An Analysis of Bark Beaters from the Postclassic Site of Mayapán

Author(s): Nathan Parrott; Carlos Peraza Lope

Year: 2018


This project examines an assemblage of 37 bark beaters from Northwest Yucatán, principally from the Postclassic Maya site of Mayapán. Bark beaters are stone tools used in the production of bark paper. In Mesoamerica, these tools were important in several specialized craft industries, including the manufacture of codices and clothing for religious and political ceremonies. There is still much that is unknown about pre-Columbian bark paper production, as bark paper rarely survives in the archaeological record, and bark beaters are often the only remaining physical evidence indicating that the production of bark paper took place at a site. Ethnohistoric sources suggest that the Postclassic Maya site of Mayapán was an important religious center that supplied priests from surrounding provincial capitals with codices made of bark paper. This study examines the degree of standardization of bark beaters, along with potential distinctions in use based on form and ethnohistorical information. The findings suggest that bark beaters were fabricated in a standardized manner, with two distinctly identifiable forms. In addition, bark beaters were also utilized for tasks other than the production of bark paper, such as smoothing plaster.

Cite this Record

An Analysis of Bark Beaters from the Postclassic Site of Mayapán. Nathan Parrott, Carlos Peraza Lope. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443435)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.197; min lat: 16.004 ; max long: -86.682; max lat: 21.984 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21890