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Ancient Maya PotteryClassification, Analysis, and Interpretation$
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James John Aimers

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813042367

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813042367.001.0001

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Types and Traditions, Spheres and Systems

Types and Traditions, Spheres and Systems

A Consideration of Analytic Constructs and Concepts in the Classification and Interpretation of Maya Ceramics

(p.29) 3 Types and Traditions, Spheres and Systems
Ancient Maya Pottery

Cassandra R. Bill

University Press of Florida

Cassandra Bill addresses some of the integrative categories of type-variety, including ones that are commonly used (types and spheres) and others that are rarely used (such as horizons and systems). Appropriately (or perhaps ironically), Bill creates a classification of systems and spheres. Bill identifies two types of systems (which we might call regular and long-lived) and three types of spheres. Because systems as originally defined lump together types, which are typically associated with a particular time period (phase), they are not normally conceived as long-lived. Following observations by archaeologists working in Honduras, where the systems concept has been used most extensively, Bill reminds us that styles often continue through time (that is, across phases identified as ceramic complexes) and that the concept of system can thus be used to lump analogous types that continue through time (that is, stylistically similar ceramics that span multiple phases/complexes). She notes that these long-lived systems are rather like ceramic traditions without the spatial restriction characteristic of traditions, and because systems are ideally relatively circumscribed in time she suggests calling these long-lived systems “macro-traditions.”

Keywords:   categories, type-variety, ceramic complex, types, spheres, horizons, systems, styles, time, tradition

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