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Odontometric investigation of the origin of freestanding shrine ossuaries at Mayapan

posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Stanley SerafinStanley Serafin, C Peraza Lope, E Uc González, P Delgado Kú
Mayapan was the largest and most densely populated city in the Maya area during the Late Postclassic period (ca. AD 1200–1450), but was it truly cosmopolitan? This question was investigated through biodistance and population genetic analyses of heritable dental metric traits, the first such study conducted at this site.The analyses concentrated on burials excavated from a diverse array of contexts, such as mass graves, residences, and plaza floors, with a particular focus on freestanding shrine ossuaries. The results of both univariate and multivariate analyses suggest individuals interred in freestanding shrine ossuaries are genetically distinct from contemporary and earlier populations from northwestern Yucatan, suggesting this new burial practice was introduced by foreigners. These findings also have implications for the larger question of whether pan-Mesoamerican elite identity formationin the Postclassic period (AD 900–1543) was accompanied by more intense long-distance mixing of populations, rather than just the exchange of goods and ideas. Given the important role played by exchange in the regeneration of sociopolitical complexity in ancient societies from different parts of the world (Schwartz,2006), this study also contributes to the broader discussion of how cultures survive and respond to upheaval, as well as to a more nuanced consideration of the role of migration in culture change.


Category 2 - Other Public Sector Grants Category



Wrobel GD

Parent Title

Bioarchaeology of space and place : ideology, power, and meaning in Maya mortuary contexts

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Springer New York

Place of Publication

New York, NY

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

Centro INAH Yucatan; School of Human, Health and Social Sciences (2013- ); TBA Research Institute;

Era Eligible

  • Yes

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