Alejandra Roche Recinos
Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationBrown U.
Grant numberGr. 9764
Approve DateOctober 24, 2018
Project TitleRoche Recinos, Alejandra, Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Regional Production and Exchange of Stone Tools in the Polity of Piedras Negras, Guatemala,' supervised by Dr. Andrew K. Scherer
Preliminary abstract: Reconstructions of Classic Maya (AD 250-900) economic systems tend to focus on evidence of production or exchange within a single community or the exchange of goods over long distance. What is generally lacking is a consideration of how production and exchange operated at the level of the polity, considering both capital centers and subordinate communities. This project will use archaeological methods, focusing on lithic technologies, and drawing on analogies gained through ethnohistoric, iconographic, and ethnographic data to discern how an ancient Maya economic system operated, from possible marketplaces to networks of exchange. The project aims to extend and complement typological and single-site approaches by examining economic exchange within a spatially expansive regional polity, that of Piedras Negras, a kingdom located on the border between present day Mexico and Guatemala. More specifically, this project will study marketplace activities at the polity capital of Piedras Negras, craft production and commercial activities at a possible workshop at the subordinate site of Budsilha, and household-to-household exchange at the rural village of El Infiernito; across a 200 km2 area within this integrated socio-political entity. By focusing on an ancient Maya polity, this project seeks to understand the level of economic integration as evidenced in stone tools and will ultimately allow us to examine the degree to which economic production and exchange was overseen by the royal court or happened autonomously outside of the purview of the central authority.