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Crafting Houses for the Living and the Dead: Obsidian Production, Multicrafting, and Household Identities at a Classic Maya Center, Chinikihá, Mexico

Author(s): Jeanne Lopiparo

Year: 2015

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Summary

Craft production in the Classic Maya world was often carried out within multi-household groups, whose shared practices were passed on from generation to generation and whose social identities were strongly tied to the products they created. Investigations of a residential zone at Chinikihá, a Classic Maya center in the Palenque region, recovered a quantity of obsidian artifacts and evidence for production that is unusual not just at the site, but across the region. Fine-grained excavations have identified contexts of obsidian production as part of a multicrafting industry among household groups in this zone. Lithic materials from all stages of production were recovered from a wide variety of contexts. The elaboration of tool types and widespread evidence for use-wear and retouch indicate both that lithic production was a primary medium for technological mastery, and that we have only begun to understand how these tools were utilized in other activities. A sequence of burials associated with dense lithic debitage suggests that mortuary practices incorporated the performance of producing the beautiful objects that shaped household identities and socioeconomic relations in life, thus commemorating the mutually sustaining relationship of the living and the dead.

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Crafting Houses for the Living and the Dead: Obsidian Production, Multicrafting, and Household Identities at a Classic Maya Center, Chinikihá, Mexico. Jeanne Lopiparo. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394996)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

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