Practice and Place: Ceramic Technology and Social Boundaries in the Late to Terminal Classic Belize River Valley

Author(s): Jillian M. Jordan; Jaime Awe; Julie Hoggarth

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Where Is Provenance? Bridging Method, Evidence, and Theory for the Interpretation of Local Production" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Ceramic provenance studies often focus on resource acquisition to address the question "what is local?", overlooking the role that practice plays in vessel manufacture. Potters must learn to create viable ceramic vessels, engaging with learning networks that extend beyond conventionally cited political, social, and economic boundaries. This paper explores shared practice among potters using macroscopic analyses, thin section petrography, and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) on unslipped jars recovered from house mounds at Baking Pot. The data indicate that potters living in the Belize River Valley (c. AD 700-900) were not part of individual communities that produced ceramic vessels that are distinguishable from another based on a set of discrete technological and morphological characteristics. Rather, shared practice existed at the level of the region and potters in different locations engaged in regular interaction and shared information on resource acquisition, raw materials processing, and vessel form. A narrowly defined approach to provenance does not adequately capture the importance of both place and practice in understanding locally pottery. Extending the concept of local to include practice acknowledges the importance of interaction in pottery production thereby more accurately representing what is means to be local to a specific place.

Cite this Record

Practice and Place: Ceramic Technology and Social Boundaries in the Late to Terminal Classic Belize River Valley. Jillian M. Jordan, Jaime Awe, Julie Hoggarth. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451773)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -92.153; min lat: -4.303 ; max long: -50.977; max lat: 18.313 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 23977