Champotón 1A - The Early Middle Formative Period
The earliest evidence of sedentary communities and ceramic production in the Río Champotón drainage is still poorly understood, but took place no later than the early facet of the Middle Formative Period. The typological designations for the most common Champotón 1A types are still in process. Although the constituent types of this complex share some modal similarities with contemporary complexes across the Maya Lowlands, the Champotón 1A complex is sufficiently different to warrant new designations. Although pre-Mamom ceramic complexes across the Maya Lowlands share some basic similarities – including white to cream base slips, red/white dichrome decorative motifs, incised geometric patterns, and some basic form modes – the Champotón 1A assemblage represents a new production and distribution sphere with no typological affinities with established complexes in other areas. This is part of a general pattern of regionalization and heterogeneity of ceramic traditions that existed across the Maya Lowlands during the early Middle Formative period.
Dating the Champotón 1A complex is complicated by several factors, including the lack of absolute dates, the paucity of well-documented contemporary ceramic complexes overall, the absolute lack of contemporary ceramic complexes at nearby sites, and the generally low frequency of these materials compared to later time periods. Nevertheless, based on stratigraphic position and modal similarities with other early ceramic complexes, we can make some tentative statements about the dating of Champotón 1A. Champotón 1A pottery was consistently encountered in deeply buried deposits below later Champotón 1B materials, with little admixture between periods. These stratigraphic relationships demonstrate the clear temporal priority of Champotón 1A in relation to the ensuing Champotón 1B period. Beyond relative dating, the modal similarities with better known complexes outlined above suggest that Champotón 1A dates no later than the early facet of the Middle Formative period. Dates for similar complexes range from 1200/1000 B.C. – 600 B.C. (Adams 1971; Andrews V 1990; Andrews V, et al. 2008; Awe 1992; Kosakowski 1987; Kosakowski and Pring 1998; Sabloff 1975; Stanton and Ardren 2005). The earlier range of these dates extends into the terminal Early Formative Period.