Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Professor L. Finsten


Ancient Maya ceramic economy during the Late to Terminal Classic Period (800-900 A.D.) is the focus of this dissertation. I employed ceramic thin section petrology, raw materials sourcing, and contextual archaeological analyses. Samples from a variety of excavated sites in the Belize River Valley region were included in this study: Pacbitun, Cahal Pech, Baking Pot, El Pilar, Xunantunich, Blackman Eddy, Floral Park, and Ontario Village. Standardized petrofabric descriptions enabled the definition of distribution spheres for the ceramics. My study used intersite comparison of distributional patterning to explore issues such as the scale, integration and disposition of the ceramic economy. A number of economic models were used heuristically to examine the possible meaning of the distributional patterning observed. I propose that ancient Maya economic systems were much more complex than have been suggested to date. I suggest a hierarchy of sites existed. This hierarchy was a framework that supported a diversity of distributive networks or spheres signifying varying degrees of economic involvement on the part of a number of sites or communities.

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