Master of Arts (MA)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



Archaeological investigations were undertaken at the John Spang Site, a Late Classic Maya saltwork, in Punta Ycacos Lagoon, in Paynes Creek National Park, southern Belize. The field survey mapping yielded over 149 wooden architectural posts preserved below the sea floor in mangrove peat. The presence of briquetage indicates the wooden architecture is associated with the infrastructure associated with production and distribution of salt. The mapped survey areas, including the wooden architecture, artifact boundaries, and site boundaries, as well as the wooden post measurements were combined in a GIS to analyze the spatial distribution. I compare and contrast the patterns observed in the post data with Robert C. Wauchope’s 1938 Modern Maya Houses. I also compare the wooden architecture present at the John Spang with modern and historic investigations about saltmaking. My investigations revealed wooden rectangular structures similar to those described by Wauchope, as well as structures associated in the process of making salt. My research shows that there is continuity from the past to the present in regards to the shapes of buildings and structures. However, variations exist between the past and the present in regards to the layout of the site and the sizes of posts preferred.



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Committee Chair

Heather I. McKillop