The organizational structures of mesoamerican obsidian prismatic blade technology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


This chapter examines the organizational structures associated with the development of specialized obsidian blade production in Mesoamerica. At the time of the Spanish Conquest, Mesoamerica contained multiple large state-level societies that operated with essentially neolithic technologies, relying on stone tools for virtually all their cutting tasks. Obsidian was used for cutting tools in many areas of Mesoamerica and a specialized pressure blade technology developed to supply both domestic and state-level consumption needs. This chapter outlines the organization, scale, and complexity of obsidian blade production in Mesoamerica and the distribution systems that supported it. Mesoamerica is an example of the organizational complexity in stone tool production possible in ancient state-level societies when metallurgy is absent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Emergence of Pressure Blade Making
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Origin to Modern Experimentation
PublisherSpringer US
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781461420033
ISBN (Print)1461420024, 9781461420026
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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