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Large-Scale Production of Basic Commodities at Salinas de los Nueve Cerros, Guatemala: Implications for Ancient Maya Political Economy

Author(s): Brent Woodfill

Year: 2016

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Summary

Salinas de los Nueve Cerros is a major Precolumbian Maya city that grew around the only non-coastal salt source in the Maya lowlands. Residents of the city were able to transform the neighborhoods adjacent to and atop the salt dome into a large-scale production operation with the capacity to produce over 10,000 metric tons of salt a year, which were then distributed throughout the western lowlands via the Chixoy, Pasión, and Usumacinta river networks. By the Late Classic period, the city had expanded into the production and trade of other commodities that were locally produced (including agricultural and pescacultural goods) and traded from farther upriver.

Investigations at Nueve Cerros since 2010 have shown that the salt source and basic production was tightly controlled by the local elite—workshops were associated with administrative structures containing the tombs of important individuals—although some phases of production or refining appear to have taken place throughout the site in each of the different neighborhoods under investigation.


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Large-Scale Production of Basic Commodities at Salinas de los Nueve Cerros, Guatemala: Implications for Ancient Maya Political Economy. Brent Woodfill. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403019)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica


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