Back to the future for predicting the past : Cuchcabal-Batabil-Cuchteel and May ritual political structures across archaeological landscapes, in ethnohistoric texts, and through cosmological time

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Back to the future for predicting the past : Cuchcabal-Batabil-Cuchteel and May ritual political structures across archaeological landscapes, in ethnohistoric texts, and through cosmological time

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Back to the future for predicting the past : Cuchcabal-Batabil-Cuchteel and May ritual political structures across archaeological landscapes, in ethnohistoric texts, and through cosmological time
Author(s) Williams-Beck, Lorraine ; Liljefors Persson, Bodil ; Anaya Hernandez, Armando
Date 2012
English abstract
The northwestern Yucatan Peninsula offers a unique staging ground to assess diverse kinds of pre-Columbian religious and political practices through time. Those geopolitical units briefly reviewed in the Ah Canul Province coincide with Roy´s cuchcabal-batabil-cuchteel classification scheme. Another variant, based upon cosmology and cyclical time, possibly provides a distinct charter for religious, political, and community organization and spatial morphology in Campeche´s Canpech and Chakanputun Provinces. Archaeological, architectural, environmental, epigraphic, and ethnohistoric evidences suggest that may seats of power systematically rotated through time between pre-Columbian regional capitals Edzná, Acanmul, and Porfia-Pa'ilbox strategically located on two rivers connected by a vast hydraulic system within a 4800km2. Combined evidence in this discretely defined geopolitical unit suggests a unified regional environmental and cultural entity for the study area. Architecture, archaeological contexts, ans sculptured monuments at Edzná also reflect creation myths and k'atun prophesies from the books of Chilam Balam, stressing the suggested importance of religious and political power transmission through ritualized cycle practice in this area. Edzná probably was the Classic Horizon´s religious ritual, and political seat of power for the entire region. Acanmul, placed at the northern point in the aquatic circuit, possibly assumes the k'atun seat of religious ritual power during the Early Postclassic period, after Edzna´s decline and partial abandonment in the eleventh century. Chakanputun´s regional capital, located sixteen kilometers inland from the coast along the banks of the Champoton River, probably assumes the pre-Columbian ritual religious seat obligation during Mayapan´s apogee after Acanmul and Chichén Itzá´s cultural declines in the middle thirteenth century. A fourth place, Dzaptun/Ceiba Cabecera, as the central cog in this greater geopolitical built environment, survived Franciscan zeal and Colonial government authorities, and probably concludes the final k'atun cycle phases central place and seat of religious ritual power in the Canpech-Chakanputun study region. Ceiba Cabecera´s gradual abandonment after 1800, which coincides shortly after one k'atun cycle´s hypothesized completion and replacement by Seybaplaya as religious doctrinal seat after 1818, probably is due to ecclesiastical administrative reasons. By 1860 the once thriving center was practically reduced to a ghost town.
Link http://www.cnwajournal.org/archives/cnwa-vol-4/ (external link to publication)
Publisher Jagellonian University, Polish Academy of Arts and Science
Host/Issue Contributions in New World Archaeology, (CNWA);
Volume 4
ISSN 2080-8216
Pages 251-278
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Maya
archaeology
ethnohistory
rituals
power
time cycle
prophecies
Books of Chilam Balam
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/16542 (link to this page)

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