Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



Transect excavations at Arvin’s Landing in southern Belize revealed evidence of ancient Maya settlement indiscernible from surface inspection. The synthesis of archaeology and geography in field and laboratory methods and analysis provided the framework for this thesis. This study involves a transect survey with systematic shovel tests. Artifacts were recovered and recorded in the field and analyzed in the LSU archaeology laboratory in Punta Gorda, Belize. The entire survey area was mapped by transit and measurements and coordinates were combined with artifact data in a GIS. Prior research at Arvin’s Landing had revealed a Postclassic mound on the bank of Joe Taylor creek at Arvin’s Landing. The present surrounding landscape is forested with secondary growth devoid of artifacts mounds or other surface features indicative of settlement. In this transect survey extending away from the creek and mound a rich artifact assemblage of obsidian, chert and ceramics was recovered. The presence of such an expansive artifact assemblage suggests a much larger settlement area than previously known. Analysis of artifact densities in GIS revealed hotspots in the data set indicative of concentrated cultural activity and settlement locations. In addition to the single mound, evidence suggests up to two more households and a lithic tool production area are located within the survey area. This research serves as a point of departure for future research exploring the extent and patterns of hidden ancient Maya settlement. Future research including mobile GIS technology will increase efficiency of research in the field and allow better use of time and resources during limited field seasons.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Heather McKillop