Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Sociology


Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Carolyn Freiwald

Second Advisor

Tony Boudreaux

Third Advisor

Matthew Murray

Relational Format



This thesis uses the isotopic composition of tooth enamel from two Maya sites on Ambergris Caye Belize, to identify basic patterns of population movement among the Classic period Maya. Three individuals from San Juan and ten individuals from Chac Balam will shed light on the origin of individuals buried at the sites, including those with nonlocal grave goods. Strontium and oxygen isotope values provide new information on Maya coastal populations and suggest that at least one individual with a distinct body position had a nonlocal origin. Carbon isotope values reveal a childhood diet related to, but not the same as, the proteins adults consumed.

Fewer nonlocal individuals were identified at Ambergris than other Maya studies, which may result from the size of the sample or that people moved from places with similar isotope values. Two individuals buried with foreign grave goods have isotope values that are consistent with the Caribbean Coast and the Caye. This suggest that ideas were moving rather than people and provides a direction for future research in the region.



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