Kan opens a window on Post-classic Maya patterns of cultural development and organisation through a close examination of the small rural island of Laguna de On, a location that was distant from the governing political centres of the day. Using diachronic analysis of regional settlement patterns, ceramic traditions, household and ritual features, and artefacts from the site, Masson tracks developmental changes throughout the Post-classic period. These data suggest that affluent patterns of economic production and local and long-distance exchange were established within northern Belize by the eleventh century, and continued to develop, virtually uninterrupted, until the time of Spanish arrival. In addition, Masson analyses contemporary political and religious artistic traditions at the temples of Mayapan, Tulum, and Santa Rita to provide a regional context for the changes in community patterns at Laguna de On. These cultural changes, she maintains, are closely correlated with the rise of Mayapan to power and participation of sites like Laguna de On in a pan-lowland economic and ritual interaction sphere. Offering a thoroughly new interpretation of Post-classic Mayan civilisation.
This is a must for scholars of Mesoamerican history and culture.
Marilyn Masson is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Albany, State University of New York, and co-director of the Economic Foundations of Mayapan Project.