Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



This dissertation presents information about ancient Maya trade, stone tool use, tool technology, and the every-day activities at the Paynes Creek Salt Works in southern Belize. Research on chert stone tools follows traditional analysis methods with emphasis on material composition. The feasibility of stone tool analysis conducted using 3D technology is also explored, emphasizing the limitations and benefits of these methods. While chert stone tools and stone resource allocation are predominantly the foci of this work, excavations at submerged ancient salt making sites present additional artifacts, including wood and pottery, that also characterize the daily activities of people living and working at these sites. Preservation of all archaeological materials gathered from submerged salt making sites during excavations is necessary to ensure proper analysis. While stone tools found in marine environments present archaeologists with no preservation challenges, wood and pottery artifacts require specialized knowledge, treatment, and storage environments to ensure short-term and long-term stability. Excavations completed at the site of Ek Way Nal in 2022 revealed artifacts, features, and information that adds to the body of knowledge already compiled from excavations, research, and analysis at many locations comprising the over 100 ancient salt-making sites in southern Belize that functioned during the Early through Terminal Classic Maya periods.



Committee Chair

McKillop, Heather



Available for download on Thursday, March 26, 2026