AAA Annual Meeting Program

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Paper Information:
Type: Paper
Paper Title: IMAGINE THERE'S NO BIG-HOUSE: ARCHITECTURE AND IDENTITY AT THE BRITISH PLANTATION SETTLEMENT AT LAMANAI, BELIZE (1837-1868)
Author: TRACIE MAYFIELD   
Date/Time: Sat., 4:45 PM
Co-Author(s): TRACIE MAYFIELD 
Abstract: In 1837, the British government granted two-hundred acres in Northwest Belize to James Hyde and Company. During the next thirty years of occupation, the owners cleared the land, planted sugar cane, and imported British medicines, foodstuffs, ceramics, and other material culture, constructing the essential social spaces of a plantation household and circulating the necessary materials for the maintenance of social identities. Although this cultural landscape was rife with objects that can be positively linked with contemporaneous British identity, the only nineteenth-century British architecture identified at Lamanai is a sugar mill, which was constructed around 1860. The lack of British domestic architecture at Lamanai seems to remove the very foundation for colonial profit making landscapes. Architecture such as a big-house, supervisors’ housing, quarters, and walls activity zones were frequently used to identify a group’s inclusion in or exclusion from discrete zones within the plantation household. Colonial landscapes were consciously constructed spaces that used landscape and architecture to materially represent the abstract, relational qualities of social, cultural, and economic circulation among groups. Clues to the reasons for the lack of British architecture at Lamanai may be drawn directly from the deep history of Maya occupation and connection to this locale demonstrated by their construction of large-scale architectural remains. Colonial landscapes represented the confluence, negotiation, and circulation of both the material and abstract structures of identity. The very setting of difference between Maya and British ideologies and aesthetics may have given rise to a novel expression of British identity at this particular site.

Program Number: 4-0775
Session Title: THE ARCHITECTURE OF IDENTITY
Session Sponsor: Archaeology Division
Session Date/Time: Sat., 1:45 PM-5:30 PM
Organizer(s): KATHRYN SAMPECK (Illinois State University) 
Chair(s): ELIZABETH SCOTT  
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