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Evidence for Maya Household Subsistence and Domestic Activities: Use-Wear Analysis of the Chipped Chert Assemblage from Pook's Hill, Belize

W. James Stemp, Christophe G. B. Helmke and Jaime J. Awe
Journal of Field Archaeology
Vol. 35, No. 2 (June 2010), pp. 217-234
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24406494
Page Count: 18
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Evidence for Maya Household Subsistence and Domestic Activities: Use-Wear Analysis of the Chipped Chert Assemblage from Pook's Hill, Belize
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Abstract

From 1999–2005, the Belize Valley Archaeological Reconnaissance Project excavated Pook's Hill (PKH-1), a single plazuela group located in the Roaring Creek Valley, Cayo District, Belize. Artifacts recovered at Pook's Hill date predominantly to the Late and Terminal Classic (A.D. 700–950) and can be stratigraphically segregated into two distinct occupation phases, namely a Late Classic (A.D. 700–830) and a Terminal Classic-Early Postclassic (A.D. 830–9507 +) phase. The chipped chert and chalcedony tools from the two phases were included in a combined program of low- and high-power use-wear analysis to reconstruct aspects of the socioeconomy. The results of the analyses reveal that the site's inhabitants produced and used both formal and informal tools for a wide variety of subsistence and domestic tasks, and for the production of some utilitarian items. Stone tool use-wear evidence and the recovery of small quantities of other artifacts suggest that the Maya from Pook's Hill produced more valuable objects of bone, stone, and shell, although it is difficult to accurately identify craft-production activities at the site from the context of recovery. Despite some variation in the specific activities undertaken with the chipped stone tools over time, the organization of lithic technology at Pook's Hill did not change significantly from the Late Classic into the Early Postclassic period.

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