By Michael T. Searcy
even if many archaeologists have appeared those artifacts easily as universal daily instruments and for that reason unremarkable, Searcy’s technique unearths how, for the traditional Maya, the manufacture and use of grinding stones considerably impacted their actual and fiscal welfare. In tracing the existence cycle of those instruments from construction to discard for the trendy Maya, Searcy discovers wealthy customs and traditions that point out how metates and manos have persevered to maintain life—not simply actually, when it comes to foodstuff, but in addition by way of tradition. His examine relies on years of fieldwork between 3 Mayan teams, within which he documented behaviors linked to those instruments in the course of their procurement, creation, acquisition, use, discard, and re-use.
Searcy’s research files conventional practices which are speedily being misplaced or dramatically transformed. In few cases will it's attainable sooner or later to watch metates and manos as imperative components in family provisioning or stick to their direction from hand-manufacture to marketplace distribution and to intergenerational transmission. during this cautious inquiry into the cultural value of an easy device, Searcy’s ethnographic observations are guided either by means of an curiosity in how grinding stone traditions have continued and the way they're altering this present day, and via the objective of bettering the archaeological interpretation of those stones, that have been so primary to pre-Hispanic agriculturalists with corn-based cuisines.
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Additional info for The Life-Giving Stone: Ethnoarchaeology of Maya Metates
Technological and Economic Variability among Research Communities The four communities selected for this study represented different levels of economic development. Pantoc, Chicojl, Ixtahuacán, and Jilotepeque each possess certain characteristics that indicate specific stages of development, technologically and economically. This fieldwork revealed how new technology and Western traditions are replacing many Maya customs. Pantoc, the smallest of the four communities studied, lacks electricity, a market, and a Catholic church, all characteristics of traditional, postcolonial Guatemalan towns.
When they work delicate parts of the metate, hard ground increases the possibility of breaking off a leg or another part. The rubber insulates the blows, allowing for more control and less direct force on sensitive parts of the metate as it is being formed. Rafael mentioned that zacate (dried grass) can also be placed in this shallow depression as a cushion. Dary and Esquivel (1991:8) reported that thatched roof or trees cover some work areas in Jilotepeque to protect metateros from sun and rain.
2). The community has been located there, high in the mountains above a tributary of the Polochic River, for well over a century. The Q’eqchi’ in this area live and work on land passed down to them by great-grandparents and grandparents. Coffee plantations providing seasonal employment for many within the community also surround Pantoc. A road was recently cut through the mountainous landscape in 2002 and 2003, connecting Pantoc to another road that leads to its municipal town of Tucurú. Prior to the construction of this road, Pantoc could only be accessed by foot trail.