Title page for ETD etd-11112004-121033

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Somers, Bretton Michael
Author's Email Address bsomer1@lsu.edu
URN etd-11112004-121033
Title Hidden Landscapes of the Ancient Maya: Transect Excavations at Arvin's Landing Southern Belize
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Geography & Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Heather McKillop Committee Chair
Andrew Curtis Committee Member
Farrell Jones Committee Member
Kent Mathewson Committee Member
  • settlement patterns
  • archaeogeography
  • Maya archaeology
  • GIS
Date of Defense 2004-09-30
Availability unrestricted
Transect excavations at Arvinís Landing in southern Belize revealed evidence of ancient Maya settlement indiscernible from surface inspection. The synthesis of archaeology and geography in field and laboratory methods and analysis provided the framework for this thesis. This study involves a transect survey with systematic shovel tests. Artifacts were recovered and recorded in the field and analyzed in the LSU archaeology laboratory in Punta Gorda, Belize. The entire survey area was mapped by transit and measurements and coordinates were combined with artifact data in a GIS. Prior research at Arvinís Landing had revealed a Postclassic mound on the bank of Joe Taylor creek at Arvinís Landing. The present surrounding landscape is forested with secondary growth devoid of artifacts mounds or other surface features indicative of settlement. In this transect survey extending away from the creek and mound a rich artifact assemblage of obsidian, chert and ceramics was recovered. The presence of such an expansive artifact assemblage suggests a much larger settlement area than previously known. Analysis of artifact densities in GIS revealed hotspots in the data set indicative of concentrated cultural activity and settlement locations. In addition to the single mound, evidence suggests up to two more households and a lithic tool production area are located within the survey area. This research serves as a point of departure for future research exploring the extent and patterns of hidden ancient Maya settlement. Future research including mobile GIS technology will increase efficiency of research in the field and allow better use of time and resources during limited field seasons.
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