Day 8 - Americas

Day 8 - Americas - 1 2 AMERICAS Meso-America ("middle...

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1 1 AMERICAS 2 Meso-America (“middle Americas”) before Columbus, before Spanish colonization 1400s 3 modern Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, southern Mexico 4 Agricultural civilizations - complex societies, spread of innovations – tropical, flatlands to mountains. Before agriculture, nomadic stone tools, arrowheads. No metal tools 5 8000 BC, rise of agriculture – evidence of maize cultivation – domesticated, planted with pointed stick. Staple food for economy, culture, religion - tortillas. Maize spread across Americas, then world after European colonization. 6 2007 found remains of manioc farm buried by volcano. Also squash, beans, papaya, other fruit. Cacao. Hunting, fishing. ducks (no large animals) Pottery 2500 BC. 7 Olmec (Gulf of Mexico) 1200 BC - first (?) advanced MesoAmerican civilization - some archaeologists call “mother culture.” Agricultural. 8 LaVenta - most prominent Olmec city - modest (Great Pyramid only
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2 100 feet high) 9 LaVenta layout later influence (plazas, mounds, ballcourts). Ceremonial center - ritual drama, areas reserved for elite. Cemetery, buried (not for viewing) - represent jaguar god? Or tree of life? 10 Buildings clay, earth (moved by basket-loads), wood (now gone) - stone rare, reserve ceremonial use 17 massive stone heads (5-11 feet tall, 20 tons) – rulers? individuality - distinct headdresses. 11 carved from volcanic basalt 80 miles away - no wheels or pack animals - transport by water? 12 also stone thrones, stelae (monuments), altars 13 Olmec features influencing later cultures - trade routes, religion, rituals, sacrifice, ceremonial ballgames. Olmec disappeared about 300 BC, culture absorbed by others. 14 Teotihuacán - founders unclear - influenced by Maya, Olmec Largest city in Americas about 500 AD - pop’n 100,000-300,000 (bigger than Rome?). Thousands of buildings (wood, stone). 15 Built on grid - broad 2-mile central “Avenue of the Dead” - ceremonial structures - pyramids, platforms topped with temples 16 Religious center. “Pyramid of the sun” 100 BC-300 AD (stages)- stairway
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3 17 rituals 18 “Pyramid of the moon” - at least one tomb inside (incl. sacrificial animals) 19 Temple of the Feathered Serpent - sunken plaza hold entire pop’n; pyramid core mass burial - 200 grave pits - Sacrificial victims? Hands tied behind backs? - warfare cult? 20
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2008 for the course HIST 284 taught by Professor Bix during the Winter '07 term at Iowa State.

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Day 8 - Americas - 1 2 AMERICAS Meso-America ("middle...

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