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Mesoamerican Archaeology

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weeping or snarling jaguar/human infant. were-jaguar. colossal heads. basalt monuments ... the Jaguar' considered a basic Olmec trait. Were-Jaguar. Colossal ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Mesoamerican Archaeology


1
Mesoamerican Archaeology
  • Olmec
  • Maya
  • Teotihuacan
  • Toltec
  • Aztec

2
Olmec
  • 1939 Matthew Stirling was sent by the Smithsonian
    and National Geographic to investigate giant
    stone carvings.
  • Olmec means dweller in the land of rubber,
    refers to people who lived along Gulf of Mexico,
    southern Veracruz, and western Tabasco.
  • Olmec lived in this area between 1500 B.C. and
    100 A.D.

3
Olmec Area
4
Characteristic Traits
  • Building of clay pyramids and temple mounds
  • Particular sculptural style
  • weeping or snarling jaguar/human infant
  • were-jaguar
  • colossal heads
  • basalt monuments
  • Fine jade carving
  • Basic Mesoamerican civilization
  • Artifacts with Olmec traits found in preclassic
    horizons throughout Mesoamerica.
  • Cult of the Jaguar considered a basic Olmec
    trait.

5
Were-Jaguar
6
Colossal Heads
7
Important sites
  • Tres Zapotes
  • Cerro de las Mesas
  • San Lorenzo, Veracruz
  • Oldest Olmec site
  • Occupied by 1500 B.C.
  • Pottery found from earliest period
  • La Venta, Tabasco
  • Contemporaneous to later phases of San Lorenzo
  • Oriented on a n-s axis on an island in the Rio
    Tonala
  • Includes mounds, plazas, tombs, basalt slab
    enclosures, and pyramid.
  • Buried stone offerings
  • jade and serpentine celts

8
Basalt Altars-La Venta
9
Maya
  • Slow, gradual change.
  • Did not develop overnight.
  • Due to several factors resource concentration,
    population growth, beginnings of cultural
    variability, development of ideologies, migration
    of ideas from other cultures
  • Small Kingdoms, No centralized state.
  • succession of regional centers
  • not really dominant over neighbors

10
Regions
  • Pacific Coastal Plain
  • Izapa-elaborate stone carvings
  • Monte Alto-collosal heads (contact with Olmec),
    also pot belly boulders.
  • Southeast Periphery
  • Copan-evidence of interaction with western areas
    of MesoAm during the preclassic (700-500 B.C.).
  • Southeastern Highlands
  • Chalcuapa-one of the important highland
    centers,important for trade in pottery.
  • Tikal investigations in the 1950s, national park
    around the site, 300 B.C. to 300 A.D. developed
    into a huge city.
  • Uaxactun basic chronological sequence of pottery
    for area.
  • Yucatan Peninsula and Belize
  • Cerros-exploited marine resources, adopted
    kingship by 50B.C.

11
Mayan Regions
12
Palenque
13
Uaxactun
14
Uxmal
15
Tikal
16
Mayan Writing
  • Maya codices
  • most elaborate of writing medium, must have
    existed in the thousands, but only a few left.
  • made out of bark paper, or deer skin.
  • prepared from the inner bark of trees, fibers
    soaked in lime and then beaten smooth.
  • once dry it was white-washed with a thin coat of
    limestoneor gypsum paste.
  • Stelae
  • Stone carvings
  • Most common today

17
Mayan Hieroglyphs
18
Calendar System
  • Calender Round
  • basic unit was a day, not broken down further.
  • two recurring cycles of time 260-day and 365-day
    ran simultaneously making up a period of 52
    years.
  • 260-day cycle (MayaTzokin, AztecTonalpohualli)
  • primarily religious and divinatory
  • guidance of daily affairs
  • 20 named days, combined with numbers 1-13, in
    which the exact combination of name and number
    would recur every 260 days.
  • not based on natural phenomenon.
  • 365-day cycle (MayaHaab, AztecXihuitl)
  • 18 named months of 20 days each, plus 5
    additional days of apprehension and bad luck at
    the end of the year.
  • Days numbered from 0-19, and to return to any
    given date, 52 years would have to pass.
  • Prophesy that this world will end in 2012.

19
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20
Converting the Mayan Calendar
  • http//www.pauahtun.org/cgi-bin/mayagreg.py

21
Agriculture Patterns
  • Localized intensive agriculture
  • gardening took place in zones of good moisture.
  • Expansive Cultivation (900 B.C.)
  • shifting cultivation
  • corn farming with swidden or slash/burn, family
    of five needs 3,000 pounds of corn per year.
  • Wetland cultivation (Extensive-Intensive)
  • being increasingly pressed by population.
  • Chinampas-swamps were being drained and drainage
    canals built., located with radar imagery.
  • the largest cities are located on the edges of
    these swamps.

22
Floating Gardens
23
Settlement Patterns and Population Sizes
  • No direct evidence for census material, so use
    indirect means.
  • Counting house mounds
  • Volumetric assessments of the masses of formal
    architecture in the civic centers.
  • House Structures
  • small platforms of clay, earth and stone.
  • Thatched roofs, wattle and daub.
  • Lowlands areas seem that peak population was Late
    Classic (A.D. 1000)

24
The Mesoamerican Ballgame
  • Called tlachtli by the Aztecs, game played with
    hard rubber ball.
  • Spanish document stone rings as goals, but those
    dating before 700 A.D. do not have them.
  • Typically i-shaped courts, balls weighing up to 5
    pounds.
  • ball had to be kept in motion
  • could not be hit with hands or feet
  • associated with fertility, death, militarism and
    sacrifice.
  • sacrifice of defeated team members docmented in
    late accounts.

25
Ballcourt
26
Watch a Ballgame
  • http//www.ballgame.org/sub_section.asp?section3
    sub_section1

27
Basin of Mexico-Teotihuacan
  • Teotihuacan
  • Investigated archaeologically first in 1800s, but
    disastrous results-desturction of monuments.
  • In 1960s began the Teotihuacan Project.
  • explore and reconstruct ceremonial centers.
  • also Basin of Mexico survey project.
  • Founding of the City
  • Valley settled as early as 900 B.C., but no large
    settlement until 300 B.C.
  • Populated by people from mountains to the east
    (Tlaxcala).
  • Several reasons for population move
  • caves which are related to religion and
    mythology.
  • humans, sun and moon came from center of the
    earth.
  • entrance to the Underworld.
  • network of caves and tunnels under the
  • Pyramids of the sun and the moon.
  • close obsidian resources.
  • nearby springs for irrigation.

28
Teotihuacan
  • Size and Construction
  • At its height, around 125,000 people and covering
    22 sq kilometers.
  • More ceremonial centers than any other
    prehispanic site.
  • Planned and laid out along a rectilinear network
    of roads and paths.
  • Avenue of the Dead-major north to south axis.
  • East and West Avenues divided the city into
    quadrants.
  • The citadel was at their center.
  • In front of this was the great compound.

29
Temples and Pyramids
  • Constructed with Talud-tablero architecture
  • cut stone facing
  • Framed panels (tablero)
  • sloping basal elements (talud)
  • 5000 known structures.
  • Pyramid of the Sun
  • 212 ft high, 700 ft wide, 35,000,000 cu ft of
    fill (equivalent to 10 modern oil tankers).
  • cave located underneath with sacred objects in
    it.
  • Pyramid of the Moon
  • located at the north end of the avenue of the
    dead.
  • Temple of the Feathered Serpent (at the Citadel)
  • Residential structures
  • apartment compounds

30
Pyramid of the Sun
31
Temple of Quetzalcoatl
32
Avenue of the Dead
33
Decline of Teotihuacan
  • During the period from 600-900 A.D.
  • Site not abandoned, but population decreased.
  • Some buildings burned between 600-700 A.D.
  • may be symbolic as in the case of the Olmec
    destroying heads, associated with the loss of
    power.

34
Tula and the Toltecs
  • A.D. 900-1200
  • Development of city north of Teotihuacan after
    its collapse in 900 A.D.
  • located on the Tula river and near the Lerma
    rivers for easy communication with others.
  • this new capital was closer to the northern
    limits of agriculture.
  • Toltec history embellished by Aztecs, Spaniards
    and others after their collapse in 1200 A.D.

35
Tula Grande
  • Was occupied during the prime phase of Tula
    950-1150 A.D.
  • 13 km in area, with a population of 30-60,000
    residents.
  • craftspeople, tradespeople, religious leaders,
    but not farmers.
  • workshops included manos and metates makers.
    toolmakers.
  • city laid out on n-s axis.

36
Tula
37
Atlantids
38
Rise of the Aztec
  • From A.D. 1200 to A.D. 1370 the Basin of Mexico
    was occupied by various central Mexican peoples.
  • Chichimec people settled in the area from the
    North and gradually overcame the people living
    there at that time.
  • primarily due to Xolotl, who ruled a somewhat
    barbaric horde.
  • Technically squatted in the area of Tenochtitlan
    and were know as the Mixeca but today Aztecs is
    more common.

39
Basin of Mexico
40
Tenochtitlan
41
Tenochtitlan Reconstruction
42
Moctezuma II
43
Human Sacrifice
44
Skull Rack
45
Spanish Arrival Cortes
  • Spanish arrive in A.D. 1519 at Vera Cruz.
  • March inland to Tenochtitlan
  • Received by Moctezuma II, who was then held
    captive by Cortes and his men.
  • Moctezuma II dies, replaced by nephew (dies
    almost immediately from small pox), replaced by
    another nephew Cuahtemoc.

46
Mexico Revolts
  • The siege began on May 21, 1521 and lasted for 85
    days.
  • Finally ended when the Spanish captured the
    northeast section of the city and eventually
    conquered the remaining Aztecs.
  • Cuauhtemoc sets our from the city and surrenders
    to Cortes sometime around August 14, 1521.
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