Skip to main content
×
Home

Complexities of collapse: the evidence of Maya obsidian as revealed by social network graphical analysis

  • Mark Golitko (a1), James Meierhoff (a2), Gary M. Feinman (a1) and Patrick Ryan Williams (a1)
Abstract

The authors use a social network analysis to map the changing patterns of obsidian supply among the Maya during the period of Classic to Postclassic transition. The quantity of obsidian received from different sources was calculated for 121 sites and the network analysis showed how the relative abundance of material from different sources shifted over time. A shift from inland to coastal supply routes appears to have contributed to the collapse of inland Maya urban centres. The methods employed clearly have a high potential to reveal changing economic networks in cases of major societal transitions elsewhere in the world.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Adams R.E.W. & Culbert T. P.. 1977. The origins of civilization in the Maya Lowlands, in Adams R.E.W. (ed.) The origins of Maya civilization: 324. Albuquerque (NM): University of New Mexico Press.
Aimers J. J. 2007. What Maya collapse? Terminal Classic variation in the Maya Lowlands. Journal of Archaeological Research 15: 329–77.
Andrews A. P., Asaro F., Michel H. V., Stross F. H. & Rivero P. Cervera. 1989. Obsidian trade at Isla Cerritos, Yucatán, Mexico. Journal of Field Archaeology 16: 355–63.
Blanton R. E., Feinman G. M., Kowalewski S. A. & Peregrine P. N.. 1996. A dual-processual theory for the evolution of Mesoamerican civilization. Current Anthropology 37(1): 114.
Blanton R. E., Kowalewski S. A., Feinman G. M. & Finsten L. M.. 1993. Ancient Mesomerica: a comparison of change in three regions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Borgatti S. P. 2002. Netdraw graph visualization software. Harvard (MA): Analytic Technologies.
Borgatti S. P., Everett M. G. & Freeman L. C.. 2002. Ucinet 6 for Windows: software for social network analysis. Harvard (MA): Analytic Technologies.
Borgatti S. P., Mehra A., Brass D. J. & Labianca G.. 2009. Network analysis in the social sciences. Science 323: 892–95.
Braswell G. E. 2003. Obsidian exchange spheres, in Smith M. E. & Berdan F. F. (ed.) The Postclassic Mesoamerican world: 131–58. Salt Lake City (UT): The University of Utah Press.
Braswell G. E. 2010. The rise and fall of market exchange: a dynamic approach to ancient Maya economy, in Garraty C. & Stark B. L. (ed.) Archaeological approaches to market exchange in ancient societies: 127–40. Boulder (CO): University Press of Colorado.
Braswell G. E. 2011. The ancient Maya of Mexico: reinterpreting the past of the northern Maya Lowlands, in Braswell G.E. (ed.) The ancient Maya of Mexico: reinterpreting the past of the northern Maya Lowlands: 142. London: Equinox.
Braswell G. E., Clark J. E., Aoyama K., McKillop H.I. & Glascock M. D.. 2000. Determining the geological provenance of obsidian artifacts from the Maya region: a test of the efficacy of visual sourcing. Latin American Antiquity 11(3): 269–82.
Chase D. Z. & Chase A. F.. 2006. Framing the Maya collapse: continuity, method, and practice in the Classic to Postclassic Southern Maya Lowlands, in Schwartz G. M. & Nichols J. J. (ed.) After collapse: the regeneration of complex societies: 168–87. Tucson (AZ): The University of Arizona Press.
Cochrane E. E. & Lipo C. P.. 2010. Phylogenetic analyses of Lapita decoration do not support branching evolution or regional population structure during colonization of Remote Oceania. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 365: 38893902.
Cowgill G. L. 1990. Why Pearson's r is not a good similarity coefficient for comparing collections. American Antiquity 55: 512–21.
Culbert T. P. 1988. The collapse of Classic Maya civilization, in Yoffee N. & Cowgill G. L. (ed.) The collapse of ancient states and civilizations: 69101. Tucson (AZ): The University of Arizona Press.
Dejordy R., Borgatti S. P., Roussin C. & Halgin D.S.. 2007. Visualizing proximity data. Field Methods 19: 239–63.
Demarest A. A. 2004. Ancient Maya: the rise and fall of a rainforest civilization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Demarest A. A., Rice P. M. & Rice D. S.. 2004. The Terminal Classic in the Maya Lowlands: assessing collapses, terminations, and transformations, in Demarest A. A., Rice P. M. & Rice D. S. (ed.) The Terminal Classic in the Maya Lowlands: collapse, transition, and transformation: 545–72. Boulder (CO): University Press of Colorado.
Feinman G. M. 2001. Mesoamerican political complexity: the corporate-network dimension, in Haas J. (ed.) From leaders to rulers: 151–75. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
Gasco J. & Voorhies B.. 1989. The ultimate tribute: the role of the Soconusco as an Aztec tributary, in Voorhies B. (ed.) Ancient trade and tribute: economies of the Soconusco region of Mesoamerica: 4894. Salt Lake City (UT): University of Utah Press.
Hage P. & Harary F.. 1991. Exchange in Oceania: a graph theoretic analysis. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Hammond N. 1972. Obsidian trade routes in the Mayan area. Science 178(4065): 1092–93.
Hanneman R. A. & Riddle M.. 2005. Introduction to social network methods. Riverside (CA): University of California, Riverside.
Haug G. H., Günther D., Peterson L. C., Sigman D.M., Hughen K. A. & Aeschlimann B.. 2003. Climate and the collapse of Maya civilization. Science 299: 1731–35.
Houston S. D. & Inomata T.. 2009. The Classic Maya. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hutson S. R., Dahlin B. H. & Mazeau D.. 2010. Commerce and cooperation among the Classic Maya: the Chunchucmil case, in Marshall R. C. (ed.) Cooperation in economy and society: 81106. Lanham (MD): Altamira Press.
Kepecs S. 2004. Salt: white gold of the ancient Maya. Ethnohistory 51: 448–50.
Kepecs S., Feinman G. M. & Boucher S.. 1994. Chichén Itzá and its hinterland: a world-systems perspective. Ancient Mesoamerica 5: 141–58.
Knappett C., Evans T. & Rivers R.. 2008. Modelling maritime interaction in the Aegean Bronze Age. Antiquity 82: 10091024.
McKillop H. 1995. The role of northern Ambergris Caye in Maya obsidian trade: evidence from visual sourcing and blade technology, in Guderjan T. H. & Garber J. F. (ed.) Maya maritime trade, settlement, and population on Ambergris Caye, Belize: 163–74. San Antonio (TX): Maya Research Program.
McKillop H. 1996. Ancient Maya trading ports and the integration of long-distance and regional economies. Ancient Mesoamerica 7: 4962.
McKillop H. 2004. Finds in Belize document Late Classic Maya salt making and canoe transport. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 102: 5630–34.
Mizoguchi K. 2009. Nodes and edges: a network approach to hierarchisation and state formation in Japan. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 28: 1426.
Munson J. L. & Macri M. J.. 2009. Sociopolitical network interactions: a case study of the Classic Maya. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 28: 424–38.
Nelson F. W. 1985. Summary of the results of analysis of obsidian artifacts from the Maya Lowlands. Scanning Electron Microscopy 2: 631–49.
Newman M.E.J. 2001. The structure of scientific collaboration networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 98: 404–409.
Phillips S. C. 2011. Networked glass: lithic raw material consumption and social networks in the Kuril Islands, Far Eastern Russia. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Washington.
Pyburn K. A. 2008. Pomp and circumstance before Belize: ancient Maya commerce and the New River conurbation, in Marcus J. & Sabloff J. A. (ed.) The ancient city: new perspectives on urbanism in the Old and New World: 247–72. Santa Fe (NM): SAR Press.
Rathje W. L. 1973. Classic Maya development and denouement: a research design, in Culbert T. P. (ed.) The Classic Maya collapse: 405456. Albuquerque (NM): University of New Mexico Press.
Rice P. M. 1987. Economic change in the lowland Maya Late Classic period, in Brumfiel E. M. and Earle T. K. (ed.) Specialization, exchange, and complex societies: new directions in archaeology: 7685. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sabloff J. A. 2007. It depends on how we look at things: new perspectives on the Postclassic period in the northern Maya Lowlands. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 151: 1126.
Tainter J. A. 1988. The collapse of complex societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Terrell J. E. 2010a. Language and material culture on the Sepik coast of Papua New Guinea: using social network analysis to simulate, graph, identify, and analyze social and cultural boundaries between communities. The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 5: 332.
Terrell J. E. 2010b. Social network analysis of the genetic structure of Pacific Islanders. Annals of Human Genetics 74: 211–32.
Thompson J. E. 1939. Excavations at San José, British Honduras. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington.
Webb M. C. 1973. The Petén Maya decline viewed in the perspective of state formation, in Culbert T. P. (ed.) The Classic Maya collapse: 391404. Albuquerque (NM): University of New Mexico Press.
Webster D. 2002. The fall of the ancient Maya: solving the mystery of the Maya collapse. London: Thames & Hudson.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 100 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 374 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.