How did the earliest “elite”
of the Maya world use and control their abundant animal resources
to enhance their status and record their wealth?
El Mirador was one of the most fabulous and developed of the Preclassic
cities of the Maya world. With its monumental constructions and
obvious complexity of land-use, is it any wonder that we are fascinated
by the ways that the residents of this site used their environs
not only as a source of food, but also for ritual, economics, and
politics. How did they first use animal products and images as markers
for status and wealth in this locus of early development of hierarchical
society? How did they manipulate the resources to ensure that the
emerging elite were provided with the best and the tastiest foods,
and the most spectacular shell jewellery and bone tools?