The Domestication of Stone in Mesoamerica

John Clark

in The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390933
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Domestication of Stone in Mesoamerica

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  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology by Region
  • Industrial Archaeology



Mesoamericans mastered stone and made cutting, killing, and pounding tools capable of accomplishing all the tasks performed by hard metals in other preindustrial civilizations. The general evolution of stone use conforms to the worldwide progression from paleolithic technologies of chipped flint and quartzite implements to neolithic technologies of ground and polished tools. This technological shift corresponded to the invention of new tool types (axes, adzes) made of different kinds of stone not easily or effectively worked by simple fracture, so the new stone-working techniques effectively expanded the universe of useful rocks and their availability. This article discusses Mesoamerican stone technologies covering unmodified stone, chipped stone, ground stone, polished stone, and burned stone.

Keywords: Mesoamerican stone technology; unmodified stone; chipped stone; ground stone; polished stone; burned stone; stone-working

Article.  2782 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology by Region ; Industrial Archaeology

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