stelae, or buildings. They may involve the alte ration, destruction, or obliteration of specific parts; the moving of objects such as stelae or the scattering of their broken pieces; and even the razing and burial of a monumental structure before new construction." (Mock 1995: 5) They served to "kill" an ensouled building or item by releasing its soul through destruction (Mock 1998: 10). Another significant type of cache recovered throughout the Maya Lowlands is one associated with post abandonment rituals. There is no over arching pattern to the co mposition these caches, although they may have included various waves of feasting like rituals performed throughout the Maya Area today (LeCount 2001: 941), as evidenced by the common presence of various types of serving ware. In the Classic era, the uti lization of ancestor veneration as a political tool with which to establish genealogies of place, thereby laying claim to ancestral lands, became more widespread, with the bodies of ancestors being used as "place markers" with which to claim land (McAnany 1995: 127,160). This preoccupation with connections to elite ancestors and elite dwellings may have been among the reasons the Terminal Classic Maya at Cahal Pech chose to perform rituals whose results are seen in the caches focused on by this study (Awe personal communication 2012).
24 Termination rituals are features of many Terminal Classic sites; in the Terminal Classic, they are characterized by the purposeful destruction or "killing" of goods deposited in a cache within a former elite public structure, they are Conversely, animation rituals in which a new home is "fed" a sacrificed chicken are common in the ethnographic record. Originally interpreted as purposeless piles of detritus, archaeologists used the discovery of termination deposits at various Maya Lowlands sights to advance "squatter theory -that many deposits which are now unde r stood to be associated with ritual were "the refuse of squatters living 'decadently' in the temples" -in the 1950s and for some decades following (Stanton 2 008: 235, 239 242 ) However, the new interpretations of these deposits has also attracted their share of controversy. Marshall Becker suggested that possible caches be referred to instead as "placed deposits," due to the possible inference towards concealment caused by that phrasing, while James Garber has consistently used either the broken or unbroken nature of artifacts within caches to determine whether they are dedicatory or terminatio n deposits (Kuren et al. 2002: 198). Marcello Canuto and Anthony Andrews' essay, Post Abandonment Behaviors among the Lowland Maya, bids archaeologists to exercise caution in the use of the phrase "termination deposit," offering a gentle Figure 6 Classic era Altun Ha cache (Pendergast 1998: 57).
25 reminder that not all termination events are purposely made termination deposits ( Canuto and Andrews 2008: 267) Archeologists' understandings of termination caches and similar phenomena have become highly nuanced and detailed as a result of these decades of contention Maya archaeologists are now largely able to distinguish between a termination event and a specific termination ritual by analyzing the content and physical context of the deposit : For example, termination ritual deposits are most likely to be found by port als, stairways and internal and external corners (Mock 1998: 6) and the artifacts associated with them are likely to have deliberate breakage patterns (though ritually killing artifacts is not exclusively associated with termination rituals, as will be dis cussed in Chapter 4). The site core of El Pilar, located in the modern day Belize Valley, possesses a Late to Terminal Classic limestone spindle whorl termination deposit. Found between rubble mounds and a limestone "workshop" platform, the deposit includ ed human long bone fragments, shell, 15 obsidian blades, and drilled limestone alongside the spindle whorls. The mass of at least 168 individual whorls had been purposely destroyed, as evidenced by the difficulty archaeologists experienced in harming a sa mple of replica whorls (Kamp et al. 2006). The undoubtedly purposeful destruction confirmed the hypothesized nature of the cache, and is among the reasons squatter theory has fallen out of favor: if the goods in termination deposits were deliberately brok en, At Colha, in north central Belize, the Terminal Classic lasted from AD 600 until AD 800 and is thought to have been characterized by continuous warfare, which its residents responded to with a focusing of resources and manpower into manufacturing
26 weap onry w hile moving its population into the secluded plazas of its site core for defense Colha was occupied consistently until AD 1400 (Barrett and Scherer 2005: 103, 114). Household Contexts While palace or temple archaeology first captured archaeologists' imaginations and effectively began the study of ancient Maya archaeology, household archaeology has garnered a particular interest among Mayanists working in modern day Belize since Gordon W illey began his studies of the area in the 1950s, Willey honed his academic focus on Barton Ramie, excavating housemounds outside the site core ignored by most archaeologists at the time. House mounds have provided archaeologists with invaluable insight into class distinctions, religious practices, economic patterns and everyday activities. For example, analyses of celebratory feasting at Terminal Classic Xunantunich have shown that painted ceramics, once considered elite goods, were found to be widespr ead in commoner houses dating to the Terminal Classic (LeCount 2001) Barton Ramie's population, for example, remained fairly stable from the Classic into the Postclassic (Aimers 2007: 345). In time, archaeologists found the dichotomy of household and p alace or temple archaeology to be a constricting one, and adopted the phrasing "mid level settlement" to allow for more flexibility in discussion and interpretation, as the distinctions between different types and sizes of Maya sites are rarely clear cut, with the sizes of house
27 mounds experiencing a huge degree of variation themselves (Iannone 1992: 12; Ashmore et al. 2004: 309, 320). Terminal Classic Burials The Terminal Classic was characterized by intrusive burials at sites where monumental constructio n had ceased. The use of earlier tombs in the mortuary traditions of the Terminal Classic is thought to be linked to ancestor worship, the re use of elite structures to attain political influence (Andrews and Canuto 2008: 269 ; McAnany 1995: 127, 160), or a lack of resources with which to build new tombs (Joyce 1986: 321). At Cahal Pech, the construction of new monumental architecture had halted, but the site core was still in use by the ancient Maya, as evidenced by the intrusive burial of a child in Pl aza B What are thought to be childrens' toys painted with vibrant blues and oranges were found in an intrusive burial dating to the Terminal Classic (Awe 2012, personal communication). Archaeologists at Cahal Pech hypothesize that intrusive burial caches like t his one were connected to the appropriation of structures associated with earlier elites for the accumulation of social capital. One particularly significant Terminal Classic burial of two individuals at Cahal Pech. In addition to the remarkable amount of inscribed shell artifacts recovered, the two individuals were found to be facing north, while Belize River Valley burials were usually arranged with the heads of the dead facing south (Santasilla 2011: 50).
28 The Terminal Classic at Cahal Pech F i eld work at Cahal Pech site did not begin until 1969, when Peter Schmidt performed a salvage excavation of Structure B 1. However, formal excavations were not undertaken and a site report not published until Jaime Awe undertook the project in 1988 after ta king part in the arre st of looters caught on site. As a result of this first field season, archaeologists found that the site was riddled with over 55 looters' trenches dug throughout the 1970, with structures A 1 and B 3 sustaining the most damage, thoug h none of the structures was entirely unscathed (Awe and Campbell 1988: 4). Since the late 1980s, most of the field work at Cahal Pech has taken place in its site core at Plaza B, its surrounding structures, the Cahal Pech ballcourt, the Zubin Group and th e Zopilote Group. Cahal Pech saw construction from the Formative era into the Terminal Classic; in the site core, construction on Structure A 1 continued until the Terminal Classic, for example (Awe and Campbell 1990: 2 ). Fieldwork taking place at the Zo pilote Group outside the Cahal Pech site core revealed that the Classic phase denizens of Cahal Pech were already experiencing some egalitarianism between the site core and "suburbia." This was evidenced by the "sumptuous" grave goods found within burials both at the site core and the Zopilote Group and the prodigious size of the structures build during the Classic phase (Cheetham et al 1992: 153, 159, 169). In stark contrast with Xunantunich, Baking Pot, Buenavista, Pac b i tun and other central Belize Valley sites, Cahal Pech was abandoned around 800 AD, as evidenced by its lack of Tepeu 3 ceramics and diagnostic traits of the Spanish Lookout Ceramic
29 Complex, both hallmarks of the Terminal Classic period (Campbell and Awe 1988: 42). Cahal Pech is defined as a "mid level" settlement, one roughly defined as lying between the rungs of large plazuela groups and small ceremonial centers on the continuum of Maya site variation (Iannone 1992: 12). The Cahal Pech site core is thought to have been constructed as it was in order to deter enemies and provide protection during war (Awe and Campbell 1988: 8). This theory becomes particularly salient when considering the degree to which Plaza A, the area with which the six figurines in th is study are associate, is isolated. There are only two entrances into Plaza A, which would have severely limited access to that space to elites in times of peace (Awe 2012, personal communication). Directions of Studies on the Terminal Classic in the M aya Lowlands Although detailed reference to an comparison with antecedent social forms and strategies was and is a necessity in terms of understanding the Terminal Classic throughout the Maya Lowlands, this caused the contentious phase to be discussed e xclusively in terms of what it lacked in comparison with the Classic (Demarest et al. 2004: 3; Chase and Chase 2004: 13). Thankfully, in recent years archaeologists' focus has turned to fostering a greater understanding of this phase of Maya history, reco gnizing the richness of culture and quality of art which had previously remained undervalued at best and ridiculed at worst. With the abandonment of ethnocentric ideals held by early Mayanists and the resources dedicated to the detailed research on house m ounds as well as ceremonial centers, the Terminal Classic is now understood to be a
30 time of complex and varied responses to a changing world, with outcomes varying from region to region throughout the Maya Lowlands.
31 CHAPTER IV: FIGURINE ANALYSIS Physical Context Each of the figurines in this sample were recovered from three separate surface deposits in Plaza A during the 2002 field season One of the deposits, situated along the side of the central stairway leading up to Structure A 3, featured projectile points, spindle whorls and broken ceramic vessels. All of the vessels in the A 3 deposit were found to belong to the Spanish Lookout Complex of the Belize River Valley and many were tempered with ash, both of which are diagnostic traits of Terminal Classic pottery ( Awe 2013 personal communication, Gifford 1976: 255). Measuring roughly 20 meters by 30 meters, Plaza A is much smaller than Pla zas B and C, but is considered to be Cahal Pech's principal co urtyard due to its likelihood of being the earliest monumental courtyard at the site. Plaza A also possesses one of th e oldest and thickest plastered floors in the Cahal Pech site core (a comparable plaza being Plaza B) (Awe 1990: 2) To its south, Plaza A is bordered by the 24 meter high Fig ures 7 and 8. In situ image of Plaza A caches associated with Structure A 3's stairwell. (Courtesy of Jaime Awe)
32 Structure A 1; Structure A 2 borders the east while Structures 3 and 4 border the no rth and west (Awe and Campbell 1988: 13). The use of Cahal Pech's site core at the apex of its occupation is thought to have been restricted to elites. Plaza A was the portion of the site with the most restricted access, enclosed on all sides by Structur es A1, A2, A3 and A4. Cahal Pech archaeologists have interpreted the "acropoline nature" of the site core as potential proof for the site core having been constructed for defensive purposes: (Awe and Campbell 1988: 8). Figure 9 Map of Cahal Pech site c ore circa 200 6 ( Awe and Schwanke 2005: 136 )
33 Descriptions and comparisons Figure 10 CP.A2.L1 423; h eight: 5 cm ; w idth: 3.2 cm ; s olid construction; r ed clay (drawing by author). Figure 1 0 's headwear resembles a hood, and possibly possesses ear flares on either side of the face Its facial features appear to have been scratched out of the clay, while both the face and headgear appear to have been molded around the barrel of its whistle potion Figure 1 1 Terminal Classic Altar de Sacrificios whistle figurines (Willey 1972: 69)
34 Though these fragments' facial morphologies differ greatly from that of fig. 10 figures b, c, e and g all feature pronounced nasolabial folds such as those on fig. 10 In addition to this, most of these figurines appear to be hooded, or at the very least appear to be wearing a hat or headcloth which resembles a hood. Since practically all the figurines were whistles, Triadan imagines them as theatrical performers in a band, complete with grotesques performing comedic roles. (McVicker 2012: 220) Figure 12 CP.A4 451 h eight: 7.3 cm; w idth: 5.1 cm ; h ollow / moldmade ; c ream clay (drawing by author). Figures 12 and 13 both feature wide brimmed hats, as well as similar ly structured eye s, brows and forehead s These hats are akin to specimens recovered from Terminal Classic Uaxactun identified as representing females: when found intact with their bodies, these hatted fig urine heads are usually paired with skirts, huipiles or rounded breasts (Rands and Rands 1965:543 547 ). Knowing this, we can surmise that fig. 12 and the larger head of fig. 13 were intended to represent women. U nlike fig. 13
35 fig 12 does not possess any of the raised areas or incised markings which indicate a hairstyle or headgear, although it could be supposed that there is slight evidence of one of these in the slight indentation on its forehead. Figure 13 CP.A3.L1 K52 ; h eigh t: 6.3 cm; w idth: 4.2 cm; h ollow/ m oldmade; c ream colored clay (drawing by author). The smaller head associated with fig. 13 has been interpreted as eit her a baby or an elderly person, however, w hen one consider s the second possibility while bearing in mind the appearance of fig. 20 fig. 13 it is not as clear a represe ntation of age The parallel incised lines on the crown of its head have been interpreted as either hair or as some type of headgear. Though examples of incised lines used to represent hair and tattoos are present throughout the archaeological record and especially prevalent at Jaina ( Willey 1972, Corson 1976, McVicker 2012), whether the smaller head is topped with hair, a helmet, or another type of headpiece remains to be seen
36 Figures 14 and 15 Terminal Classic Altar de Sacrificios Figure 16 Classic era Uaxactun (Willey 1972: 42) (Rands and Rands 1965: 547 ) Though their facial features are far more simplistic (and perhaps more weathered) than those at Cahal Pech, these two Terminal Classic figurines from Altar de Sacrificios (Fig. 14 and 1 5 ) both feature hats similar to those on figs. 12 and 13 As seen in reference to a Classic era Uaxactun figurine also wearing a wide brimmed hat, the Rands' Pottery Figures of the Maya Lowlands these two figurines are thought to represent women, as the one still attached to its body features rounded breasts and a "huipil like [garment.]" (Rands and Rands 1965: 543). Though neither of their heads possesses the parallel grooves which serve to symbolize hair on Maya figurines, the particularly high placement of their hats suggests that the style is meant to indicate the fitting of the hat down over a high, piled hairdo. (Willey 1972: 44).
37 Figure 1 7 CP.A3.Rm2BRI.L2 419; height: 2.9 cm; w idth: 4.1 cm; s olid construction; r ed clay (drawing by author). Following the diagnostic traits used to date figurines at Cahal Pech (Awe, personal communication 2012), the fabrication of half the figurines in this sample can be handily dated to the Terminal Classic by means of their hollow construction, regardless of the diagnostic ceramics they were recovered with. Figs 1 7 and 19 albeit mostly solid, also date to the Terminal Classic based on their presence within a Terminal Classic stratigraphic context at Cahal Pech's and close proximity to Spanish Lookout ceram ics within a their cache (Awe, personal communication: 2012). Figure 18 "Grotesque" Terminal Classic Altar de Sacrificios fragments (Willey 1972: 51)
38 In many cases, this small sample of figurines deviates significantly from Mary Butler's three basic Classic head forms (Butler 1935: 642), demonstrating the wide variety of changes figurine production experienced in the Terminal Classic. For example, f igs. 1 7 and 19 may be included in the "Grotesque" category established by Gordon Willey in his Altar de Sacrificios report: "fat face grotesques" are described as having very puffed, fat cheeks. [...] This depiction may vary from a blank, close mouthed, slit eyed individual with a smooth, simple, caplike headdress to a ferocious looking near monster with deep set eyes and bared upper front teeth ," or "grimacing expression s... bared teeth and furrowed cheeks and [brows] while elderly grotesques feature cheeks and eyes, wrinkles, and markedly protruding chins ." ( Willey 1976: 41). A severe departure from the idealized, yet comparatively realistic, style o f the remaining figurines of this sample, fig. 7 has two large buck teeth visible, as well as delicately formed ears. Fig. 7 's unique shape and solid body may be accountable to having been broken off the rim of a vessel Figure 19 CP.A2.61 422; height : 4.7 cm; weight: 3.5 cm; solid construction; c ream clay with orange slip (drawing by author).
39 Fig. 1 9 is a representation of a gnarled, elderly face The head is rectangular, with an uneven break at the chin indicating the possibility of a similarly shaped body. A hole opened through the figurine between the sides of its "forehead" signifies that it may have been worn as a pendant. The leathery textur e of the skin seen in this piece is unique within this sample, as the facial features of the majority of the other figurines are idealized and youthful. This aging effect seems to have been created in fig. 19 by scraping the clay of off the basic shape of the figurine. This also appears to have been the case with its rather expressively morose facial features. Though f ig. 19 may well be considered a grotesque, its gaunt features are antithesis to the "fat face grotesques" of Altar de Sacrificios. While f ig ure 2 0 is extremely eroded, making facial features difficult to asce rtain, the other five heads are beautifully preserved. Fortunately, even in its damaged state, f i g 2 0 revealed itself to have been prepared with ash temper, a trait which is, again, diag nostic of Terminal Classic ceramics (Gifford 1976: 53, 225, 255). Fig 10 also possesses unique headwear resembling either a helmet or hair with a diadem, possibly with ear flares as well. Its headwear bears some Figure 20 CP.A2.L2 424; Height: 3.7 cm; Width: 3.9 cm; unslipped orange cream with possible ash in mixed temper; m oldmade, hollow construction (drawing by author).
40 rese mblance to the smaller head in f ig 1 3 though it doesn't feature any of the incised lines fig. 13 does. Each of these figurines features a jagged break at their necks, indicating that they were broken off of the bodies they were origin ally attached to after the clay had been fired. No bod ies corre sponding to the figurine heads were present in the cache. Discussion Alt hough th e s e deposit s are not clearly delineated cache s like those found at Santa Rita Corozal (Chase and Chase 1988: 44) or El Pilar (Kamp et al. 2006), they have been interpreted by Cahal Pech archaeologists as the results of post abandonment ritual (Awe 2013 personal communication). They are unlikely to be a termination deposits, though termination deposits are commonly found by stairwells (Mock 1998: 6), as is the case with these six figurines. The bulk of support for this interpretation stems from the cache's position in situ the condition of the figurine fragments, and the cache's dating from the Terminal Classic. One of the prevailing theories among Cahal Pech archaeologists is that figurines like these were part of rituals performed at the site post abandonment to re emphasize and renew elite status and connection with ancestors "Genealogies of place" -ranging from "the careful construction...of genealogies [among Classic royalty] and the "'text free' (Freidel 1993) documentation of non elite genealogies through the burial of building crypts and ancestor shrines and the recurrent refurbishing events that accompanied the transmission of power, authority, and responsibility between generations" (McAnany 1995: 99) see ancestors serving as "place markers" (McAnan7
41 1995: 160), allow ing their descendents to lay claim to land and, in the case of elites, the right to power. Ethnographic evidence of figurine use in ancestor veneration ritual has previously been applied to analyses of Formative and Preclassic figurine collections througho ut the Maya area (Zweig 2010: 90). Though this cache is not associated with a burial, it may nonetheless have been the result of a ritual meant to implement the site core of Cahal Pech to establish a claim to power. Another possibility when considering t he ritual connotations of this deposit is the association of spindle whorls with rainmaking ceremonies, as noted by various researchers for cave localities across the Maya area ( Vail and Hernandez 2012: 285 303 ) When considering the feminine traits attributed to spindle whorls in this ceremony, the possibility of their juxtaposition against the projectile points in a ritual context is a fascinating one. This is particularly salient in connection with the figurines analyzed in this thesis, given that the Lacandn fashioned figurines out of incense as assistants to the gods in various types of rituals ( McGee 1990: 91, 94 ). The one prevailing trait shared by all six figurine heads in these caches is that they were each snapped off of their bodies at th e neck (although this may be a dubious use of terminology in the case of Fig. 17 ). The consistency in both locale and roughness of the breakage suggests that the figurines were ritually "killed," perhaps at the same time. This is congruent with the May a worldview which imbues mountains, caves and other landscape elements with life. The ancient Maya com pared cave openings to the mouths of caymans, and mountains to the ridges on a cayman's back, for example. Many components of the natural world, as wel l as constructed bodies such as figurines,
42 were (and are, in some cases) considered to possess souls. The ritual killing of these objects freed their souls, and most often occurs in conjunction with ceremonies associated with beginnings and endings (Mock 1 998) (Awe personal communication 2012). In the case of figurines, ritual killing generally consisted of snapping their heads off of their bodies. In that same vein, following Rosemary Joyce's assertion that the Maya may have viewed both the bodies of h uman beings and ceramic figurines as constructed bodies, rather than compartmentalizing the two into diametrically opposed ideals (Joyce 2008: 42) these six figurines may have been considered living actors who took part in the rituals resulting in the con tents of these deposits. Given the common ritual usage of figurines, the physical context of the six figurines and the assortment of artifacts they were recovered with may allow us to surmise that, like many other Terminal Classic deposits, th is collection of spindle whorls, figurine fragments, pot sherds and projectile points was associated with post abandonment rituals (likely involving ancestor veneration) The ritual destruction of these figurines and ceramic vessels served to free the souls of these objects, as is observed in the Chiapas highlands today (Vogt 1998).
43 CHAPTER V: CONCLUSION The ceramic figurines found in caches from the Terminal Classic phase throughout the Maya lowlands -whether clearly associated with termination rituals or otherwise -provide sound material evidence for the importance of maintaining genealogies of place, as well as information about class dist inctions and gender expression. The stylistic traits of the six figurines analyzed in this study are consistent among other Terminal Classic figurines throughout the Maya lowlands: the cenote at Altar de Sacrificios, though several hundred kilometers away from Cahal Pech, yielded a wealth of comparable examples, and at least one similarly attired figurine head was recovered from Uaxactun, albeit dating to the Classic era (Rands and Rands 1965: 543 ; Willey 1976 ). These stylistic likenesses to the Terminal Classic figurines of Altar de Sacrificios, as well as the ash temper exhibited by many of the Cahal Pech figurines and their association with Spanish Lookout pottery allow for a decisive dating of this sample to Cahal Pech's Terminal Classic era. Progression of Figurine Studies Much can be learned through figurine analysis, and the study of these six figurines in no exception. Throughout the early decades of the 20th century, archaeologists published numer ous studies on Maya figurines, most of which were included in site reports. For the most part, these reports solely touched on the stylistic attributes of figurines so as to allow for categorization: each one listed figurines as a
44 separate artifact class organizing them within that category on the basis of what headdresses they featured, whether their limbs were articulated, and what techniques were used to make them, among other criteria (Corson 1976). If anthropomorphic figurine fragments proved t o compose a large portion of a study, archaeologists categorized them by whether they were head, body or limb fragments (Smith 1971: 99 109). Signs of wear and tear were noted and utilized in attempts to deduce how figurines were used and damaged, but sa ve for these efforts there were few attempts to grasp at the deeper significances of figurines in ancient Maya society. This purely categorical paradigm soon shifted to a more esoteric one, in which archaeologists incorporated feminist theory and body th eory into their figurine analyses. Scholars began to reflect on their interpretations of Maya gender roles and class distinctions, how they were represented, and the multiplicities of meaning within those representations. The insistence that archaeolog ists consider the experiences of both making and using figurines, as well as stressing the importance of the different ways in which figurines may have been connected to living bodies, acknowledges the subtleties that are likely to have been present within these components of ancient Maya daily life. Figurines and the Terminal Classic Political Climate The consistency in the damage sustained by the six figurine heads at the crux of this study may be indicative of post abandonment ritual practices characte ristic of the Belize Valley Terminal Classic. It is a possibility that, in order to sustain political influence by renewing genealogies of place, the former inhabitants of Terminal Classic Cahal Pech returned to the site core to perform ancestor veneratio n rituals. Ancestor
45 veneration is well documented in both the archaeological and ethnographic record, with many of its associated rituals including feasting as a sacred act (Mock 1998: 4 ) (Vogt 1998: 25 29), a common motif in Maya mythology and culture. Bearing in mind that the development of a "drought cult," whose associated rituals were performed in Belizean caves, coincides with the climatic shifts seen in the Terminal Classic (Moyes et al. 2009: 200) as well as the importance the Maya place on cer emonies surrounding death, birth and milestones throughout life, it is not unreasonable to speculate that the Maya may have responded to other changes of the Terminal Classic with ritual acts. Returning to abandoned monumental centers to perform rituals i s thought to have allowed the Terminal Classic Maya to renew their claims to ancestral lands and assert their political power; this practice is thought to date back to the Formative era (McAnany 1995: 127 128, 161 162; Mock 1998: 5 ; Stanton 2008: 236 ). In light of the many possible adaptations to changes taking place in the Lowland Maya Terminal Classic, it is likely that figurines played a significant role in rituals used to renew and strengthen genealogies of place. The six heads in this sample may hav e played a role in rituals like these: their association with several serving plates and bowls in addition to the spindle whorls and projectile points in the cache they were recovered from raises the possibility that a post abandonment ritual included fea sting may have occurred. Were this the case, it would be echoed by the "feeding" of new homes seen in the ethnographic record (Stanton 2008). This small sample of figurines represents a surprisingly diverse array of artistic styles and ceramic production techniques. Upon analysis they provide rich insight into
46 the political climate of Terminal Classic Cahal Pech, as well as the post abandonment use of the site. Frequently found throughout the Maya Lowlands yet long overlooked, figurines assist archaeologists in making valuable inferences about Maya economy, political ties, and the practice of rituals which may have drawn each of these elements together.
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