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Analyzing Ancient Maya Settlement Patterns through the Geochemical Analysis of Obsidian Artifacts in Southern Belize.

Author(s): Amy Thompson ; Keith M. Prufer

Year: 2016

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This poster examines the distribution of obsidian across space and time among two Classic Period Maya centers, Uxbenká and Ix Kuku’il, located in the southern foothills of the Maya Mountains, Belize, Central America. Data from portable x-ray florescence analyses at Uxbenká suggests that neither the period of occupation, distance of a settlement group to the site core, nor the social status of group residents impacted the availability of obsidian source-group material, suggesting Uxbenká residents all had access to the same obsidian materials throughout the history of the polity. This study expands on the initial research to examine if differential access to obsidian sources varies between the sites Uxbenká, and its neighbor, Ix Kuku’il. Furthermore, it focuses on how the geospatial location of social groups and temporally controlled occupation periods impact access to obsidian. Discussions of social groupings include scales of households, neighborhoods, and districts defined by geospatial analyses. All obsidian artifacts from both Uxbenká and IxKuku’il were geochemically analyzed using a portable x-ray florescence to determine the source of each individual artifact. Time depth is added to this study through high-resolution radiocarbon dating associated with the obsidian materials among the various household groups at both ancient centers.

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Analyzing Ancient Maya Settlement Patterns through the Geochemical Analysis of Obsidian Artifacts in Southern Belize.. Amy Thompson, Keith M. Prufer. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404838)


Maya Obsidian settlement

Geographic Keywords

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