Image - Cacao Pod Vessel - K6706 © Justin Kerr FAMSI © 2005:
Keith M. Prufer

Report of the Uxbenká Archaeological Project (UAP) - 2005 Field Season
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Figure 16: Photograph of the view from Group G to the north and towards the foothills of the Maya Mountains. Photo by K. Prufer.

Research Year:  2005
Culture:  Maya
Chronology:  Early Classic
Location:  Uxbenká, Toledo District, Belize
Sites:  Uxbenká

Table of Contents

Background to the Project
Archaelogical Findings
Epigraphic Findings
Social and Cultural Research Findings
Conclusion and Future Direction
List of Figures
Sources Cited


The following is a report on FAMSI funded archaeological research conducted at Uxbenká, Toledo District, Belize between May 25 and July 24, 2005.  The long term goals of the Uxbenká Archaeological Project (UAP) are to understand the role of the monument bearing polity Uxbenká in regional and pan-Maya social and political systems through a comprehensive archaeological and epigraphic study of the internal development at the site. The 2005 goals of the UAP were to assess the spatial layout and organization of the site core, to begin the process of cataloging the Uxbenká settlement, and to identify new monuments and sculptures. Uxbenká is the earliest known Maya political center in southern Belize, with its origins during the Early Classic (AD 250-500). It is also is home to some of the earliest known carved monuments in Belize and the southeastern Petén. For these reasons it offers an ideal laboratory to study the growth of a Maya polity and its role in dynamic regional political developments.

Investigations at Uxbenká are currently addressing three research questions: (1) What were the cultural and historical contexts in which Uxbenká was first settled?; (2) What was the nature of Uxbenká’s relationships with neighboring Emblem Glyph-bearing sites in southern Belize and Petén?; (3) Was Uxbenká involved in hierarchical relationships with large polities (like Tikal) in the Petén or elsewhere, and, if so, were these relationships stable or did they change over time? These questions are being addressed though an investigation of the internal developments at the site of Uxbenká. We are committed to the idea that historical data (hieroglyphic writing) from monuments at the site must be substantiated and confirmed by archaeological data from survey and excavations. This project will illuminate both regional political developments in southern Belize and provide data on how larger polities interact with smaller formations in non-industrial societies. By integrating archaeological, epigraphic, and art historical data the UAP will achieve an improved understanding of the processes by which the southern Belize region was settled, grew, and interacted with its neighbors over time.

UAP research in 2005 was conducted under permits issued to Dr. Keith Prufer by the Institute of Archaeology (IA), National Institute of Culture and History, Government of Belize. Project members include co-PIs Dr. Andrew Kindon (West Valley College) and Phillip Wanyerka (Cleveland State University) along with Charles Mustain (ASC Group, Inc.), Jack Sulak (graphic designer and project photographer) and Shoshaunna Parks (Doctoral Candidate, Boston University).

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Report of the Uxbenká Archaeological Project (UAP) - 2005 Field Season  (1.42 MB)

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Submitted 10/13/2004 by:
Keith M. Prufer

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