Ceramic maya

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Ceramics in Archaeology Maya Ceramics
Valuable source of information about past societies. For Maya, other sources available, but still provide helpful cultural information, especially figures andpainted vases.

Analyzing Ceramics
Function Vessel size and shape Residue analysis Storage, cooking, mixing, eating, ceremonial use.

Chocolate Pot Rio Azul

Dating with ceramicsStylistic classification used to establish chronology by association. Pottery changes in shape, size, temper, firing methods, and decoration in consistent patterns.

Ceramic Cultures
Older archaeologypractice: identified culture by ceramic styles Esperanza (Kaminaljuyu) Tzakol (Uaxactun) Not done today, as other data provide better information about social identity and cultural practices.

1 Maya use of Ceramics
Pottery first developed in stable farming societies. First pottery mimicked containers used before: woven baskets and gourds. Early vessels well-fired and durable. Potterybreaks into pieces - - but potsherds last forever. Some slipped and polished, others not.

Methods of Production
4 methods used by Maya:  Unspecialized household production – always done. Specialized household production (Late Preclassic and Classic) Some households produced pottery for exchange, as FT job.  Industrial production (Postclassic) Specialized industries for potteryproduction - - Plumbate pottery, in particular.

Development of Pottery
Crude hand-modeled figurines appear as early as Preclassic - - function unknown. Polychrome pottery – black, white, red, yellow –developed in Preclassic. By Late Preclassic, tripods and tetrapods made, along with incense burners. Classic period: elaborate pottery in many shapes, forms, and functions.

Tripod vessel CalakmulDetail of cover of a Tetrapod vessel Calakmul Bowls in Priest’s burial, Tikal


Vessel Uaxactun

Lidded Bowl, Jaguar Head Tikal

Crocodile figure Bird Vessels

Jaina Island pottery...
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