Ancestor Worship at Nim li Punit, Belize : Implications for Regional Interaction
Chelsea Fisher, University of Michigan
Nim li Punit is a Classic period Maya site in southern Belize. The site was one of four polities in a tightly bound geographical area. These four polities (Nim li Punit, Lubaantun, Pusilha, and Uxbenka) pose an interesting case of regional interaction in the Maya area: each claimed divine kingship for its rulers, each failed to mention any of the other four in its hieroglyphic texts, and each was engaged in a different trade network. How can all of this be, when the four polities were all less than a day's walk apart from each other? Excavations during the 2012 field season at Nim li Punit's Classic palace complex offer some potential insights into this strange interaction (or lack thereof) in southern Belize. In this talk, I will review new evidence for ancestor veneration found during excavations of the royal palace. Then I will offer some possible connections between the role of ancestor veneration at Nim li Punit and its implications for interaction in the southern Belize region.
Savé Hills Archaeological Research Project (SHARP) : Preliminary Findings from an
Opportunistic Survey in Central Benin
Travis Williams, University of Michigan
This past summer, Travis helped conduct an archaeological research project led by Michigan graduate student Andrew Gurstelle in the Savé Hills region of central Benin. The project's goals were to find and document any and all archaeological sites in a roughly 1200 km² area surrounding the contemporary town of Savé and to begin constructing a ceramic chronology for that heretofore archaeologically unexplored region. Though artifact analysis is ongoing, SHARP successfully documented over forty sites which are beginning to help us reconstruct the dynamic settlement patterns in the region over the past four centuries. Travis's brown-bag presents preliminary findings from this first season of intensive research in the area.