Posted by: Johan Normark | September 3, 2010

Abstracts for SAA 2011

I had planned to go to the European Maya Conference (EMC) conference in Madrid later this year and I even had a paper that was accepted. However, the conference collides with a workshop called “To Tender Gender” that will be held in Stockholm at exactly the same date. I choose to go to Stockholm for various reasons but I will present a reworked version of the Madrid paper together with Justine Shaw at the SAA’s in Sacramento next year. The primary reason why I go to Sacramento is, however, to participate in a session called “Blogging Archaeology”. Here is my abstract for that session:

Dealing with the public view of the Maya

The public view of the Maya is often affected by stereotypes, exoticism, and ethnocentrism. Nowhere is this clearer than in the 2012-phenomenon. While blogging about various parts of this phenomenon I have encountered everything from threats, dismissals on the grounds that I am biased because I am part of the academia but also positive feedback on the attempt to uncover frauds. Although my blog primarily is dedicated to Mayanist studies and archaeological theory, the 2012 part of the blog is most popular. How does that affect my choice of topics? Am I also feeding on the phenomenon that I criticize?

Here is the abstract for Justine’s and my paper:

Settlement dispersion as a strategy to cope with recurrent droughts

A fluctuating settlement pattern in the Cochuah region in the Northern Maya Lowlands indicates a possible long-term strategy to deal with recurrent droughts. Settlement aggregation near permanent water sources occurred during periods with few droughts (the Classic period). Dispersion of settlement occurred during periods with droughts, most notably during the Terminal Classic period. This pattern differs from the Colonial period when such dispersion did not take place locally, probably due to the Spanish reducción program. This suggests that a Prehispanic organizational strategy to cope with recurrent droughts existed and that the Spanish presence discouraged the use of this strategy.


  1. I caught the end of discovery where they showed the fear of the droughts, one does wonder what cycle is next. My first visit, interesting blog.

    Dorothy from the former grammology

  2. Droughts occur quite often in the Maya area. What the “collapse” people argue is that there were extreme droughts during the Maya collapse period. There is geological evidence for that but the archaeological record seldom correlates with this.


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