3069 - Ancient Exchange in the Peten Campechano

Many of the largest Preclassic and Classic Maya cities ever built are found in the Peten Campechano. The inhabitants of these cities obtained many important resources (such as obsidian, jade, and even some pottery and ground stone) from outside of the region. Such interregional exchange involved complex trade routes and even more complex political relations with neighbors to the north and south. In this paper, I emphasize the procurement of obsidian and jade during the Classic period at two of the most important cities of the Peten Campechano: Calakmul and Uxul. Artifacts recovered from these sites reveal complex and shifting patterns of trade that fluctuated with the political fortunes of major polities in the Maya lowlands. Moreover, the distribution and quantity of artifacts indicates that economic boundaries among major Maya polities were closely controlled, forcing individual cities to form their own exchange networks.

Keywords: Maya, obsidian, exchange, market systems

Author: Braswell, Geoffrey (University of California, San Diego, Ud States of Am / USA)


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