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.
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.
This monograph reports the results of the Quiriguá Project Site Periphery Program, five seasons (1975-1979) of archaeological survey and excavation in the 96 km2 immediately adjoining the classic Maya site of Quiriguá. Ashmore identifies and helps us understand where and how the people of Quiriguá lived. She presents detailed material evidence in two data catalogues, for the floodplain settlement adjoining Quiriguá and for sites in the wider periphery. The work situates Quiriguá settlement firmly in a regional context, benefiting from the extraordinary abundance of information amassed in southeastern Mesoamerica since 1979. It sheds new light on the political, economic, and social dynamics of the region including the sometimes-fractious interactions between Quiriguá, its overlords at Copan, and people elsewhere in the Lower Motagua Valley and beyond. Quiriguá Reports, IV
This edited volume developed from a 2005 Society for American Archaeology symposium in honor of Gareth W. Lowe, archaeologist and director of the NWAF. The contributions generally focus on the Formative period throughout Mesoamerica and include an original work by Lowe on the Early Formative of the Central Depression of Chiapas. Published by New World Archaeological Foundation.
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