Archaeological investigations by the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project at Cahal Pech uncovered several Terminal Classic (a.d. 750-900) peri-abandonment deposits and activity areas at this Belize River Valley center. The deposits contained a diverse assemblage of cultural remains located above and between collapsed architecture, associated with evidence for burning activities. In the past, archaeologists have generally interpreted similar assemblages as "problematic deposits" - "de facto" refuse (garbage) - as associated with building termination and desecration, or as evidence for rapid abandonment during the violent destruction of these ancient cities. It is argued here that the microstratigraphic excavation and contextual analysis of these features provide limited support for these explanations. Alternatively, we suggest that the deposits are more likely associated with peri-abandonment rituals that were conducted by a reduced remnant population at Cahal Pech, or by small groups who continued to reside in the site's periphery during the last stages of the Terminal Classic period.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)