Problematic deposits, containing different types of artifacts and skeletal remains, are typically recovered on or near the surfaces of the terminal phase of elite civic-ceremonial architecture at ancient Maya sites. These contexts often date to the Terminal Classic period (∼A.D. 750-900). They have been variously interpreted as evidence for site abandonment, squatting, warfare, or dedication or termination rituals. Sixteen chert bifaces were recovered from problematic deposits at the bases of Structures A2 and A3 in the elite Plaza A at Cahal Pech, Belize. Stone tools from problematic deposits are rarely examined in significant detail. Based on stylistic, metric, and use-wear analyses, the bifaces were likely produced locally, used during important hunting or warfare activities, and then ritually deposited in the Terminal Classic. These bifaces were likely hafted to spearthrower darts and represented "success" at hunting or fighting. The recovery of weaponry in problematic deposits that is not the direct result of warfare is an important observation because Mayanists have generally interpreted their presence in these contexts as evidence of warfare. The fact that the points were recovered in groups of seven and nine may indicate that they had important symbolic meanings that connected them to supernatural or mythological places or entities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)