Deposits linked to abandonment have been widely recorded across the Maya lowlands, associated with the final activities occurring in ceremonial areas of Classic Maya centers. Various models have been applied to explain the activities that lie behind the formation of these contexts, including those linked to rapid abandonment (e.g., warfare) and others focused on more protracted events (termination rituals, and/or pilgrimages). Here, we assess Bayesian models for three chronological scenarios of varying tempo to explain the formation of peri-abandonment deposits at Baking Pot, Belize. Using stratigraphic information from these deposits, hieroglyphic dates recovered on artifacts, and direct dates on human skeletal remains and faunal remains from distinct layers in three deposits in Group B at Baking Pot, we identify multiple depositional events that spanned the eighth to ninth centuries AD. These results suggest that the processes associated with the breakdown of institutionalized rulership and its command of labor to construct and maintain ceremonial spaces were protracted at Baking Pot, with evidence for the final depositional activity dated to the mid-to-late ninth century. This interval of deposition was temporally distinct from the earlier deposition(s) in the eighth century. Together, these data offer a detailed view of the end of the Classic period at Baking Pot, in which the ceremonial spaces of the site slowly fell into disuse over a period of more than a century.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)