Recent research by the Central Belize Archaeological Survey (CBAS) project in the Roaring Creek and Caves Branch River drainages and surrounding uplands has identified and investigated a broad range of settlement sites, civic-ceremonial centers, and caves. This talk will focus on the extensive mortuary contexts found within caves and rockshelters in this area, reconstructing aspects of the lives and deaths of the individuals interred through the incorporation of a variety of biological, archaeological, and taphonomic data. For instance, such detailed bioarchaeological reconstructions have been instrumental in testing competing hypotheses about whether or not individuals placed in caves were sacrificial victims. I'll follow this investigation of social identity by discussing how mortuary cave use informs broader models of sociopolitical organization in central Belize.
Dr. Gabriel Wrobel, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Michigan State University