Pre-Columbian Society of Washington DC

The Pre-Columbian Society of Washington, D.C. (PCSWDC), is an educational organization dedicated to furthering knowledge and understanding of the peoples of the Americas before the time of Columbus. Founded in 1993, the Society provides a forum for the exchange of information regarding these pre-Columbian cultures between academic professionals and interested members of the public.

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Of War, Death, Conspiracy, and Revenge: Deciphering Xunantunich’s Role in the Late Classic Political Landscape of the Central Maya Lowlands by Jaime J. Awe., PhD, Northern Arizona University

This meeting will be held at the Charles Sumner School, 17th & M Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.

NOTE: Photo ID may be required to enter the building.

The meeting will start with refreshments at 6:45 pm and the lecture will begin at 7:15 pm.


In 2016, the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project made several significant discoveries at the site of Xunantunich.  Besides caches of eccentric flints, and a large royal tomb with sumptuous grave goods, the new finds included two hieroglyphic panels that implicate four Classic period Maya kingdoms, among them that of the legendary Snake-head kings. In this presentation, Dr. Awe demonstrates how the combination of cutting-edge scientific approaches with good old-fashioned archaeological investigations can significantly influence the accuracy of our interpretations, as well as our efforts to unravel past cultural events.  The discoveries also serve to demonstrate that, in spite of being the focus of explorations for more than a century, the site of Xunantunich continues to provide intriguing new information on the significant roles played by Belize Valley centers in the socio-political landscape of the Late Classic Maya lowlands.

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Dr. Awe is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Northern Arizona University, Director of the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance project, and Emeritus member of the Belize Institute of Archaeology. Before joining NAU, he taught at Trent University (Canada), the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Montana. Between 2003 and 2014, he served as the first Director of the Belize Institute of Archaeology. Dr. Awe has conducted important research and conservation at most of the major archaeological sites in Belize and published numerous articles on this work. He has been featured in several national and international television documentaries about Belizean archaeology. Dr. Awe earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Trent University and his PhD from the Institute of Archaeology at University College London.

Earlier Event: August 2

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