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Image - Cacao Pod Vessel - K6706 © Justin Kerr FAMSI © 2001:
Michael Love

The Analysis of Archaeological Materials from El Ujuxte, Guatemala
Vea este informe en Español.

Vessels from a Cataluña phase cache. Vessel on left is Mopa Orange. Vessel on right is Chorrera Red.

Research Year:  2000
Culture:  Maya
Chronology:  Middle Pre-Classic to Late Pre-Classic
Location:  Pacific Coastal Plain of Guatemala
Site:  Ujuxte

Table of Contents

Work Conducted in the Laboratory Season of 2000
Results of the Ceramic Analysis
The Ceramic Chronology of Western Pacific Guatemala
Radiocarbon Dates for Ujuxte
The Caramelo Phase
The Late Preclassic Period
List of Figures
Sources Cited


The Ujuxte Project began in 1993 as a program of archaeological exploration in the Pacific coastal plain of Guatemala. The focus of the project, since its inception, has been on the transition from the Middle Formative to Late Formative and the development of social complexity in that region. The project has dedicated most of its efforts to the site of El Ujuxte, located in the department of Retalhuleu, some 10 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean. (Figure 1). The project has also undertaken region survey around Ujuxte to determine the nature of the region system associated with the site.

The site of El Ujuxte (Figure 2) is one of the largest pre-hispanic cities on the Pacific coast of Mesoamerica. During the first years of work, the Ujuxte project carried out mapping and surface collection at the site. Based on the analysis of the surface materials, including ceramics, obsidiana, and groundstone, a preliminary model of site development and its role in the development of social complexity in Mesoamerica was developed. (Love, 1994a; 1994b; 1995). During the 1995 season a program of excavation was carried out to test this model, and testing continued through the 1996 and 1997 seasons.

Since 1998 the Ujuxte Project has focused on the analysis of materials recovered by the surface collection and excavation programs. The program of laboratory study was temporally suspended in 1999, when funds from the National Science Foundation ran out. The program was re-opened in 2000 with funds from FAMSI and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

The principal focus of the 2000 laboratory season was completion of the ceramic analysis. That analysis involved the detailed coding of data for over 50,000 pottery pieces, including over 200 whole vessels. The attributes coded included the typological data (ware and group classes), vessel form, and vessel decoration. These data will form the basis for developing a refined ceramic chronology as well as studies of social and economic organization at the household level.

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Submitted 02/01/2001 by:

California State University, Northridge

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