How it falls apart: Identifying terminal deposits in Group B to date the 'Classic Maya collapse' at Baking Pot, Belize Public

Archaeological research at the site of Baking Pot has focused on the development of a high- precision radiocarbon chronology in order to assess the timing and nature of the ‘Classic Maya collapse’ since the 2013 field season (Hoggarth et al. 2014a, 2014b; Hoggarth and Sullivan 2015; Walden 2016). These efforts are primarily aimed towards building an absolute chronology to precisely date the time frame associated with the end of royal and elite mortuary activity in Baking Pot’s ceremonial center and to contrast these dates with chronometric assays on terminal deposits in the site core to understand the end of all ritual activity. These data may then be used to understand the timing of political collapse, in contrast with direct dates on settlement burials to understand the demographic collapse of the site (Hoggarth et al. 2014a, 2014b; Hoggarth and Sullivan 2015; Kennett et al. 2014). The same research program has been established at Cahal Pech, in order to identify regional chronological patterns of political and demographic collapse in the Belize Valley in relation to recorded severe droughts in the ninth through eleventh centuries AD (Kennett et al. 2015). The 2015 field season focused excavations in Group B of Baking Pot’s ceremonial center (Figure 1) to identify terminal deposits and recover datable material (e.g. faunal/human bone; charcoal) that will form the basis of the high-precision radiocarbon chronology. Excavation units were established in the corners of Plaza B, as well as in Courtyards 1, 4, and 5 of the palace complex.


Hoggarth, Julie Ann
Maya collapse
Belize Archaeology
Radiocarbon dating
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