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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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Technological Style and Terminal Preclassic Orange Ceramics in the Holmul Region, Guatemala

Technological Style and Terminal Preclassic Orange Ceramics in the Holmul Region, Guatemala

(p.121) 8 Technological Style and Terminal Preclassic Orange Ceramics in the Holmul Region, Guatemala
Ancient Maya Pottery

Michael G. Callaghan

Francisco Estrada-Belli

Nina Neivens de Estrada

University Press of Florida

Michael Callaghan, Francisco Estrada-Belli, and Nina Neivens investigate the idea that the glossy orange-slipped polychrome pottery produced in the late Terminal Prelassic to early Early Classic period in the Holmul region was a form of “social currency” linked to the emergence of formal elite power signified in various ways (for example, the appropriation of sacred space for elite burials). They note, however, that these fancy serving vessels are found not only in elite contexts but also in ritual contexts of various sorts, including chultuns and caves. Reporting on some of the findings in Callaghan’s (2008b) dissertation, the authors combine manufacture-related evidence with distributional and stylistic data to suggest that the change from glossy red-slipped pottery to glossy orange-slipped vessels reflects more general changes in worldview that may be linked to changes in social structure. They discuss technological attributes (including paste recipes, firing technology, and surface finish), possible number of production groups, and distribution within the region and beyond. Overall, it seems that the number of production groups expanded through time, or at least that manufacturing technologies became more varied. Specifically, Preclassic period monochrome Sierra Red vessels showed less technological variation than later orange-slipped types (both monochrome and polychrome).

Keywords:   Terminal Prelassic, Early Classic, surface, finish, glossy, red, orange, slip, context, ritual, burials

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