Postclassic Obsidian Trade at Arvin’s Landing, Belize: A pXRF Analysis


Arvin’s Landing is a Postclassic (A.D. 900-1500) settlement located on Joe Taylor Creek near Punta Gorda in southern Belize. The abundance of obsidian in the artifact assemblage at Arvin’s Landing indicates trade from the Maya highland sources of obsidian. During the Classic period (A.D. 300-900), obsidian was transported along the coast and by inland routes to the Maya in the lowlands. There was a shift from a dominance on El Chayal obsidian in the Classic to Ixtepeque obsidian in the Postclassic. During the 2016 Underwater Maya lab season in Belize, we used a Bruker portable XRF machine to assay obsidian from Arvin’s Landing in order to evaluate its role in trade. With the abandonment of inland cities in southern Belize at the end of the Classic period, the nearest Postclassic community to Arvin’s Landing was the trading port on Wild Cane Cay, some 20 km north along the coast. Certainly there are similarities in obsidian source use between the two communities. In this paper we describe the site of Arvin’s Landing, present obsidian source data for the site, and evaluate its role in Postclassic trade with Wild Cane Cay and beyond.

Cite this Record

Postclassic Obsidian Trade at Arvin’s Landing, Belize: A pXRF Analysis. Kelsey Johnson, Heather McKillop, Bretton Somers. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431472)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16557