Lithic technology, Craft specialization, Standardization, Maya, Caracol, Belize


This thesis undertakes detailed analysis of a sample of 229 small chert tools from a single locus at the Maya site of Caracol, Belize. Emphasis is placed on determining the function of these tools and on the nature of their use in the broader Caracol economic system. Analysis sought to determine whether they were used for day-to-day household tasks or for specialized craft activity within the specified household locus and/or if they were prepared for broader distribution at Caracol. By focusing detailed analysis on artifacts from a single locus, greater insight is provided into the impact of household production on the overall Caracol economy. The thesis draws on traditional techniques of lithic analysis, while assessing tool morphology and chert reduction techniques; however, it is different from previous analyses in the Maya area in that it develops and applies specific quantifiable statistical methods (e.g., Chi-square and Coefficient of Variable) for particular tool type(s) used in the production and modification of crafts. Application of quantifiable methods and a detailed level of analysis helps to differentiate and determine chert tool variation or standardization, thus establishing ideal tool types within a craft production locus. The determination of the presence of standardization and ideal tool types elucidates that craft production was indeed taking place just outside the epicenter at Caracol and therefore suggests that not only were elites controlling the distribution of crafts via markets located at and along causeway and termini, but may have controlled the production of crafts as well. Future research aims to reanalyze tools from previously excavated craft production areas and also plans to test for the presence of additional crafting areas at or near the site's epicenter. A detailed analysis of a craft production locus and small chert flake tools reveals insight into the nature of the ancient Maya economy and into models of control over resources.


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Graduation Date



Chase, Arlen


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Sciences



Degree Program









Release Date

December 2008

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

Restricted to the UCF community until December 2008; it will then be open access.

Included in

Anthropology Commons