You Don’t Have to Live Like a Refugee: Consumer Culture at the Nineteenth-Century Refugee Village at Tikal, Guatemala

  • James Meierhoff
Part of the Contributions To Global Historical Archaeology book series (CGHA)


In the mid-nineteenth century Maya refugees fleeing the violence of the Caste War of Yucatan (1847–1901) briefly reoccupied the ancient ruins of Tikal. Unlike the numerous Yucatec refugee communities established to the east in British Honduras, those who settled at Tikal combined with Lacandon Maya, and later Ladinos from Lake Petén-Itza to form a multiethnic village in the sparsely occupied Petén jungle of northern Guatemala. This chapter discusses the analysis of the mass-produced nineteenth century consumer goods found at Tikal. The historic inhabitants of Tikal were well connected to exchange networks of the societies encircling the Petén, reaching the world through the global markets emanating from nearby British Honduras. This small village was poised to renegotiate social and economic relationships with peripheral societies from deep within the frontier zone and may be demonstrating consumer behavior observed in refugee populations in the modern era.


Refugees Maya Guatemala Tikal Caste War of Yucatan 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Meierhoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA

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