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Ceramic Change and the Maya Collapse

A study of pottery technology, manufacture and consumption at Lamanai, Belize

Linda Howie
Publication Year:
263pp. Illustrated throughout, with additional material online (appendices and colour maps, figures and plates)
ISBN 10:
BAR number:


This study examines patterns of pottery production and consumption at the Maya city centre of Lamanai during the Terminal Classic to Early Postclassic period (A.D.800-A.D.1250). The central focus is on pottery that was deposited in the central precinct as part of ritual and ceremonial activities and events. Through an analytical framework that involves the detailed examination of stylistic and technological variation within the ceramic assemblage, as well as ceramic depositional patterns and the wider cultural and environmental setting within which pottery was manufactured, used and deposited, this study investigates the kinds of factors that contributed to ceramic change during this period of cultural transition. Chapter 2 presents a summary of previous research on the Terminal Classic to Postclassic period, focussing on the ways in which perceptions have changed as the level of knowledge of Maya cultural patterns during this time period has expanded. In Chapter 3 the focus narrows to current characterizations of ceramic economic patterns during the Classic and Postclassic periods. Chapter 4 offers a methodology for the analysis and interpretation of Maya ceramics that attempts to overcome the limitations of conventional approaches. Chapter 5 presents the geological and environmental setting of ceramic production on both the local and regional levels. Chapter 6 provides the archaeological contexts of the whole and reconstructed vessels and sherd assemblages included in the study. Chapters 7 to 10 present and discuss the results of the physical analyses of the pottery, highlighting temporal trends in their stylistic and technological characteristics. In Chapter 11, all of the lines of evidence presented and discussed in the preceding chapters are broughttogether and community level patterns of ceramic production and consumption at Lamanai are reconstructed for the time period under investigation.