Outside of houses: The practices of everyday life at Chan Nòohol, Belize

Cynthia Robin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


This article examines the social construction and experience of everyday life in one socially salient place, the late Classic Maya farm-steads of Chan Nòohol, Belize. Men, women and children worked around the house and the ‘domestic’ and agricultural domains were neither socially or spatially segregated. Nor was everyday life a strictly inside or outside, private or public affair. These points underscore the fact that rigid Western taxonomizing is inappropriate for understanding life cross-culturally. Beyond farmers’ houses and agricultural terraces, Chan Nòohol was largely devoid of the physical surface traces that archaeologists often excavate. But this lack of architecture ended up being a blessing in disguise, because the entwined paths of people left visible traces in the porous soil surfaces. The imprints of people's daily walking and working documents some of their diverse lifeways and experiences. By integrating an analysis of the social construction of place with an analysis of living experiences, this article seeks to move beyond the impasse of theoretical polarities that have historically divided our field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-268
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Social Archaeology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2002


  • Maya
  • Mesoamerica phenomenology
  • domestic archaeology
  • feminist theory
  • practice theory
  • social organization
  • spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology

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