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Review Anales de Literatura Hispanoamericana

Ancient Mesoamerica

Review Anuario Brasileño de Estudios Hispánicos

Year: 2015 vol. 26 n. 2

Ashmore, Wendy. Contingent Acts of Remembrance: Royal Ancestors of Classic Maya Copan and Quirigua. p. 213-231 Centroamérica
Guatemala | Honduras
Época prehispánica

Summary

Classic Maya history is deeply political, and religious and political activities frequently inseparable. This essay advocates directly comparing mortuary practices over time for rulers at politically and economically linked centers. Most specifically it outlines an experimental model of how acts of remembrance in royal ancestor veneration articulate with local and regional politico-economic dynamics, and to do so with respect to acts attested in archaeological, bioarchaeological, textual, and iconographic sources. The particular case here pairs Classic-period Copan and Quirigua, where for centuries, the former was overlord to the latter. The evidence suggests that while treatment of royal ancestors draws on a set of established Maya practices, scale, elaboration and choice among those practices was contingent on the role each of the decedents held at particular points in political history, and the temporal orientation of those who commissioned remembrance acts.

Ball, Joseph W.; Taschek, Jennifer T. Ceramic History, Ceramic Change, and Architectural Sequence at Acanmul, Campeche: A Local Chronicle and its Regional Implications. p. 233-273 Centroamérica
México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Acanmul is a medium-size center located at the north end of the Bay of Campeche about 25 km northeast of the city of Campeche. Between 1999 and 2005, three independent sets of investigations and major architectural consolidation were carried out at the center by archaeologists from the Universidad Autónoma de Campeche (UAC), the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), Centro Regional de Campeche, and UAC in collaboration with San Diego State University. These efforts produced a wealth of new information on the archaeology of the central Campeche coast, including new insights into the emergence and evolution of the northern slateware tradition and the architectural history of the central coast from Preclassic through Postclassic times. New data concerning changing relationships through time of the central coast Maya to both the interior central and southern lowlands and to the northern plains also were documented, as was the mid ninth century sacking of the center. This article synthesizes the findings of the three separate institutional efforts at Acanmul and offers a number of new cultural historical scenarios and hypotheses based on them.

Rice, Prudence M.; South, Katherine E. Revisiting Monkeys on Pots: A Contextual Consideration of Primate Imagery on Classic Lowland Maya Pottery. p. 275-294 Centroamérica
México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Four species of monkeys may have lived in the Maya region in pre-Columbian times: two howler monkey species, the spider monkey, and possibly the capuchin. Simians also played an important role in Maya creation myth and cosmology, and are frequently represented on Maya pottery and in glyphic texts. Scholars disagree, however, on which monkeys are depicted. Here we provide an analysis of 142 monkey images on 97 pots, focusing especially on Classic-period lowland polychromes. Multiple physical characteristics of the primates are considered, along with cultural traits, to provide appropriate biological and cultural contexts and artistic conventions necessary to their interpretation. Besides the well-known scribal roles (attributed to howlers and “Monkey-Men”), we conclude that monkeys commonly take on pictorial and non-pictorial roles that involve carrying or bringing goods such as tribute or cacao. In contexts of liminality, these creatures are often charged with transcending natural and social realms.

Spence, Michael W. Personal Aart in Teotihuacan: The Thin Orange Graffiti. p. 295-311 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

In the Classic period Teotihuacan imported large quantities of Thin Orange ware from the Tepexi de Rodríguez area of Puebla. Thin Orange bowls were widely distributed in the city, many of them with post-firing graffiti inscribed on their walls or bases. Although not highly visible, the graffiti seem to have served as owner's marks. Some of the images, particularly in the city's central zone with its high concentration of elite residences and public structures, were drawn from the formal iconography of Teotihuacan. Most, however, seem to have been idiosyncratic expressions of personal identity or simply marks with no wider meaning. This general disinterest in the formal iconography as a source of personal imagery suggests that the ideology of the state may not have penetrated deeply into the daily lives of most Teotihuacanos and may even have stimulated some resistance.

King, Timothy B. The Case for the Aztec Goldsmith. p. 313-327 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

There is compelling evidence to believe that some gold ornaments in the South Mexican International Style found outside the Basin of Mexico, or without provenience, were made by goldsmiths in the urban centers of the Aztec empire, rather than by the Mixtec artisans to whom they are commonly attributed. The weight of gold dust and bullion recorded as tribute to the Aztec rulers in the Codex Mendoza and other sources was sufficient to produce 22,000–27,000 small and medium-sized ornaments annually, implying a large number of goldworkers in these urban centers. Ethnohistorical documents indicate that many gold ornaments were given to provincial leaders by Aztec rulers who used gifts of luxury items as an important part of their diplomatic strategies, and political patronage system; many more were exported by means of long-distance trade.

Mysyk, Avis; Morales Cano, Lucero. The Ethnohistory and Archaeology of Cuauhquechollan, Valley of Atlixco, Mexico. p. 329-345 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Despite the commercial, economic, and military importance of the Valley of Atlixco to the history of Mesoamerica, it has not received as much attention from ethnohistorians and archaeologists as it warrants. This paper illustrates that importance by attempting to correlate different types of evidence from the sites of Atlixco and Cuauhquechollan. Atlixco—the settlement referred to in the ethnohistoric sources as Cuauhquechollan—was occupied continuously from the Early Preclassic period to the middle of the Late Postclassic period (a.d. 1443), when it was relocated 20 km to the southwest (present-day Huaquechula). The new settlement retained the name, Cuauhquechollan, while Atlixco became referred to as Huehuecuauhquechollan (Old Cuauhquechollan). The evidence consists of a variety of ethnohistoric sources, the archaeological record (settlement patterns and ceramic materials), and the iconography of Late Postclassic sculptures and carvings located in and around Huaquechula, and in the immediate vicinity of the Valley of Atlixco. In spite of the limitations of the different types of evidence, the findings suggest that there are sufficient points of overlap to allow for a better understanding of the importance of the Valley of Atlixco and to provide the impetus for further research.

Olivier, Guilhem; Martínez, Roberto. Translating Gods: Tohil and Curicaueri in Mesoamerican Polytheism in the Popol Vuh and the Relación de Michoacán. p. 347-369 Centroamérica
México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Although it was common in Mesoamerica to adopt foreign deities from other pantheons, less is known about the processes of “translating” foreign deities as a function of the divinities' attributes. This article analyzes the degree of intelligibility among pre-Hispanic K'iche’, P'urepecha, and Nahua peoples based on the study of patron gods Tohil and Curicaueri and their possible equivalents in the Central Highland pantheon. We can see that the search for divine homologues on the part of Mesoamerican peoples implies, beyond cultural homogeneity, an ongoing exchange of information, and recognition of the religion of the “other” based on equal standing, which tends to be a characteristic of polytheistic peoples in general.

McClung de Tapia, Emily. Holoceno Paleoenvironment and Prehispanic Landscape Evolution in the Basin of MexicoIn  Taking Stock of Basin of Mexico Archaeology in the Early Twenty-First Century p. 375-389 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Paleoenvironmental and geoarchaeological data generated over the past three decades for parts of the Basin of Mexico are little known among archaeologists working in the region. This paper summarizes and evaluates what is currently known about the prehistoric environment, landscape development, and human impact in the region. Archaeological evidence indicates that human activity became important in ecosystem evolution in the basin during the Middle-Late Holocene. Most traditional paleoenvironmental studies based on lake sediments, however, generalize results corresponding to this period simply as evidence for human impact. Essentially the same vegetation communities extant in the basin today appear to have been present during most of the Holocene, albeit with broader distributions and variability in secondary taxa. Recognizing potential contributions of archaeology to understanding human adaptation to climatic and ecosystemic change, past and present, should stimulate future research on paleoenvironment in the region.

Biskowski, Martin. Towards Future Economic Research in the Basin of MexicoIn  Taking Stock of Basin of Mexico Archaeology in the Early Twenty-First Century p. 391-405 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Ongoing archaeological site destruction will limit future opportunities to conduct field research in the Basin of Mexico. Preparing for this future requires assessment of the resources that may be lost and the research that might be accomplished. Developing priorities to assist future studies of ancient economies is complicated by the evolving nature of this research. Nonetheless, trends in this research over the past few decades highlight the increasingly heavy data requirements associated with addressing economic issues. Much future research will be undercut if the required data are neither gathered nor collectable. Furthermore, many unresolved issues should be addressed while opportunities for further research remain available. The examples presented here focus on the development of the regional economy and generally reflect the author's concerns with the subsistence economy. Among these issues are characterizing more clearly the role of the site of Coapexco within the Early Formative economy, clarifying Teotihuacan's relationship with the rest of the basin when the city first achieved hegemony, and obtaining a more complete picture of the economic concerns and internal economic organization of the city. These examples represent a broader set of research issues than can be discussed in a single paper, but they illustrate the kind of work archaeologists must consider completing while they can.

Nichols, Deborah L. Intensive Agriculture and Early Complex Societies of the Basin of Mexico: The Formative PeriodIn  Taking Stock of Basin of Mexico Archaeology in the Early Twenty-First Century p. 407-421 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Intensive agriculture was a key feature in the development of early complex societies in the Basin of Mexico. In this paper, I review the theoretical underpinnings of archaeological understandings of agriculture change, its relationship to culture change, and how these theoretical perspectives have shifted between top-down and bottom up perspectives. Next I examine current knowledge of intensive agriculture within the dynamic context of the Formative or Preclassic period. The paper concludes with a discussion of how our models and theories of the complex interplay between intensive agriculture and political economy to explain the change from village-based societies to states and cities outstrip available data in the basin.

García Chávez, Raúl E.; Gamboa Cabezas, Luis Manuel; Vélez Saldaña, Nadia. Los sitios rurales y la estrategia expansionista del estado teotihuacano para la captación de recursos en la cuenca de MéxicoIn  Taking Stock of Basin of Mexico Archaeology in the Early Twenty-First Century p. 423-442 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Desde el inicio del siglo XX y después de los primeros recorridos que realizó Manuel Gamio, por el área de la Cuenca de México, se hizo patente que existían muchos sitios que de alguna forma estaban relacionados con Teotihuacan. Pero al no haber una forma sistemática de describirlos, solo algunos de esos sitios como Azcapotzalco (Gamio 1972) fueron reportados y no fue hasta los años sesenta de siglo XX, con los recorridos de superficie iniciados por Sanders y colegas en la Cuenca de México, que sabemos que Teotihuacan tuvo un ámbito rural a la manera de sitios satélite. Desafortunadamente, el conocimiento sobre la ubicación de los sitios rurales, no ha impedido que muchos de estos sitios, sean alterados o destruidos por las obras de construcción de autopistas, centros comerciales, áreas habitacionales y obras de infraestructura urbana en el área metropolitana de la ciudad de México. Es debido a esta situación, que la mayoría de los casos presentados en este trabajo corresponden a sitios que fueron explorados através de operaciones de salvamento arqueológico por quienes esto escriben, como miembros del Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México. Los restos arqueológicos que han sobrevivido hasta nuestros días muestran una parte de la amplia gama de sitios rurales teotihuacanos que existieron en el área de la Cuenca de México y cuyo estudio es importante para la determinación de los procesos de desarrollo de las sociedades del clásico. Se trata de sitios con variaciones en sus tamaños, con diferentes calidades constructivas y que aparecieron en diferentes fases entre los años d.C. 100 a d.C. 500 En este artículo describimos algunas características de los sitios intervenidos y estudiados, tratando de relacionar y comparar la información con la que existe sobre el gran centro urbano de Teotihuacan, por lo que aquí presentaremos una síntesis con los datos que están disponibles, para entender parte de los procesos de desarrollo de la sociedad del clásico en el altiplano de Mesoamérica.

Gómez Chávez, Sergio. La investigación y la conservación del patrimonio arqueológico en Teotihuacan: problemas, perspectivas y propuestasIn  Taking Stock of Basin of Mexico Archaeology in the Early Twenty-First Century p. 443-458 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

Teotihuacan es reconocido mundialmente como uno de los sitios arqueológicos más importantes para la investigación de las sociedades complejas, sin embargo, y a pesar de estar incluido desde 1987 en la lista de Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad por la UNESCO, en la actualidad enfrenta severos problemas que inciden directa y desfavorablemente en la conservación de los vestigios arqueológicos. Diversas situaciones de carácter administrativo también afectan los acervos que se resguardan de manera muy precaria en las instalaciones, bodegas y los dos museos ubicados dentro de la zona de monumentos. En los últimos años la exigencia de las cada vez más pobladas comunidades aledañas a la zona arqueológica por tener y mejorar los servicios públicos tanto como el crecimiento de la mancha urbana, ha provocado graves afectaciones al patrimonio arqueológico. Aunado a los problemas económicos del país, la ausencia de una política institucional, la falta de planes de trabajo a mediano y largo plazo encaminados a la preservación de los bienes arqueológicos del sitio, así como de programas dirigidos a las comunidades para concientizarlas e involucrarlas directamente en la conservación, han generado una actitud hostil y de desprecio de los pobladores para con los restos arqueológicos. Sin una estrategia institucional y alternativas viables para los habitantes de las comunidades, la mayor destrucción es ocasionada por los propios pobladores del valle o peor aún, por las instancias de gobierno estatal y municipal encargadas de dotar de los servicios a las comunidades. En este artículo se analizan algunos de problemas que afectan el patrimonio arqueológico de Teotihuacan. Se hace hincapié en la carencia de planes y programas de trabajo con objetivos a largo y mediano plazo, que ayuden a la preservación de los bienes arqueológicos, así como de la información que constituye los distintos acervos.

Charlton, Thomas H.; Fournier, Patricia; Charlton, Cynthia L. Otis. Historical Archaeology in the Basin of Mexico and the Central Mexican Symbiotic Region: Development, Present Status, Future ProspectsIn  Taking Stock of Basin of Mexico Archaeology in the Early Twenty-First Century p. 459-470 México
Época prehispánica

Summary

The development of the field of historical archaeology in Mexico has made many advances since the inception, in effect, of its practice there in the 1960s. The roots of historical archaeology in the Central Mexican Symbiotic Region (CMSR) in general and in the Basin of Mexico in particular are discussed. Specific case studies illustrating some of the Historical Archaeology that has been done in the CMSR are referenced with particular note of some of the diagnostic materials that have been valuable to the studies. The value of these studies to the record of post-Conquest Mexico is noted as are the prospects for continued research in the area.

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.
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