Groundstone Manos and Metates as a Measure of Ancient Maya Political Economy at Actuncan, Belize

Author(s): John Blitz; Lisa LeCount

Year: 2018


Understanding the political economy of ancient Maya communities requires reconstructing the forms and scales of exchange, the articulated nature of exchange modes, and the degree to which elites controlled commoner access to goods. These issues are examined at the site of Actuncan, Belize, by documenting the chronology, morphology, raw material, and social context of a large sample of groundstone manos and metates distributed across structures ranging from a palace to large houses to patio groups. Results show no restricted access by context for mano and metate morphological types or material sources, including non-local stone, and thus no evidence that elites restricted access to groundstone. A significant chronological change in metate and mano shapes occurred, with flat and trough-type metates and square-type manos appearing at the Late Classic to Terminal Classic transition. Basalt manos and metates from distant sources also appear at this time, along with the ceramic comal. We interpret these changes in food-processing implements as marking the introduction of tortilla production. Using these data, we will examine continuity and change in exchange modes from Preclassic to Postclassic periods at Actuncan.

Cite this Record

Groundstone Manos and Metates as a Measure of Ancient Maya Political Economy at Actuncan, Belize. John Blitz, Lisa LeCount. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443819)

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): 19895