Presentation Title

Caves, Offerings, and Bones: A Preliminary Analysis of Ancient Maya Ritual Use of Rio Frio Cave A, Cayo District, Belize

Faculty Mentor

Jon Spenard

Start Date

23-11-2019 9:15 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 9:30 AM

Location

Markstein 306

Session

oral 1

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

Since the 1950’s, archaeologists have been investigating ancient Maya settlements throughout central Belize to understand the lives and culture of people who once lived in them. Much of that attention has focused on the Belize Valley and Vaca Plateau, but few archaeologists have investigated the Mountain Pine Ridge (MPR) region. In 2018, Jon Spenard of California State University San Marcos initiated the, Rio Frio Archaeological Project (RiFRAP), with the intent of being the first ever long-term study of the greater MPR region. To date, the project has focused on two ritually used caves, Rio Frio Caves A and C, both of which are littered with ancient Maya artifacts. In this presentation, I will discuss the excavations we conducted in Alcove 3 of Rio Frio Cave A, which was used primarily during the Late-Terminal Classic periods (A.D. 700-900/1000). Comparing our data with those collected by other researchers from elsewhere in Belize, I propose the cave may have been used as a burial area for the local population, and that many more burials will be encountered as excavations in that cave continue. This presentation adds new data to the scant knowledge of rockshelter burials in the Maya area.

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Nov 23rd, 9:15 AM Nov 23rd, 9:30 AM

Caves, Offerings, and Bones: A Preliminary Analysis of Ancient Maya Ritual Use of Rio Frio Cave A, Cayo District, Belize

Markstein 306

Since the 1950’s, archaeologists have been investigating ancient Maya settlements throughout central Belize to understand the lives and culture of people who once lived in them. Much of that attention has focused on the Belize Valley and Vaca Plateau, but few archaeologists have investigated the Mountain Pine Ridge (MPR) region. In 2018, Jon Spenard of California State University San Marcos initiated the, Rio Frio Archaeological Project (RiFRAP), with the intent of being the first ever long-term study of the greater MPR region. To date, the project has focused on two ritually used caves, Rio Frio Caves A and C, both of which are littered with ancient Maya artifacts. In this presentation, I will discuss the excavations we conducted in Alcove 3 of Rio Frio Cave A, which was used primarily during the Late-Terminal Classic periods (A.D. 700-900/1000). Comparing our data with those collected by other researchers from elsewhere in Belize, I propose the cave may have been used as a burial area for the local population, and that many more burials will be encountered as excavations in that cave continue. This presentation adds new data to the scant knowledge of rockshelter burials in the Maya area.