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Political Interactions among Social Actors: Spatial Organization at the Classic Maya Polity of El Palmar, Campeche, Mexicó


This article examines the significance of outlying groups in the spatial organization of Classic Maya settlements. The relative scarcity of textual records concerning outlying groups has often made it difficult for researchers to analyze in detail the political interactions between individuals associated with these groups and the royal authority. The recent discovery of a hieroglyphic stairway at the Guzmán Group, an outlying group of El Palmar, Campeche, Mexico, provides an exceptional opportunity for understanding the constitutive process of spatial organization during the Late and Terminal Classic periods (ca. A.D. 600-900). Epigraphic studies of the Guzmán Group stairway have identified a main individual who emphasized his genealogical ties to lakam (banner-bearer) officials and his political relationship with foreign rulers of Copán and Calakmul. The results of archaeological and epigraphic studies suggest that the Guzmán Group was a locus for negotiating power and ideology among different social actors.

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