- HSSB 2001A
Recent Excavations and Botanical Investigations at La Blanca
MALLORY MELTON, Graduate Student, UC Santa Barbara
Ancient Mesoamerica is often known for its states and empires, such as the popularly recognized Aztec Empire. However, less is known about the everyday practices that characterized the earliest Mesoamerican urban centers during their development, height, and decline. My dissertation will use plant remains (carbonized macrobotanicals, starch grains, and phytoliths) to gain insights into elite and commoner foodways over the course of early urbanization and state formation on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. I plan to collect and analyze data from two sites: La Blanca (900–600 B.C.E.), an early urban center, and El Ujuxte (600 B.C.E.–100 C.E.), argued to represent one of the earliest state centers in Mesoamerica. From January to April 2017, I participated in excavations led by Michael Love (CSUN) that focused on the Esquivel, Joyas, and Vacas Districts of the La Blanca site. In this paper, I present an overview of these investigations with specific emphasis on botanical recovery efforts and preliminary results.