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Prohibido Tocar Este Cenote: The Archaeological Basis for the Titles of Ebtun

  • Rani T. Alexander
Article

Abstract

Ebtun, Kaua, Cuncunul, Tekom, and Tixcacalcupul are a group of related communities on the Yucatán peninsula described in the corpus of Maya-language documents known as The Titles of Ebtun. In this paper I explore transformations in agrarian practice and material expressions of identity after the Spanish invasion by analyzing archaeological variation in the life histories of places over the last 500 years. As new plants, animals, and technologies were adopted, landscape organization changed, and locales took on new meanings. Ebtun’s landscape reflects a historically contingent process that has transformed place and identity, fostering autonomy of cultural practice and renewal of tradition.

Keywords

Landscape Identity Archaeological survey Maya Yucatan (Mexico) 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Authorization for field research was granted by the Consejo de Arqueología, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, under the direction of Mtro. Roberto García Moll, and was facilitated through the Centro INAH Yucatán under the direction of Arqlga. Federica Sodi Miranda. The efforts and advice of Arqlgos. Rafael Burgos Villanueva, Luis Millet Cámera, Alfredo Barrera Rubio, Eunice Uc González at the Centro INAH Yucatan are greatly appreciated. Funding for this investigation was provided by a Fulbright Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship, US Department of Education, a College of Arts and Sciences Research Center Minigrant, New Mexico State University, and an Undergraduate Research Initiatives Grant, Office of the NMSU Vice President for Research. I extend special thanks to the field crew: José Díaz Cruz, Centro INAH Yucatan, Adam Kaeding, Boston University, Gastón Medina, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatan, Eleuterio Un Un, Nícolas Un Camal, Florencio Un Camal, comisario ejidal of Ebtun, and José Guadalupe Noh Canul, comisario ejidal of Kaua. Dr. Susan Kepecs kindly identified the ceramics. I thank Fernando Armstrong-Fumero for sharing his observations and notes from the Archivo de la Reforma Agraria Nacional. Finally, I am indebted to the people of Ebtun, Cuncunul, Kaua, Tekom, and Tixcacalcupul whose support and hospitality made this project possible. A preliminary version of this paper was presented at the Tulane Maya Symposium,“Sacred Cenotes, Hidden Caverns: Rituals, Beliefs, and Everyday Activities Related to Caves and Cenotes among the Maya,” February 15–17, 2008.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyNew Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA

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