Offering an alternative to traditional textbooks, Mesoamerican Archaeology: Theory and Practice places the reader in the middle of contemporary debates by top archaeologists actively exploring the major prehispanic societies of Central America. Offers a comprehensive introduction to the archaeology of Mesoamerica by focusing on key time periods, sites, and the issues these times and places require us to confront. Examines key moments in the Mesoamerican historical tradition, from the earliest villages where Olmec art flourished, to the Aztec and Maya City-states that Spanish invaders described in the 16th century. Engages the chronological benchmarks of precolumbian social development in Mesoamerica, such as the transition to village life, emergence of political stratification, and formation of Mesoamerican urban centers. Includes an extensive introduction by the editors that situates contemporary Mesoamerican archaeology in the broader terms of the social politics of archaeology. For further resources to use with this book - including study questions, maps and photographs - visit the website at www.blackwellpublishing.com/BSGA/mesoam
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 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.
Illustrates new methodological directions in analyzing human social and biological variation Offers a wide array of research on past populations around the globe Explains the central features of bioarchaeological research by key researchers and established experts around the world
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.
"Exploring the intersection of spirituality and materiality, Mesoamerican Ritual Economy will be of interest to all scholars studying how worldview and belief motivate economic behavior."--BOOK JACKET.
Gazing into the black skies from the Anasazi observatory at Chimney Rock or the Castillo Pyramid in the Maya ruins of Chichen Itza, a modern visitor might wonder what ancient stargazers looked for in the skies and what they saw. Once considered unresearchable, these questions now drive cultural astronomers who draw on written and unwritten records and a constellation of disciplines. Cultural astronomy has evolved at ferocious speed since its genesis in the 1960s, with seminal essays and powerful rebuttals published in far-flung, specialized journals. Until now, only the most closely involved scholars could follow the intellectual fireworks. In this new reader, Anthony Aveni--one of cultural astronomy's founders and top scholars and a former National Professor of the Year--offers a selection of the essays that built the field, from foundational works to contemporary scholarship. Aveni also serves up incisive commentary, background for the uninitiated, suggested reading, and more.