Ancient Maya Women by Traci Ardren

By Traci Ardren

The flood of archaeological paintings in Maya lands has revolutionized our realizing of gender in historical Maya society. The dozen members to this quantity use quite a lot of methodological strategies―archaeology, bioarchaeology, iconography, ethnohistory, epigraphy, ethnography―to tease out the main points of the lives, activities, and identities of ladies of Mesoamerica. The chapters, such a lot established upon fresh fieldwork in relevant the US, research the position of ladies in Maya society, their position within the political hierarchy and lineage constructions, the gendered department of work, and the discrepancy among idealized Mayan womanhood and the day-by-day truth, between different issues. In each one case, the complexities and nuances of gender family is highlighted and the restrictions of our wisdom said. those items signify a major increase within the realizing of Maya socioeconomic, political, and cultural life―and the archaeology of gender―and can be of serious curiosity to students and scholars.

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The archaeological case study of Chan Noohol, Belize, illustrates everyday life in one farming community. 1). 1, farmsteads are labeled CN1-CN7). Each farmstead contained one to two houses and sometimes other ancillary buildings and was associated with one-three sets of low hill-slope agricultural terraces. Terraces were located between twenty and sixty meters from houses. These intercommunity agricultural areas were the primary focus of residents' agricultural production, and agricultural produce was the only product, beyond labor itself, exported from the settlement.

Given the importance of farming in agricultural societies such as the Classic Maya, it may at first seem perplexing that there are no Classic period images of people farming. The absence of farming in monumental images of ruling elites seems explicable in context-these images omit productive activities altogether (Hendon 1997; Joyce 1993). It is not as easy to explain the absence of farming images from other social contexts. Figurines and painted ceramics from these contexts do show people working, and farming was a primary aspect of work for most people, elites and commoners.

In doing so, our goal in the project was to recognize the inability to arbitrarily carve the ancient Maya landscape into infields and outfields. Using the continuum as a guide, I explored the division of agriculturallabor based on gender. I considered the tasks associated with agricultural terrace gardening, who performed those tasks, and what tools were used. Examination of the spatial relationship of tools and associated material in relation to the ethnographic and ethnohistoric data initiated a model building process for the reconstruction of gender divisions of agricultural labor in the Dos Chombitos community.

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