Ancient Maya lithic craft specialization at Colha, Belize

Author(s): Harry J. Shafer; Thomas Hester

Year: 2015


Beginning in the Middle Preclassic, the rise of small centers in the agricultural area of Northern

Belize gave impetus to the intensive manufacture of stone tools at Colha. Craft specialization, mass production and export of stone tools and symbols were deeply entrenched by Late

Preclassic times. Examples will be provided on the use of certain tool forms in agriculture and

construction through out the region. Additionally, some artifacts were made mainly for caches,

lithic symbols, and locally, for bloodletting. Wide export of some of the latter categories

has been demonstrated. By the Late Classic, some modified tool forms are seen, though

the "Colha School" utilizing raw materials and ongoing techniques clearly continues.

The Terminal Classic flintknappers maintained many facets of the long-lived technology,

although a series of workshops have been studied that focussed on blade cores and

blade projectile points. This may well reflect the wars among centers that is reported at this time.

To be briefly noted in this paper are the changes in population and technology that appeared

in the Early Postclassic, marking an end to the "Colha School" of lithic production and distribution.

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Cite this Record

Ancient Maya lithic craft specialization at Colha, Belize. Thomas Hester, Harry J. Shafer. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396305)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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