Image - Cacao Pod Vessel - K6706 © Justin Kerr FAMSI © 2004:
Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos

Analysis of Archaeological Artifacts from Cotzumalhuapa, Guatemala
Vea este informe en Español.


Figure 13. Excavations at the probable sweat house, looking northwest, showing the retention walls of the basal platform, operation EB9. The large rocks on the background stand on a promontory that was part of the obsidian workshop dump. Click to enlarge.

Research Year:  2003
Culture:  Maya
Chronology:  Late Classic
Location:  Southern Guatemala
Site:  Cotzumalhuapa

Table of Contents

The Cotzumalhuapa Causeways
Ceramic Analysis
Special Objects
The El Baúl Obsidian Workshop
Summary Description of Excavations
Ceramic Analysis
Special Objects
Obsidian Analysis, by Edgar Carpio Rezzio
Final Comments
List of Figures
Sources Cited
Annex I. Preliminary Report on the Artifact Analysis of the Obsidian Workshop at El Baúl


Recent research at Cotzumalhuapa focused on the extensive system of causeways and bridges that linked together the settlements and major architectural compounds of the ancient city. Further excavations investigated a large obsidian workshop dump and associated structures, including possible workshop platforms and a probable sweat bath. Analysis of ceramics from these excavations provides a basis to date of the construction and use of the causeways, and the use of the obsidian workshop area. Analysis of obsidian debris recovered from the dump revealed details on the production of both prismatic blades and projectile points from raw materials imported from highland sources. The location of the workshop suggests a degree of centralized control of the industry.


Las investigaciones recientes en Cotzumalhuapa se enfocaron en el extenso sistema de calzadas y puentes que integraba los asentamientos y conjuntos arquitectónicos principales de la antigua ciudad. También se excavó un gran basurero de desechos de talla de obsidiana, y algunas estructuras asociadas, que incluyen posibles plataformas del taller y lo que parece ser un baño de vapor. El análisis de la cerámica de estas excavaciones provee una base para fechar la construcción y el uso de las calzadas, y el uso del área del taller. El análisis de los desechos de obsidiana recuperados en el basurero revela detalles de la producción de navajas prismáticas y puntas de proyectil, a partir de materias primas importadas de las fuentes en el altiplano. Lo localización del taller sugiere un grado de control centralizado de la industria.

Note: The maps and plans that accompany this report are in an AutoCAD DWF format, which requires the Autodesk® DWF Viewer. With the software installed, you will be able to pan across and zoom into selected areas of the maps by right clicking your mouse and using the features in the menu. Click on the button below for the latest version of Autodesk® DWF Viewer from

Click here for latest version of Autodesk® DWF Viewer software.

Click to download the report in PDF format:

Analysis of Archaeological Artifacts from Cotzumalhuapa, Guatemala  (1.18 MB)

The PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader.
To download the latest version, click the Get Acrobat Reader button below.

Get Acrobat Reader

Submitted 06/16/2004 by:

Return to top of page