The Work of Monuments: Reflections on Spatial, Temporal and Social Orientations in Mongolia and the Maya Lowlands

Sarah E. Jackson, Joshua Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we look at two very different contexts of monument use – Bronze Age Inner Asia and the Classic period Maya lowlands – in order to explore the function and meanings of monuments and the variety of ways in which they worked to mark and differentiate ancient landscapes. Our goal in uniting such disparate contexts is to examine how power and social organization in these settings were translated into monumental material forms, and how such materializations were experienced by those who viewed and re-interpreted the monuments. In particular, we explore how monuments acted as orientational markers within specific cultural contexts. Our discussion finds common ground between the disparate settings through several common interpretive frameworks focused on spatial, temporal and social orientational work accomplished by active, agentive monuments through their relationships with humans, which we frame as a ‘technology of the monument’. Monuments are instrumental in situating groups within these different layers, or landscapes, of lived experience, yet even while physically fixed, allow for movement through changing meanings and ideas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-140
Number of pages24
JournalCambridge Archaeological Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014



  • MESO
  • MAYA

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