The development of prehispanic cotton-spinning technology in western morelos, mexico

Michael E. Smith, Kenneth G. Hirth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Cotton textiles played important economic, social, and political roles in the Prehispanic civilizations ofMesoamerica, yet archaeologists have made little progress in the analysis of textile production beyond the simple identification of spindle whorls. In this article we identify and describe whorls and a second artifactual marker of cotton spinning: ceramic spinning bowls. Quantitative changes in the occurrence of these artifacts in excavated contexts from the Mexican state of Morelos are then used to discuss the development of the local cotton industry from the Epiclassic through the Late Postclassic periods. The Postclassic cultures of Morelos apparently produced a number of innovations in cotton-spinning technology, and these changes along with increased textile production levels are linked to demographic, economic, and political changes occurring throughout Central Mexico at that time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-358
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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