Conceptualizing Early Pottery Value in the Petén Lakes of Guatemala
Author(s): Katherine South
Research projects focused on the Middle Preclassic period (1000-350 BC) in the Maya lowlands continue to enhance our understanding of the social, economic, and political lives of early Maya people. The emergence of status differentiation during this time is recognized through different components of the archaeological record, including the presence of prestige goods. While exotic goods such as jade, marine shell, and pyrite mirrors are typically recognized as indicators of social status, the role of pottery within this framework is more nebulous than it is during later periods. How pottery was used and valued during this time drives the current study. Incorporating both production attributes and contextual deposition of Middle Preclassic pottery provides several inroads for a better understanding of how pottery began its trajectory as a prestige good in Maya culture. Using pottery excavated at Nixtun-Ch’ich’ in addition to other sites around the Petén Lakes, the concept of pottery value and the process of valuation are considered through multiple lines of data related to production and use. Results from this research advance our understanding of pottery economics and provide a baseline for discussing how pottery developed as a prestige good in Maya culture.
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Conceptualizing Early Pottery Value in the Petén Lakes of Guatemala. Katherine South. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397226)
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