The travels of Maya merchants in the ninth and tenth centuries ad: Investigations at Xuenkal and the Greater Cupul Province, Yucatan, Mexico

Traci Ardren, Justin Lowry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

The region between the Maya capital of Chichen Itza and its port site on the Gulf of Mexico was one of the most heavily traversed landscapes during the Classic period. Vast quantities of trade goods were conveyed inland from the coast on the backs of long-distance traders. This study explores the experiences of these traders as they transported raw materials such as shell and obsidian as well as finished ornaments to the urban center in exchange for salt from the northern salt beds of Yucatan. We utilize archaeological data from sites along this trade route with a focus on Xuenkal, where we have conducted excavations into the nature of regional changes during the expansion of Chichen Itza since 2004. Archaeological data coupled with view-shed and travel-time analyses provide a nuanced perspective on the travel experiences of the traders who maintained one important component of the Classic Maya economy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)428-443
Number of pages16
JournalWorld Archaeology
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011

Keywords

  • Chichen Itza
  • Exchange
  • Landscape
  • Maya
  • Traders
  • Xuenkal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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