In the palace of the fallen king: The royal residential complex at Aguateca, Guatemala

Takeshi Inomata, Daniela Triadan, Erick Ponciano, Richard Terry, Harriet F. Beaubien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The Aguateca Archaeological Project extensively excavated two structures (M7-22 and M7-32) in the Palace Group of the Late Classic Maya (A.C. 600-830) center of Aguateca, Guatemala. Multiple lines of evidence, including site layout, architectural features, soil chemistry, objects stored in a sealed room, and abandonment processes, suggest that these were the buildings where the ruler and his family lived and worked. The use of space in these structures shows some similarities to those of the rapidly abandoned elite residences at Aguateca and of palace-type buildings at other Maya centers. The occupants of this royal complex retained a certain level of visibility, indicating the importance of the ruler's body as the focus of theatrical display. After the royal family evacuated the center, an invading enemy ritually destroyed these buildings, attesting the symbolic importance of the royal residences. The center was almost completely abandoned after this incursion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-306
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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