San Estevan (Maya site)
|Municipality||Orange Walk District|
|Nearest town||San Estevan|
|First occupied||300 B.C.|
|Excavation and maintenance|
|Dates excavated||1965, 1973, 1975, 1989, 1990, 1999, 2005, 2008|
The San Estevan archaeological site is located in northern Belize 1 km from the modern community of San Estevan, Belize. The site is a Maya civilization site occupied during the Formative (800 BC – AD 300) and Classic (AD 300 – 900) eras of Mesoamerican chronology. San Estevan is located on the New River half way between the sites of Cerros and Lamanai. Beginning in the Late Formative period (300 BC – AD 300), San Estevan was a regional political center.
William Bullard mapped the civic-ceremonial center of the site in the 1960s where he carried out excavations and restored two Early Classic structures (I and II). During the Corozal Survey Project, Norman Hammond excavated at San Estevan and expanded Bullard's map with several additional plaza groups around the site core. It was the ceramic collections from these excavations at San Estevan along with initial testing at Nohmul, Santa Rita, Colha and Cuello that Duncan Pring first established the Swazey, Lopez Mamom and Cocos Chicannel phases. In 1989 and 1990, Laura Levi mapped outlying house groups at San Estevan in detail and excavated several domestic structures.
During the late 1990s, much of the monumental architecture in San Estevan's core was bulldozed and a large crater excavated for the underlying limestone marl in order to construct modern roads. Mound XV, at 15 m, is the highest structure remaining at the site and dates to the Late Formative period. This mound was only saved from the bulldozers due to the intervention of the Belize Department of Archaeology in the late 1990s. The damage to San Estevan is unfortunate, but provides remarkable access to the earliest occupation at the site's center. Taking advantage of the easy access to the earliest occupation levels, Robert Rosenswig of the University at Albany – SUNY began work on the earliest occupation levels at the site in 2002.
- Rosenswig, Robert M. and Douglas J. Kennett 2008 Reassessing San Estevan's Role in the Late Formative Political Landscape of Northern Belize. Latin American Antiquity 19: 124-146.
- Bullard, William R., Jr. 1965 Stratigraphic Excavations at San Estevan, Northern British Honduras. Royal Ontario Museum, Occasional Paper 9. University of Toronto Press, Toronto.
- Hammond, Norman 1975 Maya Settlement Hierarchy in Northern Belize. In Studies in Ancient Mesoamerica, II, edited by John A. Graham, pp. 40-55. Contributions of the University of California Archaeological Research Facility No. 27. University of California, Berkeley.
- Hammond, Norman (editor)1973 Corozal Project: 1973 Interim Report. Manuscript on file at Cambridge University
- Kosakowsky, Laura J. 1987 Preclassic Maya Pottery at Cuello, Belize. Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona, Number 47. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
- Kosakowsky, Laura J. and Duncan Pring 1998 The Ceramics of Cuello, Belize. Ancient Mesoamerica 9: 55-66.
- Levi, Laura J. 1996 Sustained Production and Residential Variation: A Historical Perspective on Lowland Maya Domestic Economy. In Managed Mosaic, edited by S. Fedick, pp. 92-106. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
- Levi, Laura J. 2002 An Institutional Perspective on Prehispanic Maya Residential Variation: Settlement and Community at San Estevan, Belize. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology. 21: 120- 141.
- Rosenswig, Robert M. (editor) 2007 San Estevan Archaeological Project 2005. Institute of Mesoamerican Studies, Occasional Publication No. 14. The University at Albany - SUNY, Albany.
- Rosenswig, Robert M. 2008a Recent Excavations at San Estevan, Northern Belize. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology. 5: 261-268.
- Rosenswig, Robert M. 2008b San Estevan Archaeological Project 2008. Institute of Mesoamerican Studies, Occasional Publication No. 15. The University at Albany - SUNY, Albany.