chapter  Chapter Eight
19 Pages

Graves, dead bodies, souls, and ancestors

WithAndrew K. Scherer

In this chapter, I briefly summarize research on ancient Maya death, emphasizing especially data gathered from the analysis of graves and related mortuary features. First, I summarize the contexts in which Maya mortuary deposits are found and describe the different types of grave forms, from simple burials to royal tombs. I then describe the contents of Maya burials, focusing first on the body and then on associated grave goods. I end with a review of how Maya burials have been interpreted, focusing on their role in the reconstruction of Maya society and also studies of the symbolism and meaning of mortuary contexts.