Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Payson Sheets

Second Advisor

Arthur Joyce

Third Advisor

Gerardo Gutierrez

Abstract

Around A.D. 650 the Loma Caldera eruption entombed the Classic Period Maya village of Cerén in 4-6 meters of volcanic ash. This resulted in the exceptional preservation of structures, artifacts and botanical remains, providing archaeologists with a unique opportunity to study the household complexes and their related activities. However, much of the previous research concerning the households at Cerén has primarily focused on its economic activities. As a result, archaeologists have yet to address the socio-cultural aspects such as status, wealth, authority and moral order of the household and its members. Part of the reason for this emphasis on the economic is a narrow conceptualization of the domestic space and materiality. Therefore, this study proposes the use of domestic storage practices to better understand the socio-cultural aspects such as status, wealth, authority and moral order of household complexes at Cerén. Storage provides an ideal medium to evaluate these dimensions because it represents a confluence of the spatial, symbolic, social and material worlds. Interpretations of the domestic storage practices of households at Cerén suggest its inhabitants lived within a complex and dynamic social heterarchy.

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