Abstract

To the Maya, plant-based foods were not just important for sustenance but also had ritual meaning that was especially emphasized when placed in graves and caches. Food offered during ritual performances created a reciprocal relationship between living individuals, their ancestors, and the gods. The following thesis examines seven ceramic sherds associated with burial and cache offerings of individuals from the lowland Maya site of Holtun, Guatemala, that were found to have contained food offerings. Starch analysis, a method used to determine plant taxa on a microscopic level was performed on the ceramic vessels along with various experimental molecular spectroscopic procedures. The results gathered from the starch analysis and chemical analysis tested our ability to recover plant remains from archaeological evidence at Holtun and illuminated a possible pattern of grave and offering types, social class, and variety in ritual diet. The identification of manioc, yam, and malanga suggests evidence to the complex ritual diet of the Maya at Holtun not often depicted in iconography from the Middle Preclassic period (800 – 300 B.C.) through the Terminal Classic period (A.D. 550- 900).

Notes

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Graduation Date

2021

Semester

Fall

Advisor

Kovacevich, Brigitte

Degree

Master of Arts (M.A.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Anthropology

Degree Program

Anthropology

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0008801

Language

English

Release Date

December 2022

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Campus-only Access)

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