Directional layouts in central lowland Maya settlement

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This paper suggests the existence of non-random, directional patterns in the location of housemounds across the Late Classic Maya settlement landscape at Baking Pot, Belize, and then explores the wider implications of this patterning in the central Maya lowlands. It introduces an anisotropic method based on nearest neighbour bearings and successive grid offsets e in order to explore possible rectilinear organisation in settlement layouts despite the presence of uneven and irregular patterns of archaeological dating and recovery. The results suggest a grid-like distribution of houseplots and, by implication, also a set of routes running throughout the housemound landscape and local Maya neighbourhoods during the site’s Late and Terminal Classic history. Furthermore, different possible alignments in different parts of the site are tentatively regarded as an indication of shifting orientations to localised grids, following the shift in alignment of monumental architecture, as the settlement landscape expanded over time. Finally, we discuss the implications of these findings with respect to the broader interpretation of Maya settlement patterns.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Pages (from-to)2373-2383
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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