Matching Items (6)

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Dietary practices, socioeconomic status, and social mobility at Teotihuacan, Mexico

Description

This project investigates social mobility in premodern states through a contextualized program of isotopic research at the archaeological site of Teotihuacan, Mexico. Due to the lack of a concrete methodology

This project investigates social mobility in premodern states through a contextualized program of isotopic research at the archaeological site of Teotihuacan, Mexico. Due to the lack of a concrete methodology that can be used to recover information concerning rates of social mobility from archaeological remains, many traditional archaeological models either ignore social mobility or assume that boundaries between socioeconomic strata within archaic states were largely impermeable. In this research, I develop a new methodological approach to the identification of socially mobile individuals in the archaeological record based on changes in the diet across the lifecourse that can be detected through isotopic paleodietary indicators. Drawing upon cross-cultural research surrounding the relationship between diet and socioeconomic status and established methodologies in the biogeochemical analysis of human remains, this methodological approach provides a basis for broader comparative studies evaluating the nature of social mobility within archaic states.

I then test the practical application of this methodology by applying it to a mortuary sample including individuals from distinctive socioeconomic groups from the pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan, Mexico. The study recovers and uses the dietary isotope ratios within bone and tooth samples from 81 individuals buried throughout the city 1) to define the dietary correlates of wealth and status at Teotihuacan and 2) to identify individuals displaying lifetime dietary changes consistent with changes in socioeconomic status. In addition to supplementing our current understanding of Teotihuacan foodways and processes of geographic migration into the city, I identify an adult male individual from the La Ventilla B apartment compound who displays dietary changes throughout his life that are consistent with downward socioeconomic mobility from a high status socioeconomic group in early adolescence to an intermediate status group later in adulthood. I conclude by identifying ways to move forward with the comparative archaeology of socioeconomic mobility in premodern contexts and highlight the applicability of archaeological information to our understanding of present-day processes of social mobility.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Regional interaction and world-system incorporation during the Classic Period in the western Sierra de los Tuxtlas, Veracruz, Mexico

Description

This archaeological study applies a world-systems-based approach in evaluating regional economic interaction among independent polities. It focuses specifically on interaction between local polities and Teotihuacan-affiliated populations in the Western Tuxtlas

This archaeological study applies a world-systems-based approach in evaluating regional economic interaction among independent polities. It focuses specifically on interaction between local polities and Teotihuacan-affiliated populations in the Western Tuxtlas Region of the Gulf Coast of Veracruz, Mexico during the Early Classic and Middle Classic periods (A.D. 300-650). Changes in regional economics followed the founding of the Teotihuacan-linked center of Matacapan in the Catemaco River Valley. To assess these changes, this research characterizes the consumption of Matacapan-produced imports in two independent neighboring polities to reconstruct regional distribution networks and assess Matacapan’s impact on the region.

The Central Highland capital of Teotihuacan had variable influence throughout Mesoamerica. One pronounced occurrence of this influence has been identified at Matacapan, which displays strong material culture and architectural connections to Teotihuacan. This research therefore employs a modified world-systems framework which removes the assumption of hierarchy and instead focuses on regional interaction within the periphery. It views the establishment of regional distribution networks centered at Matacapan that articulate with the two neighboring polities as a form of incorporation, the process wherein external groups are brought into a system.

To assess incorporation, four potential Matacapan-centered networks are analyzed. These networks consist of the distribution of two ceramic types and obsidian blades produced from two sources. Artifacts from survey, surface collection, and excavation were subjected to ceramic analysis, lithic analysis, petrography, neutron activation analysis, and X-ray fluorescence analysis to identify source, form, and production technology. These data aid in determining network participation in each polity. By assessing importation in these local polities, the form and degree of their incorporation will be identified.

Incorporation of indigenous polities into regional networks was not uniform within the Western Tuxtlas Region. Two Matacapan-centered networks were identified, and they differ in form and extent. One indigenous polity, Teotepec, participated in both networks while the other, Totocapan, participated in one. I argue that Teotepec’s incorporation into a second network was strategic in that it was mutually beneficial to both involved parties. Additionally, indigenous Tuxtlas’ polities were able to negotiate interaction with their Teotihuacan-affiliated neighbor for desired goods without forfeiting political or cultural autonomy.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Ritual, performatividad y resistencia en la obra fotográfica de Alberto Turok

Description

The indigenous communities of Chiapas, Mexico, have long manifested resistance to oppression and discrimination. This study centers on the analysis of Chiapas: el fin del silencio (1998) by Alberto Turok,

The indigenous communities of Chiapas, Mexico, have long manifested resistance to oppression and discrimination. This study centers on the analysis of Chiapas: el fin del silencio (1998) by Alberto Turok, connecting the work of the photographer to the problems faced by indigenous people in the region, such as inequality and marginalization. Race, class, gender, and globalization, in addition to the emergence of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN), are essential factors to the discourse of resistance. EZLN, an armed indigenous group in Chiapas, led by its famed leader, Subcomandante Marcos, clearly opposed the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In examining resistance, ritual, and performance, the photography of Turok serves as testimony of the struggles of indigenous people and the relevance it has for a diverse Mexican society.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Given, borrowed, bought, stolen: exchange and economic organization in postclassic Sauce and its hinterland in Veracruz, Mexico

Description

This study analyzed archaeological residential inventories from the center of Sauce and its hinterlands to address the possible appearance of markets and the structure of exchange during the Middle Postclassic

This study analyzed archaeological residential inventories from the center of Sauce and its hinterlands to address the possible appearance of markets and the structure of exchange during the Middle Postclassic period (A.D. 1200-1350) in south-central Veracruz, Mexico. Economic development is rarely the result of a coherent strategy either on the part of managing or consuming elites or on the part of the average consumer. Instead, a combination of strategies and overlapping exchange systems provided the context, rather than any one explanation, for how commercial market exchange develops. Identifying the context is challenging because economies have multiple exchange mechanisms, which require clearly defined expectations that separate spatial and network (distributional) data. This separation is vital because different exchange mechanisms such as centralized redistribution versus central-place marketing produce similar spatial patterns. Recent innovations in identifying exchange mechanisms use network (distributional) instead of spatial expectations. Based on this new body of knowledge, new quantitative methods were developed to distinguish between exchange through social networks versus market exchange for individual items based on comparisons of household inventories, later combining this information with spatial and contextual analyses. First, a Bayesian-inspired Monte Carlo computer simulation was designed to identify exchange mechanisms, using all household items including cooking utensils, serving dishes, chipped stone tools, etc., from 65 residential units from Sauce and its hinterland. Next, the socioeconomic rank of households, GIS spatial analyses, and quality assessments of pottery and other items were used to evaluate social and political aspects of exchange and consumption. The results of this study indicated that most products were unrestricted in access, and spatial analyses showed they were acquired in a market near Sauce. Few restrictions on most of the polychromes, chipped stone, and assorted household items (e.g., spindle whorls) lend strong support to commoner household prominence in developing markets. However, there were exceptions. Dull Buff Polychrome was associated with the Sauce center; analyses showed that its access was restricted through social networks. "Cookie-cutter" style figurines and incense burners also showed restriction. Restricted items found in Sauce and wealthier residences indicate enduring political and social inequalities within market development. For Sauce, a combination of elite and commoner household interests was crucial in supporting the growth of commercial exchange rather than a top-down directive.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Craft production and socio-economic marginality: living on the periphery of urban Teotihuacan

Description

This dissertation investigates socio-economic strategies adopted by a small craftworking community situated on the edge of one of the earliest, largest and most complex cities in Mesoamerica. The focus of

This dissertation investigates socio-economic strategies adopted by a small craftworking community situated on the edge of one of the earliest, largest and most complex cities in Mesoamerica. The focus of investigation is San Jose 520, a hamlet located on the southeastern margin of Teotihuacan and occupied primarily during the Tlamimilolpa and Xolalpan phases (ca. A.D. 200-500). Its inhabitants were potters of low socio-economic status living in small, architecturally simple residential structures. The investigation complements much more numerous studies of higher-status groups residing in Teotihuacan's famous apartment compounds, much larger and architecturally more formal structures clustered primarily within built-up parts of the city. The founding residents of San Jose 520 might have initially been immigrants, arriving at Teotihuacan after most of the city was already filled in and occupied, and therefore settling in a spatially marginal area with limited potential for farming. Archaeological field and lab investigations demonstrate that they adopted ceramic production as a strategy of economic survival in a competitive urban system. They specialized in the manufacture of the outcurving bowl--a vessel widely used at Teotihuacan for food service and certain ritual activities. At smaller scales of production, these potters also made other types of serving and ritual vessels and figurines. Evidence relating to mortuary and domestic rituals indicates participation in a number of the rituals typical of other sectors of Teotihuacan society, but not all. The most general goal of this investigation is to improve understanding of how socially and spatially marginal peoples possessing low economic status developed and exploited viable economic niches in pre-industrial urban systems. The San Jose 520 potters appear dynamic in their economic adjustment--in part by enhancing their production system over time through the adoption of various specialized pot-making tools (some as yet undocumented for Teotihuacan), and to some extent by modifying their product line, they survived for many generations. Nevertheless, they never succeeded in significantly raising their economic status; at the time of their apparent disappearance sometime in the Xolalpan phase, these potters and their households continued to constitute a case study of urban poverty in a massive pre-industrial city.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

Epiclassic and early postclassic interaction in central Mexico as evidenced by decorated pottery

Description

There has been debate and uncertainty on two important issues in the Basin of Mexico: the formation of Epiclassic city-states following Teotihuacan state collapse (ca. A.D. 650), and the nature

There has been debate and uncertainty on two important issues in the Basin of Mexico: the formation of Epiclassic city-states following Teotihuacan state collapse (ca. A.D. 650), and the nature of the subsequent Early Postclassic Tula state expansion. I evaluate the Basin as a case of regeneration of socio-political complexity using stylistic and compositional pottery analysis to examine patterns of interaction from the Epiclassic (ca. A.D. 600/650-850) through the Early Postclassic (ca. A.D. 850-1150). I selected representative specimens of temporally diagnostic pottery from the three large settlement clusters in the northwestern Basin (Tula and the Zumpango region), the northeastern Basin (Teotihuacan Valley), and the southeastern Basin (Cerro Portezuelo, the Ixtapalapa and Chalco regions) to assess: 1) participation in regional cultural complexes, 2) direct exchange or local production of particular pottery types, 3) regional variation in the production of pottery. For certain time periods, ceramic patterns among smaller settlements clusters were distinguished. The combination of chemical and attribute analysis provided a robust method for identifying regional variation in pottery. Chemical characterization using Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) was used to provide fine-scaled compositional reference groups to assess regional production and exchange. Stylistic and technological attributes were used to define highly visible decorative traditions that were easily copied and low visibility production steps that were learned. Teotihuacan withdrawal from the southeastern Basin prompted reorganization and adoption of a distinctive pottery complex. Epiclassic settlement patterns throughout the Basin were reorganized into nucleated settlement clusters with unoccupied areas between them. Results indicate regional participation in the Coyotlatelco pottery tradition and a strong pattern of consumption of locally produced pottery by settlement cluster. Tula underwent significant urban growth in the Early Postclassic, while the Basin was marked by a process of "ruralization" as the Epiclassic centers dispersed and settlements filled the previously unoccupied landscape. Tula expanded its influence into the Basin with varying degrees of integration. The closest settlements in the northwestern Basin acquired the most Tula-produced pottery. The Teotihuacan Valley and Cerro Portezuelo settlements consumed mostly locally produced Tula style pottery. The southeastern settlements were least connected to Tula and initiated interactions towards Puebla-Tlaxcala.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011