Matching Items (3)

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

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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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  • 2011

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

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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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  • 2011

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

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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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  • 2011