a1 Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago, 1126 East 59th Street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
A major impediment to understanding the Terminal Classic to Early Postclassic transition in northern Yucatan has been the lack of a reliable ceramic chronology defined from stratigraphic contexts at the site of Chichen Itza. The temporal relationship of Cehpech and Soluta ceramics is central to resolving the issue of the correct chronological placement of Chichen Itza. The results of stratigraphic excavations at Yula, a small site 5 km south of Chichen Itza, provide the strongest evidence to date that Cehpech and Sotuta ceramics were contemporaneous. Statistical analysis of pottery composition by stratum confirms a positive correlation between Sotuta and Cehpech, which are clearly differentiated from earlier pottery. Rather than following a linear sequence in which Cehpech precedes Sotuta, as suggested by R. E. Smith and other early researchers, these two slatewares represent coeval regional variation. Thus, the major occupation of Chichen Itza dates not to the Early Postclassic, but to the Terminal Classic. The results of this research contribute toward the redefinition of the Terminal Classic and Early Postclassic periods in the northern Maya lowlands.