The Beginnings of Mesoamerican Civilization: Inter-Regional Interaction and the Olmec

The Beginnings of Mesoamerican Civilization: Inter-Regional Interaction and the Olmec

by Robert M. Rosenswig
     
 

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Mesoamerica is one of several cradles of civilization in the world. In this book, Robert M. Rosenswig proposes that we understand Early Formative Mesoamerica as an archipelago of complex societies that interacted with one another over long distances and that were separated by less sedentary peoples. These early 'islands' of culture shared an Olmec artistic aesthetic,

Overview

Mesoamerica is one of several cradles of civilization in the world. In this book, Robert M. Rosenswig proposes that we understand Early Formative Mesoamerica as an archipelago of complex societies that interacted with one another over long distances and that were separated by less sedentary peoples. These early 'islands' of culture shared an Olmec artistic aesthetic, beginning approximately 1250 BCE (uncalibrated), that first defined Mesoamerica as a culture area. Rosenswig frames the Olmec world from the perspective of the Soconusco area on Pacifica Chiapas and Guatemala. The disagreements about Early Formative society that have raged over the past thirty years focus on the nature of inter-regional interaction between San Lorenzo and other Early Formative regions. He evaluates these debates from a fresh theoretical perspective and integrates new data into an assessment of Soconusco society before, during, and after the apogee of the San Lorenzo polity.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Were the Olmec the 'mother culture' of Mesoamerica? Dr Rosenswig applies up-to-date archaeological data from Chiapas and Veracruz, Mexico, to test and evaluate the three most heavily debated theories concerning the role played by the Olmec in the rise of Mesoamerican civilization. The result is an even-handed and clearly presented discussion of the development and spread of social complexity in Early Formative period Mesoamerica. All readers will find this book's insights and discussions valuable and thought-provoking."
David C. Grove, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

"This eloquently written and beautifully organized study of the rise of complex life in southeastern Mesoamerica demonstrates that major anthropological questions - and their possible answers - can arise from the excavation of even small sites. Rosenswig has given us a tour-de-force of anthropological archaeology, and a milestone in Mesoamerican research."
Michael D. Coe, Yale University

"Rosenswig documents his refreshing approach with important studies of ceramics, figurines, obsidian, and iconography … His compelling, innovative assessment is distinct from other significant works."
Choice

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780511739231
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
12/28/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
8 MB

Meet the Author

Robert M. Rosenswig is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York, Albany. He has directed archaeological fieldwork in Mexico, Belize, and Costa Rica and has published numerous articles on the origins of agriculture and the development of socio-political complexity in Mesoamerica.

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