Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
This paper explores how inequality is related to human-environment interactions. It seeks to go beyond questions of how status effects access to and control over resources and instead addresses the myriad of relationships humans have with their environments, taking seriously both social and ecological factors that influence such relationships. Microenvironments known as pocket bajos were important resources at the ancient Maya city of Aventura in northern Belize, and recent excavations have been investigating pocket bajos in elite and commoner contexts. Both elites and commoners had access to their respective pocket bajos, and they engaged with these resources in different ways such as ancestor veneration, community building activities, and subsistence practices. This paper argues that it was a combination of ecology and status that resulted in differences between elite and commoner engagement and aims to give commoners more credit for their environmental interactions, instead of being at the whims of elite control.