The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology provides a current and comprehensive guide to the recent and on-going archaeology of Mesoamerica. Though the emphasis is on prehispanic societies, this Handbook also includes coverage of important new work by archaeologists on the Colonial and Republican periods. Unique among recent works, the text brings together in a single volume article-length regional syntheses and topical overviews written by active scholars in the field of Mesoamerican archaeology. The first section of the Handbook provides an overview of recent history and trends of Mesoamerica and articles on national archaeology programs and practice in Central America and Mexico written by archaeologists from these countries. These are followed by regional syntheses organized by time period, beginning with early hunter-gatherer societies and the first farmers of Mesoamerica and concluding with a discussion of the Spanish Conquest and frontiers and peripheries of Mesoamerica. Topical and comparative articles comprise the remainder of Handbook. They cover important dimensions of prehispanic societies--from ecology, economy, and environment to social and political relations--and discuss significant methodological contributions, such as geo-chemical source studies, as well as new theories and diverse theoretical perspectives. The Handbook concludes with a section on the archaeology of the Spanish conquest and the Colonial and Republican periods to connect the prehispanic, proto-historic, and historic periods. This volume will be a must-read for students and professional archaeologists, as well as other scholars including historians, art historians, geographers, and ethnographers with an interest in Mesoamerica.
In Mesoamerican Elites, Diane Z. Chase and Arlen F. Chase present a wide variety of essays, all of which evaluate current archaeological knowledge of the privileged ruling classes, or elites, in Mesoamerica. Some experts argue that Mesoamerican societies consisted only of elites and peasants, while others argue that considerable intermediate social levels also existed. In light of such diverse opinions, this volume addresses problems in the interpretation of archaeological evidence regarding ancient Mesoamerican social structure.
Embracing a wide range of research, this book offers various views on the intellectual history of Maya archaeology and ethnohistory and the processes operating in the rise and fall of Maya civilization. The fourteen studies were selected from those presented at the Second Cambridge Symposium on Recent Research in Mesoamerican Archaeology and are presented in three major sections. The first of these deals with the application of theory, both anthropological and historical, to the great civilization of the Classic Maya, which flourished in the Yucatan, Guatemala, and Belize during the first millennium A.D. The structural remains of the Classic Period have impressed travelers and archaeologists for over a century, and aspects of the development and decline of this strange and brilliant tropical forest culture are examined here in the light of archaeological research. The second section presents the results of field research ranging from the Highlands of Mexico east to Honduras and north into the Lowland heart of Maya civilization, and iconographic study of excavated material. The third section covers the ethnohistoric approach to archaeology, the conjunction of material and documentary evidence. Early European documents are used to illuminate historic Maya culture. This section includes transcriptions of previously unpublished archival material. Although not formally linked beyond their common field of inquiry, the essays here offer a conspectus of late-twentieth century Maya research and a series of case histories of the work of some of the leading scholars in the field.
Eine unbekannte Zivilisation, ein mysteriöser Fluch, eine wahre Geschichte
Author: Douglas Preston
Eine wahre Indiana-Jones-Geschichte - eine archäologische Sensation Schon seit dem 16. Jahrhundert gab es Gerüchte über eine Provinz im Regenwald von Honduras, deren Städte reich und prachtvoll seien, ganz besonders die Weiße Stadt, auch Stadt des Affengottes genannt. Immer wieder machten sich Abenteurer und Archäologen auf die Suche nach den Zeugnissen dieser Zivilisation, die offenbar nicht zu den Mayas gehörte. Manchmal stießen sie tatsächlich auf Ruinen, aber eine wirkliche Erforschung war in dem von giftigen Schlangen und tödlichen Krankheitserregern verseuchten und vom Dschungel überwucherten Gelände unmöglich. Erst die moderne Lasertechnik, mit deren Hilfe das Gelände aus der Luft gescannt wird, ermöglichte genauere Hinweise, wo sich größere Ansiedlungen befinden. Um sie vor Ort zu untersuchen muss man sich allerdings auch heute noch auf den beschwerlichen Weg durch den Dschungel machen. Der Schriftsteller und Journalist Douglas Preston schloss sich kürzlich einer archäologischen Expedition an. Sie fand tatsächlich die eindrucksvollen Ruinen einer untergegangenen Stadt, aber sie zahlte am Ende auch einen hohen Preis.
Archaic and Formative Lifeways in the Soconusco Region
Author: Richard G. Lesure
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Category: Social Science
Between 3500 and 500 bc, the social landscape of ancient Mesoamerica was completely transformed. At the beginning of this period, the mobile lifeways of a sparse population were oriented toward hunting and gathering. Three millennia later, protourban communities teemed with people. These essays by leading Mesoamerican archaeologists examine developments of the era as they unfolded in the Soconusco region along the Pacific coast of Mexico and Guatemala, a region that has emerged as crucial for understanding the rise of ancient civilizations in Mesoamerica. The contributors explore topics including the gendered division of labor, changes in subsistence, the character of ceremonialism, the emergence of social inequality, and large-scale patterns of population distribution and social change. Together, they demonstrate the contribution of Soconusco to cultural evolution in Mesoamerica and challenge what we thought we knew about the path toward social complexity.
Bringing together seven papers given at a major conference on MesoAmerican studies held at the British Museum in 1995, this book uncovers new findings in three major geographical regions of MesoAmerica.
Mesoamerica has become one of the most important areas for research into the emergence of complex human societies. Between 10,000 years ago and the arrival of the Spanish in 1521, some very significant changes in the evolution of human societies occurred. In this revised and updated edition of a book first published in 1981, the authors synthesize recent research, focusing on three intensively studied regions, the Valleys of Oaxaca and Mexico and the Maya lowlands. A theoretical framework of ideas is developed to explain long-term change in complex societies.
Although Quiriguá and its magnificent carved monuments have been recorded and studied by scholars over the past century, little archaeological data were available until recently. From 1973 through 1979, the University Museum sponsored investigations at this major lowland Maya site in eastern Guatemala. The aims of the work were to document a basic chronology, to determine the nature and pattern of structures, and to test hypotheses concerning the origins, location, and demise of Quiriguá. University Museum Monograph, 49
Prehispanic Domestic Units in Western Mesoamerica presents different analytical approaches for interpreting household composition and cultural site formation processes in prehispanic western Mesoamerica. Archaelogical data collected using both stratigraphic and reconnaisance methods are combined with and interpreted using a combination of ethnohistoric, ethnographic, and ethnoarchaeological information. The result is a richer and more complete picture of prehispanic household structure than any single analytic approach could produce on its own. The book is organized into several sections based on common theme and geographic area. The first three chapters provide a broad discussion of conceptual and methodological difficulties that archaeologists must resolve in the study of prehispanic households. Subsequent chapters present case studies which examine households from two areas of western Mesoamerica: the Central Mexican highlands and the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Eight case studies from the Central Mexican highlands provide a longitudinal perspective on changing household composition. Four of these examine households during the late Formative, Classic, Epiclassic, and Early Postclassic periods (650 B.C.-A.D. 1200), while four others focus specifically on household structure during the century immediately preceding the Spanish Conquest. Two additional case studies provide comparative information on household organization in the South Gulf Coast region during the Classic period. Prehispanic Domestic Units in Western Mesoamerica: Studies of the Household, Compound, and Residence will be an excellent reference for all anthropologists and archaeologists interested in prehispanic western Mesoamerica.
Archaeological Perspectives on Resilience, Revitalization, and Transformation in Complex Societies
Author: Ronald K. Faulseit
Publisher: SIU Press
New approaches to collapsed complex societies. The Maya. The Romans. The great dynasties of ancient China. It is generally believed that these once mighty empires eventually crumbled and disappeared. A recent trend in archaeology, however, focusing on what happened during and after the decline of once powerful regimes has found social resilience and transformation instead of collapse. In Beyond Collapse: Archaeological Perspectives on Resilience, Revitalization, and Transformation in Complex Societies, editor Ronald K. Faulseit gathers scholars with diverse theoretical perspectives to interpret how ancient civilizations responded to various stresses, including environmental change, warfare, and the fragmentation of political institutions. Contributors discuss not only what makes societies collapse but also why some societies are resilient and others are not, as well as how societies reorganize after collapse. Putting in context issues we face today, such as climate change, social diversity, and the failure of modern states, Beyond Collapse is an essential volume for readers interested in humanenvironment interaction and in the collapse--and subsequent reorganization--of human societies.
Discoveries and Research in Mesoamerican Art and Archaeology
Author: Henry B. Nicholson
Category: Aztec art
"Collection of papers from a 1991 symposium focuses on Mixteca-Puebla concept and associated stylistic/iconographic tradition of the postclassic period. Includes papers on history of the concept and discussions of particular regions/subregions: Tlaxcala,Puebla, Cholula, Mixteca, Oaxaca, central Mexico, Tehuacâan, and Nicoya. Illustrations include color plates"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 57.
Summarizes the knowledge of prehistoric regional exchange in the American Southwest and Mesoamerica. Suitable for anthropologists and archaeologists, this volume presents data for comparative analysis of regional systems relative to sociopolitical organization.
"Sixteen scholars on both sides of the border present recent research on the economy, history, religion, and far-reaching influence of Casas Grandes. Macaw feathers, copper, shells, ritual mounds, and ball fields all reveal the secrets of Casas Grandes, a massive town whose trading network extended from the Chihuahua Desert up through the American Southwest"--Provided by publisher.
In 17 critical essays, the first book to address the historiography of archaeology evaluates how and why the history of archaeology is written. The emphasis in the first section is on how archaeologists use historical knowledge of their discipline. For example, it can help them to understand the origin of current archaeological ideas, to learn from past errors, and to apply past research to current questions. It can even be integrated into the new liberal arts curricula in an attempt to instruct students in critical thinking. The second section considers the sociopolitical context within which past archaeologists lived and worked and the contexts within which historians of archaeology write. The topics treated include the rise of capitalism and colonialism and the rise of "modern archaeology," the political contexts and changing form of the history of Mesoamerican archaeology, the decline to obscurity of once prominent archaeologists, and the institutional and ideological "fossilization" of American classical archaeology. The final section focuses on researching and presenting the history of archaeology. The authors discuss past archaeologists in light of their institutional affiliations, the use of historic methods to interpret past archaeological notes and collections, and the means of presenting the history of archaeology on videotape. The final paper offers a plan for documenting the many records (diaries, fieldnotes, correspondence, unpublished reports) in public and private hands that contain the history of archaeology.
William F. Keegan,Corinne L. Hofman,Reniel Rodriguez Ramos
This volume examines the commensal politics of early states and empires and offers a comparative perspective on how food and feasting have figured in the political calculus of archaic states in both the Old and New Worlds. It provides a cross-cultural and comparative analysis for scholars and graduate students concerned with the archaeology of complex societies, the anthropology of food and feasting, ancient statecraft, archaeological approaches to micro-political processes, and the social interpretation of prehistoric pottery.