Cultural Embodiment and the Enigmatic Identity of the Lovers from Lamanai


in Bioarchaeology and Identity in the Americas

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780813036786
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813041865 | DOI:
Cultural Embodiment and the Enigmatic Identity of the Lovers from Lamanai

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The ancient Maya ceremonial center of Lamanai was the site of one of the longest occupations in the history of the Maya lowlands. Artifactual evidence suggests that, during the Classic period, it was connected economically with the heartland region of Peten, Guatemala, but that after the Classic period collapse, affiliations and trade routes shifted to northern Yucatan. Isotopic research is currently being done on skeletal remains to investigate the degree of geographic relocation in the period following the collapse (Postclassic) and their relationship to ethnicity. In a distinct location among the Postclassic skeletal remains at Lamanai were a 35- to 50-year-old male and a 20- to 35-year-old female buried in an embrace along with an artifact from West Mexico. The social biographies and biological histories of these individuals are reconstructed using stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, and gross morphology to paint a portrait of their life experience and speculate on its meaning within this sociopolitical context.

Keywords: Maya; Lamanai; migration; isotope analysis

Chapter.  7842 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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