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Contingent Acts of Remembrance: Royal Ancestors of Classic Maya Copan and Quirigua

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Article of journalAshmore, Wendy. (University of California, Department of Anthropology, Estados Unidos). Contingent Acts of Remembrance: Royal Ancestors of Classic Maya Copan and QuiriguaAncient Mesoamerica, 2015 vol. 26 no. 2 p. 213-231. Keywords:
Central America
Guatemala | Honduras
Pre-hispanic period


Classic Maya history is deeply political, and religious and political activities frequently inseparable. This essay advocates directly comparing mortuary practices over time for rulers at politically and economically linked centers. Most specifically it outlines an experimental model of how acts of remembrance in royal ancestor veneration articulate with local and regional politico-economic dynamics, and to do so with respect to acts attested in archaeological, bioarchaeological, textual, and iconographic sources. The particular case here pairs Classic-period Copan and Quirigua, where for centuries, the former was overlord to the latter. The evidence suggests that while treatment of royal ancestors draws on a set of established Maya practices, scale, elaboration and choice among those practices was contingent on the role each of the decedents held at particular points in political history, and the temporal orientation of those who commissioned remembrance acts.

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