The Archaeology of Settlement Abandonment in Middle America (Foundations of Archaeological Inquiry Series)

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Mesoamerican archaeologists have long been interested in the collapse of political systems or civilizations but have been slow to undertake detailed abandonment analyses of specific settlements. The Archaeology of Settlement Abandonment in Middle America explores some of the old questions in Middle American archaeology in light of the newer theoretical approach provided by abandonment studies. Unlike much of the abandonment work previously done in the American Southwest, a number of contributions to this volume examine relatively large population centers.

Among the original contributions in this collection is the discovery that deposits resulting from termination rituals are more common than previously thought. Several chapters point out that structures and places can continue to serve ritual functions even after abandonment. Another finding is that the causes of abandonment—warfare, economic marginalization, or natural cataclysm—are likely to have varied effects on different social groups, which in turn sheds light on occupational histories in specific sites preceding major abandonments.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874807530
  • Publisher: University of Utah Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/2003
  • Series: Foundations of Archaeological Inquiry Series
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Takeshi Inomata is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona.

Ronald W. Webb is program director of Latin American Studies at Temple University.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
1 Archaeological Studies of Abandonment in Middle America 1
2 From Episodic to Permanent Abandonment: Responses to Volcanic Hazards at Tetimpa, Puebla, Mexico 13
3 Xochicalco, Morelos: The Abandonment of Households at an Epiclassic Urban Center 29
4 War, Destruction, and Abandonment: The Fall of the Classic Maya Center of Aguateca, Guatemala 43
5 Volcanic Activity and Abandonment Processes: Ceren and the Zapotitan Valley of El Salvador 61
6 A Place of Continued Importance: The Abandonment of Epiclassic La Quemada 77
7 The Abandonment of Teotihuacan 91
8 Monte Alban and Late Classic Site Abandonment in Highland Oaxaca 103
9 Social Status and Differential Processes of Abandonment at the Classic Maya Center of Dos Pilas, Peten, Guatemala 121
10 The Tale End of Two Cities: Tikal, Yaxuna, and Abandonment Contexts in the Lowland Maya Archaeological Record 135
11 Abandonment and Nonabandonment at Baking Pot, Belize 149
12 The Tuxtlas as Volcanic Hazard: Volcanism and Its Effects on Site Founding and Abandonment in the Tuxtla Mountains, Southern Veracruz, Mexico 163
13 Push-Pull Archaeological Abandonment Behaviors in Lower Central America 181
14 Collapse and Abandonment in Middle America 193
15 A Consideration of Abandonment from Beyond Middle America 203
References 211
Contributors 243
Index 245
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