Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Applied Archaeology



First Reader/Committee Chair

Hepp, Guy D.


The primary concern of this thesis is to quantify and analyze the lithic (chipped stone) assemblage previously excavated by Hepp (2015) and the La Consentida Archaeological Project (LCAP) at the archaeological site of La Consentida in the lower Río Verde Valley, Oaxaca, Mexico. The lithic assemblage is comprised of over 500 artifacts mainly of obsidian and chert. This research represents a study of all primary context lithic artifacts from La Consentida and focuses on obsidian, the material most used at the site. In the first part of this thesis I provide an analysis of all lithic artifacts of this primary context assemblage collected during the 2012 field season. Additionally, I present technological considerations regarding manufacturing techniques and subsequent issues regarding technique implementation. The second part of this thesis examines the distribution of lithics, in addition to other artifact classes (i.e. ceramics and ground stone), at the site and relates this to manufacturing techniques and inferences towards social organization. Results indicate that the people of La Consentida favored obsidian as a material for lithic manufacture. While other materials were used to produce chipped stone, obsidian dominates the assemblage. Further, these materials were used in expedient lithic reduction, which characterizes the majority of the assemblage. In addition to expedient flakes, specialized tools are also present, although minimal. Additionally, the way in which lithics, and more importantly obsidian artifacts, are distributed at the site indicates a purposeful designation for manufacture and use in specific locations. The artifacts I examine here are crucial to determining the economic practices of this Early Formative period (2000–1000 B.C.) site. Ascertaining how the lithic artifacts were distributed at the site will help expand current understandings of Early Formative period exchange, crafting, and subsistence practices. Furthermore, these results may have implications for developing our understanding of social organization at the earliest known settled village in coastal Oaxaca.