Chert at Chalcatzingo: Implications of Knapping Strategies and Technological Organization for Formative Economics


The site of Chalcatzingo, at the eastern edge of the state of Morelos, Mexico, has been an important source of information about shifting economic and social dynamics during the Formative period. Lithic analyses focusing on the site's specialized obsidian knapping have played a significant role in showing Chalcatzingo's place as a trade hub situated at the boundary between the central highlands and Gulf Coast regions. This paper reports on the site's chert lithic assemblage and presents the results of a technological attribute analysis of a sample of 9,942 of the artifacts recovered during the 1996-1998 field seasons. Our analysis demonstrates that chert knapping at Chalcatzingo was expedient but also surprisingly intensive. We found that (1) retouched tools are quite rare; (2) core reduction strategies are universally informal; (3) cores are generally exhausted; (4) the sizes of both cores and flakes are very small; (5) the ratio of flakes to cores is high; (6) the assemblage shows a great deal of striking platform crushing, a high frequency of failed flake removals on cores, and general battering of all stone pieces. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for our understanding of Chalcatzingo's patterns of economic organization.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Chert at Chalcatzingo: Implications of Knapping Strategies and Technological Organization for Formative Economics. Grant McCall, Rachel Horowitz, Dan Healan, David Grove. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396304)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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