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24 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
What was the earliest site in Mesoam.?
Cuello, an early sedentary village
When did the Olmecs emerge as a people/civilisation?

What were the first sites?
3500-2500 bp

San Lorenzo; 3250-2900 bp= resource poor and swampy.

La Venta; 2800-2400 bp= small island of swamp. Complex trading ie Jade and Obsidian. Large villages, public buildings and temples.
What were the dates and cities of the Valley of Oaxaca civilisations?
Excavated by Kent Flannery
found shells and seven competing colonies.

San Jose Mogote- 3400-3150 bp

Monte Alban - 2400-1300bp; central with best rainfall and largest popn.
Summary of formative period.
Techniques of draining fields and terracing hillsides

temples arranged around central plazas

hieroglyphics; jaguar motif popular in Olmec.

celestial phenomena
What are the most famous structures of Teotihuacan?
Pyramids of the Sun and Moon (aligned the same way as the pyramids of Egypt, Temple of Quetzalcoatl, Palace of the Quetzal butterfly.
Characteristics of Teotihuacan.
Had palace of the Gods and largest population

Expanded 2100bp
covered 9km2 + 600 people and several public buildings.

By 1850 bp
12.9 sq km
20 000 people and two major religious complexes built.

between 1850-1300bp; residential neighbourhoods
120 000 people.

Ranking was according to relationship to king and religion based on ancestor worship.

burnt down in 750 A.D. and terminated occupation of city
What was the subsistence base of indigenous groups in Mesoamerica?
Maize, beans and squash.

first evidence for plant domestication in the Western Hemisphere.
Where is the first evidence for plant domestication found and how old is it?
1. Guila Naquitz Cave, Oaxaco; Mexico.

2. Squash seeds, stems and rind fragments. Diff. from wild samples

3. 8-10 000 bp

4. Seeds larger, rinds thicker, and stems bigger.
How did the first domestication occur?
Bruce Smith; seedbed selection.

Larger natural varieties grow faster. Would have weeded out smaller, slower ones=more room for faster varieties.

Changed until no longer resembled wild ancestors = domesticated.
Who headed the Tehuacan Valley Project.
Richard MacNeish headed a team of 50 scholars from different disciplines.
What did the Tehuacan Valley Project study?
Studied the process of domestication of maize.

Resulted in a sequence of Archaeological cultures of 12000-500 years ago.

Evidence from a series of occupied caves.
What were the 6 phases uncovered by Richard MacNeish?
1. Ajuereado Phase; 12000-9000
2. El Reigo Phase; 9000-7000
3. Coxcatlan Phase; 7000-5400
4. Abejas Phase; 5400-4300
5. Purron Phase; 4300-3500
6. Ajalpan Phase; 3500-2850
Describe Ajuereado Phase?

-Seasonal hunting
-Small and impermanent sites
-occupied by family groups (microbands) of fewer than 10 people.
-antelope and jackrabbit and smaller fauna and wild plants incl. avocado
Describe the El Reigo phase?
-at the end of Pleistocene climate was drying.
-due to increase aridity, decrease in hunting and increase reliance on plant foods.
-wild squash, beans, chilli peppers, avocado
-more complex settlement system. Combination of seasonal microbands and macrobands during the wetter spring + summer.
Describe the Coxcatlan phase

-reliance on wild foods and increase macrobands.
Describe Abejas Phase.
-increasingly sedentary pattern of central-based bands established
-larger semi-perm. villages/home-bases est.
-wild food collection 1st ev. of domestic plant contribution- squash and maize.
Describe the Purron Phase.
-very little is known about this phase but pottery used for 1st time.
Describe Ajalpan Phase.
-foraging and domesticated maize, beans, and squash.
-increase sedentism from last phase.
-simple irrigation canals to water crops
- evid. of abandonment of nomadic lifestyle and increase imp. of ag. (canals repr. commitm. to stay in one place)
How old is the oldest maize and what is the dating used?
4700B.P. dating using AMS (less needed then C14 so could be done accurately)

-maize held tightly in by glumes so could not have fallen to ground to regerminate=could not have survived in wild. THis means that domestication would have to have been taking place for a while though no ev. found yet.
How was the diet analysed in Tehuacan?
-Carbon Isotope analysis of bones of 12 ind.
-13-in plants=C4 pathway more readily used than in C3 pathways (trees)
-measure conc. of C13 in bones=what they eat ie trees or grasses.
-C4 plants/grasses use more C13 than C3
-analysis shows early jump in C4 plants early and stayed consist. for several millenia.
-combined with MacNeish's reconstruction=long period of increasing sedentism before adopt. of ag. = like Near East.
How did agriculture happen?
-suggested Mesoamerican equivalent of Natufian.
-Flannery - Climate cond. encouraged more desirable form of Teosinte
-conc. on encouraging growth = neglected other resources and increased sedentism due to intensification of a food source.
-1st step toward inevitable destruction of foraging system (upsetting prior equilibriumP and est. of new equilibrium based on ag.
what were the dates and characteristics for the three periods in Mesoamerican?
Preclassic (Formative) Period
-4000-1750 B.P.
-Valley of Oaxaca
-Maya Country
Classic Period
-1750-1100B.P.= Maya
Post-Classic Period
-Until 1519
-Valley of Oaxaca
-Valley of Mexico
-Mayans, Toltecs, Aztecs
What were the three centers of Mesoamerican civilisation?
1. Valley of Oaxaca (Monte Alban, Olmecs)- highlands.

2. Mayas (Tikal, Copan, Palenque, Bonampak) - lowlands

3. Valley of Mexico (Teotihuacan, Toltecs, Aztecs)
What were the common characteristics of the Olmec and the Chavin which classified both as state societies?
Both had;
Monumental works
Social stratification
denser and larger settlements
Specialist classes
Innovations in agricultural production
Written languages/record keeping