The analysis of decorated pottery across house mounds at the lowland Maya site of Xunantunich in Belize investigates the complex relationships between wealth, social status, and political strategies in state-level societies. Rather than using the distribution of decorated pottery as an indicator of social status, this study treats it as an independent variable and illustrates how prestige goods circulated as political currency to further political ambitions. Two social strata and the two ranks within each stratum are defined by architectural complexity and intersite location of house mounds at the Late Classic II (A. D. 670 to 790) to Terminal Classic (A. D. 790 to 1000) provincial center of Xunantunich and its nearby hamlet, San Lorenzo. During the Late Classic II phase, elaborately decorated pottery was found concentrated in elite households in the civic center, whereas during the Terminal Classic, when Xunantunich was in the process of collapse, they were found dispersed equally among all house mounds. I suggest that local elites, to maintain power, abandoned rival displays of prestige goods and attempted to consolidate community support by gifting luxury items down through the social hierarchy. This article, therefore, seeks not only to craft a clearer definition of wealth, but to build a model of when and how prestige goods function as a means to promote political strategies in state-level societies.