MESOAMERICAN PLAZAS ARENAS OF COMMUNITY AND POWER

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Mesoamerican Plazas

Author : Kenichiro Tsukamoto
ISBN : 9780816598793
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 72.6 MB
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Until now, archaeological and historical studies of Mesoamerican plazas have been scarce compared to studies of the surrounding monumental architecture such as pyramidal temples and palaces. Many scholars have assumed that ancient Mesoamericans invested their labor, wealth, and symbolic value in pyramids and other prominent buildings, viewing plazas as by-products of these buildings. Even when researchers have recognized the potential significance of plazas, they have thought that plazas as vacant spaces could offer few clues about their cultural and political roles. Mesoamerican Plazas challenges both of these assumptions. The primary question that has motivated the contributors is how Mesoamerican plazas became arenas for the creation and negotiation of social relations and values in a community. The thirteen contributions stress the significance of interplay between power relations and embodied practices set in specific historical and material settings, as outlined by practice theory and performance theory. This approach allows the contributors to explore broader anthropological issues, such as the negotiation of power relations, community making, and the constitution of political authorities. Overall, the contributions establish that physical interactions among people in communal events were not the outcomes of political machinations held behind the scenes, but were the actual political processes through which people created, negotiated, and subverted social realities. If so, spacious plazas that were arguably designed for interactions among a large number of individuals must have also provided critical arenas for the constitution and transformation of society.
Category: Social Science

Political Strategies In Pre Columbian Mesoamerica

Author : Sarah Kurnick
ISBN : 9781607324164
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 31.87 MB
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Political authority contains an inherent contradiction. Rulers must reinforce social inequality and bolster their own unique position at the top of the sociopolitical hierarchy, yet simultaneously emphasize social similarities and the commonalities shared by all. Political Strategies in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica explores the different and complex ways that those who exercised authority in the region confronted this contradiction. New data from a variety of well-known scholars in Mesoamerican archaeology reveal the creation, perpetuation, and contestation of politically authoritative relationships between rulers and subjects and between nobles and commoners. The contributions span the geographic breadth and temporal extent of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica—from Preclassic Oaxaca to the Classic Petén region of Guatemala to the Postclassic Michoacán—and the contributors weave together archaeological, epigraphic, and ethnohistoric data. Grappling with the questions of how those exercising authority convince others to follow and why individuals often choose to recognize and comply with authority, Political Strategies in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica discusses why the study of political authority is both timely and significant, reviews how scholars have historically understood the operation of political authority, and proposes a new analytical framework to understand how rulers rule. Contributors include Sarah B. Barber, Joanne Baron, Christopher S. Beekman, Jeffrey Brzezinski, Bryce Davenport, Charles Golden, Takeshi Inomata, Arthur A. Joyce, Sarah Kurnick, Carlo J. Lucido, Simon Martin, Tatsuya Murakami, Helen Perlstein Pollard, and Víctor Salazar Chávez.
Category: Social Science

The Early Olmec And Mesoamerica

Author : Jeffrey P. Blomster
ISBN : 9781316943069
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 22.54 MB
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The Early Formative Olmec are central in a wide variety of debates regarding the development of Mesoamerican societies. A fundamental issue in Olmec archaeology is the nature of interregional interaction among contemporaneous societies and the possible Olmec role in it. Previous debates have often not been informed by recent research and data, often relying on materials lacking archaeological context. In order to approach these issues from new perspectives, this book introduces readers to the full spectrum of the material culture of the Olmec and their contemporaries, relying primarily on archaeological data, much of which has not been previously published. For the first time, using a standard lexicon to consider the nature of the interaction among Early Formative societies, the authors, experts in diverse regions of Mesoamerican art and archaeology, provide carefully considered contrasts and comparisons that advance the understanding of the Early Formative origins of social complexity in Mesoamerica.
Category: Social Science

Urbanization And Religion In Ancient Central Mexico

Author : David M. Carballo
ISBN : 9780190251062
Genre :
File Size : 29.13 MB
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"Urbanization and Religion in Ancient Central Mexico examines the ways in which urbanization and religion intersected in pre-Columbian central Mexico, with a primary focus on the later Formative period and the transition to the Classic period. The major societal transformations of this interval occurred approximately two-thousand years ago and over a millennium before Mexico's best known early civilization, the Aztecs. David M. Carballo presents a synthesis of data from regional archaeological projects and key sites such as Teotihuacan and Cuicuilco, while relying on the author's own excavations at the site of La Laguna as the central case study. A principal argument is that cities and states developed hand in hand with elements of a religious tradition of remarkable endurance and that these processes were fundamentally entangled. Prevalent religious beliefs and ritual practices created a cultural logic for urbanism, and as populations urbanized they became socially integrated and differentiated following this logic. Nevertheless, religion was used differently over time and by groups and individuals across the spectra of urbanity and social status. This book calls for a materially informed history of religion, with the temporal depth that archaeology can provide, and an archaeology of cities that considers religion seriously as a generative force in societal change"--
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Archaeology Of Performance

Author : Takeshi Inomata
ISBN : 9780759114401
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 81.2 MB
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Collection of original articles exploring theatricality in the ancient world and how it affected social life and politics.
Category: Social Science

Water Cacao And The Early Maya Of Chocol

Author : Jonathan H. Kaplan
ISBN : 0813056748
Genre : History
File Size : 81.67 MB
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In describing what was, in effect, a lost Maya city, the book highlights the many important research findings to date of long-term field research at the city, including a very early, yet extraordinarily sophisticated ancient water control system, and evidence for cacao arboriculture, to explain its rise to wealth and power as a "kingdom of chocolate"; also detailed are the ancient city's sculpture and ceramics and the ethnohistory of the modern Maya community lying atop it.
Category: History

Gender And Power In Prehispanic Mesoamerica

Author : Rosemary A. Joyce
ISBN : UVA:X004471160
Genre : History
File Size : 35.62 MB
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Gender was a fluid potential, not a fixed category, before the Spaniards came to Mesoamerica. Childhood training and ritual shaped, but did not set, adult gender, which could encompass third genders and alternative sexualities as well as "male" and "female." At the height of the Classic period, Maya rulers presented themselves as embodying the entire range of gender possibilities, from male through female, by wearing blended costumes and playing male and female roles in state ceremonies. This landmark book offers the first comprehensive description and analysis of gender and power relations in prehispanic Mesoamerica from the Formative Period Olmec world (ca. 1500-500 BC) through the Postclassic Maya and Aztec societies of the sixteenth century AD. Using approaches from contemporary gender theory, Rosemary Joyce explores how Mesoamericans created human images to represent idealized notions of what it meant to be male and female and to depict proper gender roles. She then juxtaposes these images with archaeological evidence from burials, house sites, and body ornaments, which reveals that real gender roles were more fluid and variable than the stereotyped images suggest.
Category: History

Houses In A Landscape

Author : Julia A. Hendon
ISBN : 9780822391722
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 55.40 MB
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In Houses in a Landscape, Julia A. Hendon examines the connections between social identity and social memory using archaeological research on indigenous societies that existed more than one thousand years ago in what is now Honduras. While these societies left behind monumental buildings, the remains of their dead, remnants of their daily life, intricate works of art, and fine examples of craftsmanship such as pottery and stone tools, they left only a small body of written records. Despite this paucity of written information, Hendon contends that an archaeological study of memory in such societies is possible and worthwhile. It is possible because memory is not just a faculty of the individual mind operating in isolation, but a social process embedded in the materiality of human existence. Intimately bound up in the relations people develop with one another and with the world around them through what they do, where and how they do it, and with whom or what, memory leaves material traces. Hendon conducted research on three contemporaneous Native American civilizations that flourished from the seventh century through the eleventh CE: the Maya kingdom of Copan, the hilltop center of Cerro Palenque, and the dispersed settlement of the Cuyumapa valley. She analyzes domestic life in these societies, from cooking to crafting, as well as public and private ritual events including the ballgame. Combining her findings with a rich body of theory from anthropology, history, and geography, she explores how objects—the things people build, make, use, exchange, and discard—help people remember. In so doing, she demonstrates how everyday life becomes part of the social processes of remembering and forgetting, and how “memory communities” assert connections between the past and the present.
Category: Social Science

The Mesoamerican Ballgame

Author : Vernon L. Scarborough
ISBN : 0816513600
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 30.40 MB
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The Precolumbian ballgame, played on a masonry court, has long intrigued scholars because of the magnificence of its archaeological remains. From its lowland Maya origins it spread throughout the Aztec empire, where the game was so popular that sixteen thousand rubber balls were imported annually into Tenochtitlan. It endured for two thousand years, spreading as far as to what is now southern Arizona. This new collection of essays brings together research from field archaeology, mythology, and Maya hieroglyphic studies to illuminate this important yet puzzling aspect of Native American culture. The authors demonstrate that the game was more than a spectator sport; serving social, political, mythological, and cosmological functions, it celebrated both fertility and the afterlife, war and peace, and became an evolving institution functioning in part to resolve conflict within and between groups. The contributors provide complete coverage of the archaeological, sociopolitical, iconographic, and ideological aspects of the game, and offer new information on the distribution of ballcourts, new interpretations of mural art, and newly perceived relations of the game with material in the Popol Vuh. With its scholarly attention to a subject that will fascinate even general readers, The Mesoamerican Ballgame is a major contribution to the study of the mental life and outlook of New World peoples.
Category: Social Science

Understanding Collapse

Author : Guy D. Middleton
ISBN : 9781107151499
Genre : History
File Size : 84.40 MB
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In this lively survey, Guy D. Middleton critically examines our ideas about collapse - how we explain it and how we have constructed potentially misleading myths around collapses - showing how and why collapse of societies was a much more complex phenomenon than is often admitted.
Category: History