Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Cameron McNeil

Committee Members

Timothy Pugh

William Parry

Arthur Demarest

Subject Categories

Archaeological Anthropology


Spatial Analysis, Cancuen, GIS, Architecture, Archaeology


This dissertation explores the fluid and commonly multi-compositional aspects of Maya settlement patterns, which reflect concepts of space within Maya worldviews. Research will be focused on the predominantly Classic (ca. AD 650-810) era archaeological site of Cancuen and its neighbors in the Verapaz department of Guatemala. These settlements provide a complex arena where questions of identity, spirituality, and ethnic affiliations can be addressed within a spatial context. The continuing detailed settlement and environmental survey mapping within the Cancuen region is the primary source of evidence from which a more thorough appreciation of emic Maya spatial considerations will be investigated.

The most enduring and unambiguous statement made by rulers, architects, engineers, and inhabitants is found in the planning of individual buildings (both of commoners and elites), and at a more complex level, entire archaeological sites. From the humblest residential structure to a multi-functioned elite courtyard, an entire city or confederation of states, buildings are physical manifestations of cultural attitudes, environmental adaptations and spiritual aesthetics that are sustained, maintained, and venerated for generations (Houston, 1998; McAnany, 1994, 2000).