Dedication, Termination and Balché

Ritual Drinks in an Ulúa Marble Vase from the Ancient Maya City of Pacbitun, Belize

Authors

  • Adam King University of South Carolina
  • Sheldon Skaggs City University of New York
  • Terry G. Powis Kennesaw State University
  • Christina M. Luke Koc University
  • George J. Micheletti University of Central Florida
  • Kong F. Cheong American University
  • Nilesh W. Gaikwad Gaikwad Steroidnomics Laboratory LLC

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/aff.20708

Keywords:

Ancient Maya, Belize, Pacbitun, Ulúa vase, Absorbed Residues, balché

Abstract

The material plays a fundamental and active role in the social lives of people, from objects like containers or buildings to food and other consumables. In this paper, evidence from absorbed residues are used to explore the contents of an Ulúa-style marble vase found in a royal courtyard at the ancient Maya site of Pacbitun in west-central Belize. Those results indicate that the vase once held concoctions containing cacao, willow and possibly vanilla. Significantly, the results also confirm residues of the important Maya ritual drink balché, in an ancient container. By placing the vase and its contents in the history of Pacbitun, we demonstrate the important role of this object and its contents in dedicatory rituals practiced in this region; we argue that subsequent disturbance of the context and the vase in antiquity points to the fragmentation of kingship.

Author Biographies

Adam King, University of South Carolina

South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, SC, USA

Sheldon Skaggs, City University of New York

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Bronx Community College, City University of New York, NY, USA

Terry G. Powis, Kennesaw State University

Department of Geography and Anthropology, Kennesaw State University, GA, USA

Christina M. Luke, Koc University

Department of Archaeology and Art History, Koc University, Turkey

George J. Micheletti, University of Central Florida

Department of Anthropology, University of Central Florida, FL, USA

Kong F. Cheong, American University

Department of Anthropology, American University, Washington DC, USA

Nilesh W. Gaikwad, Gaikwad Steroidnomics Laboratory LLC

Gaikwad Steroidnomics Laboratory LLC, Davis, CA, USA

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Published

2022-01-13

How to Cite

King, A. ., Skaggs, S. ., Powis, T. G. ., Luke, C. M., Micheletti, G. J. ., Cheong, K. F. ., & Gaikwad, N. W. . (2022). Dedication, Termination and Balché: Ritual Drinks in an Ulúa Marble Vase from the Ancient Maya City of Pacbitun, Belize. Archaeology of Food and Foodways, 1(1), 34–53. https://doi.org/10.1558/aff.20708