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The Obsidian Workshops at Late Classic Cotzumalguapa: Preliminary Technological and Sourcing Analyses

Author(s): David McCormick

Year: 2017

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Summary

Scholarly understanding of the prehistoric economy of the Pacific Coast lacks the resolution afforded its Lowland counterpart. Analysis of the Obsidian deposits at Cotzumalguapa offer us a lens through which to bring our understanding of the prehistoric economy of the Pacific Coast into focus. Surface survey and excavations near the El Baúl acropolis revealed the presence of several obsidian dumps, the result of a large-scale lithic industry in the Classic Period site of Cotzumalguapa. Thus far, the debitage analyzed is almost entirely the result of prismatic blade cores reduction. Interestingly, however, neither nodules, nor decortication flakes, or even first series flakes and blades have been identified. Cores also occur in low frequencies and extant cores are nearly exhausted. These patterns suggest that obsidian was imported in the form of already reduced prismatic-blade cores as opposed to rough polyhedral cores or nodules. Preliminary visual analysis suggests the vast majority of the material from this deposit came from the Guatemalan Highland sources of El Chayal and San Martin Jilotepeque. Although the debitage analyzed to date suggest blade production was the primary activity in the El Baúl group, there is also evidence of low intensity, projectile-point production.


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The Obsidian Workshops at Late Classic Cotzumalguapa: Preliminary Technological and Sourcing Analyses. David McCormick. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429963)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Central America


Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15627

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America