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Perspectives on the Ancient Maya of Chetumal Bay$
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Debra S. Walker

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062792

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062792.001.0001

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Life and Afterlife at Cerro Maya, Belize

Life and Afterlife at Cerro Maya, Belize

(p.56) 3 Life and Afterlife at Cerro Maya, Belize
Perspectives on the Ancient Maya of Chetumal Bay

Debra S. Walker

University Press of Florida

Chapter 3 reports on a subset of burials and associated burial goods discovered in the 1970s excavations at the Cerro Maya (Cerros) waterfront village. Container burials, remains interred in Maya ceramic vessels, are associated primarily with a presumed bundle house for ancestor veneration and display, while seated, cross-legged burials are associated primarily with a waterfront elite residence that probably housed the family that controlled trade at the nearby dock facility. One seated interment in particular, Burial 15, may have contained a revered founder of the settlement, or anchoring ancestor. Characteristics of the ceramics deposited as grave goods and the profusion of seated cross-legged burials distinguish mortuary practices at Cerro Maya from other Late Preclassic sites in coastal northern Belize and may link them with sites in present day Quintana Roo.

Keywords:   Cerro Maya, Cerros, waterfront village, seated burials, mortuary practices, anchoring ancestor, bundle house, Maya ceramics, grave goods

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