National Lecture Program

AIA Lecturer: Rachel Horowitz

Affiliation: Washington State University

Rachel Horowitz is Assistant Professor with the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University, and was previously Visiting Assistant Professor at Appalachian State University.  She holds her degrees from Tulane University (Ph.D.), and Hamilton College, and her research interests are the Maya, Mesoamerica, economic and technological organization, lithic analysis, and landscape use.  Her recent publications include Global Perspectives on Lithic Technologies in Complex Societies (ed. with G. McCall, University of Colorado Press, 2019).


Archaeological research on the Maya has a lengthy history. While much research has focused on Maya political organization, less is known about economic activities, as these were infrequently recorded by the Maya in their written text. This lecture explores the Classic period Maya economy (600-900 CE) from the viewpoint of small-scale crafters, particularly stone tool producers, to examine how they fit within the economic structures of large political centers. The Classic period Maya economy, much like our modern economy, contained a mixture of types of production activities and distribution mechanisms. Understanding how economies functioned allows us to discuss the role economies played in integrating individuals. Small-scale producers were both integrated into larger-scale economies and also maintained some independence from political instability through these activities. This lecture focuses on stone tool producers in the modern regions of western Belize and eastern Guatemala to provide a comparative perspective.

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

The Real Business of Ancient Maya Exchange.  Marilyn A. Masson, David A. Freidel, and Arthur A. Demarest, eds. University of Florida Press, Tallahassee, 2020.

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