Importation, Distribution, and Crafting of Obsidian at Formative Etlatongo 


The nature of the utilization of obsidian throughout Mesoamerica has long been a focus of study and topic of debate for many anthropologists. The history of lithic analysis has produced many assumptions and interpretations regarding exchange, use and control of this extremely important material. Obsidian itself, as an imported resource, might have had otherworldly properties that held a special place in the cosmological construction of the world for villagers in the Valley of Oaxaca. The power of higher status community members may have been channeled through these distinct and imported materials, including obsidian. The recent excavations at Etlatongo, in the Mixteca Alta, have provided an opportunity to test these models and utilize new theoretical perspectives. Samples of obsidian excavated at Etlatongo, from both domestic and public space, demonstrate long distant relationships that the village, and specific households, may have developed in order to procure obsidian. We also explore the crafting of the material itself. Etlatongo also gives us the opportunity to systematically test distribution and frequency levels throughout the site, to determine if there was any control or redistribution over certain obsidian sources, which would be indicative of the economic and other-worldly importance of obsidian at Early Formative Etlatongo.

Cite this Record

Importation, Distribution, and Crafting of Obsidian at Formative Etlatongo . Diogo Oliveira, Jeffrey Blomster, Michael D. Glascock. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445169)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -98.679; min lat: 15.496 ; max long: -94.724; max lat: 18.271 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 21294