Image - Cacao Pod Vessel - K6706 © Justin Kerr FAMSI © 2002:
Greg Borgstede

Settlement Patterns and Variation in the Western Highlands, Guatemala
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Figure 1. Map of Guatemala showing the Huista and Acateco regions.

Research Year:  2001
Culture:  Huista and Acateco Maya
Chronology:  Early Classic to Late Post Classic
Location:  Region Huista-Acateco (PARHA), Guatemala
Site:  Jacaltenango

Table of Contents

Ah Phase (A.D. 300 to A.D. 750)
Chinax Phase (A.D. 750 to A.D. 1200)
Q’anil Phase (A.D. 1200 to A.D. 1525)
Archaeological Sites Found During the 2001 Season of PARHA>
Chronological Phases Defined by PARHA
List of Figures
Sources Cited


The Huista-Acateco Archaeological Project (HAAP) was initiated as the study of variation in the archaeological record of the contiguous regions occupied by the Huista and Acateco Maya in the Cuchumatan mountains of the western highlands of Guatemala. The primary research question was: What is the role of archaeological variation and patterning in defining the regions now occupied by two distinct ethnic groups? The regions in question were defined based on the modern cultural differences of the ethnic groups now occupying them; they were defined prior to investigation and "tested" archaeologically. Testing consisted of an archaeological settlement survey carried out for four months during 2001. It consisted of two components: a systematic survey covering the regions around the modern "capitals" (Jacaltenango and San Miguel Acatan) of the regions (see Lovell, 1992) and an opportunistic survey covering the remainder of the two regions, for a total coverage of about 150 square kilometers. The two survey components consisted of four field aspects: locating and visiting archaeological sites, marking of sites using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, mapping of sites, and surface collection of artifacts. Sites were given names based on local information in either Popti’ (Huista region) or Acateco (Acatec region), with the aid of the Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala (ALMG). Analysis of artifacts was conducted in a laboratory in Jacaltenango, where a combined ceramic typology for both regions was constructed. Finally, a chronology for the sites and regions and an analysis of regional variation was developed, which is presented below.

During the four months of the PARHA survey in 2001, 128 archaeological sites were found (Table 1). These sites were placed into three chronological phases (Table 2) based on survey results and ceramic analysis.1 While the chronology begins with the Early Classic Period (Ah Phase), earlier occupation is probably present, as pointed out by Clark et al. (2001), but buried underneath later Classic Period structures and sites. The chronology is divided into three phases: the Ah phase (A.D. 300 to A.D. 750) begins in the Early Classic period, but has its primary occupation during the Late Classic period; the Chinax phase (A.D. 750 to A.D. 1200) corresponds to the Terminal Classic period; and the Q’anil phase (A.D. 1200 to A.D. 1525), which has two facets, one in the Early Postclassic period (A.D. 1200 to A.D. 1400) and a second in the Late Postclassic period, or Protohistoric (A.D. 1400 to ca. A.D. 1525). Figure 2 and Figure 3 present the regional placement of the sites in the Huista and Acateco regions, respectively.

1For a full summary and discussion of the results of the 2001 season, see Borgstede and Romero (2002).

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Submitted 06/11/2002 by:

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