Ancient Mesoamerica

Research Article


An Inventory and Analysis

Lauri McInnis Thompsona1 c1 and Fred Valdez Jr.a1

a1 Department of Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin, 1 University Station C3200, Austin, TX 78712, USA


Prehistoric potbelly (boulder) sculpture has been of great interest for many decades. Most such sculptures occur in the highlands and piedmont of the Pacific Coast in Guatemala and El Salvador. The specific function and dating of the monuments has been of particular concern to researchers. This paper presents a summary of data in an attempt to place potbelly sculptures into recognizable stylistic groups that may in turn allow scholars to hypothesize their general function or functions. The excavation of a ceramic potbelly figure in northern Belize may provide hard evidence for the dating of certain potbelly styles and demonstrate the use of this style/manifestation in a mode beyond stone sculpture.


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