Stir It Up, Little Darlin': The Chipped Stone from Mixed Deposits from Caves Branch Rocksheiter, Belize


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Canadian Journal of Archaeology

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t. This paper discusses the analysis of the chipped chert and obsidian assem- blage excavated from Caves Branch Rocks- helter (CBR) and provides a reconstruction of the patterns of lithic reduction and tool use. This small rocksheiter, located in the Caves Branch River Valley of central Belize, was primarily used as a burial location by local Maya communities from the Protoclas- sic to Terminal Classic periods (A.D. 80-950). However, both natural and cultural forces have badly disturbed and mixed deposits from different contexts within the site, thus severely hampering our ability to document the original deposition locations of lithic artifacts. The results of our analyses, which focused on the entire assemblage, demons- trated that reduction strategies varied by raw material type and provided evidence for some formal tool repair and expedient tool production. Based on use-wear analysis results, tools appear to have been mostly used for a variety of primarily daily domestic functions. We suspect the ancient Maya also used chert and obsidian artifacts as ritual objects, such as grave goods, offerings, and for sacrificial blood-letting

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