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Full length Research Paper

The appropriations of the Mexican archaeological site of Izapa at the 2012 Maya calendar end date

Astrid Vogel

National Autonomous University of Mexico

Corresponding Email Address: vogel_astrid@yahoo.com; Tel:+46 720152787

Received November 1, 2016; Accepted January 11, 2017


In this article, the current situation of the archaeological site of Izapa in southern Mexico is analyzed and discussed. The research was conducted in relation to the baktun cycle-ending of the Maya Long Count Calendar, the 21st of December 2012. Izapa is a Prehispanic site which was active throughout the Formative to Postclassic periods, however it is a marginal site which has been neglected for years by the Mexican archaeological establishment. Recently, the New Age hype surrounding the Long Count Calendar End-Date, which was linked to Izapa through the work of independent researcher, John Major Jenkins, brought much attention to the archaeological site. Consequently, local actors began taking an interest in Izapa as a tourism attraction. In this article, the discourses of three groups engaged with Izapa in relation to the 21st of December 2012 are presented and analyzed, and the subsequent social representations of the archaeological site are identified. The paper serves to show how people engage with an archaeological site, giving it meaning relevant to themselves and the current times.


Keywords: Izapa; Discourse analysis; Social representations; Cultural heritage; Patrimonialization.

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