8609 - Chipped Stone and the Organization of Exchange at Postclassic Sauce and its Hinterland in Veracruz, Mexico

I analyze residential inventories from the center of Sauce and its hinterland in combination with regional settlement data from Barbara Stark’s Proyecto Arqueologico La Mixtequilla (PALM I, II) to discuss the structure of exchange, production, and consumption of chipped stone during the Middle Postclassic period (AD 1200-1350) in south-central Veracruz, Mexico. Previous research on the spatial patterning of obsidian production found an association with Sauce, which could support political administration of exchange, or alternatively, identify market exchange nearby. However, purely spatially based models for identifying exchange mechanisms are flawed based on problems with equifinality, in which different forms of exchange such as centralized redistribution and central place markets result in the same spatial pattern. Additionally, local chipped stone artifacts have further complications: singular geological source, universal access, and potential specialized activities. No single model will identify all of the competing influences on residential inventories. To handle this complexity, I use the articulation of production combined with the spatial distribution and contextual information to distinguish between redistribution and market exchange. The results show that market exchange was the main mechanism that explains the distribution of chipped stone. The largest concentration of primary production indicators were found near Sauce along with the highest quantities of obsidian blade parts, which suggests that political elites encouraged market exchange even if they did not direct it. Also, the production evidence suggests that obsidian was provided to households by means other than market exchange, perhaps through local or itinerant producers. The complexity of the exchange of chipped stone in Sauce and its hinterland indicates that consumer interest in combination with the support of local elites drove the production and exchange of chipped stone.

Keywords: Chipped Stone, Postclassic, Veracruz, Exchange, Production

Author: Ossa, Alanna (University of Pittsburgh, Ud States of Am / USA)


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