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Handmade or mass-produced: ritual objects and the making of identity in the Teotihuacan region

Author(s): Sarah Clayton

Year: 2017

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A hallmark of the material culture of Teotihuacan, the largest city of its time in Mesoamerica (ca. 1-600 CE), is the wide circulation of a variety of mass-produced goods, including objects used in household ritual. Items made from molds included masks, figurines, ceramic vessels, and decorative attachments to large incense burners, which are often found in domestic refuse and in ritual contexts such as burials. Although such artifacts appear alike, they were not uniformly distributed across the population, and variation in the selection and use of mass-produced objects was socially as well as economically significant. Handmade objects, such as the small incense burners called candeleros, were also key components of the material culture of household ritual. In this paper I explore patterns in the distribution and use of handcrafted and mass-produced objects that are encountered archaeologically as buried offerings. I consider the cultural significance of contrasting patterns among the urban neighborhoods of Teotihuacan and settlements beyond the city and discuss data resulting from current research at the site of Chicoloapan, in the southeastern Basin of Mexico.

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Handmade or mass-produced: ritual objects and the making of identity in the Teotihuacan region. Sarah Clayton. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430013)



Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15217

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