Flows of Value, Debt, and Goods in the Usumacinta River Basin


Scholars considering Classic period Maya economies have long viewed acquisition, production, and trade primarily through the dual lenses of tribute to royal courts and barter among the populace. Recent archaeological discoveries and theoretical models have broadened our perspective to allow the Classic Maya the marketplaces and market economies that were once believed to be innovations of Postclassic Mesoamerica. Yet, we still know little about notions of currency, value, and debt – well documented in cases like the Aztec Empire - that might make better sense of the currents that energized and kept moving the flow of goods from Highlands to Lowlands, and center to periphery, in Classic Maya kingdoms. In this paper we draw upon the archaeological data from urban and hinterland sites in the Piedras Negras and Yaxchilan kingdoms of the Western Maya lowlands to develop a framework model for understanding the relationship between the flow of value and debt, and the production and exchange of long-distance goods and local materials in the Usumacinta River Basin.

Cite this Record

Flows of Value, Debt, and Goods in the Usumacinta River Basin. Charles Golden, Alejandra Roche Recinos, Andrew Scherer. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443635)

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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20037