Chapter

Wealth, Status, and Stucco: Micromorphology Studies at Trinidad, a Secondary Center in the Motul de San José Periphery

Ellen Spensley Moriarty

in Motul de San José

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780813041902
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043425 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813041902.003.0008
Wealth, Status, and Stucco: Micromorphology Studies at Trinidad, a Secondary Center in the Motul de San José Periphery

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In 2003, plaster samples from floors, walls, and benches were collected from the subsidiary site of Trinidad de Nosotros, located southeast of Motul de San José on the northern shore of Lake Petén-Itza. Microscopic study of these structurally intact plaster samples has revealed that patterns of floor construction and plaster ingredients varied according to location around the site. In particular, the floors of buildings from groups classified as Plaza Plan 2 were carefully created in a layered pattern that is likely an expression of the high status of the residents. A comparison with plaster samples taken from nearby Tikal has revealed that plasters used within elite residences and some ritual features at Trinidad show similarities in construction and decorative finishing techniques. Plasters from the Postclassic port facility are also examined, supporting its heavy use and continuous replastering. The changes in the plastering technology over time are also described. The results of this geoarchaeological analysis of plasters demonstrate that very subtle expressions of wealth, status, and activities may be deduced through the microscopic study of intact sediments and anthropogenic materials.

Keywords: Classic Maya; Archaeology; Stucco; Plaster technology; Social stratification

Chapter.  6395 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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