Fixing Residence: Formative Period Place Making at Chiquiuitan, Guatemala
This dissertation explores early mound building and community development on the Pacific coast of Mesoamerica by considering the changing ways that people interacted with the landscape and ecology at the site of Chiquiuitan between 1450 and 600 B.C. Specifically, this study looks at shifts in how the landscape influences peoples’ lives and vice versa, within the context of the transition to sedentism and the development of agriculture. The approach taken to this topic also pays attention to the relationship between people and social structures (especially those found in features of the landscape, such as earthen mounds), reflecting an agency theory perspective. Archaeological methods include survey and excavation techniques, as well as materials analyses in ceramic type variety and attribute-based studies; lithic technological, typological and LA-ICP-MS analyses; osteological analysis; faunal identification; botanical investigation; and AMS radiocarbon dating. This dissertation contributes to research on the prehistory of Mesoamerica by offering a model for sedentism and community development that considers the environmental conditions that people responded to as well as ideological associations related to place and space. Furthermore, it adds to theory on human interactions with landscapes by focusing on a small-scale and non-complex community.