We are happy to announce that the recipient of the 2018 Dozier Award is Jessica MacLellan! Jessica is a PhD candidate studying Mesoamerican archaeology. She is advised by Professors Takeshi Inomata and Daniela Triadan. Jessica’s dissertation, funded by the NSF and several UA sources, is focused on the roles of household ritual in the development of social complexity in the Maya lowlands. She conducted four seasons of dissertation fieldwork at the site of Ceibal, in Guatemala. In 2016-2017, she held a fellowship at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection. Jessica’s research has been published in PNAS, American Anthropologist, Ancient Mesoamerica, and Journal of Field Archaeology.
Jessica’s Dozier Award paper is titled “Household Ritual and Social Complexity in the Preclassic Maya Lowlands: Excavations at the Karinel Group, Ceibal.”
Abstract: Recent investigations at the Karinel Group, an early residential area at Ceibal, Guatemala, show that the roles household rituals played in the development of complex societies varied across the Maya lowlands during the Middle Preclassic period (c. 1000–350 BC). In northern Belize, rituals focused on ancestors increased social inequality among kin groups, beginning around the transition to sedentism. In other areas, rituals on circular platforms constructed horizontal relationships within communities, counteracting public rituals carried out by a small number of specialists. At Ceibal, notable for its very early ceremonial plaza, household rituals had little in common with public ceremonies until the transition to the Late Preclassic period. At that point, across the lowlands, domestic ritual practices became more centralized and elite households became more involved in public ceremonies.