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ANCIENT MAYA MARKETS AND THE ECONOMIC INTEGRATION OF CARACOL, BELIZE

  • Diane Z. Chase (a1) and Arlen F. Chase (a1)
Abstract

Modeling Classic period social and economic systems of the ancient Maya has proven difficult for a number of reasons, including sampling, preservation, and interpretational biases. As more archaeological research has been undertaken, views about the Classic period Maya (a.d. 250–900) have become progressively more complex. Because neither Maya art nor hieroglyphic texts contain substantial information on ancient economic systems, some archaeologists have tended to deemphasize the impact of ancient economies in reconstructions of the Classic period Maya civilization. Archaeological research at Caracol, Belize, however, has recovered evidence of the road systems, marketplaces, and production areas that served as the backbone of the site's economic infrastructure. When combined with artifact distributions, these data demonstrate the existence of an economy based on surplus household production with distribution in elite-administered markets. The archaeological data from Caracol not only elucidate how marketplaces were embedded in the Maya landscape, but also how they were used to integrate the site.

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Corresponding author
E-mail correspondence to: Diane.Chase@ucf.edu
References
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Ancient Mesoamerica
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