This article integrates ethnohistorical and archaeological data in examining political continuities or structural equivalencies in the lakes region of central Petén (southern Maya lowlands) between the Late and Terminal Classic periods and the Postclassic and Spanish Contact periods. The equivalencies are of three kinds: “deep structures” (quadripartition), common political expediencies and functions (power-sharing and council houses), and temporal continuities per se (dual rulership). The article concludes that the rupture (“collapse”) between Classic and Postclassic political forms was only partial, and numerous structures and practices of late Petén Itza Maya geopolitical organization can be seen in earlier Classic-period phenomena. These underscore long-term continuities in governance strategies.

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