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Approaches to Monumental Landscapes of the Ancient Maya$
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Brett A. Houk, Barbara Arroyo, and Terry G. Powis

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813066226

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813066226.001.0001

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All the World’s a Stage

All the World’s a Stage

The Late Classic Built Environment of Chan Chich, Belize

(p.152) 8 All the World’s a Stage
Approaches to Monumental Landscapes of the Ancient Maya

Brett A. Houk

Ashley Booher

University Press of Florida

Approaching monumentality and politics at an epicentral-scale, Houk and Ashley Booher use a site-planning approach in chapter 8 to argue that the Late Classic rulers of Chan Chich, Belize designed major architectural components of the site to function as the theater for public spectacles and processions. The authors are able to demonstrate evidence for rituals’ having taken place along the two causeways and at their termini structures, as well as an apparent functional relationship between one causeway and an associated courtyard. Ritual, in this case, was actually the means to a political end. As Houk and Booher show, converting the monumental landscape of Chan Chich into a vast stage for public spectacle and ritual processions required considerable planning, labor, and resources. The Late Classic rulers at Chan Chich and other sites spent vast resources on the architecture of political theater as an exercise in community building and regional competition for labor, loyalty, and prestige.

Keywords:   Site-planning, Chan Chich, Late Classic, Public spectacle, Ritual rocessions, Political theater

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