Originally presented at the 41st Annual Chacmool Conference (November 7-10, 2008) in the session: “Power in the Maya Area and the Mesoamerican Southeast Periphery II.”


Using a research design that posits power as an interpretive framework, the author applies a multiscalar approach to individuals, groups, communities, and interaction networks. Used here, power, or the ability to advance one’s interests, is garnered through the strategic use or manipulation of sociopolitical ties, material resources, or ideological paradigms. In this paper, the author draws upon evidence from the site of El Coyote in northwestern Honduras. This pre-Columbian community is well suited for a consideration of power due to its remarkably well-preserved and robust ninth and tenth-century remains, which document the relocation and reorganization of the ceremonial and administrative center for the community. This transformation represents a break from the personalized hierarchical rule of the Late Classic, and the adoption of a less stratified corporate political organization. Moreover this study reveals a picture of power relations wherein power, status, and prestige inequalities are not always indicated by marked material differences in the archaeological record.



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