Sampling Botanical Remains at Blue Creek, Belize
Thomas H. Guderjan and Steve Bozarth
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Research Year: 1999
Chronology: Late Pre-Classic to Early Classic
Location: Blue Creek, Belize
Site: Chan Cahal
Table of Contents
Early Classic Ritual Deposits from the Monumental Architecture
Late Preclassic/Early Classic ritual deposits from the Chan Cahal residential barrio
Stratigraphic column from a Late Preclassic/Early Classic midden at Chan Cahal
Ditched agricultural field
The study of phytolith botanical remains is still quite new in archaeology with most work having been done only in the past decade. With the exception of a pilot study by Bozarth at Nakbé, this is the first application of the technique to Mesoamerican materials. Blue Creek is a medium-sized Maya site in northwestern Belize which has been investigated intensively since 1992 under the direction of Thomas Guderjan. Excavations at Blue Creek have encompassed many contexts, including monumental architecture and associated ritual deposits, elite and non-elite residential contexts and ditched agricultural fields. This study utilized previously collected soil and residue samples from a number of these contexts. Most importantly, phytoliths of economically important plants were found in all contexts and our initial work has already opened new insights and avenues of future research in the Maya area.
The contexts sampled at Blue Creek were (1) Early Classic ritual deposits from the monumental architecture; (2) Late Preclassic/Early Classic ritual deposits from the Chan Cahal residential barrio; (3) a controlled stratigraphic column from a Late Preclassic/Early Classic midden at Chan Cahal; and (4) a single sample from a ditched agricultural field. We will briefly point out the high points of the results of each.
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Submitted 09/01/1999 by:
Maya Research Program
St. Marys University
Department of Geography
University of Kansas