Rosamund Fitzmaurice

Doctoral Fellow

Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
October 2022 - March 2023

University College London, UK

Rosamund Fitzmaurice.jpg
© Fitzmaurice

Academic Profile

For the purpose of this fellowship, I am here at the BCDSS to finish writing my PhD thesis on understanding dependency and forced labour among Mesoamerican peoples in the Postclassic period (CE 900/1000-1492/1521). I use ethnohistorical sources from contact period Spanish writers and conquistadores, pictorial codices from the Maya, Mixtec and central Mexican areas, and objects from museum collections in the USA and Mexico. Labour dependency among Mesoamerican peoples was complex, there was not a large population of enslaved persons, and the term “slavery” is not necessarily appropriate for the main forms of forced labour present in the Mixtec, Maya and Nahua areas. My thesis explores the role of punitive labour, debt bondage, corveé and tribute labour, and trade in persons to piece together the complex picture of strong asymmetrical dependency and its significance in Mesoamerican societies.


I have been working in Mesoamerica and in particular the Maya area since 2016 when I first joined the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project. Since then, I have embarked on studies of Classic Maya graffiti and, separately, the social hierarchy and dependency among Maya and Mesoamerican peoples more broadly. I use a range of methodologies to understand the peoples of the past, from archaeology, ethnohistory, art history, and anthropology, and a wide array of sources to support my research.


PhD Archaeology, University College London

MA Archaeology, University College London

MA Classical Studies, University of Edinburgh

  • (2023)   Fitzmaurice, R., “Malintzin’s Origins: Slave or Cultural Confusion”, Ethnohistory, Vol 70, issue 3.
  • 2022      Fitzmaurice, R., “Review of Whittaker G. 2021. Deciphering Aztec Hieroglyphs: A Guide to Nahuatl Writing”, Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 32(1). doi:
  • 2021      Fitzmaurice, R. & Watkins, T. B. & Awe, J. J., “Play and Purpose: The Relationship Between Patolli and Graffiti at Xunantunich, Belize”, Papers from the Institute of Archaeology 31(1). doi:
  • 2021      Fitzmaurice, R. invited contributor, “Maya graffiti” Mexicolore, available online here.
  • 2020      Watkins, T.B., Saldana, G., Fitzmaurice, R., Jurský, A., and Hoggarth, J. “Results from the 2019 field season at Baking Pot, Belize” In The Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project: A Report of the 2019 Field Season, edited by Claire E. Ebert, John P. Walden, Julie A. Hoggarth & Jaime J. Awe, Volume 25.
  • 2018      Watkins, T.B., Awe, J.J., Helmke, C., and Fitzmaurice, R. “Classic Maya Palaces and their Roles within the Greater Ceremonial Center: Results from the 2017 Field Season Xunantunich, Belize.” In The Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project: A Report of the 2017 Field Season, edited by Claire E. Ebert, Julie A. Hoggarth & Jaime J. Awe, Volume 23, pp. 333-356. Institute of Archaeology, Baylor University, Waco & Department of Anthropology, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff.
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