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 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.
Anthropomorphic Imagery in the Mesoamerican Highlands
In Anthropomorphic Imagery in the Mesoamerican Highlands, Latin American, North American, and European researchers explore the meanings and functions of two- and three-dimensional human representations in the Precolumbian communities of the Mexican highlands. Reading these anthropomorphic representations from an ontological perspective, the contributors demonstrate the rich potential of anthropomorphic imagery to elucidate personhood, conceptions of the body, and the relationship of human beings to other entities, nature, and the cosmos. Using case studies covering a broad span of highlands prehistory—Classic Teotihuacan divine iconography, ceramic figures in Late Formative West Mexico, Epiclassic Puebla-Tlaxcala costumed figurines, earth sculptures in Prehispanic Oaxaca, Early Postclassic Tula symbolic burials, Late Postclassic representations of Aztec Kings, and more—contributors examine both Mesoamerican representations of the body in changing social, political, and economic conditions and the multivalent emic meanings of these representations. They explore the technology of artifact production, the body’s place in social structures and rituals, the language of the body as expressed in postures and gestures, hybrid and transformative combinations of human and animal bodies, bodily representations of social categories, body modification, and the significance of portable and fixed representations. Anthropomorphic Imagery in the Mesoamerican Highlands provides a wide range of insights into Mesoamerican concepts of personhood and identity, the constitution of the human body, and human relationships with gods and ancestors. It will be of great value to students and scholars of the archaeology and art history of Mexico. Contributors: Claire Billard, Danièle Dehouve, Cynthia Kristan-Graham, Melissa Logan, Sylvie Peperstraete, Patricia Plunket, Mari Carmen Serra Puche, Juliette Testard, Andrew Turner, Gabriela Uruñuela, Marcus Winter
The Neighborhood as a Social and Spatial Unit in Mesoamerican Cities
Recent realizations that prehispanic cities in Mesoamerica were fundamentally different from western cities of the same period have led to increasing examination of the neighborhood as an intermediate unit at the heart of prehispanic urbanization. This book addresses the subject of neighborhoods in archaeology as analytical units between households and whole settlements. The contributions gathered here provide fieldwork data to document the existence of sociopolitically distinct neighborhoods within ancient Mesoamerican settlements, building upon recent advances in multi-scale archaeological studies of these communities. Chapters illustrate the cultural variation across Mesoamerica, including data and interpretations on several different cities with a thematic focus on regional contrasts. This topic is relatively new and complex, and this book is a strong contribution for three interwoven reasons. First, the long history of research on the “Teotihuacan barrios” is scrutinized and withstands the test of new evidence and comparison with other Mesoamerican cities. Second, Maya studies of dense settlement patterns are now mature enough to provide substantial case studies. Third, theoretical investigation of ancient urbanization all over the world is now more complex and open than it was before, giving relevance to Mesoamerican perspectives on ancient and modern societies in time and space. This volume will be of interest not only to scholars and student specialists of the Mesoamerican past but also to social scientists and urbanists looking to contrast ancient cultures worldwide.
The Unheard Voice of Law in Bartolom de Las Casas s Brev sima Relaci n de la Destruici n de las Indias
The Unheard Voice of Law in Bartolomé de las Casas’s Brevísima relación de la destruición de las Indias reinterprets Las Casas’s controversial treatise as a legal document, whose legal character is linked to civil and ecclesial genres of the Early Modern and late Renaissance juridical tradition. Bartolomé de las Casas proclaimed: "I have labored to inquire about, study, and discern the law; I have plumbed the depths and have reached the headwaters." The Unheard Voice also plumbs the depths of Las Casas’s voice of law in his widely read and highly controversial Brevísima relación—a legal document published and debated since the 16th century. This original reinterpretation of his Very Brief Account uncovers the juridical approach voiced in his defense of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. The Unheard Voice innovatively asserts that the Brevísima relación’s legal character is intimately linked to civil and ecclesial genres of the late Renaissance juridical tradition. This paradigm-shifting book contextualizes the formation of Las Casas’s juridical voice in canon law and theology—initially as a secular cleric, subsequently as a Dominican friar, and finally as a diocesan bishop—and demonstrates how his experienced juridical voice fought for justice in trans-Atlantic debates about Indigenous peoples’ level of humanity, religious freedom, enslavement, and conquest. Reaching the headwaters of Las Casas’s hitherto unheard juridical voice of law in the Brevísima relación provides readers with a previously unheard interpretation—an appealing voice for readers and students of this powerful Early Modern text that still resonates today. The Unheard Voice of Law is a valuable companion text for many in the disciplines of literature, history, theology, law, and philosophy who read Bartolomé de las Casas’s Very Brief Account and study his life, labor, and legacy.
Before the Spanish Conquest and well into the eighteenth century, Mesoamerican peoples believed that "time" and "space" were contained in earthly and heavenly receptacles that were visualized metaphorically. This circumscribed space contained the abodes of the dead. There, deities and ancestral spirits could be revived and the living could communicate with them. In Social Memory in Ancient and Colonial Mesoamerica, Amos Megged uncovers the missing links in Mesoamerican peoples' quest for their collective past. Analyzing ancient repositories of knowledge, as well as social and religious practices, he uncovers the unique procedures and formulas by which social memory was communicated and how it operated in Mesoamerica prior to the Spanish conquest. He also explores how cherished and revived practices evolved, how they were adapted to changing circumstances, and how they helped various ethnic groups cope with the tribulations of colonization and Christianization. Megged's volume also suggests how social and cultural historians, ethnohistorians, and anthropologists can rethink indigenous representations of the past while taking into account the deep transformations in Mexican society during the colonial era.
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.
This book offers a new account of human interaction and culture change for Mesoamerica that connects the present to the past. Social histories that assess the cultural upheavals between the Spanish invasion of Mesoamerica and the ethnographic present overlook the archaeological record, with its unique capacity to link local practices to global processes. To fill this gap, the authors weigh the material manifestations of the colonial and postcolonial trajectory in light of local, regional, and global historical processes that have unfolded over the last five hundred years. Research on a suite of issues—economic history, production of commodities, agrarian change, resistance, religious shifts, and sociocultural identity—demonstrates that the often shocking patterns observed today are historically contingent and culturally mediated, and therefore explainable. This book belongs to a new wave of scholarship that renders the past immediately relevant to the present, which Alexander and Kepecs see as one of archaeology’s most crucial goals.
The Legacy of Mesoamerica: History and Culture of a Native American Civilization summarizes and integrates information on the origins, historical development, and current situations of the indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica. It describes their contributions from the development of Mesoamerican Civilization through 20th century and their influence in the world community. For courses on Mesoamerica (Middle America) taught in departments of anthropology, history, and Latin American Studies.
Gale Researcher Guide for La Malinche and the Voice of Mesoamerican Women
Gale Researcher Guide for: La Malinche and the Voice of Mesoamerican Women is selected from Gale's academic platform Gale Researcher. These study guides provide peer-reviewed articles that allow students early success in finding scholarly materials and to gain the confidence and vocabulary needed to pursue deeper research.