Ceramics of Las Cuevas and the Chiquibul: At World's End

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Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology


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The identification of site specific ceramic complexes utilizing standard types, varieties, and modes has the advantage of informing on the temporal placement of the occupation at Las Cuevas in the Chiquibul. However, the choices made to name the ceramic types that comprise these complexes are not without implied meanings about broader regional and inter-regional connections. While Las Cuevas is only 14km from the large polity of Caracol, the nature and extent of Caracol’s influence over a site such as Las Cuevas, and other smaller communities in the region, remain to be determined. The purpose of this paper is to ascertain if the ceramics from Las Cuevas are more similar to Caracol and the Petén region to the west, than to the Belize Valley and Vaca Plateau to the north, or to sites farther south in the Toledo District, the Xibun, and east along the Belize coast. Ceramic spheres are not static constructions and their spatio-temporal boundaries, which change through time, serve to highlight these connections, particularly during the Late Classic Period. What can we say about the ways in which these ceramic spheres overlap that might inform on interactions between Las Cuevas and these other sites and regions? An analysis of more than 16,000 sherds after two seasons is suggestive of a more complex story than might be expected. If ceramic spheres are a reflection of these interactions, then Las Cuevas may in fact be at world’s end in more ways than one.

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