Cash Potting in Soconusco: The Case of Tohil Plumbate

Author(s): Hector Neff

Year: 2018


Tohil Plumbate, defined by distinctive technology and distinctive decorative style, is found throughout Mesoamerica, with peak frequencies in the central and western highlands of Guatemala and strong representation at Terminal Classic Maya centers like Chichen Itza. INAA-based source determination and recent fieldwork link the technology to the Pacific coastal zone of eastern Soconusco, near the Chiapas-Guatemala border. Curiously, however, key stylistic features, especially effigies and fancy, curvilinear incising, are almost absent from the production zone. The closest places where these stylistic elements appear in any frequency is at the piedmont centers of Izapa and Takalik Abaj and at Tajumulco, at an elevation of over 2500 meters in the western highlands of Guatemala. At these and other western-highland sites, Tohil Plumbate is found most commonly as whole vessels in burials and other offerings. These archaeological patterns suggest that fancy Tohil-style vessels were produced for consumption who resided outside the production region, hence it is an example of "cash potting" analogous to production of bananas, coffee, and other cash crops for export markets today.

Cite this Record

Cash Potting in Soconusco: The Case of Tohil Plumbate. Hector Neff. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444344)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.471; min lat: 13.005 ; max long: -82.969; max lat: 21.78 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 19947