Stone Tools in Mesoamerica: Flaked Stone Tools

  • Bradford W. Andrews
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-3934-5_9638-2
Flaked stone tools in pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica were used for a wide range of domestic, militaristic, and ritualistic activities. Geographically, Mesoamerica refers to present-day Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and parts of Honduras and El Salvador. The prismatic blade was the most common tool, usually made of obsidian, which was the most important tool stone in the region (see “ Extra: Obsidian in Mesoamerica”). Flake tools and biface implements, like projectile points and knives, were also used throughout Mesoamerica. These implements, however, were not as prevalent as blade tools except during early Mesoamerican prehistory or at sites like Colha in the chert-bearing zone of Belize where obsidian was scarce (Fig. 1) (Hester & Shafer, 1994; Shafer & Hester, 1983). This discussion focuses on the Mesoamerican blade technology, but flake and biface technologies are also reviewed. Reference is made to chronological trends and how blades and other items were produced and used. Although the...

Keywords

Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis Laser Ablation Inductively Couple Plasma Mass Spectrometry Projectile Point Archaic Period Pressure Blade 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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Notes

Acknowledgements

This article benefited from the assistance of various organizations and individuals. The artifacts from Xochicalco were recovered and analyzed with support from the Foundation for Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI grant 01029), the Proyecto Especial Xochicalco (directed by Norberto González Crespo) funded by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, and the Xochicalco Lithic Project (directed by Kenneth Hirth) funded by National Science Foundation research grants 9429292, 9496188, and 9121949. Analysis of the Calixtlahuaca Project (directed by Michael Smith) was supported by National Science Foundation research grants 0618462 and 0150482, and Regency and Wang Center grants from Pacific Lutheran University. The macrocore (Fig. 7) is from the The Zaragoza-Oyameles Regional Obsidian Survey, Puebla, Mexico (directed by Charles Knight), funded by the National Science Foundation grant BCS-1063233. Karen Andrews, Constantino Armendariz, David Carballo, Susan Evans, Luis Gonzalo Gaviño, Timothy Scheffler, Alejandro Serabia, Saburo Sugiyama, Gene Titmus, and James Woods provided invaluable assistance with many of the figures. Finally, I appreciate the ideas and editorial feedback from David Carballo, Frances Berdan, Ann Cyphers, Silvia Domínguez, Susan Evans, Haley Harms, Kenneth Hirth, Charles Knight, and Alejandro Pastrana.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyPacific Lutheran UniversityTacomaUSA