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Ceramic | Terracotta | Fired Clay 


Object Type

Weapons and Tools


Ceramic | Terracotta | Fired Clay

Country of Origin

El Salvador


Secretaría de Cultura de la Presidencia


Import restricted since 1995.

Section 2a of Designated List in force since 1995.

Spindle Whorls or Malacates
Small ceramic disc-shaped artifacts with a central perforation. As viewed in section, these are thicker toward the center. They may have incised or moldmade decoration. These are often mistaken for ceramic beads and many may be strung together for transport or display.
Dating: Late Classic to Protohistoric periods. Different varieties are documented in relation to Late Classic Phases and ceramic complexes (Lepa, Payu, Tamasha) through the Postclassic (Guazapa, Cuscatlán, and others).
Appearance: Carefully formed and smoothed. Many were slipped, and run the full range of black through brown through red. Fugitive white paint has been noted as a rare filler for incised designs.
Size: 0.8–1.2’’ (2.1–3.2cm) in diameter. Holes are always close to 0.25’’ (0.6cm) in diameter.
Formal Names: Referred to as spindle whorls or malacates (see for example Longyear 1944; Sharer 1978; Andrews 1976).

Example shown: Maya spindle whorls, Late Classic to Protohistoric periods

For import restrictions in force from 1987, see History of Import Restrictions below.

> CPIA Import Restriction Designated List

> History of Import Restrictions

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