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Maya Ceramic Technology and Ceramic Socio-economy

A multifaceted analysis of Late Postclassic ceramic production and distribution in Northern Yucatán, México

Carmen Giomar Sánchez Fortoul
Publication Year:
264 pages, Illustrated throughout in colour and black and white. 59 tables, 132 figures (68 in colour)
Sub-series name:
Archaeology of the Maya, 1
BAR number:


The socio-economic nature of Late Postclassic (AD c. 1100-1500) Maya society is not well understood and still eludes researchers. Through a combination of analytical methods, including petrographic, chemical and experimental, examination of surface features and ethnographic analyses, this study reconstructs ceramic production technology, seeking regional patterns in the technology applied to vessels from the main centre of Mayapán and several north-central and eastern sites. The results provide new insights into the raw material selection and the manufacture of Late Postclassic ceramics, the existence and nature of technological traditions, and cultural divisions between Mayapán and north-central and eastern sites. Furthermore, new perspectives are gained on longstanding questions about the socio-economic role of Mayapán and neighbouring centres and the scope and mechanisms of ceramic exchange and distribution, informing current ceramic production and exchange models, and advancing our understanding of the socio-economic nature of this period.

Carmen G. Sánchez F. obtained her PhD at the University of Leicester. Her research interests include Maya socio-economy, with a focus on the reconstruction of ceramic production and the mechanisms of ceramic distribution and exchange. Her approach incorporates petrography, forming technique analysis, ethnographic and contextual information, and experimental archaeology.

‘A real addition to our understanding of late Maya history. … It helps to fill the huge gap that exists on what we know about the Maya following the collapse.’ Prof. Elizabeth Graham, Institute of Archaeology, University College London

‘This multi-layered approach … is a valuable contribution that other ceramic researchers will find useful the world over.’ Prof. Kerry Sagebiel, Northern Illinois University

Table of Contents (S2899_9781407316406_ToC.pdf, 274 Kb) [Download]

Introduction (S2899_9781407316406_Introduction.pdf, 1,162 Kb) [Download]