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When is Chert More Than Just Chert? Case studies of Elite Distribution of Utilitarian Goods in Northwestern Peten, Guatemala and Western Belize

Author(s): Rachel Horowitz ; Marcello Canuto

Year: 2016

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Summary

At a basic level, the lowland Classic Maya economy was a complex web of prestige exchange, centralized distribution, and local market economies. In fact, while it is important not to consider the lowland Classic Maya economic system as monolithic, it is also as critical to understand how it articulated with the different levels of social hierarchy. Beyond this, we should also make a point of understanding the roles these specific economic systems played in the distribution of utilitarian goods among the ancient Maya.

In this paper, we will address the role of centralized distribution of utilitarian goods in the ancient Maya economy. In other words, did elites mediate resource scarcity through centralized distribution when raw materials for utilitarian goods were absent? We compare cases of differentially distributed chert resources in northwestern Peten and western Belize to understand the impact of local availability and abundance of raw materials on elites’ role in resource distribution. We will address whether elites are less involved in the acquisition and distribution of utilitarian goods when raw materials are locally abundant than in cases where local raw materials are scarce.


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Cite this Record

When is Chert More Than Just Chert? Case studies of Elite Distribution of Utilitarian Goods in Northwestern Peten, Guatemala and Western Belize. Rachel Horowitz, Marcello Canuto. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403037)


Keywords

General
economies Lithics Maya

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