New isotope data on Maya mobility and enclaves at Classic Copan, Honduras

T. Douglas Price, Seiichi Nakamura, Shintaro Suzuki, James H. Burton, Vera Tiesler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Strontium, oxygen and carbon isotopes are measured in human tooth enamel from 32 human burials in structural complex 10J-45 at the Classic Maya site of Copan in western Honduras. These results are compared with similar information from the Copan Acropolis, common graves throughout the site, and baseline information from the surrounding region and the Maya area in general. More than one-third of the burials are identified as non-local based on strontium and oxygen isotope ratios. These non-local individuals came from a variety of different places. Two of these persons appear to be dynastic rulers or highly placed nobles in Copan society. The high density of non-locals and the location of the burials suggest this area may have been an enclave of foreign Maya at the site. The presence of non-local rulers in both this area and the Acropolis supports the concept of "stranger kings" in the Maya realm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-47
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Carbon
  • Enclave
  • Human remains
  • Isotopes
  • Maya
  • Migration
  • Mobility
  • Oxygen
  • Provenience
  • Strontium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology

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