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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Working with clay

  • Author(s): Joyce, RA;
  • Hendon, JA;
  • Lopiparo, J
  • et al.

Evidence from sites in the lower Ulua valley of north-central Honduras, occupied between a.d. 500 and 1000, provides new insight into the connections between households, craft production, and the role of objects in maintaining social relations within and across households. Production of pottery vessels, figurines, and other items in a household context has been documented at several sites in the valley, including Cerro Palenque, Travesiá, Campo Dos, and Campo Pineda. Differences in raw materials, in what was made, and in the size and design of firing facilities allow us to explore how crafting with clay created communities of practice made up of people with varying levels of knowledge, experience, and skill. We argue that focusing on the specific features of a particular craft and the crafter's perspective gives us insight into the ways that crafting contributed to the reproduction of social identities, local histories, and connections among members of communities of practice who comprised multicrafting households.

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