9321603 Ringle With National Science Foundation support, Drs. Ringle, Bey and colleagues will conduct two seasons of archaeological research at Ek Balam, a Mayan site located in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. Ek Balam was occupied during the height of prehistoric Mayan development and is one of the half-dozen largest sites in this region. Settlement size is paralleled by architectural investment and the largest mount measures 165 by 65 meters at the base and rises 31 m in height. Drs. Ringle and Bey wish to understand the internal organization of the city, how the core area of monumental architecture relates to more outlying regions and how Ek Balam itself interacted with other such entities. To accomplish these goals they will carry out four related activities. They will continue past mapping work at the site center and survey and record architecture. Surface materials such as ceramics will also be collected. Secondly, excavation at the site center will be begun. Stratigraphic excavations will provide information on ceramic chronology, architectural style and the sequence of building construction. Third, a survey will be conducted of Ek Balam's hinterland - the region within 10-12 km. of the site - and both architectural constructions and associated agricultural fields will be noted. Finally a preliminary reconnaissance will be made within a 20 km wide corridor between Ek Balam and the large site of Chichen Itza. The results, hopefully, will shed light on the relations between these two large Mayan cities. In the Yucatan peninsula and adjacent regions of Central America Mayan peoples were organized into units which approached state level in size and thousands of people subsisted in areas which are only sparsely inhabited today. Large sites such as Ek Balam served as centers and populations arrayed themselves around such places. Over the last several decades archaeologists have gained much understanding of how these "centers" and associated hinterlands fun ctioned. However how such units were organized - or not organized - on a larger scale has been little investigated and is little understood. Drs. Ringle and Bey wish to examine this issue. Because Ek Balam is located in the region of Chichen Itza, another large center it will be possible to study the interaction between the two. This research is important for several reasons. It will provide data of interest to many archaeologists. It will increase our understanding of how, at a regional level large scale societies emerge and interact. The project will also help to foster research at an undergraduate institution and actively involve undergraduates in the work. ***

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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John E. Yellen
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Davidson College
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