Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Anthropology

Content Description

1 online resource (xix, 583 pages) : color illustrations, maps.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Marilyn A. Masson

Committee Members

John S. Justeson, Robert M. Rosenswig, Sean M. Rafferty, Francisco Estrada-Belli


Lithic debitage, Lithic tools, Political Economy, Preclassic Maya lowlands, Production and Consumption, San Estevan, Tools, Prehistoric, Stone implements, Mayas, Debitage

Subject Categories

History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology


This dissertation investigates the relationship between economic and political complexity through the examination of chipped stone tool procurement, production, consumption, and exchange within Middle, Late, and Terminal Preclassic (1000 B.C. – 250 A.D.) households across Maya lowland political centers. In this study, lithic chert tool and debitage assemblages were collected from midden deposits located at residential areas from the eastern Maya lowland center of San Estevan, located in northern Belize, and from K’o and Hamontún, located in northeastern Petén, Guatemala. During the Preclassic period, Maya centers transitioned from villages to urban centers with burgeoning, state-like institutions, but were also accompanied by widespread disturbances in economic and political structures towards the Terminal Preclassic period (150 – 250 A.D.). During this time, regional and inter-regional exchange networks expand through the Maya lowlands with an increase in the volume and diversity of exchanged goods. My evaluation of economic organization among these sites indicates that most households were incorporated within local chert exchange networks and were also integrated, but not dependent on, regional and long-distance exchange networks.