Churches, Chapels, and Maya Dwellings of Colonial Yucatán and Belize. A Postcolonial Approach

by Barbosa Teobaldo Ramirez

Institution: University of Gothenburg / Göteborgs Universitet
Year: 2016
Keywords: Hybridity; Churches, dwellings
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2121760
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/41582


This thesis was conceived as an attempt to use the terms hybridity and third space in historical archaeology with a comparative analysis of early colonial churches and Maya dwellings on the Yucatán Peninsula and Belize. This analysis was aimed at reconsidering the influence of the indigenous societies in colonial encounters represented as hybrid material culture. The first part of this study analyzes colonialism and archaeology from a postcolonial perspective. The idea was to break away from binary models and Eurocentric colonizer-donor vs colonized-receptor approaches in colonial encounters presenting instead, an ambivalent relationship in which the colonizer and the colonized identity and materiality is negotiated and recreated. The second part presents a brief overview of the Maya chronological framework, in order to continue with the colonial period. Colonialism in Mexico is examined showing how colonial institutions of power established the basis for a new urbanism and religious architecture. Three explorations were made in the Espiritu Santo Bay which were aimed at identifying colonial hamlets or rancherias caused by the congregaciones. Special attention was paid to the site Kachambay and its church Nuestra Señora de la Limpia Concepción which was founded in 1621 and mentioned in the legajo Mexico 906. Two new site were found in the north of Espiritu Santo Bay, proving the presence of human activity in a region commonly considered as uninhabited or desploblado. The third part discusses the thesis in general and compares Maya dwelling and Spanish churches in terms of plans and building materials. The results showed that the continuity of use of construction materials such as masonry, stucco, thatched roofs or ramadas, as well as apsidal, circular, and squared plans are possible to observe in some types of churches. It is argued in this thesis that archaeological works about colonial churches are poor and more studies are required in order to understand the cultural changes in the early colonial life on the Yucatán Peninsula and Belize.