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The Organizational Structures of Mesoamerican Obsidian Prismatic Blade Technology

Chapter

Abstract

This chapter examines the organizational structures associated with the development of specialized obsidian blade production in Mesoamerica. At the time of the Spanish Conquest, Mesoamerica contained multiple large state-level societies that operated with essentially neolithic technologies, relying on stone tools for virtually all their cutting tasks. Obsidian was used for cutting tools in many areas of Mesoamerica and a specialized pressure blade technology developed to supply both domestic and state-level consumption needs. This chapter outlines the organization, scale, and complexity of obsidian blade production in Mesoamerica and the distribution systems that supported it. Mesoamerica is an example of the organizational complexity in stone tool production possible in ancient state-level societies when metallurgy is absent.

Keywords

Stone Tool Maya Region Spanish Conquest Pressure Blade Craft Specialist 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyPenn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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