Kidder: Negotiating Household Quality of Life and Social Cohesion at Ucanha, Mexico, Yucatan, During the Terminal Preclassic/Early Classic Transition

Grants and Contracts Details


This project will chronicle social inequality at Ucanha, Yucatan, Mexico, when it was physically integrated by an 18 km-long road with a larger regional polity headed by Ucf around the Terminal Preclassic to Early Classic (50 BCE - CE 400) transition. My research seeks to identify how social distinctions emerged during the early moments of social inequality and how these distinctions did or did not become a threat to social cohesion, as seen in the Early Classic "collapse" in some areas. Using a relational perspective, this project argues that authority and economic practices are embedded in morality and all actors negotiate household quality of life. Trenching and broad-scale horizontal excavations will document five nodes of social distinction-architectural energetics, feasting, diversity of household assemblage, caching/burial practices, and the use of space-at four dwellings that have ceramic assemblages that span the Late Classic to the Early Classic in order to see how quality of life changes. Multi-element soil analysis in conjunction with spatial statistics will accompany excavations to document activity areas "hidden" from the naked eye. The use of spatial statistics will add to the discipline methodologically, which is inextricably linked with theory. Broadly, this project will add to anthropological theories on the rise of social inequality by considering how both commoner bottom-up and elite top-down choices were (or were not) balanced by traditions of morality and an expected quality of life. In addition, this project will contribute to Mesoamerican archaeology by adding to a poorly understood time period, the Preclassic to Classic transition, and more generally show how (unequal) actors actively negotiated social distinctions.
Effective start/end date6/30/166/1/18


  • Lambda Alpha: $2,000.00


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