Analysis of Mortuary Patterns and Burial Practices in the Classic Period Burials from the Maya Site of K'axob in Belize



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Mortuary patterns among the Maya are quite diverse, and have been studied for many years. The scope of what is understood about Maya burial treatment has widened with the discovery of more skeletal remains at Maya sites. Field reports as well as skeletal remains were analyzed to determine the mortuary patterns and burial practices from the Classic period burials at the Maya site of K’axob. Age was determined mostly from dental wear and tooth eruption patterns, and sex was determined based on measurements from the femurs and tibiae when intact bones were found. The aspects of burial practices that were observed included age, sex, number of interments, type of interment, burial position, ceramic complex, offerings, location, and orientation. From the analysis of the Classic period burials and the comparison to those from the Preclassic at K’axob and the Classic at a nearby site, Nohmul, the mortuary patterns and burial practices were determined to be generally consistent with those of the lowland Maya area. In the Classic period burials at K’axob, the most common interments were single, primary interments, and of these the most common burial position was extended/supine. Private interments dominated public interments and of the individuals for whom age and sex could be determined, adult males were the most common group. Evidence for ancestor veneration was also found in forms of burial placement, instances of multiple, secondary interments, as well as grave goods.



Mortuary Analysis, K'axob, Burial Practices, Maya, Belize, Mortuary Ritual, Ancestor veneration