The E Group complex is one of the most widely known archetypes in Maya archaeology. The complex's easily recognized configuration has helped archaeologists to identify this archetype at hundreds of sites throughout the Southern Maya Lowlands. However, things are not always what they appear to be. Conducted by Jaime Awe and colleagues (2016), a reinvestigation of excavation data of assemblages long designated as E Group complexes in a region known as the Belize River Valley revealed several unique attributes not typical of the E Group complex. Awe et al. (2016) suggest that these assemblages appear to function more as "eastern shrines" than E Groups and propose they be relabeled as "eastern triadic assemblages." Therefore, the purpose of this thesis is to provide a more comprehensive and methodological study of a single Belize Valley assemblage located at the site of Pacbitun, Belize. The temporal examination of Pacbitun's assemblage provided in this thesis was able to identify physical, spatial, and functional attributes associated with each phase of construction. These attributes were then compared with attributes associated with E Groups, eastern shrines, and eastern triadic assemblages. The results revealed that, while Pacbitun's assemblage does follow the architectural progression exhibited by other Belize Valley assemblages, the assemblage does not truly become an eastern triadic assemblage until the beginning of the Late Classic period (AD 550). Furthermore, the transition of Pacbitun's assemblage coincides with several other architectural modifications in and around the site suggesting that Pacbitun was experiencing sociopolitical change or unrest at this time. The breakdown of the political organization of the Belize Valley will provide scenarios concerning Pacbitun's political situation as well as an explanation for the unique architectural progression of Pacbitun's assemblage through time. This study hopes to not only contribute to current and future research of the Belize Valley eastern triadic assemblages but also to the understanding of the Classic period political situation of Pacbitun in the Belize River Valley.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Micheletti, George, "Identifying Archetypal Attributes of Maya Ceremonial Architecture: Clues to the Late Classic Sociopolitical Status of Pacbitun, Belize" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5112.