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Jen Weber

Footprints in Motion: Exploring the Socio-Political and Ideological Responses to Environmental Changes at the ancient Maya site of Pacbitun, Belize

 

In this project I examine the dynamic relationship between people and the prehistoric environment at the ancient Maya site of Pacbitun in Belize. It is driven by three concerns: First, to record the developments of Pacbitun and it’s periphery through time; second, to trace the correlations of environmental pressures and the decline of Pacbitun as a site center; and third, to study how the people may have responded to a changing environment.

WeberEmploying the hypothesis that environmental changes, including climatic drought conditions during the Late Classic Period, cintributed to the collapse of the Maya system, socio-political and ideological responses to these environmental changes should exist in the archaeological record. I thus ask: Can we find evidence for changing socio-political and ideological behaviour in the archaeological record at Pacbitun? And, if yes, can it be related to environmental changes? If environmental pressures really played a major role in the fall of the Maya civilization and led to observable changes in ideology, reflected in public architecture, then by conducting a thorough analysis of the function(s) and date(s) of the causeways, caves, and the associated buildings and constructions at Pacbitun, the site could serve as a model to study the interactions of complex society and climate change. I am conducting this analysis through excavations and the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and mathematical modeling. I will systematically assess and discuss to what extent testable predictions can be made about the built environment linking the site of Pacbitun to its hinterland caves. The results may contribute, not only to our unterstanding of the various entanglements between the ancient Maya and ritual landscape, but also to the general study of societal responses to environmental changes.

 

Betreuer: Prof. Dr. Nikolai Grube

Kontakt: s5jewebe (at) uni-bonn.de

Bild: Jen Weber

 

 

 

 

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