The ceramics production system at matacapan, veracruz, Mexico

Robert S. Santley, Philip J. Arnold, Christopher A. Pool

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


This paper describes the evidence for specialized ceramics production at Matacapan, a large Classic-period site in the Tuxtlas Mountains of southern Veracruz, Mexico. The ceramics production system at Matacapan contained a larger number of production nodes. These production entities varied greatly in size, complexity, and internal differentiation, suggesting that there were major differences in the mode of production. Many of these production sites were highly specialized, emphasizing the manufacture of only a few ceramic wares and vessel forms. Pottery produced at Matacapan was also traded over comparatively long distances. The existence of a long-distance exchange process involving bulky goods implies that ceramics were moved by water transport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-132
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1989

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
"Final Field Report, Matacapan Project: 1986 Season," final report to the National Science Foundation and the Instituto N acional de Antropologia e Historia (in preparation).

Funding Information:
Santley, Robert S., Ponciano Ortiz C., Philip J. Arnold, Barbara A. Hall, Veronica Kann, Janet M. Kerley, Ronald R. Kneebone, David Mora, Raul Olivares M., Carmela Parra, Christopher A. Pool, Zenaido Salazar, Michael P. Smyth, and Clare Yarborough 1985b "Final Field Report, Matacapan Project: 1984 Season," final report to the Instituto N acional de Antropologfa e Historia and the National Science Foundation. Albu-querque: Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico.

Funding Information:
We wish to thank the people of the modern communities at Matacapan, Sihuapan, C~eria, Comoapan, San Andres Tuxcla, and San Isidro Texc~ticlan-especially Miguel Turrent, Carlos Silva, Miguel Diaz del Castillo, and Carlos Turrent -for their assistance throughout various stages of our research in the Tuxclas. Speci~ thanks are reserved for Robert H. Cobean and Ponciano Ortiz Ceballos, project ceramist, for keeping the Matacapan Project afloat in its formative years. We ~so thank Angel Garcia Cook, Joaquin Garcia Barcena, Daniel Molina Fe~, and Daniel N ahmad Molinari for expediting permit requests and facilitating our research efforts. Research in the Tuxclas Region was conducted with the permission of the Instituto N acion~ de Antropologfa e Historia in Mexico City. Robert S. Sancley acted as gener~ project director, with Richard A. Diehl as field director in 1982 and 1983 and Christopher A. Pool as field director in 1986. Pool, Ron~d R. Kneebone, and Philip J. Arnold III directed the excavations and survey at Comoapan in 1984, with Arnold conducting subsequent ethnoarchaeologic~ work among modern potters in 1984 and Pool later conducting survey and test excavations at four addition~ ceramic production entities at Matacapan in 1986. Information presented in this paper is based primarily on data collected during the 1982, 1983, and 1984 field seasons, with data from the 1986 field season included when appropriate. This research would not have been possible without grants from the University of New Mexico, the Tinker Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and particularly the N ation~ Science Foundation (BNS-8120430, BNS-8302984, BBS-8403810, BBS-8412175, BNS-8505041, and BNS-8520615). The illustrations were prepared by Michael Berman, Christopher Dore, Thomas Killion, Ron~d Kneebone, and Trevor Kludt. Finally, this paper benefited greacly from commentary provided by Dean E. Arnold and an anonymous reviewer.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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