Maya Ceramics

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Topic 1: Detailed History of Ceramic Analysis in the Maya Lowlands
Many influences from around North American archaeology apparently influenced the methods used by researchers when reviewing the historical trajectory of ceramic analysis in the Maya area. To follow this path, an examination of the earliest explorers in the Maya area is necessary. During the time of the first Mesoamerican explorers, such as Catherwood, Maudslay, and Maler, the Southwestern archaeologists have already created a systematic way to analyze ceramics. One of the most well-known methods developed within Southwestern archaeology is the "Midwestern Taxonomic Method (Bishop and Lange 1991; Rice 2013; Shepard 1957). Anna O. Shepard was one of the most notable archaeologists
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However, in 1927, George Vaillant completed his dissertation, entitled, "The chronological significance of Maya ceramics", and created a ware system for Maya ceramics (Smith et al. 1960). This work led to the use of ceramics in the Maya area as chronological indicators. This classification schematic that Vaillant (1927) devised created a hierarchal grouping of ceramic wares as they were found within specific stratigraphic contexts at the sites of Chichen Itza, Homul, and Copan. They were then separated by slip color and surface finish respectively (Kosakowsky 1983). Taxonomically below wares si the category ‘type '. Type is based on of both the characteristics of external décor and presence or absence of décor. Vaillant (1927) also comparatively assessed and paste attributes. Recording of these attributes resulted in the creation of categories for all ceramic types that were present in his dataset. This process was repeated by Merwin and Vaillant (1932) with materials from the site of Homul and then used as a facsimile by Ricketson and Ricketson (1937) for Uaxactun (Kosakowsky 1983). Vaillant 's (1927) work was also the basis for the Type-Variety system that is widely used by Maya ceramicists …show more content…
TIKAL POLYCHROME I think Fry? Fry 1979, 1989; Fry and Wilcox 1979?; Maybe Rands and Bishop 1980). Preservation of actual ceramic production sites is rare to find. It is more fruitful to use indirect methods when evaluating ceramic production. Indirect methods usually evaluate technological aspects, like petrographic understanding the physical makeup of the clay matrix and NAA analysis that characterizes the chemical aspects of ceramic pastes. Specialization and standardization studies within a ceramic assemblage can reveal a great deal about the organization of production. Looking at the organization of ceramic production usually begins with an evaluation of standardization, labor investment, and skill (Costin and Hagstrum 1995). Briefly, standardization can be evaluated within a ceramic assemblage by quantifying formal and technological attributes (Pool 2009) of the vessels— if the majority are uniform, then there is a high likelihood that there is a level of standardization in the production area. The number of vessels present in an assemblage is used to measure labor investment. The effort took to make the pottery present in the assemblage can be calculated by quantifying the amount of vessels present in the assemblage. Evaluating the quality of material and

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