Pusilha Archaeological Project (PUSAP)
During the period 2001-2008, the Pusilha Archaeological Project (PUSAP) investigated secondary state formation at the largest and most important Classic Maya city of southern Belize. The project was co-directed by Prof. Geoffrey E. Braswell (UCSD), Dr. Cassandra Bill (Tulane University), and Christian M. Prager (University of Bonn). Braswell directed field research, Bill conducted all ceramic analyses, and Prager served as project epigrapher. Over the seven field and laboratory seasons, graduate students from UCSD, SUNY-Buffalo, Tulane, the University of Bonn, and the University of Colorado participated in survey, excavations, and laboratory analysis. To date, project members have written 18 publications, defended four M.A. theses, and presented numerous papers at international meetings in the U.S.A., Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, Canada, and Germany based on our investigations at Pusilha.
Research at Pusilha developed out of our earlier work at Copan, Honduras. Intriguing epigraphic, artistic, and ceramic connections appeared to suggest that Pusilha began as a small independent settlement, was incorporated into the expansionist Copan state, and eventually re-asserted its independence as a secondary state. Nevertheless, our archaeological and epigraphic investigations have revealed a very different history. Pusilha was founded my immigrants from the southwestern Peten, Guatemala, who came to the southern Belize in search of available land and—perhaps—an escape from the endemic warfare of their homeland. Our data also imply that Pusilha was a non-aligned state that avoided becoming entangled in the hegemonic conflicts of larger, more powerful states. In sum, Pusilha provides an intriguing picture into a “third way” of secondary state formation.
Follow links to our publications, annual field reports, and M.A. theses on the archaeology and epigraphy of Pusilha, Toledo District, Belize.
- Food Function and Status: Analysis of Faunal Remains from the Maya Site of Pusilhá, Belize | Karen Nickels
- Companion Burials in the Kingdom of the Avocado: Indirect Evidence of Human Sacrifice in Late and Terminal Classic Maya Society | Megan R. Pitcavage
- DIE INSCHRIFTEN VON PUSILHA EPIGRAPHISCHE ANALYSE UND REKONSTRUKTION DER GESCHICHTE EINER KLASSISCHEN MAYA-STÄTTE | Christian Manfred Prager
- Archaeological Settlement Patterns in the Kingdom of the Avocado | Beniamino P. Volta