Zacpetén is a Lowland Maya site in the Central Petén Lakes Basin of Guatemala that was an important center for the Kowoj, a Maya ethnic group with strong ties to Mayapán. The purpose of this study is to examine how Zacpetén functioned to meet its economic needs while creating and sustaining a communal identity between the Postclassic (A.D. 1250 to 1540) and Early Colonial (A.D. 1541 to 1697) periods. At this time, a complex political economy existed across the Maya Lowlands. However, social and economic connections across the Central Petén varied according to the degree of regional political integration. When communities were united under a single polity, economic and political power was vested in regional institutions, and the identity of individual communities was strongly influenced by outside forces. In periods of socio-economic autonomy, the relations of production were retained by individual communities, facilitating the formation of a localized identity.
Under an interactional perspective, communities are seen as the combination of people, place, and premise created through regularized, but not predetermined, interactions. By looking at the archaeological record, the interactions of the past can be inferred from the study of lithic artifacts. The Zacpetén lithics were examined according to their physical, geochemical, technological, use-wear, and spatial attributes. Based on this analysis, it is argued that the acquisition, production, and distribution of stone tools at Zacpetén during the Late Postclassic and Early Colonial periods were highly autonomous, community-based activities. Most of the stone tools at Zacpetén were produced and used by individual households, though several cottage industries in the community specialized in the production of obsidian blades, chert bifaces, and millstone tools. Through community interactions, the Kowoj at Zacpetén made clear attempts to maintain their own identity despite regional influences exerted by Itzá during the Late Postclassic Period and the Spanish during the Early Colonial Period. As the Kowoj interacted through economic activities associated with the production and distribution of stone tools, a highly localized identity was created and reinforced.
|Advisor:||Wilke, Philip J.|
|Commitee:||Ashmore, Wendy, Fedick, Scott, Rice, Prudence|
|School:||University of California, Riverside|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Guatemala, Lithics, Maya Lowlands, Mesoamerica, Obsidian, Peten, Zacpeten|
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