Mesoamerica_Lec1_Olmec_2007

Mesoamerica_Lec1_Olmec_2007 - RISE OF...

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1 R ISE OF C IVILIZATION [Mesoamerica Lec1Olmec 2007.wpd] March 29, 2007 T. D'Altroy M ESOAMERICA I I NTRODUCTION , G EOGRAPHIC S ETTING , AND THE O LMEC © Terence N. D’Altroy [sources: Blanton et al. 1981; Wenke and Olszewski 2006; de Montmollin class notes; Grove 1992] 1. New World civilizations: 2 foci a. Mesoamerica 1. central Mexico 2. Guatemala 3. Belize b. Andes 1. Colombia to Argentina 3. Peru: core region for most great civilizations c. Intermediate Area 1. Honduras to Colombia and Venezuela 2. chiefdom-level organization 3. spectacular metallurgy 2. New World states later than most in Old World a. OW: Mesopotamia ca. 3600 BC b. NW 1. Mesoamerica: ca. 500 BC, maybe 900 BC 2. Andes: ca. 100 AD , maybe 300 BC 3. some contact between Mesoamerican and Andean civilizations a. e.g., importation of metallurgy into west Mexico ca. AD 1200 b. but state/civilization development an independent process 4. major themes of class today a. introduction b. geography c. chronological sequence d. Olmecs M AJOR F EATURES OF M ESOAMERICAN C IVILIZATION 1. conceptual scope of Mesoamerica a. region sharing certain basic features of civilization 1. states 1
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2. urbanism: to varying degrees 3. writing 4. social complexity 5. high agricultural productivity b. certain specific characteristics 1. e.g., ritual ball game 2. calendrics 2. Mesoamerican frontiers a. north: sharp contrast with simpler societies 1. but long-distance trade in luxury goods: exportation into American Southwest 2. periodic problems with invasions/migrations from north a. perhaps Aztecs b. south: more complex societies to the south 1. but not as well-developed as Mesoamerican core 3. geographic/demographic scope a. 1 million sq km b. population: about 35,000,000 in 1520 4. cultural scope: diversity a. high internal diversity: in relatively limited area b. increasing diversity over time: e.g., in 1. forms of urbanism 2. economy 3. political organization 4. language and writing 5. religion c. major linguistic/cultural regions 1. Gulf Coast a. Olmecs b. later: Totonac 2. Central highlands of Mexico a. Otomi b. Nahua 3. southern highlands: Oaxaca region 1. Zapotec 2. Mixtec 4. southeastern Mexico and upper Central America 1. Maya 5. cultural scope: interaction a. long-term and widespread evidence for intensive interaction among various region of Mesoamerica 2
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b. elite social mobility 1. elite intermarriage between regions c. farmers: largely stationary d. conceptual sharing 1. elite bilingualism 2. much sharing of ideas in religious contexts e. exchange of material goods 1. esp. luxury objects 2. spatially restricted raw materials: e.g., obsidian f. whole of Mesoamerica is now interpreted as an elite interaction sphere H ISTORY OF M ESOAMERICAN R ESEARCH 1. long history of study of Mesoamerican societies a. Spanish conquistadores 1. censuses and natural resources: taxation 2. administration b. clerics 1. did indigenous population have souls? a. Papal bull of 1539 affirmed that beings were humans
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Mesoamerica_Lec1_Olmec_2007 - RISE OF...

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