Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Award: Urban Longevity and Social Inequality

Project: Research project

Project Details


This project examines the relationship between socioeconomic inequality and urban longevity at the ancient Maya city of Aventura, Belize. Specifically, it will assess changes in the labor practices and socioeconomic access of four urban commoner households during the Terminal Classic to Early Postclassic transition (750-1100 CE). The Classic/Postclassic transition is marked by social, political, and environmental stressors (i.e. drought, warfare, and heightened inequalities) that resulted in population dispersions from urban centers to more rural areas across the Maya lowlands. Yet, Aventura was a socioeconomically diverse urban center that reached its peak in occupation from 750-1100 CE. By focusing on urban commoner households, the research will investigate the socioeconomic conditions that enabled Aventura to persist during a period of regional stress. I will examine if these four commoner households oriented labor practices towards generalized household needs or specialized practices that contributed to the broader urban community. In turn, I will assess if commoner labor practices were valued or exploited by the urban community during a period of broad societal stress. Results will shed light on the socioeconomic conditions that enabled Aventura’s long-term persistence, as well as the consequences this longevity had on the city’s most vulnerable population segment.
Effective start/end date4/1/203/31/21


  • National Science Foundation (BCS-1946385)

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