Household garden plant agency in the creation of Classic Maya social identities

Traci Ardren, Stephanie Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper explores how the plant agency paradigm, also known as ‘plant thinking’, can be applied to understanding the household gardens of a modest residential group at the Classic period Maya site of Yaxuna. Informed by a relational approach to social identities, as well as new documentation of plant intelligence, ‘plant thinking’ opens up consideration of agency to multiple agents, some of which are non-human. The daily practice of tending household gardens provides a rich arena for exploring the connections or networks that existed between ancient Maya people of the Classic period, their domestic landscapes, and the other entities that inhabited these same spaces. Economically useful plants domesticated in the Maya area, such as chaya and chili, made demands on Maya people that shaped daily life. Spatial arrangements visible in excavated features at a Late Classic household group provide a space to explore human-plant interactions and the influence of demanding plants upon their human caretakers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101212
JournalJournal of Anthropological Archaeology
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Apprenticeship
  • Children
  • Domestic archaeology
  • Household gardens
  • Maya
  • Multi-crafting
  • Plant agency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Archaeology


Dive into the research topics of 'Household garden plant agency in the creation of Classic Maya social identities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this