loading...
- - -
Latin America European Portal
REDIAL European Network of Information and Documentation on Latin America
CEISAL European Council for Social Research on Latin America
Review Anales de Literatura Hispanoamericana

Ancient Mesoamerica

Review Anuario Brasileño de Estudios Hispánicos

Year: 2012 vol. 23 n. 2

Woodfill, Brent K.S.; Andrieu, Chloé. Tikal's Early Classic domination of the great western trade route: ceramic, lithic, and iconographic evidence. p. 189-209 Guatemala
Época prehispánica

Summary

This article reviews new evidence suggesting that Tikal and its allies controlled trade along the Pasión River during the latter half of the Early Classic period (ca. a.d. 460–550) and the possible impacts this had on geopolitical interaction. Recent data in the Candelaria Caves and other Pasión River sites showed the strong influence of Tikal during this time period that could indicate that they were active agents in interregional trade between the Maya highlands and lowlands. A quantitative reevaluation of the Pennsylvania lithic collection does demonstrate an important change in Tikal's importation of both obsidian and jade during the Early Classic period. Together, the stylistic changes in the locally manufactured ceramics and the drastic increase of lithic raw materials at Tikal strongly suggest that Tikal was directly or indirectly controlling the Chixoy-Pasión trade route at this time. After the defeat of Tikal by Caracol in a.d. 562, it apparently lost this influence, ceasing to be a strong agent in jade and obsidian production and exchange, instead becoming a wealthy consumer.

McVicker, Donald. Figurines are us? The social organization of Jaina Island, Campeche, Mexico. p. 211-234 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Despite the recognition by many scholars of the high esthetic value of Jaina-style figurines, they present a number of analytic problems. Their functions remain obscure, and their role in Late Classic period Maya society has not been adequately examined. Throughout southeastern Mesoamerica, with few exceptions, all figurines and fragments are found in domestic contexts, mostly trash heaps; on Jaina, most examples come from graves. This article addresses the question of Jaina exceptionalism. It places its unique features in the broader context of Terminal Classic political and economic developments that were sweeping across the northern Maya Lowlands. Here I argue that the use of figurines in domestic rituals determined their appropriateness for placement in a particular grave, rather than the age, sex, or occupation of the deceased.

Venter, Marcie L. A reassessment of the extent of the Eastern Aztec Empire in the Mesoamerican Gulf Lowlands. p. 235-250 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Ethnohistoric documents have been used to define the eastern limits of the Aztec empire in the Mesoamerican southern Gulf lowlands with contradictory results. Until the research presented here, complementary archaeological evidence for Aztec imperial interactions has largely evaded detection in this region. In this paper, I review the documentary data for Aztec expansion and interactions near its eastern frontier and present the most robust archaeological evidence discovered to date that supports this imperial presence in the southern Gulf lowlands. A new model for imperial-local interaction is also introduced.

Porcasi, Judith F. Pre-Hispanic-to-Colonial dietary transitions at Etzatlan, Jalisco, Mexico. p. 251-267 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Faunal analysis of subsistence remains from four sites in the Etzatlan Basin in western central Mexico presents important contrasts between pre-Hispanic and colonial dietary patterns. Specific changes in animal remains are well correlated with the transition from pre-Hispanic to colonial occupations tracked along a statistically derived timeline in which ceramic evidence for the onset of colonization is found. Allometry is used to calculate faunal biomass, and abundance and diversity indices are used to define these dietary patterns relative to the timeline. There is a decrease in use of large mammals over time and an increased use of smaller mammals, birds, and reptiles/amphibians. In particular, a marked increase in exploitation of the most important native large mammal (for example, deer) is found during early colonial occupation. However, this bounty decreased appreciably during later periods, consistent with widening of dietary breadth by inclusion of less preferred resources.

Glover, Jeffrey B. The Yalahou Region: a study of Ancient Maya sociopolitical organizationIn  Contemporary Archaeology in Yucatan p. 271-295 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

The Yalahau Regional Settlement Pattern Survey (YRSPS) addresses the complex negotiations that constituted ancient Maya society through an investigation of the distribution of settlement across the Yalahau region of northern Quintana Roo, Mexico. This paper begins with a brief culture-historical background of the Yalahau region where occupation ranges from the Middle Preclassic period (700–200 b.c.) to the Postclassic period (a.d. 1100–1521). The region had its peak occupation during the Terminal Preclassic period (75 b.c./a.d. 100–a.d. 400), and this paper explores how monumental architecture, through its size and the rituals conducted in and around it, materialized an enduring sense of community identity during this time period. In so doing, this paper examines the tensions within and between communities as sociopolitical strategies are negotiated and contested in the continually messy process of constituting society.

Hutson, Scott R.; Magnoni, Aline; Stanton, Travis W. "All that is solid…": sacbes, settlement, and semiotics at Tzacauil, YucatanIn  Contemporary Archaeology in Yucatan p. 297-311 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

This paper applies structuration theory and semiotics to interpret the results of a recently completed total coverage pedestrian survey to the east of Yaxuna, Yucatan. Data from this survey suggest that a social group centered at the site of Tzacauil vied for political clout in the Late Preclassic period through the construction of a triadic acropolis 3 km from Yaxuna. This group also initiated but did not complete a new experimental construction: a long-distance causeway between the two sites. A central facet of structuration is the instability of social practice. Rules can be altered when transposed to new contexts, while durable resources, such as causeways and acropolis groups, do not ensure the solidity of the coalitions they are meant to represent. Despite an outlay of labor never again seen to the east of Yaxuna, Tzacauil had a rather short occupation. Though they never completed the causeway, the people of Tzacauil did succeed in transforming the conventional understanding of causeways. These events support a semiotic approach since they show that materiality is contingent: it has a potential that people may or may not work to realize.

Magnoni, Aline; Hutson, Scott R.; Dahlin, Bruce H. Living in the city: settlement patterns and the urban experience at Classic period Chunchucmil, Yucatan, MexicoIn  Contemporary Archaeology in Yucatan p. 313-343 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

In this paper we illustrate the distinctive settlement patterns of the city of Chunchucmil during its largest occupation in the middle of the Classic period (a.d. 400–650). The unusually dense urban settlement showcased a network of boundary walls and chichbes surrounding residential groups and narrow streets winding between the tightly bounded houselots. Using a sample of 392 completely and unambiguously bounded houselots, we review the basic characteristics, the structural composition, and variability of late Early Classic and early Late Classic residential groups. Then, we explore how these city dwellers may have experienced their urban environment. Our focus is on understanding how the material aspects of the socially constructed space affected people's practices and how this materiality helped create and define specific household identities as well as extra-household social bonds.

Manahan, T. Kam; Ardren, Traci; Alonso Olvera, Alejandra. Household organization and the dynamics os State expansion: the Late Classic–Terminal Classic transformation at Xuenkal, Yucatan, MexicoIn  Contemporary Archaeology in Yucatan p. 345-364 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

While changing views of the sociopolitical history of the northern Maya lowlands now recognize that Chichen Itza's emergence as a major polity on an unprecedented scale occurred during the Terminal Classic period, rather than the Early Postclassic period, the ramifications of significant chronological overlap between Chichen Itza's rise and the demise of neighboring polities have been largely unexplored. The ancient Maya center of Xuenkal, located in the Cupul region about 45 km northeast of Chichen Itza, is one of the few known interior sites to contain substantial (and discrete) Cehpech and Sotuta occupations. The Proyecto Arqueológico Xuenkal (PAX) was initiated in 2004 to elucidate Chichen Itza's role in the history of the Cupul region and what role local Xuenkal elites may have played in negotiating regional political dynamics. As with many surrounding centers, it appears that Xuenkal's occupational history reached its zenith with the Late Classic–Terminal Classic Cehpech ceramic sphere. However, unlike neighboring sites associated with Cehpech, such as Ek' Balam or Yaxuna, Xuenkal also contained a substantial Sotuta settlement concentrated within the site core during the Terminal Classic period. These populations adapted into an evolving regional economy by dramatically increasing household production as compared to Late Classic groups. While Sotuta households were tightly integrated into Chichen Itza's regional economy, evidence for their direct state control is not readily apparent. We suggest that the relationship between Chichen Itza and regional communities was more dynamic than current models contend, and that Chichen Itza's political machinations across the peninsula must be considered in local contexts that varied across households, communities, and regions.

Anderson, David S.; Baira, Daniel A.; Terry, Richard E. Soil geochemical analyses at the Preclassic site of Xtobo, Yucatan, MexicoIn  Contemporary Archaeology in Yucatan p. 365-377 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

The geochemical analysis of soil samples collected in association with archaeological remains has proven to be an effective tool in the identification of past human behaviors. These methodologies are here applied to the study of notable features from the site of Xtobo, Yucatan, Mexico. Xtobo is a Preclassic Maya regional center in northwest Yucatan exhibiting a complex settlement pattern, including a well-defined plaza, multiple raised causeways, and a ballcourt. In addition, the site includes a large defined open area, which was initially thought to be a potential marketplace. The results of the geochemical soil analyses identified several areas of food production and consumption throughout the site, along with potential craft production zones. The results in association with the potential marketplace were intriguing, but inconclusive.

Pérez de Heredia Puente, Eduardo J. The Yabnal-Motul ceramic complex of the Late Classic period at Chichen ItzaIn  Contemporary Archaeology in Yucatan p. 379-402 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Our understanding of the history of ancient Chichen Itza has been advanced significantly in recent years by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia's Chichen Itza Archaeological Project. One important advance has been the definition of a new ceramic complex for the site of Yabnal, which dates to the Late Classic period, and corresponds to the Motul ceramic complex of Mayapan. The majority of materials used to define the Yabnal complex come from recent excavation of terraces and platforms distributed throughout the entire area occupied by Chichen Itza in its heyday, but also includes finds in association with the construction and use of buildings with rooms such as the substructure of the Temple of the Initial Series. The most important ceramic materials include complete and restorable vessels obtained from sealed contexts. The Yabnal ceramic complex displays a variety of local and imported wares, similar to those found elsewhere in the northern plains, with the Slate Ware group proving possibly the most important. Ceramic Slate Ware is a high-quality ceramic characterized by the frequent use of volcanic ash as temper, and demonstrates a deeply rooted tradition in northern Yucatan, spanning roughly 600 years. Although most recent discussion of ceramics at Chichen Itza has focused on the Terminal Classic and Postclassic periods, this study examines the early Yabnal ceramic complex of the Late Classic period with a focus on the site, its chronology, and the important implications this ceramic complex has for the general history of the northern plains.

Ceballos Gallareta, Teresa; Robles Castellanos, Fernando. Las etapas más tempranas de la alfarería maya en el noroeste de la península de YucatánIn  Contemporary Archaeology in Yucatan p. 403-419 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Excavaciones de salvamento arqueológico en varios sitios aledaños a la ciudad de Mérida han aportado nueva información sobre las características y la ubicación cronológica de las etapas más antiguas de la alfarería maya del noroeste de Yucatan. Un reciente cotejo de previas y nuevas evidencias estratigráficas y la calibración 1–2 sigma de 16 fechas de 14C provenientes de contextos preclásicos, nos sugiere que la producción del repertorio cerámico Nabanche temprano, el más antiguo hallado hasta ahora en el norte de Yucatan, comenzó en una fecha anterior al año 1000 a.C. Después del año 400 a.C. la alfarería Nabanche temprano empezó a ser reemplazada paulatinamente por nuevos grupos cerámicos, principalmente por el Xanaba rojo, hasta su virtual desaparición al inicio de la era cristiana.

Götz, Christopher M. Caza y pesca prehispánicas en la costa norte peninsular yucatecaIn  Contemporary Archaeology in Yucatan p. 421-439 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Recientes exploraciones arqueológicas en el litoral norteño de la península yucateca, México, han arrojado nuevos datos de la interacción entre humanos y animales en tiempos prehispánicos. En este artículo queremos discutir el patrón de aprovechamiento seguido por parte de los pobladores prehispánicos en dicha zona costera, basándonos en dos conjuntos zooarqueológicos correspondientes a los sitios de Isla Cerritos e Xcambo respectivamente, ambos ubicados en el Estado Mexicano de Yucatan y pertenecientes a la cultura maya prehispánica. La discusión conjunta del aprovechamiento manifestado a través de los dos sitios está motivada en primer lugar por la relativa cercanía entre ambos asentamientos, y en segundo lugar, porque los dos sitios son cronológicamente continuos y permiten esbozar el desarrollo del aprovechamiento precolombino de fauna costera a través de una secuencia cronológica de aproximadamente 850 años. Una parte importante del trabajo está dedicada a describir los hallazgos de una especie de mamífero hoy extinta, identificada entre los materiales faunísticos: la foca tropical (Monachus tropicalis). Los especímenes constituyen los únicos hallazgos de su tipo relacionados a reminiscencias culturales prehispánicas en Mesoamérica hasta la fecha y son de particular interés, porque desde hace más de 20 años se había supuesto, sin sustento en hallazgos materiales, el aprovechamiento de focas por parte de los mayas prehispánicos. El hallazgo de huesos de esta especie en contextos arqueológicos nos permite ahora afirmar la hipótesis, demostrando que sí hubo aprovechamiento, a pequeña escala, de esta especie por parte de los ocupantes costeros prehispánicos de la región.

Hernández Álvarez, Héctor; May, Nancy Peniche. Los malacates arqueológicos de la península de YucatánIn  Contemporary Archaeology in Yucatan p. 441-459 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

El trabajo presenta una propuesta de tipología de malacates procedentes de distintos sitios de las tierras bajas mayas del norte tales como Chichen Itza, Ciudad Caucel, Dzidzilche, Ek Balam, Poxila, Siho, Isla Cerritos, Ichpaatun y Xaman Susula. Tales malacates corresponden a temporalidades que van desde el período preclásico hasta el posclásico. El análisis de esta muestra se basa en la correlación de sus atributos formales. Otros atributos tales como el tipo cerámico, el contexto del hallazgo y sus elementos decorativos y simbólicos también son considerados. El principal objetivo es demostrar que en la península de Yucatan hay evidencia de una continuidad de la presencia de la industria textil, así como cambios en la forma y el uso de los malacates, que muy probablemente sirvieron para el hilado de fibras de algodón. Consideramos que estos objetos en el área maya, muestran una estrecha relación con las labores femeninas, esto a partir de su contrastación con datos provenientes de las fuentes etnohistóricas, de las representaciones iconográficas sobre la actividad textil y los mismos malacates provenientes de otras regiones de Mesoamérica, principalmente el centro de México. De manera particular, pretendemos determinar si es posible obtener información complementaria sobre el tipo de fibras que se hilaban con ellos o cuestiones más complejas, como la atribución de género y estatus, que son aspectos recurrentes en la interpretación de estos materiales arqueológicos.

Ancient Mesoamerica
Paper | Numerical version with subscription | Semestral | United Kingdom Print ISSN: 0956-5361
Online ISSN: 1469-1787
Year of creation: 1990

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Address: The Edinburgh Building; Shaftesbury Road
Cambridge CB2 8RU United Kingdom

Foro Internacional sobre metodología, teoría, análisis e interpretación de la arqueología, historia del arte y etnohistoria de Mesoamérica. La revista publica artículos principalmente interesados en la arqueología precolombina de la región mesoamericana, pero también incluye artículos de otras disciplinas incluyendo Etnohistoria, arqueología histórica y Etnoarqueología. Los temas incluyen los orígenes de la agricultura, la base económica de las ciudades-Estado e imperios, organización política a través de los períodos desde el formativo hasta el colonial temprano, el desarrollo y función de la escritura y el uso de la iconografía para reconstruir las prácticas y creencias religiosas antiguas.
Ceisal Redial © REDIAL & CEISAL. Editorial responsibility: Araceli García Martín - AECID (Madrid, España),
Jussi Pakkasvirta - Ceisal (Helsinki, Finlandia).
Web development: Olivier Bertoncello Data Consulting    Web hosting: CCIN2P3: CCIN2P3