Many archeologists previously believed that more than 500 years ago in the midwestern Guatemalan highlands, Maya people bought and sold products with significantly less authority from their rulers than many archeologists now believe. Over time, the abundance of obsidian materials and the prominence of craftspeople to shape it developed a system that is reminiscent of modern market-based economies in many respects. Mayas utilized market-based economics (Photo : Three Lions/Getty Images) Locals in these places regulated access to neighboring supplies of obsidian, a glasslike rock used to build tools and weapons, through separate and different procurement networks, as per ScienceDaily.
Over time, the abundance of obsidian materials and the prominence of craftspeople to shape it developed a system that is reminiscent of modern market-based economies in many respects. "Scholars have traditionally thought that the obsidian trade was handled by Maya monarchs, but our data reveals that this was not the case, at least in this area," said lead author Rachel Horowitz, an associate professor of anthropology at Washington State University. "People appear to have enjoyed a considerable level of economic independence, including the ability to go to areas akin to today's supermarkets to purchase and sell things from craftspeople." While there are considerable written documents on political structure from the Maya Postclassic Period (1200-1524 AD), considerably less is known about how society elites controlled economic power.
Horowitz set out to fill this information vacuum for the K'iche' by investigating the creation and distribution of obsidian artifacts, which archeologists use as a proxy to evaluate a region's degree of economic development. She conducted geochemical and technical analyses on obsidian objects discovered from 50 sites in and around the K'iche' city of Q'umarkaj and the surrounding region to identify where the raw material originated and how it was made. The findings indicated that the K'iche' obtained obsidian from identical sources in the Central K'iche' region and Q'umarkaj, indicating a high degree of centralized control.
Based on its abundance at these important places, the governing class also appeared to oversee the trade of more valuable varieties of nonlocal obsidian, including Pachua obsidian from Mexico. Outside of this core territory, however, in territories acquired by the K'iche, obsidian economic networks were less comparable. According to Horowitz's study, these sites had access to their own obsidian supplies and built specialized shops where people could go to acquire blades and other useful items carved from the rock by specialists.
Horowitz obtained the obsidian blades and other artifacts for her study from Tulane University's Middle American Research Institute. The relics were discovered around the 1970s. Read more: Mayan Civilization Crumbled, Was Water the Cause? Ancient Mayan Economics The Mayan economy was primarily oriented on food and agriculture, similar to that of other previous civic civilizations such as China and Egypt, as per Ancient Mayan Civilization.
Farming was the major source of work, and it was mainly done by males. Farmers handed up portions of each harvest or paid with other products like as salt, cloth, honey, fruit, and domestic animals to the government and also utilized them to buy and sell goods every day. They may support the family and satisfy their daily requirements in this manner.
Agriculture is the foundation of the economy. Corn was the most essential crop, and many experts believed that the Mayans relied significantly on it. The honey produced by the bees they kept was also traded.
Because of the advantages of planting crops and raising animals, they typically sold the animals or crops for clothing or other commodities once or twice a week in a market, which was generally located on a plain beside the river. Because of the fertile land, there was a huge population, which helped to develop a basic market. And the powerful people established the first regulations to ensure that trade and agriculture ran smoothly.
Related article: Prolonged Drought Caused Civil Conflict and Political Collapse of Mayan Civilization's Capital City __LINK__com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.