Replication Experiments: The Devil is in the Details

Author(s): James Woods

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Ceremonial Lithics of Mesoamerica: New Understandings of Technology, Distribution, and Symbolism of Eccentrics and Ritual Caches in the Maya World and Beyond" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The manufacture of Mesoamerican flaked stone "profiles" involved a multi-step sequence from large percussion blank to detailed finishing using pressure-flaking. This paper explores issues involved with this last stage. Included is the shaping of head profiles often with elaborate headdresses; facial features including nose, eyes, ears, and mouths; arms and legs sometimes with digits; and an array of decorative margins including undulations, serrations, deep notches, and other complex repetitive patterns. During final shaping of a profile, a small flaking error would be catastrophic requiring substantial repair, a complete change in intended design, or discard. A distinctive Maya nose could become a diminutive "beak", or a delicately serrated serpent tail could look like a saw with a tooth missing. This paper will summarize experiments using smaller preforms to illustrate the effects of miscues and attempted repairs of delicate margin features.

Cite this Record

Replication Experiments: The Devil is in the Details. James Woods. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450426)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23757