Hostname: page-component-84b7d79bbc-dwq4g Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-25T14:16:52.007Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Mexican Obsidian at Tikal, Guatemala

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Hattula Moholy-Nagy*
Affiliation:
University of Pennsylvania Museum, Philadelphia, PA; and 1204 Gardner, Ann Arbor, MI 48104-4321

Abstract

More than 1,200 artifacts from Tikal provide new information about the presence of Mexican obsidian in the Maya Lowlands and Teotihuacan"s possible role in its transmission. In addition to the source of green obsidian near Pachuca, six other Mexican sources were identified in the Tikal sample. These artifacts date from the early Late Preclassic into the Early Postclassic periods. Over 96 percent are prismatic blades and thin bifaces, whose recovery contexts, spatial distributions, and signs of use-wear indicate they were predominantly utilitarian and domestic artifacts used by all social groups. They were commodities that were transported over Highland-Lowland long-distance exchange networks of considerable time depth. This long-standing, interregional exchange of goods is essentially different from the relatively brief adoption and integration during the Early Classic period of objects, art styles, and behavior of Teotihuacan origin. Obsidian sequins and eccentrics of Teotihuacan style were material components of this latter phenomenon. Their forms and recovery contexts suggest use in rituals borrowed from Teotihuacan, but by lesser elites or wealthy commoners rather than by Tikal"s rulers.

Resumen

Resumen

Más de 1,200 artefactos de Tikal proporcionan nuevos datos acerca de la presencia de obsidiana mexicana en el área maya y el papel que Teotihuacan pudo haber tenido en su transmisión. Además de la fuente de obsidiana verde próxima a Pachuca, Hidalgo, seis otras fuentes mexicanas aparecen en la muestra excavada en Tikal. Estos artefactos están fechados desde el período Preclásico Tardío temprano hasta el Postclásico Temprano. Más del 96 porciento son navajas prismáticas y puntas y bifaciales, cuyos contextos, distribuciones espaciales, y huellas de uso indican que estos artefactos tenían funciones predominantemente utilitarias y domésticas y que eran utilizados por todos grupos sociales. Estos artefactos eran mercanciás transportadas entre las Tierras Altas y Tierras Bajas por rutas de considerable antigüedad. Este intercambio interregional de larga duración de mercanciás es esencialmente diferente al de la adopción e integración relativamente breve durante el Clásico Temprano de objetos, estilos de arte y comportamientos procedentes de Teotihuacan. Las placas y excéntricos de obsidiana de estilo teotihuacano eran partes de este fenómeno. No eran utilizados por los soberanos de Tikal, sino por las élites menores o por los plebeyos ricos. Sus formas y contextos sugieren su uso en ritos teotihuacanos, que no eran adoptados por las élites más poderosos.

Type
Reports
Copyright
Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 1999

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

References Cited

Agrinier, P. 1970 Mound 20, Mirador, Chiapas, Mexico. Papers No. 28. New World Archaeological Foundation, Provo, Utah.Google Scholar
Andrews, A. P., Asaro, F., Michel, H. V., Stross, F. H., and Cervera R., P. 1989 The Obsidian Trade at Isla Cerritos, Yucatán, Mexico. Journal of Field Archaeology 16:355363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bove, F. J. 1991 The Teotihuacan-Kaminaljuyú-Tikal Connection: A View from the South Coast of Guatemala. In Sixth Palenque Round Table, 1986, edited by V.M. Fields, pp. 135142. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.Google Scholar
Bove, F. J. 1993 The Terminal Formative-Early Classic Transition. In The Balberta Project, edited by F. J. Bove, S. Medrano B., B. Lou P., and B. Arroyo L., pp. 177194. University of Pittsburgh Memoirs in Latin American Archaeology No. 6. University of Pittsburgh and Asociación Tikal, Guatemala.Google Scholar
Carpio, R., , E. 1993 Obsidian at Balberta. In The Balberta Project, edited by F. J. Bove, S. Medrano B., B. Lou P., and B. Arroyo L., pp. 83106. University of Pittsburgh Memoirs in Latin American Archaeology No. 6. University of Pittsburgh and Asociación Tikal, Guatemala.Google Scholar
Carr, R. F., and Hazard, J. E. 1961 Map of the Ruins of Tikal, El Petén, Guatemala. Tikal Report 11. University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
Clark, J. E. 1986 From Mountains to Molehills: A Critical Review of Teotihuacan’s Obsidian Industry. In Economic Aspects of Prehispanic Highland Mexico, edited by B. L. Isaac, pp. 2374. Research in Economic Anthropology, Supplement 2. JAI Press, Greenwich, Connecticut.Google Scholar
Clark, J. E., and Lee, T. A. Jr. 1984 Formative Obsidian Exchange and the Emergence of Public Economies in Chiapas, Mexico. In Trade and Exchange in Early Mesoamerica, edited by K. G. Hirth, pp. 235274. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.Google Scholar
Coe, W. R. 1990 Excavations in the Great Plaza, North Terrace, and North Acropolis of Tikal. Tikal Reports No. 14. University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
Coggins, C. C. 1975 Painting and Drawing Styles at Tikal: An Historical and Sonographic Reconstruction. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Fine Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor.Google Scholar
Cowgill, G. L. 1997 State and Society at Teotihuacan, Mexico. In Annual Review of Anthropology 26:129161. Annual Reviews, Palo Alto, California.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Culbert, T. P. 1993 The Ceramics of Tikal: Vessels from the Burials, Caches, and Problematical Deposits. Tikal Reports No. 25, Pt. A. University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
Eaton, J. D., and Farrior, J. S. 1989 Archaeological Investigations at the C-42 Complex: An Elite Class Residential Complex at Rio Azul, Guatemala. In Rio Azul Reports No. 4, the 1986 Season, edited by R. E. W. Adams, pp. 152174. University of Texas, San Antonio.Google Scholar
Ferree, Lisa 1972 The Pottery Censers of Tikal, Guatemala. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan.Google Scholar
Greene, V., and Moholy-Nagy, H. 1966 A Teotihuacan-Style Vessel from Tikal. American Antiquity 31:432434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harrison, P. D. 1989 Tikal: selected Topics. In City-States of the Maya: Art and Architecture, edited by E. P. Benson, pp. 4571. Rocky Mountain Institute for Pre-Columbian Studies, Denver, Colorado.Google Scholar
Haviland, W.A. 1981 Dower Houses and Minor Centers at Tikal, Guatemala: An Investigation into the Identification of Valid Units in Settlement Hierarchies. In Lowland Maya Settlement Patterns, edited by W. Ashmore, pp. 89117. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.Google Scholar
Iglesias, P., , M. J. 1987 Excavaciones in el grupo habitacional 6D-V, Tikal, Guatemala. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Departamento de História de America II, Universidad Complutense de Madrid.Google Scholar
Jones, C., and Becker, M. J. 1998 Residential Groups with Shrines. Tikal Reports 21. University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in press.Google Scholar
Jones, C., and Satterthwaite, L. 1982 The Monuments and Inscriptions of Tikal: The Carved Monuments. Tikal Reports 33, Pt. A. University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kidder, A. V 1947 The Artifacts of Uaxactún, Guatemala. Publication 576. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
Kidder, A. V., Jennings, J. D., and Shook, E. M. 1946 Excavations at Kaminaljuyú, Guatemala. Publication 561. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
Laporte, M., , J. P. 1989 Alternativas del Clásico Temprano en la relación Tikal-Teotihuacan: Grupo 6C-XVI, Tikal, Petén, Guatemala. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Departamento de Antropología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, México.Google Scholar
Miller, A. G. 1978 A Brief Outline of the Artistic Evidence for Classic Period Cultural Contact between Maya Lowlands and Central Mexican Highlands. In Middle Classic Mesoamerica: A.D. 400–700, edited by E. Pasztory, pp. 6370. Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
Millon, C. H. 1988 A Reexamination of the Teotihuacan Tassel Headdress Insignia. In Feathered Serpents and Flowering Trees: Reconstructing the Murals of Teotihuacan, edited by K. Benin, pp. 114134. The Fine Arts Museums, San Francisco.Google Scholar
Millon, R., Drewitt, B., and Bennyhoff, J. A. 1965 The Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan: 1959 Investigations. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society n.s. Vol. 56, Pt. 6. Philadelphia.Google Scholar
Moholy-Nagy, H. 1966 Mosaic Figures from Tikal. Archaeology 19:8489.Google Scholar
Moholy-Nagy, H. 1987 Late Early Classic Problematical Deposits: A Preliminary Report on Teotihuacan-Style Burials at Tikal, Guatemala. Paper presented at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Toronto.Google Scholar
Moholy-Nagy, H. 1989 Formed Shell Beads from Tikal, Guatemala. In Proceedings of the 1986 Shell Bead Conference: Selected Papers, edited by C. F. Hayes III and L. Ceci, pp. 139156. Research Records 20. Rochester Museum and Science Center, Rochester, N.Y.Google Scholar
Moholy-Nagy, H. 1997 Middens, Construction Fill, and Offerings: Evidence for the Organization of Classic Period Craft Production at Tikal, Guatemala. Journal of Field Archaeology 24:293313.Google Scholar
Moholy-Nagy, H., and Nelson, F. W. 1990 New Data on Sources of Obsidian Artifacts from Tikal, Guatemala. Ancient Mesoamerica 1:7180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moholy-Nagy, H., Asaro, F., and Stross, F. H. 1984 Tikal Obsidian: Sources and Typology. American Antiquity 49:104117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nelson, F. W. 1985 Summary of the Results of Analysis of Obsidian Artifacts from the Maya Lowlands. Scanning Electron Microscopy 2:631649.Google Scholar
Noguera, E. 1935 Antecedentes y relaciones de la cultura teotihuacana. El México Antigua 3:3390.Google Scholar
Paddock, J. 1983 The Oaxaca Barrio at Teotihuacan. In The Cloud People: Divergent Evolutions of the Zapotec and Mixtec Civilizations, edited by K. V. Flannery and J. Marcus, pp. 171175. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
Pasztory, E. 1978a Historical Synthesis of the Middle Classic Period. In Middle Classic Mesoamerica: A.D. 400–700, edited by E. Pasztory, pp. 322. Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
Pasztory, E. 1978b Artistic Traditions of the Middle Classic Period. In Middle Classic Mesoamerica: A.D. 400–700, edited by E. Pasztory, pp. 108142. Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
Pendergast, D. M. 1971 Evidence of Early Teotihuacan-Lowland Maya Contact at Altun Ha. American Antiquity 36:455460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pendergast, D. M. 1990 Excavations at Altun Ha, Belize, 1964–1970, vol. 3. Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.Google Scholar
Proskouriakoff, T. 1962 The Artifacts of Mayapán. In Mayapán, Yucatan, Mexico, by H.E.D. Pollock, R. L. Roys, T. Proskouriakoff, and A. L. Smith, pp. 321442. Publication 619. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
Quirarte, J. 1973 Izapan and Maya Traits in Teotihuacan III Pottery. In Studies in Ancient Mesoamerica, edited by J. Graham, pp. 1127. Contributions No. 18. University of California Archaeological Facility, Berkeley.Google Scholar
Rattray, E. C. 1978 Los contactos Teotihuacan-Maya vistos desde el centro de Mexico. Anales de Antropología 15:3352.Google Scholar
Rice, P. M., Michel, H. V., Asaro, F., and Stross, F. 1985 Provenience Analysis of Obsidians from the Central Petén Lakes Region, Guatemala. American Antiquity 50:591604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ricketson, O. G., and Ricketson, E. B. 1937 Uaxactún, Guatemala, Group E-1926–1931. Publication 477. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
Rubín de la Borbolla, D. F. 1947 Teotihuacan: Ofrendas de los Templos de Quetzalcoatl. Anales del lnstituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia 2:6172 (1941–1946). México.Google Scholar
Ruiz, A., , M. E. 1981 Análisis tipológico y cronológico de la lítica tallada del clásico teotihuacano. Unpublished thesis, Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico.Google Scholar
Ruiz, A., , M. E. 1986 Análisis preliminar de la lítica de Mundo Perdido, Tikal. Mesoamérica 11:113133. CIRMA, Antigua, Guatemala.Google Scholar
Ruiz, A., , M. E. 1990 Comparición de instrumentos líticos en diferentes áreas de actividad: Mundo Perdido, Tikal. In Etnoarqueología Coloquio Bosch-Gimpera, edited by Y. Sugiura Y. and M. C. Serra P., pp. 527554. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México.Google Scholar
Shafer, H. J. 1983 The Lithic Artifacts of the Pulltrouser Area: Settlements and Fields. In Pulltrouser Swamp: Ancient Maya Habitat, Agriculture, and Settlement in Northern Belize, edited by B. L. Turner II and P. D. Harrison, pp. 212245. University of Texas Press, Austin.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, C. A. 1976 Exchange Systems and the Spatial Distribution of Elites: The Organization of Stratification in Agrarian Societies. In Regional Analysis, Vol. 2: Systems, edited by C. A. Smith, pp. 309374. Academic Press, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spence, M. W 1996 Commodity or Gift: Teotihuacan Obsidian in the Maya Region. Latin American Antiquity 7:2139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stocker, T. L., and Spence, M. W. 1973 Trilobal Eccentrics at Teotihuacan and Tula. American Antiquity 38:195199.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stoltman, J. B. 1978 Lithic Artifacts from a Complex Society: The Chipped Stone Tools of Becán, Campeche, Mexico. Occasional Paper No. 2, National Geographic Society-Tulane University Program of Research in the Yucatan Peninsula. Middle American Research Institute, Tulane University, New Orleans.Google Scholar
Stross, F. H., Weaver, J. R., Wyld, G. E. A., Heizer, R. F., and Graham, J. A. 1968 Analysis of American Obsidians by X-Ray Fluorescence and Neutron Activation Analysis. In Papers on Mesoamerican Archaeology, pp. 5979. Contributions No. 5. University of California Archaeological Research Facility, Berkeley.Google Scholar
Tolstoy, P. 1971 Utilitarian Artifacts of Central Mexico. Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, pt. 1, edited by R. Wauchope, G. F. Ekholm, and I. Bernal, pp. 270296. University of Texas Press, Austin.Google Scholar
Willey, G.R. 1991 Horizontal Integration and Regional Diversity: An Alternating Process in the Rise of Civilizations. American Antiquity 56: 197215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Willey, G. R., and Phillips, P. 1958 Method and Theory in American Archaeology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
Willey, G. R., Culbert, T. P., and Adams, R. E. W. 1967 Maya Lowland Ceramics: A Report from the 1965 Guatemala City Conference. American Antiquity 32:289315.Google Scholar