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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: RECONSTRUCTING POPULATION MOVEMENT IN THE BELIZE RIVER VALLEY DURING THE LATE AND TERMINAL CLASSIC: AN ISOTOPIC AND CONTEXTUAL MODEL OF ANCIENT MAYA MIGRATION
Author: CAROLYN FREIWALD   
Date/Time: Thu., 3:45 PM
Co-Author(s): CAROLYN FREIWALD 
Abstract: Recent advances in archaeological chemistry have identified substantial population movement in the Maya Lowlands, reigniting the study of migration in the discipline. Migration is an ongoing process that encompasses many types of population movement, affecting the most basic aspects of society, including social organization and distribution of resources. Population movement was also a critical component in the Maya collapse, but while Classic, Colonial, and modern Maya analogs provide a glimpse of possible patterns of mobility, they provide only sparse and inconsistent information. More important, no theoretical framework yet exists to interpret migration as a demographic variable in the Maya Lowlands. This project uses strontium, carbon, and oxygen isotope assays on 179 individuals to identify population movement 1300 years ago in the Belize Valley and neighboring regions. Burials are sampled from 21 sites that include both large and small centers, and diverse burial contexts that include ancestor shrines, royal tombs, and caves. Isotopic data are interpreted in conjunction with burial treatment, osteology, and diet. The goal is to model ancient migration based on patterns of population movement in this region: Who were migrants, and how was population movement structured? The results show that not only was population movement common, but that it crosscut all sectors of society. And what did it mean to be a migrant? Non-local origin was visible in the burial treatment of some individuals, but not others. Finally, similarity to modern patterns suggests that migration in preindustrial societies was as complex in the past as it is today.

Program Number: 2-0800
Session Title: MOTION CHECK: ARCHAEOLOGICAL INSIGHTS ON THE CIRCULATION OF SUBJECTS AND OBJECTS
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Thu., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): DAVID PETERSON, ALAN GREENE (University of Chicago) 
Chair(s): SARAH GRAFF (University of Chicago)  
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