Determining political and economic context through a comparative analysis of settlement pattern and architectural style at Chunchucmil, Yucatan, Mexico
Gilbert, Sharon Kyle
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This thesis studies the economic and political context of Chunchucmil, a Late Classic Maya site, by comparing its settlement pattern and architectural style with that of four other Maya sites to determine its affiliation with Uxmal and Chichen Itza, the capitals of the Puuc and Itza polities. The data are examined against three models: peer polity interaction, central place theory, and dendritic market economy. The data indicate that Chunchucmil was most likely not the capital of a polity nor does it appear to have been a polity subordinate to the Puuc and Itza polities. The most likely scenario is that Chunchucmil was a collection and distribution center trading salt from the nearby saltworks of Celestun in a dendritic market economy that came under attack by Uxmal, the powerful capital of the Puuc polity, during its apex. Chunchucmil was unable to rival Uxmal's strength and collapsed at the end of the 9th century.