An ancient maya multiple burial at caledonia, cayo district, Belize

Paul F. Healy, Jaime J. Awe, Hermann Helmuth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Salvage excavation of a small Maya temple-pyramid at the site of Caledonia in the Cayo District of western Belize has repealed a Classic period vaulted tomb containing the remains of multiple individuals. The rich ceramic assemblage from the burial included transitional Tzakol3–Tepeu 1 (A.C.450–650) vessels(17 in total), along with obsidian blades, carved jade and shell jewelry, and other stone artifacts. Osteological examination of the human skeletal remains indicates at least eight individuals of both sexes were interred, as well as one child. On the basis of the tomb size, architectural, artifactual, and osteological remains, and a radiocarbon determination, it is likely that the Caledonia tomb was utilized over several centuries, possibly as an elite Maya family crypt. Following the last interment in the tomb the temple-pyramid was enlarged and topped by a vaulted superstructure with associated ceramics dating to Tepeu 3 times. A description of the site, tomb, osteology and artifacts is provided along with a discussion of Maya multiple burials and funerary customs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-274
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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