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Contact and Missionization at Tayasal, Peten, Guatemala
Journal of Field Archaeology (2012)
  • Timothy W Pugh

Until their conquest by the Spanish in 1697, many Itza Maya occupied a large village at Tayasal, Peten, Guatemala. After the conquest, two missions were built there. The village and missions are located within 2 km of modern Flores, which was once Nojpete´n, the Itza capital, and later the Spanish presidio (fortified administrative center). Our excavations uncovered the San Bernabe´ mission on the Tayasal peninsula and defined the Late Postclassic-period (A.D. 1400–1525) occupation of the site. San Bernabe´ was established in the early 18th century as part of Spanish efforts to control indigenous populations in Peten. Our research demonstrates that the Late Postclassic settlement was larger than indicated by previous research and supported a relatively large ceremonial architectural group. Evidence of indigenous practices was recovered from deposits within the mission, though many elements of Itza religion found in the Late Postclassic group were absent from the mission settlement. These data provide additional evidence of religious syncretism in colonial situations.

  • colonialism,
  • Maya,
  • historic archaeology,
  • cultural contact,
  • entanglement
Publication Date
Citation Information
Timothy W Pugh. "Contact and Missionization at Tayasal, Peten, Guatemala" Journal of Field Archaeology Vol. 37 Iss. 1 (2012)
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