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From Quarry to Household: The Economics of Limestone Bifaces among the Classic Maya of Buenavista del Cayo, Belize

Author(s): Bernadette Cap ; Jason Yaeger ; Rachel Horowitz ; Mark Eli

Year: 2015

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Limestone is one of the most abundant stone resources over much of the Maya lowlands and scholarly research has been focused on its use as a construction material. Limestone was also used to create a variety of portable items, such as manos, metates, bark beaters, and bifaces. In this paper we examine the evidence for production, exchange, and consumption of limestone general utlity bifaces in the Bueanvista del Cayo zone, Belize during the Classic period. Although chert bifaces are more abundant within the Buenavista zone, based on limestone biface breakage patterns we propose that limestone was chosen as a knappable material because of its durability and suggest these tools would have been well suited for agricultural activities. Based on the natural distribution of limestone in the Buenavista zone, the consumption rates of limestone bifaces in households within a 1 km radius of the site core, and evidence for limestone biface production in the Buenavista East Plaza we suggest that these items were distributed through a marketplace exchange network.

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From Quarry to Household: The Economics of Limestone Bifaces among the Classic Maya of Buenavista del Cayo, Belize. Bernadette Cap, Rachel Horowitz, Jason Yaeger, Mark Eli. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395474)


Economics Lithics Maya

Geographic Keywords

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