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Grant number: RZ-50520-06

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Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (Carbondale, IL 62901-4304)
Prudence M. Rice (Project Director: November 2005 to present)

Nixtun-Ch'ich', Pet'en, Guatemala: An Archaeological and Historical Investigation of the Pete'n Itza

Three seasons of fieldwork, analysis, and interpretation at Nixtun-Ch'ich', Petén, in northern Guatemala. (24 months)

The project focuses on the site of Nixtun--Ch'ich' in central Peten, Guatemala, as a basis for investigating the history of a Maya people known as Itza. Best known in Postclassic and Contact-period Yucatan, recent hieroglyphic studies suggest Itza origins in Peten. Nixtun-Ch'ich' evidences similarities with Itza sites in Yucatan, and its unusual grid layout suggests relations with central Mexico. In addition, the site might be an important but unlocated Classic city known only by its hieroglyphic Emblem and it is undoubtedly the AD 1697 launching point of the Spanish conquest of the Itza capital, the last independent indigenous kingdom in the New World. The significance to the humanities lies in (1) archaeological testing of an archivally derived model of geopolitical organization of central Peten at the time of conquest and (2) revealing continuities of the vibrant Maya heritage after the Classic civilization's "collapse" and interpreting Itza culture and history.

Project fields:

Collaborative Research

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$157,285 (approved)
$126,910 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2006 – 8/31/2009