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This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges     Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: UNPROTECTED WATERS: ANCIENT MAYA PORTS, HISTORIC PIRATES, AND MODERN ILLEGAL TRADE
Author: HEATHER MCKILLOP (Louisiana State University)   
Date/Time: Fri., 10:30 AM
Co-Author(s): HEATHER MCKILLOP (Louisiana State University) 
Abstract: The Yucatan coast of Mexico and Belize has long been the scene of import-export activities, from the days of ancient Maya, to nineteenth century logwood and pirates, to the current international drug trade. Uninhabited stretches of coastline and vast open expanses of the sea provide opportunities to mariners who have maritime skills and are willing to take the risks to operate outside legitimate ports. Ports often are fortified against marauders, such as the pirates who attacked logwood vessels departing from San Francisco de Campeche. In the twenty-first century, the USDEA and US Coast Guard joined forces with Central American governments in attempts to halt the international illegal trafficking in drugs, people, and weapons. How did the dynastic Maya of the inland city states interact with sea ports and maritime traders in order to obtain raw materials from the sea and from distant lands? Equated with the underworld, the sea was the source of ritual paraphernalia such as stingray spines used by dynastic Maya royalty in blood-letting rituals to invoke the gods through vision quests. The sea also was the source of salt—a basic biological necessity in short supply at inland cities. Sea trade was important for transportation of raw materials whose exotic origins added value to highly crafted objects in the royal courts at inland cities. The difficulty of land-loving inland Maya in administering coastal ports led to fragile negotiations and alliances with the opportunistic coastal Maya—who survived the Classic Maya collapse of inland city states and took advantage of emerging markets elsewhere.

Program Number: 3-0220
Session Title: HOT TRADE: FRONTIERS AND FRICTION IN PAST ECONOMIES
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Fri., 8:00 AM-11:45 AM
Organizer(s): KATHRYN FRANKLIN (University of Chicago) 
Chair(s): SHANNON DAWDY (University of Chicago)  
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