Abstract –Long-distance transport of ceramic vessels entails high costs, especially in pre-modern situations where motorised or animal-borne transport are unavailable. Thus, in many parts of the world, including Mesoamerica, exchange of ceramics beyond more than a few tens of kilometres is difficult to understand. In this paper, I first discuss ceramic provenance results from Mesoamerica that demonstrate unequivocally that, contrary to expectations, long-distance ceramic exchange was, in fact, common. One way to approach the enigma of long-distance ceramic transport is to build on the evolutionary theory of costly signalling. I propose that pots sometimes serve as signals that convey information about hidden qualities of those who make the pots,export them,or import them. If pots serve as signals, design considerations differ from considerations involved in producing pots that serve primarily as tools. In particular, there must be a means for ensuring signal reliability, because without this, potential receivers of the signal have no incentive to pay attention.
H. Neff, Pots as Signals: Explaining The Enigma of Long-Distance Ceramic Exchange