Copublished with the Institute for Mesoamerican Studies, University at Albany
IMS Studies on Culture and Society Series
“A critical and up-to-date synthesis of the earliest ceramic-using communities in the Maya lowlands, this book highlights some of the most important research carried out in recent years, focusing on the chronology and social processes surrounding the adoption of ceramic technology. It is an invaluable resource that will contribute to rewriting the field of Maya archaeology in the years to come.”
—Jessica Munson, Lycoming College
“An important leap forward in the investigations into the origins of ancient Maya civilization.”
—Journal of Anthropological Research
Pre-Mamom Pottery Variation and the Preclassic Origins of the Lowland Maya summarizes archaeological researchers’ current views on the adoption and first use of pottery across the Maya lowlands. Covering the early Middle Preclassic period, when communities began using and producing pottery for the first time (roughly 1000–600 BC), through to the establishment of a recognizably Maya tradition, termed the Mamom ceramic sphere (about 600–300 BC), the book demonstrates that the adoption was broadly contemporary, with variation in how the new technology was adapted locally.
Analyzing ceramics found at sites in Belize, Petén (Guatemala), and Mexico, the contributors provide evidence that the pre-Mamom expansion of pottery resulted from increased dependence on maize agriculture, exploitation of limestone caprock, and greater reliance on a preexisting system of long-distance exchange. The chapters describe the individual experiences of new potting communities at various sites across the region. They are supplemented by appendixes presenting key chronological data as well as the principal types and varieties of pre-Mamom ceramic complexes across the various spheres: Xe, Eb, Swasey, Cunil, and Ek.
A significant amount of new material has been excavated in the last decade, changing what is known about the early Middle Preclassic period and making Pre-Mamom Pottery Variation and the Preclassic Origins of the Lowland Maya a first read of the early ceramic prehistory of the Maya lowlands. It will be a valuable resource for students and scholars interested in the archaeology of the Maya lowlands, Mesoamerican social complexity, and ceramic technology.
Contributors: E. Wyllys Andrews V, Jaime Awe, George J. Bey III, Ronald L. Bishop, Michael G. Callaghan, Ryan H. Collins, Kaitlin Crow, Sara Dzul Góngora, Jerald Ek, Tomás Gallareta Negrón, Bernard Hermes, Takeshi Inomata, Betsy M. Kohut, Laura J. Kosakowsky, Wieslaw Koszkul, Jon Lohse, Michael Love, Nina Neivens, Terry Powis, Duncan C. Pring, Kathryn Reese-Taylor, Prudence M. Rice, Robert M. Rosenswig, Kerry L. Sagebiel, Donald A. Slater, Katherine E. South, Lauren A. Sullivan, Travis Stanton, Juan Luis Velásquez Muñoz, Debra S. Walker, Michal Wasilewski, Jaroslaw Źrałka