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Definition of Mesoamerica

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His intention was to define a culture area that was distinct from the ... ritual cannibalism. Dress. earspools. lip plugs. turbans. sandals. cotton armor. Technology ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Definition of Mesoamerica


1
Definition of Mesoamerica
  • Paul Kirchhoff coined the term "Mesoamerica" in
    1943
  • His intention was to define a culture area that
    was distinct from the Southwestern U.S. and
    northern Mexico to the north and the Chibcha Area
    to the south.
  • Concept based on
  • geographic limits
  • ethnic composition
  • cultural characterictics at the time of the
    Conquest

2
Subsistence
  • maize
  • corn softened with ash
  • large cooking plates (comales)
  • three-stone hearths
  • beans
  • squash
  • cacao (chocolate)
  • also used as money
  • tobacco (for smoking and healing)
  • barkless dogs ("Mexican hairless")

3
Agriculture
  • intensive agriculture
  • terracing of slopes
  • chinampas ("floating gardens")

4
Architecture
  • stepped pyramids
  • arrangement of buildings around a plaza
  • construction with stone, mortar, and plaster
  • stucco floors
  • dedicatory caches in pits or cists
  • roads paved with stone
  • stone and clay construction
  • hanging bridges

5
Religion
  • I-shaped ball courts
  • games played with latex (rubber) balls
  • bar-and-dot for numerals
  • complex pantheon of gods
  • 260- and 365-day calendars
  • bark-cloth or deerskin books
  • accordion-style (like Chinese screens)
  • autosacrifice (bloodletting)
  • drawing blood from ears, tongue, or penis
  • live heart removal
  • ritual cannibalism

6
Dress
  • earspools
  • lip plugs
  • turbans
  • sandals
  • cotton armor

7
Technology
  • pyrite or magnetite mirrors
  • copper working
  • obsidian
  • ceramics
  • clubs with embedded stone chips
  • spinning and weaving
  • cotton cloth
  • rabbit-hair textiles

8
Trade
  • exchanges of valuables among elites established
    political ties
  • specialized markets
  • distributed basic commodities from producing to
    nonproducing sectors of society
  • "ports-of-trade"

9
Social organization
  • matrilineal clans (sometimes...)
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