Invertebrate Zooarchaeology of Marco Gonzalez, Belize as One Aspect of an Investigation of Trade and Environment

Author(s): Elizabeth Graham; Petra Cunningham-Smith

Year: 2015


The zooarchaeological remains associated with ancient coastal communities are an important source of information on how past societies used their natural resources. They reflect people’s interaction with their environment and can yield information on how these interactions affected culture, economy and—not least—the ecology of such areas. The research presented here is an analysis of large invertebrate remains, primarily conch but also other large mollusks found at the ancient Maya site of Marco Gonzalez on the island of Ambergris Caye, Belize. Large invertebrates have been hypothesized as an important commodity, traded to inland Maya sites as complete shells, as raw material "blanks," and as finished artifacts. Shell artifacts are ubiquitous in elite and ritual deposits at inland sites, although the distances from these sites to the coast is often great. This study explores the possible uses of large invertebrates as construction material, food, and raw material for artifact production and trade, and considers the impact of mollusk exploitation on the local environment.

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Cite this Record

Invertebrate Zooarchaeology of Marco Gonzalez, Belize as One Aspect of an Investigation of Trade and Environment. Petra Cunningham-Smith, Elizabeth Graham. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397876)

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Spatial Coverage

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