New directions in Classic Maya household archaeology

Cynthia Robin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Over the past two decades, household studies have coalesced into a recognized subfield within archaeology. Despite this relatively short history, household archaeologists are now taking a leading role in epistemological shifts that are placing people and their practices and differences at the center of archaeological interpretations of the past, rather than subsuming these into the "noise" of passive and depersonalized depictions of ancient social systems. As Maya archaeologists have played a critical role in the development of household archaeology, examining recent trends in Maya household research provides a perspective on the directions of both Maya studies and household archaeology more generally. This article explores three interrelated trends: (1) understanding ordinary people; (2) understanding social diversity among households; (3) understanding households in articulation with the broder social universe. Through a discussion of these three trends, this review uses Classic Maya household archaeology as a case study to illustrate how household research has led to the development of theoretically rich and empirically substantive understandings of an ancient society, which repeople the past and foreground the active roles of and structural constraints on ancient people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-356
Number of pages50
JournalJournal of Archaeological Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003


  • Gender
  • Household archaeology
  • Maya
  • Social organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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