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Preliminary Interpretations of the Reduction Technology and Distribution of Obsidian Cores at Caracol, Belize: Learning to Reconsider Maya "Eccentrics" and Social Relations of Ritual Objects.

Author(s): Lucas Martindale Johnson

Year: 2015

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Summary

To the uninitiated, Maya "eccentrics" are vague archaeological labels applied to flaked obsidian objects placed in ritual caches during the Classic Period (AD 250-800). Although an unclear label of humanoid, deity, animal-like, or other shaped objects, lithics analysts have tried to define eccentrics based on technological attributes enabling comparisons between contexts, sites, and regions. Those studies that reconstruct a complex chaîne opératoire demonstrate many eccentrics had a dynamic socio-technological biography prior to their deposition in ritualized contexts. After 30 years of systematic investigation, the Caracol Archaeological Project has recovered many ritual cache deposits of Maya "eccentrics". Caracol eccentrics are typically terminated or disabled exhausted polyhedral blade cores, but can also be broadened to include (modified) macro-core shaping flakes/blades, platform preparation, and core rejuvenation debitage based on their context. Refits are present in many of these contexts demonstrating that exhausted cores were notched disabling further blade removal or rejuvenation. These objects may have then been used as tools in ritual just prior to their deposition. This paper defines these ritualized objects technologically and presents their distributions at households to understand the nuances of their performative production by obsidian crafters, their circulation to non-crafters, and their use during important household ritual events.

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Preliminary Interpretations of the Reduction Technology and Distribution of Obsidian Cores at Caracol, Belize: Learning to Reconsider Maya "Eccentrics" and Social Relations of Ritual Objects.. Lucas Martindale Johnson. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394985)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Central America


Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America