Excavations at Ceibal in Guatemala have recovered numerous polished celts from contexts dating throughout the Preclassic Maya occupation of the site. The celts are made of different types of greenstone, and most were deposited in caches in public areas close to ceremonial structures. Recent study shows how deposition practices changed over time. Furthermore, microwear analysis suggests that the majority of celts did not have a practical function. It is argued, instead, that the caches of greenstone celts represent public rituals relating to the establishment of early Preclassic elites.
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