Sealing with Stone: Assessing an Assemblage of Lithic Debitage from a Funerary Context at the Lowland Maya City of Caracol, Belize
Latin American Antiquity
First page number:
Last page number:
Excavators working in a ceremonial plaza group in the Classic period Lowland Maya city of Caracol, Belize, encountered thousands of pieces of chert and obsidian scattered above a royal tomb. A recent analysis of the chert from this context confirms that the assemblage included pieces from each stage of reduction in the production of blades. Taken together, the quantity of both chert and obsidian makes it the largest reported collection of lithic debitage found at the site and provides insight into the techniques of lithic crafters at Caracol. In this article, we consider the sequence of actions involved in the burial of a high-ranking individual and suggest that the layering of flaked stone above the tomb is reminiscent of other reported above-tomb contexts in the Maya Lowlands. Further, a technological analysis of this collection produced results similar to analyses of assemblages typically found in crafting-intensive residential groups. This finding suggests that lithic crafters throughout the city of Caracol donated flaked stone material for funerary events, providing a protective layer and sealing the grave below.
Classic Maya; Lithic analysis; Mortuary practice
Martindale Johnson, L.
Sealing with Stone: Assessing an Assemblage of Lithic Debitage from a Funerary Context at the Lowland Maya City of Caracol, Belize.
Latin American Antiquity, 32(1),