Champotón 1B - The Late Middle Formative Period
The Champotón 1B period witnessed dramatic changes from the preceding period in terms of ceramic inventory, settlement patterns, and long-distance links. The Champotón 1B complex includes common types such as Joventud Red, Pital Cream, Chunhinta Black, and Achiotes Unslipped: all widespread types characteristic of the Mamom sphere across the Maya Area (see Figure 7.5, Table 7.8, Andrews V 1988; Andrews V 1990; Kosakowski 1987; Kosakowski and Pring 1998; Sabloff 1975; Smith 1955; Smith and Gifford 1966b). As noted above, incorporation into this emergent ceramic sphere – which spread across most of the Maya Lowlands beginning approximately 600 BC – would usher in fundamental changes in the ceramic production within the Río Champotón drainage. Based on affinities with well-dated Mamom sphere complexes at other sites, the Champotón 1B phase likely dates to 600-300 BC.
The Champotón 1B assemblage represents a major break from the preceding period, with little to no evidence of continuity in vessel form, surface decoration or production technologies from Champotón 1A materials. These differences include a radical change from the thick-walled bowl forms common in Champotón 1A to thin-walled vessels with much greater form variability in Champotón 1B. Likewise, surface treatment of slipped vessels changes radically, with a shift from matte cream, white, and orange slips, red-on-white and red-on-cream dichromes, and frequent use of underslips in Champotón 1A to the polished, waxy, and durable slips characteristic of Paso Caballo Waxy Wares that are a definitive attribute of Mamom and later Chicanel ceramic spheres. Unslipped wares also undergo major changes in form repertories, although pastes share some similarities with the preceding Champotón 1A complex. Champotón 1B unslipped materials are almost entirely limited to short necked ollas, with striations either absent or ephemeral to the point of being barely perceptible. This represents a radical change from Champotón 1A, which included a much higher degree of form variability in unslipped ceramics (including bowls) and decorative techniques (striations and incised motifs).