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Early colonialism and population movement at the mission San Bernabé, Guatemala

Freiwald, Carolyn, Miller Wolf, Katherine A., Pugh, Timothy, Rand, Asta J. and Fullagar, Paul D. 2020. Early colonialism and population movement at the mission San Bernabé, Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica 31 (3) , pp. 543-553. 10.1017/S0956536120000218

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Colonialism came late to northern Guatemala. The Spanish began to establish missions in the Peten Lakes region in the early 1700s, nearly 200 years after initial contact with the Mayas. Excavations in 2011–2012 at the Mission San Bernabé revealed European goods, nonnative animal species, and burial patterns that marked a new lifestyle. Who lived at the Mission San Bernabé, and where did they come from? The Spanish resettled indigenous populations to facilitate the colonization process; however, isotopic data are inconsistent with large population movements. Instead, strontium and oxygen isotope values in the tooth enamel and bones of individuals buried at the mission suggest a mostly local population. The data suggest in-migration from Belize, a region under nominal Spanish control, but with pre-Hispanic ties to the Peten. Changes did not come from migrants crossing a border; instead, the border itself moved and brought the colonial world to the Peten Mayas.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0956-5361
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2023 11:45

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