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Merchants, Markets, and Exchange in the Pre-Columbian World examines the structure, scale, and complexity of economic systems in the pre-Hispanic Americas, with a focus on the central highlands of Mexico, the Maya Lowlands, and the central Andes. Civilization in each region was characterized by complex political and religious institutions, highly skilled craft production, and the long-distance movement of finished goods. Scholars have long focused on the differences in economic organization between these civilizations. Societies in the Mexican highlands are recognized as having a highly commercial economy centered around one of the world’s most complex market systems; those of the Maya region are characterized as having reciprocal exchange networks and periodic marketplaces that supplemented the dominant role of the palace; and those of the central Andes are recognized as having multiple forms of resource distribution, including household-to-household reciprocity, barter, environmental complementarity, and limited market exchange. Essays in this volume examine various dimensions of these ancient economies, including the presence of marketplaces, the operation of merchants (and other individuals) who exchanged and moved goods across space, the role of artisans who produced goods as part of their livelihood, and the trade and distribution networks through which goods were bought, sold, and exchanged.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780884023869
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 05/27/2013
Series: Dumbarton Oaks Pre-Columbian Symposia and Colloquia , #31
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 1,011,035
Product dimensions: 8.80(w) x 11.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Kenneth G. Hirth is Professor of Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University.

Joanne Pillsbury is Andrall E. Pearson Curator in the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Richard L. Burger is Charles J. MacCurdy Professor of Anthropology at Yale University and Curator in the Division of Anthropology at the Peabody Museum.

Tom D. Dillehay is Professor of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University.

Alexandre Tokovinine is Research Associate at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology and a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Harvard University.

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