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Conquest polities of the Mesoamerican Epiclassic: Circum-Basin regionalism, A.D. 550-850.
AuthorMendoza, Ruben G.
KeywordsIndians of Mexico -- San Juan Teotihuacán -- Wars.
Indians of Mexico -- San Juan Teotihuacán -- Politics and government.
Teotihuacán Site (San Juan Teotihuacán, Mexico)
AdvisorCulbert, T. Patrick
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractRecent findings from circum-Basin central highland Mesoamerica have dramatically altered perceptions of the nature and intensity of Late Classic (A.D. 600-900) warfare in the hinterland of the Teotihuacan state. The acropolis centers of Cacaxtla, Cerro Zapotecas, Xochicalco, Teotenango, and Tula Chico, were the focus of a Late Classic pattern of Gulf lowland-central highland interactions that culminated in the militarization of circum-Basin society. The focus of this dissertation concerns a Gulf lowland-based pattern of militarized developments that enveloped highland central Mexico in the period dominated by the decline of the paramount center and polity of Teotihuacan at circa A.D. 550-850. This study seeks to demonstrate that highland central Mexico underwent a profound economic and sociopolitical transformation involving the displacement of an existing Middle Classic horizon (A.D. 400-650) commerce-based system of interregional interaction, to one structured upon a conquest-based system of inter-elite interaction. Particular attention is devoted to the examination of data bearing upon the evolution of conquest-based systems (Fox 1978); specifically, settlement patterns and mortuary data; architectural configurations; ceramic and other artifactual distributions; as well as ethnohistoric and iconographic themes documenting patterns of circum-Basin militarization. These data sources serve to demonstrate a shift toward military statecraft, human sacrifice, and a conquest-based political rhetoric in central highland Mesoamerica for the period after A.D. 550. A secondary objective of this study is to trace the proliferation and spread of Gulf lowland stylistic and sociopolitical patterns into highland central Mexico during the course of events that culminated in the militarization of circum-Basin Mesoamerica in the period after A.D. 550. It will be argued that Late Classic Gulf lowland patterns were replicated in highland contexts, and that Gulf lowland elites are implicated in this process by four primary sources of data; mainly, ethnohistory, iconography, physical anthropology, and archaeology. Finally, Zeitlin's (1982) findings on the emergence of a Gulf Coast-Isthmian exchange network are examined for implications bearing on patterns of interaction that are proposed to have dominated Late Classic highland-lowland commerce. This study concludes with a discussion of the proposed role of Gulf lowland elites, Historic Olmec, or a confederation of Oloman city-states, in the transformative process.