Maya lithic economy : a reviewed approach to understanding the distribution of chert artifacts across the Maya Lowlands
The distribution of prehistoric artifacts across spatial and temporal realms is frequently used to investigate trade, exchange, mobility, and socio-economic relationships of the past. In the Maya region, chert was a key component in ancient toolkits due to its widespread availability and suitability for knapping into tools. The ability to source chert artifacts provides insights for understanding how the ancient Maya interacted with and procured raw materials and the movement of chert artifacts through trade and exchange networks. Previous studies in the Maya region focused on the identification of particular chert types relying on visual properties alone. While a useful technique, the results are often too dependent on the identifier’s expertise rather than quantifiable and measurable attributes, thus driving new research for novel and innovative methods in chert source identification.