Assessing the form and function of Structures 42 and 43 at Buenavista del Cayo, Belize

Date
2013
Authors
Luzmoor, Mark
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Abstract

This thesis examines the form and function of Structures 42 and 43 at the site of Buenavista del Cayo, Belize.  These structure are long, narrow, and low platforms built in the northern part of Buenavista's West Plaza.  Excavations revealed them to be formally constructed with cut stone masonry and rubble fill.  They both sit on the final plaster floor of the West Plaza, suggesting that these structures were built near the end of the site's history. Analyses of the recovered ceramic artifacts suggest they were built in the Late Classic II period and used into the Terminal Classic period.  The unusually long form of both Structures 43 and 42 and their strategic placement demarcating the northern edge of the West Plaza and controlling access into the plaza from the north suggests the possibility that these structures functioned as some sort of fortification during the final phases of occupation at Buenavista, perhaps forming a baffled entry and/or killing alley in this sector of the site.  These platforms were modified by the placement of several posts, two of which were intruded through the platforms' original facings, that are argued to be the remains of a palisade. Several of the postholes showed evidence of burning, which suggests a warfare event.

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Keywords
Belize, Defensive Feature, Fortifications, Maya, Palisades, Warfare
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Department
Anthropology