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The Earliest Lowland Maya? Definition of the Swasey Phase

Norman Hammond, Duncan Pring, Richard Wilk, Sara Donaghey, Frank P. Saul, Elizabeth S. Wing, Arlene V. Miller and Lawrence H. Feldman
American Antiquity
Vol. 44, No. 1 (Jan., 1979), pp. 92-110
DOI: 10.2307/279192
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/279192
Page Count: 19
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The Earliest Lowland Maya? Definition of the Swasey Phase
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Abstract

Recent excavations in Belize have resulted in the discovery of an earlier period of sedentary occupation than has hitherto been documented in the Maya Lowlands. The Swasey phase is stratigraphically antecedent to occupations of the early Middle Formative, the earliest horizon located until now, and associated radiocarbon dates suggest a persistence from 2000-1000 b.c./2500-1300 B.C. The ceramic and lithic material culture of the phase are described, together with architectural construction and burial practice, and the overall cultural identity is recognized as ancestral to the known Maya Lowland Formative. External contacts of the Cuello site are documented by exotic minerals, and the possible external antecedents for the Swasey ceramic tradition are canvassed.

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