Assignment 1

Assignment 1 - Max Haubold Anthropology 121 Assignment 1...

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Max Haubold Anthropology 121 Assignment 1 Prof. John Scarry Textiles and the Maya Archeological Record Gender, power, and status in Classic Period Caracol, Belize The article from the Cambridge Archeological Journal titled “Textiles and the Maya Archeological Record” presents a study of Ancient Mesoamerica. Here, the importance of textiles is explored through a study of the ancient Maya city of Caracol, Belize. In continuation, this perceived import of the textile sector, socially and economically, is also analyzed for implications which could possibly alter our understanding of Classic period gender, power, and status. The study presented by those at Cambridge University focuses on the Caracol site and seems to center around the Classic period. Contextually, the journal article is broken up into six main pieces, with the goal to enlighten the reader on the process and importance of exploring the Mayan textile sector through archeology. In the Maya archeological record, the identification of textile production is extremely difficult. It can be hard to discern the producers of found artifacts, and the details of production. Therefore, it is even harder to understand why the Mayans did what they did, which is the goal of this study. There is some information available, however, including some differentiation of material usage. In lowland Maya there were two predominant types of cotton, one of which was used extensively for tribute payments. Also, it has been discovered that they used other non-cotton fibers, namely hemp, agave, and hair.
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It can be difficult to find these old fibers with such a climate; consequently archeologists must derive conclusions from other findings relating to textiles. Maya textile production includes the use of spindle whorls, perforated sherds, and bone artifacts. During the Classic era, it seems that stone spindle whorls were the center of textile production for the Mayan people. This varies from central Mexico, where spindle whorls were generally baked clay disks. Here the study also notes that it was not until the Terminal Classic era that we see clay spindles in the Maya region. During this time the shape also evolves into a larger disk, possibly meaning a change in the textile production methods. Even this “possible” theory is a great achievement though, as it is extremely difficult to find evidence of textile production at Maya sites. Contextual evidence is rare as well. This does not mean that textile production was rare during the Classic time however, as they most likely would have used perishable materials to create these tools, such as wood. The
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This note was uploaded on 10/17/2011 for the course ANTH 121 taught by Professor Scarry during the Fall '09 term at UNC.

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Assignment 1 - Max Haubold Anthropology 121 Assignment 1...

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