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Grant number like: RZ-50986-09

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University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago, IL 60612-4305)
Joel W. Palka (Project Director: November 2008 to May 2016)

Collaborative Research
Research Programs

$240,000 (approved)
$240,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2009 – 6/30/2013

Archaeological Sites, Indigenous Frontiers, and Unconquered Maya Culture at Lake Mensabak, Chiapas, Mexico

An archaeological and historical study of the origins and cultural transformation of the Lacandon Maya in Chiapas, Mexico.

While research has focused on colonized Maya, little is known about unconquered Maya in the rainforests of Chiapas, Mexico, including their origins. This project involves the Lacandon Maya and experts in archaeology, history, and anthropology. The Lacandon are believed to be descendant from the ancient Maya or Yucatec Maya migrants who only recently experienced change. The clarification of their origins and cultural transformations are important topics for research on ethnogenesis or the creation of indigenous cultures. The investigators hypothesize that Lacandon ethnic formation occurred when different Maya groups entered the remote rainforests escaping European colonization. We will acquire archaeological, archival, and Lacandon cultural information regarding their origins. The findings will be compared to studies of ethnogenesis to understand the similarities and differences in cultural origins in colonized versus unconquered regions.