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Archaeological Research


Research Goals

Continuation of Project

Background and Significance

The Project (PACH)

2003 Field Season

2004 Field Season

2005 Field Season




Chocolá Archaeology:
Research Goals

The project engages in full-scale multi-year archaeological research, including 1) selected excavations, 2) analysis of results, and 3) dissemination of findings from investigations at a long-overlooked but long-believed key ancient Maya regional center located in the heart of the critically important Southern Maya Zone.

Chocolá apparently had political and other connections to K’aminaljuyu, the greatest southern Maya city in the Late Preclassic period (400 BC-AD 200) and is situated equidistantly between K’aminaljuyu and great Zoque sites to the west, indicating dynamic ethnic interaction before the rise of Classic Maya civilization.

The theoretical paradigm of the project over the longer term is both cultural historical and cultural evolutionary or processual; as a result of discoveries in the first two field seasons, particular research foci are Chocolá’s sophisticated hydraulics and possible intensive cultivation of and monopoly trade in the high-demand pan-Mesoamerican commodity, cacao.

Results will continue to fill in a major gap in the culture history of Maya civilization—developments occurring in the long-believed seminal but still quite obscure southern Maya area in the Late Preclassic—and in furthering understanding of the processes leading to the rise of Classic Maya civilization, modeled, conceivably, on the emergence of an early and seminal Maya state system underpinned by hydraulics and monopoly trade in the prestige good, cacao.



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