Extraneous Markings and the Modification of Potbelly Sculptures in Southeastern Mesoamerica

The presence and significance of extraneous markings on potbelly sculptures has rarely been addressed by archaeologists. However, recent studies of monument modification in the Olmec-style art of the Gulf Coast lowlands, the art of Teotihuacán, and Classic period Maya monuments indicate that the study of the various ways stone carvings were altered can open new vistas on ancient ritual behaviors. This paper is an attempt to systematically detail these enigmatic features within a comparative framework in order to offer some plausible explanations for their occurrence on the potbelly sculptures of southeastern Mesoamerica.