1 SOCIAL COMPLEXITY IN FORMATIVE MESOAMERICA: A HOUSE-CENTERED APPROACH By CHIKAOMI TAKAHASHI A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORID A IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011
2 2011 Chikaomi Takahashi
3 To my parents
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This study would not have been possibl e without the support and encouragement of many people. In particu lar, I would like to thank the members of my doctoral committee for their advice and guidance throughout this proce ss of learning. I am very grateful to my advisor, Dr Susan Gillespie, for all of her valuable guidance and encouragement to complete my study. She profoundly shaped my development as an anthropologist and an archaeologist, and reflecti ve discussions with her influenced the directions I took in this research pr oject. Dr. David Grove has been a fundamental influence in my intellectual development during my graduate study, especially in relation to my understanding of Forma tive Mesoamerica. Without his encouragement, ideas, and suggestions this dissertation would cert ainly not be what it is. The thoughtful reviews, comments and encouragements of Dr. Kenneth Sassaman and Dr. Mark Brenner are greatly appreciated. I am also very grateful to Dr. Andrew Ba lkansky who allowed me to join his Santa Cruz Tayata project and use necessary data for my dissertation. Without his generous support and thoughtful advice in the filed and the lab, I could not complete my research. IÂ’m grateful to my friends in the Mixtec a Alta whose support made my fieldwork enriching. Among the people of Tlaxiaco, I would like to specifically thank Mr. Rogelio Cruz and Antonio Cruz who facilitated my stay in Tlaxiaco in various ways. I also thank my friends in Mexico for many helpful discu ssions in the field and the lab, especially Nobu, Barbara, Chente, Gaby, and Vere. My field research was funded by t he Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI), and I greatly appreciate their support for my research. Without their financial support, I would not have been able to complete my
5 studies in the Mixteca Alta. In addition, I appreciate the support from the Department of Anthropology, particularly Charles H. Fair banks Award and teaching assistantships to complete my graduate study.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDG MENTS..................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................9 LIST OF FI GURES ........................................................................................................10 ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................12 CHAPTER 1 INTERPRETATIONS OF COMPL EX SOCIETIES IN FORMATIVE MESOAMERIC A.....................................................................................................14 Concepts of Social Comp lexity and Hie rarchy........................................................17 Complex Societies in Mesoamer ica........................................................................20 Historical Processes versus Evolutionar y Stages ...................................................23 House Practices and Variability of Social Pr ocesses..............................................27 Data and Strategies for Compar ison....................................................................... 30 Structure of the Study .............................................................................................32 2 THEORIZING COMPL EX SOCIETIE S...................................................................37 Theories of Social Complexi ty................................................................................38 Conceptualizing Social Complexity.........................................................................45 Alternative Theoretical Considerat ions on Complex Societies................................50 Decentralization Pe rspectiv es..........................................................................52 Theories of Practice: Focus on Social Proc esses...................................................54 Summary ................................................................................................................58 3 THE HOUSE AS CORP ORATE AGEN CY.............................................................59 What Is a Hous e Societ y?.......................................................................................60 Why Use the House? ..............................................................................................63 Conceptual Differences between Households and Houses..............................64 A House-Centered Approach ...........................................................................66 Investigation of Houses in Formative Mes oamerica...............................................72 Summary ................................................................................................................75 4 THE CULTURAL CONTEXT OF FORMATIVE WESTERN MESOAMERICA........77 Mesoameric a..........................................................................................................78 The Gulf Coas t Olmec......................................................................................80 The Olmec as "mother culture" pr oblem.................................................... 83 Formative Peri od Oaxaca .................................................................................85
7 San Jos Mogote and the Valley of Oa xaca.....................................................86 Chalcatzingo in the Centra l Highlands of Mexico.............................................89 The Mixteca Alta...............................................................................................92 Santa Cruz Tayata...........................................................................................94 The Cruz Phase ( 1500-300 B.C. ).....................................................................96 Summary ................................................................................................................97 5 EXCAVATIONS AT SANTA CRUZ T AYATA........................................................ 100 The Santa Cruz Taya ta Projec t.............................................................................101 Surface Colle ctions ........................................................................................103 Test Unit Ex cavations .....................................................................................104 Horizontal Exca vations .........................................................................................106 Excavation Methods and Strat egies............................................................... 106 House 4: Analysis of Feat ures and Acti vities ..................................................108 Stratigraphy and recove red artifa cts........................................................109 Socio-economic status of resi dents......................................................... 111 Activiti es...................................................................................................112 Overall description of House 4.................................................................114 House 2: Analysis of Feat ures and Acti vities ..................................................116 Location and ex cavations ........................................................................116 Recovered arti facts..................................................................................118 Socio-economic status of resi dents......................................................... 119 Activiti es...................................................................................................120 Analysis of House Strategies at Santa Cruz Tayata .............................................121 Architectu re....................................................................................................122 Location ..........................................................................................................122 Burial Trea tment.............................................................................................123 Crafting ...........................................................................................................123 Pottery and Arti facts.......................................................................................124 Summary ..............................................................................................................125 6 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATI ONS OF ARTI FACTS......................................141 Formative Pottery in the Valley of Oaxaca and the Mi xteca Al ta..........................142 Pottery Form Variations in the Valle y of Oaxaca and the Mixteca Alta...........147 Stylistic and Techno-F unctional Approaches in Pottery Anal ysis..........................150 Techno-Functional Aspec ts of Po ttery............................................................154 Laboratory Analysis: the Pottery Assemb lage from Santa Cr uz Tayata...............156 Feature 1: Midden 1 of House 4.....................................................................157 Feature 2: Midden 2 of House 4.....................................................................159 Feature 3: Midden/Burial of Hous e 4..............................................................161 Burial 1 of House 4 .........................................................................................162 Excavation 2 Zone: House 2..........................................................................164 Non-Residential Structure in the House 4 Zone .............................................165 Mound Structure in Area A .............................................................................167 Discussion: Social Processe s of Different iation ....................................................169
8 Summary ..............................................................................................................173 7 HOUSE PRACTICES IN FORM ATIVE MESOAM ERICA .....................................184 Formative Period Settl ement Patte rns..................................................................185 Chalcatzin go...................................................................................................186 San Jos M ogote...........................................................................................187 Traces of Corporate Practi ces at Chalca tzingo .....................................................188 Corporate Practices in San Jos M ogote..............................................................193 Discussion: Social Processe s of Different iation ....................................................198 Summary ..............................................................................................................202 8 CONCLUS ION......................................................................................................203 A House-Centered Approach to Iss ues of Social Complexity...............................203 Mechanisms of Social Differentia tion............................................................. 207 General Contributions and Future Research Po tentials ........................................209 APPENDIX A ARCHAEOLOGICAL FEATURES ........................................................................212 B CERAMIC ANAL YSIS DATA ................................................................................217 LIST OF REFE RENCES.............................................................................................227 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ..........................................................................................257
9 LIST OF TABLES Table page 1-1 Chronology of three Formative ce nters..............................................................35 5-1 Radiocarbon data from the midden feature of House 4 ....................................127 6-1 Vessel forms: house and non-house feat ures at Santa Cr uz Tayata................175 6-2 Restricted and unrestricted vessels at house and non-hous e features............176 6-3 Distribution of large vessels at house and non-house features (30cm or larger orif ice)..................................................................................................... 177 A-1 Pit feature 1 of Hous e 4: midden in the north si de of the house covering zones N4306, E4486 & 4488 ............................................................................212 A-2 Pit feature 2 of House 4: midden in the north-east side of the house covering the zone N4306 E4490.....................................................................................213 A-3 Pit feature 3 of House 4: Burial 2 zone in the west side of the house covering the zone N4302 E4484.....................................................................................214 A-4 Feature of House 4: Burial 1 in the east side of the house covering zones N4302 E4488 & 4490....................................................................................... 215 A-5 Non-residential features: excavation units of non-residential architecture (N4302 E4466) and mound struct ure (N4326 E4358)...................................... 216
10 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1-1 Map of Formative centers in Western Mes oamerica ..........................................36 4-1 Mixteca area map: the locati on of Santa Cruz Tayata........................................99 5-1 GIS-based gener al map...................................................................................128 5-2 Santa Cruz Taya ta site map.............................................................................129 5-3 Area A of Santa Cruz Taya ta and excavat ed zones .........................................130 5-4 Location of House 4 ..........................................................................................131 5-5 View of the non-residential architec ture from the House 4 zone (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata arc haeological proj ect)....................................................... 132 5-6 Wide view of House 4 zone (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological project) .............................................................................................................133 5-7 Distance between public and domestic arch itecture .........................................134 5-8 Marine shell ornaments recovered at House 4 features (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeol ogical proj ect).................................................................135 5-9 Figurine recovered at House 4 (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological pr oject).....................................................................................136 5-10 The profile of the midden 1 (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological project) .............................................................................................................137 5-11 One of the dog fi gurines recovered at House 4 (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeologica l projec t)..........................................................................138 5-12 Worked shell debris recovered at House 4 (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological pr oject).....................................................................................139 5-13 Worked spiny oyster recovered at H ouse 4 (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological pr oject).....................................................................................140 6-1 Forms of Cruz phase vessels recovered at midden features of House 4.........178 6-2 Examples of serving vessels re covered at the midden of House 4 (N4306 E4486) ..............................................................................................................179 6-3 Examples of serving vessels recove red at the midden/storage pit of House 4 (N4306 E4490) .................................................................................................180
11 6-4 Examples of serving vessels recove red from the Burial 2 zone of House 4 (N4302 E4484) .................................................................................................181 6-5 Examples of serving vessels recove red from the Burial 1 zone of House 4 (N4302 E4488) .................................................................................................182 6-6 Examples of serving vessels recove red from the non-residential architecture excavation unit in Ar ea A (N4302 E4466)......................................................... 183
12 Abstract of Dissertation Pr esented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulf illment of the Requirements for t he Degree of Doctor of Philosophy SOCIAL COMPLEXITY IN FORMATIVE MESOAMERICA: A HOUSE-CENTERED APPROACH By Chikaomi Takahashi May 2011 Chair: Susan D. Gillespie Major: Anthropology This study investigates how Middle Forma tive period societies in Mesoamerica became complex via multiple trajectories of social processes. It focuses on the analysis of social practices engaged by corporat e agents that encouraged or discouraged the emergence and development of soci al hierarchy. The study of the emergence of social complexity has been dominated by the macroscale analysis of societies concerned with similarities among them as a means towards classifying them into evolutionary stages. However, these assumptions are not s upported by archaeological data from Middle Formative centers. I argue that to better und erstand the emergence of social complexity in the Middle Formative, analyses must enc ompass the archaeological evidence for variation in the manifestations of social complexity, rather than assume homogeneity or some inevitable trajectory towards centralized hierarchy. My study focuses on investigating microsca le practices to reveal how societies became complex over time through multi-linear trajectories. For that purpose, I analyze the variability of social practices and proce sses of social differentiation by employing practice theories and a corporate unit of agency, namely, the Lvi-Straussian maison or house. I conducted archaeological fieldwork and l aboratory research at the site of Santa
13 Cruz Tayata in the Mixteca Alta of Mexico to gather data and analyzed them to discern how strategic actions of house-based so cial agents may have structured social conditions. I then compare the data on housecentric corporate practices there with those from other Middle Formative centers in the Central Highlands of Mexico and the Valley of Oaxaca to ascertain similariti es and differences in processes of social differentiation. Through this comparative analysis of house practices among major Formative societies in Mesoamerica, I conclude that centralization of power and evolutionary trajectories are not inevitable for social transformations. Rather, corporate agents among those societies strategi cally engaged in practices that discouraged emergent hierarchy. My study contributes to anthropol ogical theory by presenting a case study of how societies become complex through a variet y of social processes created as the result of social practices and in formed actions of corporate agents.
14 CHAPTER 1 INTERPRETATIONS OF COMPLEX SOCI ETIES IN FORMATIVE MESOAMERICA The rise of social complexity has long been a major focus of anthropology (e.g., Childe 1951; Flannery 1972; Fried 1967; Johns on and Earle 1987; Sahlins and Service 1960; Sanders and Webster 1978; Service 1962; Steward 1955). In Mesoamerica, one of the six recognized places in the world where pristine states emerged (Harris 1977), ample archaeological evidence of long occu pancy encouraged the discussion of social complexity especially at t he state-level (e.g., Blanton 1978; Sanders and Nichols 1988; Sanders, Parsons, and Santley 1979; Sanders and Price 1968). The study of complex societies in Mesoamerica has been dominat ed by neo-evolutionary theories (e.g., Sanders and Price 1968; Spencer and Redm ond 2004), and the origin and development of social inequality has been analyzed by archaeological variables associated with specific stages of an evolutionary framewor k. Mesoamerican societies were categorized into societal types, based on the assumption t hat as the maximal un it of analysis, the society as a whole evolves from simple to complex. Also, centralization of power was considered inevitable for any social transform ations leading from one evolutionary stage to the next. This macro-scale analysis of soci eties focusing on similarities as a means towards classifying them into evolutionary st ages (e.g., band, tribe, chiefdom, state) has been the basis for interpreting the level of social complexity in different periods. The Middle Formative period (900-500 B.C. ) has been the focus of research to analyze early stages of cultural evolution because archaeological data dated to this period reveal early manifestations of social differences across Mesoamerica. However, the assumptions of totalitarian regimes and a unilinear trajectory of societal transformation by neo-evolutionists have been criticized (as detailed in Chapter 2).
15 Furthermore, these assumptions fail to repr esent archaeological records from Middle Formative centers. I suggest that to better understand the emergence of social complexity in the Middle Formative period, the analysis must encompass variation in the manifestations of social co mplexity, rather than assume homogeneity or some inevitable trajectory towards centralized hierarchy. This requires that the unit of analysis shift from society as a whole to smaller entities that would exhibit variation both within and between sites or regions. I further suggest it is necessary to focus on historical processes rather than evolutio nary stages as taxonomic categories. Finally, a focus on variability in historical processes should allo w for the presence of social structures or processes that impeded, as well as fac ilitated, the emergence of socio-political hierarchies in Middle Formative societies. All of these methodological shifts away from the principles of neo-evolutionism require a completely different theoretical appr oach. Theories of Practice (e.g., Bourdieu 1977; Giddens 1979; Ortner 1984) allow for an anal ytical focus on the strategic actions of knowledgeable agents and their material consequences. As Brumfiel (2000:251) argued, it forces the archaeologist to look for variation, and is anti-cl assificatory. It is also a means of bridging the micro-scale of practices to the macro-scale of social institutions and long-term historical struct ures. Since the actions and intentions of individual agents are difficult to discern in the archaeological record, Â“agencyÂ” in my research is modeled in terms of long-lived property-owning corporate groups, specifically Â“housesÂ” as firs t delineated in anthropology by Claude Lvi-Strauss (1982, 1983). Unlike Â“households,Â” social houses ar e entities that are Â“i n historyÂ” and they Â“make historyÂ” (Gillespie 2007:40). Hous es as corporate agents engage in practices
16 whereby they create relationships among the members within a house, including across generations, and relationships with other hous es. These relationships, which may both generate or impede political c entralization over time, include feasting activities, exchange activities, production acti vities, architectural modifica tions, and other practices that have high archaeological visibility. Analysis of social houses in Middle Fo rmative regional cent ers may reveal the intentions and consequences of collective actions of these groups over time, some of which can be discerned as the result of competition for power and status within and between houses. The combination of prac tice theories and corporate agency enables me to analyze how social differentiation occu rred through multiple trajectories within a community over time. Because this study emphasizes variation, it encompasses a comparison of three Middle Formative centers in western (non-Ma ya) Mesoamerica: Chalcatzingo, San Jos Mogote, and Santa Cruz Tayata (Table 1-1). T hese three sites are significant in their role as prominent political centers Â–ident ified in the neo-evolut ionary literature as Â“chiefdomsÂ” in their different regions. They ar e also interesting because of the variation in social practices among houses that they reveal. Finally, they are important to my research to argue that centra lization is not always inevitable for social transformations and that societies do not always follow a series of steps from one to the next in order to reach the top of the ladder, the state. This is because all three of these centers declined in size and influence at the beginning of the subsequent Late Formative period (c. 500 BC). That is, they all collapsedÂ—they didnÂ’t ma ke it to the next level. For this reason, a comparative analysis of social processes among these contemporar y (and historically
17 related) socio-political cent ers, focusing on similarities and differences in their mechanisms of social differentiation, will fo rm a contribution to Mesoamerican studies and to the understanding of t he emergence of complex rank ed societies more generally. In sum, in this comparative study I focus on understanding how Middle Formative societies became complex through multiple traj ectories by analyzing corporate practices that encouraged or discouraged t he emergence and development of social hierarchy. I argue that Â“social complexityÂ” is not a categor y or a state of being that a society as a whole may or may not attain on an evolutiona ry trajectory, but a conceptual tool that may subsume a variety of social forms and processes of social change. Concepts of Social Co mplexity and Hierarchy The concept of Â“complexityÂ” is thus a ke y issue of this study The notion of human history as being a story of evolution from simple to complex is strongly embedded in Western thought as a whole, and thus we automatically assume a fundamental linkage between evolution and complexity. Complex society has long been studied in numerous disciplines as the accessibl e and delineated mani festation of social complexity, and archaeologists established models and theorie s within evolutionary trajectories to explore when and how this comp lexity emerged in a given society (e.g., Arnold 1996a; Earle 1991; Feinman and Marcus 1998; Johns on and Earle 2000). In most cases, the appreciation for variations among archaeologic al manifestations has been pushed aside in order to pursue more-narrowly defi ned models and universalized definitions. Accordingly, the study of social complexity t ends to remain at the level of socio-political organization (as a totality) and focuses primarily on the evidence of formalized and centralized social hierarchies. Mesoameric an archaeologists often use the term Â“social complexityÂ” to indicate the maturity of so ciety which has been judge d by the presence of
18 archaeological markers of the elitesÂ’ practice s. For example, in cultural evolution, monumental architecture is taken as a clear indicator of social complexity because monumentality indicates a centralized authority that can amass and control a large labor force (Feinman and Neitzel 1984; Feldm an 1987; Johnson and Earle 1987). However, monumentality is just one indicator of soci al condition, and there are many Formative sites which suggest a high degree of comp lexity but have little evidence of monumentality. I would argue that giving priority to certain variables for explaining the definition of social complexity is misleading. In this case, what needs to be focused on is why monumental architecture was built in ce rtain societies in the course of social transformations. Classifying available fact ors and variables based on the concept of evolution ignores the possi bility of different expr essions of complexity. Historically, the linkage between complexi ty and evolution can be traced back from 19th century writers Herbert Spencer and Le wis Henry Morgan to the more recent cultural evolutionism of Service (1971), Fried (1967), and Sahlins and Service (1960). Complexity as a category in an evol utionary framework was measured through technology, the economic base (Marxist approac hes), and social structure (cultural evolutionism). Cultural ev olutionists categorized chiefd oms and states as complex societies, as opposed to non-co mplex band and tribal societies, and complexity of the society came to be judged by the emergence of hereditary social positions and unequal access to primary resources of life. Although the notion of human hi story from simple to co mplex was widely accepted, the definition of complexity was interpret ed in different ways. For example, Flannery (1972) categorized complexity into two ca tegories: segregation and centralization.
19 Segregation means the degree of differentiation and speciali zation within a system and centralization means the degree to which the inte rnal parts of the system were linked to each other and to different levels of social control. Those definitions became influential in categorizing societies depending on the leve l of complexity and in explaining an absolute way of social transformations (e .g. Blanton 1978; Sanders and Nichols 1988; Spencer and Redmond 2004). The discussion of social complexity is directly linked to issues of social organization, and concepts of hierarchy and al so heterarchy (e.g. Crumley 1995, 2003) are essential to understand agentsÂ’ practices and overall social structure. According to Rautman (1998:327), the hierarch ical framework Â“involves th ree assumptions regarding the organizational elements of a syst em: that a lineal ranking is in fact present; that this ranking is permanent (that is, the system of ranking has temporal stability); and the ranking of elements according to different crit eria will result in the same overall ranking (that is, the relationships of elements is pervasive and integral to the system, and not situational).Â” ElitesÂ’ contro l of power establishes hier archical frameworks, and the evidence of hierarchy is recoverable from burials, structures, and surviving monuments of elite compounds, palaces, ritual archit ecture, and ethnographic histories. However, there remains the question about whether hierar chical control of power is enough to explain the complexity of social relations in early societies of Mesoamerica. Identifying complexity at the macroscale ignores prac tices pertaining to non-centralizing tendencies and non-elite perspectives. To complement hierarchical models of political and economic organization, the concept of heterarchy was devel oped. According to Crumley (1995:3), heterarchy is Â“the
20 relation of elements to one another when they are unranked or when they possess the potential for being ranked in a number of differ ent ways.Â” Multiple hierarchies may exist in heterarchical frameworks, and the concept of heterarchy does not necessarily deny the significance of hierarchical organizati on (Scarborough et al. 2003). Overall, it is possible to discuss different types of heterar chies alongside hierarchies in societies, and thus social change does not always requ ire centralization of power or a single dominant hierarchical st ructure (Yoffee 2005). Complex Societies in Mesoamerica Mesoamerica provides rich archaeological data on the formation of complex societies in different r egions that were interconnected with one another, so Mesoamerican studies have been intensely concerned with the emer gence of social hierarchy. Archaeologists have identified many practices that provide evidence of social differentiation that first take shape in t he early village life of Mesoamerica. The Formative period is especially significant becaus e specific ideas of value and legitimacy, defined through practices of establishing social order, are considered to have structured actions of agents in subsequent time periods in Mesoamerica. The Formative period was a time of many significant changes and developments in settlement patterns, architecture, technol ogy, socio-political systems, and interaction networks. First sedentary v illages emerged after 1500 B.C. (Grove 1981), and early villagers already started to establish l ong-distance exchange networks while their subsistence relied primarily on corn-based agr iculture in most areas. After 1200 B.C., early complex societies such as at the site s of Paso de la Amada (Chiapas), San Jos Mogote (Oaxaca), and San Lorenzo (Veracruz) st arted to show the evidence of social differentiation, and interaction with other cent ers on a multi-regional scale (Clark 1991;
21 Cyphers 1996; Marcus and Flann ery 1996). Early Formative societies also exhibit evidence for the beginning of skilled craft production, including textiles, iron-ore ornaments, obsidian blades, and pottery ve ssels (Clark and Blake 1994; Clark and Gosser 1995; Hendon 1999). The construction of monumental archit ecture in some villages created nondomestic spaces to which, archaeologis ts presume, only community residents had special access. Meanwhile, individual fam ilies or households had spaces that were restricted to themselves (Hendon 2003:211). The number of societies employing monumental architecture and art to inscribe so cial differentiation grew in the Middle Formative period (Grove 1987; Grove and Gillespie 1992a). One of the most significant developm ents during the Early and Middle Formative period was the establishment of extensive long-distance interaction networks, and prominent Middle Formative sites such as C halcatzingo are located in settings that have the potential for controlling those interact ion routes (Grove 1987b; Hirth 1987). Those interregional networks spread certain pan-Me soamerican motifs in the Early and Middle Formative in what is called the Olmec styl e. The Olmec culture flourished in the Gulf Coast of Mexico since the Early Formative period, and played significant roles in establishing interregional exchange networks. The similarities in artistic style became the basis for the argument of Olmec infl uence in Middle Formative Mesoamerica (Coe 1965; Coe and Diehl 1980). Even though th is pan-Mesoamerican style was not associated entirely with any one locality and s hould thus not be ascribed to the Olmec culture of the Gulf Coast (Flannery and Marcus 1994; Grove 1989; Marcus 1989; Tolstoy 1989), it gained special values in interregional exchanges and thus would be of
22 considerable importance in the dynamics of network-based politics. Interregional exchange networks of exotic goods have been well documented (e.g., Pires-Ferreira 1976a, b), and the production and consumption of those items was associated mainly with elite households (Flannery 1968). The signi ficance of the affiliation to symbols of exclusivity is obvious from the evidence that elite individuals buried in Los Naranjos, Honduras, Chalcatzingo, in the highlands of Mexico, and La Venta on the Gulf Coast wore the same kinds of ornaments, even t hough features of these sites were quite different in the Middle Fo rmative (Joyce 1999). After 900 B.C. (i.e., the st art of the Middle Formative ), ranked societies were established from the Gulf Coast to the Soc onusco (Figure 1-1) in the lowlands, and from the Basin of Mexico to Oaxaca in the hi ghlands. La Venta grew to be a prominent Olmec center on the Gulf Coast (Drucker et al. 1959), as did contemporary regional centers, such as Chalcatzingo in Morelo s (Grove 1987). San Jos Mogote continued to be the most prominent site in the Valley of Oaxaca, al though some competing polities emerged in the area (Blanton et al. 1999). In sum, the Early and Middle Formative periods indicate limited evidence of social in equality, such as elit esÂ’ preferential access to prestige items, ritual it ems, and storage facilities. Fu rthermore, by the beginning of the Late Formative period (c. 500 B.C.), m any Middle Formative centers with clear evidence of social differentiation declined. Despite this demographic disruption, sites of the Late Formative period grew to greater sizes than their predecessors, and developed more definitive internal differentiation bet ween the elite and non-elite. The recovered evidence from the Late Formative also indica tes greater specialization in crafts and other social roles.
23 Historical Pro cesses versus Evol utionary Stages Even though there is no need to reject qualitative evolutionary change because, for example, societies in Late Formative Me soamerica are clearly more stratified than those in the Middle Formative period, the model to classify ideal societal types needs to be supplemented by alternative perspectives that could analyze processes of social change. I suggest that to better underst and how societies became internally differentiatedÂ—that is, to explain more spec ifically how we conceptualize complexity (or its absence) as an outcome of the strategi c actions of agentsÂ—it is necessary to investigate through archaeological informa tion of those processes of social differentiation among Middle Formative societies. While this may seem obvious, in fact archaeologists have tended to focus only on the material remains that are believed to manifest social differentiati on, but not the social proce sses themselves. For example, monumental architecture, high-status buria ls, or the unequal distribution of exotic artifacts represent differentia tion, and the processes themselves are not investigated. And when they are, I suggest, especially with an eye towards variations among social processes and their materiality, we can better understand how social differentiation emerges from and also shapes agentive ac tions, constraints, and outcomes. Thus, in this study, I focus on micro-scale corporate practices such as feasting, monument and mound build ing, mortuary activities, crafting, and the acquisition and management of exotic materials among three ma jor Middle Formative centers to argue that centralization is not always inevitable for social transformations. Comparison of social processes among these Middle Forma tive socio-political centers reveals resemblances and differences in the me chanisms of social differentiation.
24 I further argue that the Middle Formative peri od is the very time frame in which to examine a variety of strategic practices and analyze different processes of social differentiation because certain agents competed for status and power in relationships with less complex groups, but also in the absence of (or foreknowledge of) stratified societies that developed only later. That is we cannot legitimately interpret what happened in the Middle Formative only by refer ence to what we know transpired in the Late Formative. Archaeological manifestations of social differentiation among major Middle Formative centers clearly indicate that these societies and their trajectories of development vary significantly. The three Middle Formative sites that were the focus of this studyÂ—Chalcatzingo, San Jos Mogote, and Santa Cruz Tayata Â—provide ample evidence of social differentiation within the community as al ready noted by the archaeologists who excavated them. Within a neo-evolutionary fr amework, all three ranked societies would be expected to evolve holistically to the next complex stage. Signific antly, all of them declined at the beginning of the Late Formati ve period and never became Â“states.Â” Yet in other cases, major city-s tates in Mesoamerica such as Monte Albn and Teotihuacan grew rapidly from small-scale societies beg inning in the Late Formative, while absorbing their surrounding populations (Blanton et al. 1996). They did not seem to undergo a centuries-long process of transformation from a regional cent er or chiefdom to a state. Thus, the Mesoamerican data compels the need to reexami ne teleological arguments regarding social transformations that are embedded in neo-evolutionary theory. In addition, the data from these three Middl e Formative centers do not indicate the presence of centralized authorit ies who could control all re sources within the community
25 and consolidate their contro l over the entire region. In neo-evolutionary approaches, institutionalizing hierarchy is an inevitable process of social transformations, and societies which did not evolve into more complex configurations become, by default, failed examples. However, the lack of centra lization as an outcome of the processes of social differentiation among these Middle Formative centers suggests that noncentralizing mechanisms, such as the presence of multiple hierarchies and resistance to centralization, play significant roles in the emergence and development of social differentiation within the communi ty, and that there is no i nevitability for societies to move to the next stage through a single trajectory. Archaeological evidence for variations from these Middle Formative centers suggests that they do not fit into establishe d chiefdom categories in terms of settlement patterns, ceremonial architecture, population, economy, and politics. The presence of a variety of social forms within this time period casts doubt on the neo-evolutionary models in which the unit of analysis is always the society as a whole and each society in the same stage exhibits homogeneity r egardless of regional differences. The classification of past societies either as si mple or complex, egalit arian or hierarchical (Chapman 2003:71-74) obscures a variety of social forms and unique processes of social differentiation. Neo-evol utionary theory ultimately is a theory of classification of ideal societal types, and is not a theory of social change (Yoffee 2005:20). Furthermore, neo-evolutionary societal typol ogies and models of complexity ignore the presence and activity of agents, and t hus do not allow us to conceptualize complexity as an outcome of the strategic actions of agents as contributory to the unique processes of social differentiation an d integration. In th is study, I regard the
26 concept of complexity as an enabling rather than simply a restricting force (e.g., following Giddens 1984), so complexity is treated in terms of the emergence and marking of ranked differences created through st rategic actions of agents. Complexity in this study is not attached to certain stages of cultural evolut ion, and there is no necessity to measure the degree of complexity on some universalizing continuum or to compare whether one society is more comple x than another. There is also no need to focus on the timing of the orig in or emergence of social co mplexity in Middle Formative societies as if it were a singular event. As mentioned above, in order to move aw ay from neo-evolutionary theories and models that focus only on societal types in evolutionary stages and thereby ignore the variability of historical processes, it is nece ssary to employ practice theories that reveal how people came to live within one of a vari ety of socially differentiated structures. Practice theories posit that social analys is should focus on the ways that agents work within structures to which they are habit uated, and allows us to understand not only structural constraints, but al so the variability of social processes that are involved in social transformations. The relationship of so cial structure and agency is established, reinforced, and reinterpreted through daily practices (Giddens 1984), and action is motivated largely in terms of pragmati c choice and decision-making as well as strategizing or unconscious (doxic) prac tice (Bourdieu 1977). T hus, exercising agency requires pragmatic choices of available options. However, because it is unlikely that archaeologists can recover evidence for the motivations and consequences of individual actions, and because much agency is collective rather than indivi duated (Sewell 1992), an appropr iate scale of agency needs
27 to be determined for analyzing processes of soci al differentiation at a level larger than the individual, but smaller than the soci ety as a whole. Such agency needs to be theorized for appropriately linking it with Gi ddensian structures. For this study, the house society model is the most satisfactory, as is explained further in the next section. House Practices and Variabili ty of Social Processes I take a Â“house-centered approachÂ” (Gillespie 2007) to analyze processes of social differentiation, and hypothesize that house practi ces such as food consumption, crafting, monument and mound bu ilding, and mortuary treatment contributed to social differentiation and ultimately to transformations in social and political structures. Social differentiation in this study refers to Â“t he process through which social groups become dissociated from one another, so that specific activities, roles, identities, and symbols become attached to themÂ” (Yoffee 2005:32). Ar chaeological manifestations of social differentiation are outcomes of strategic acti ons of, in this case, corporate agents who competed with each other for st atus and power, negotiated relationships for maintaining and promoting status, and sometimes resisted emerging hierarch y. The house is obviously a significant entity in most soci eties, but not all societies become house societies. According to Lvi-Strauss (1982: 174), the house is Â“a moral person holding an estate made up of material and immaterial wealth which perpetuates itself through the transmission of its name dow n a real or imaginary line, considered legitimate as long as this continuity can express itself in the language of kinship or affinity, and, most often, of both.Â” Houses, as corporate persons followin g the definition, allow for analysis of strategic actions and their historical out comes because the study of the house always deals with duration or longevity, a linking of the present with the past (Gillespie
28 2000b:18). Diachronic rather than synchronic re search concerning houses is necessary to reveal long-term strategies for acquiring, main taining, and replacing resources, and how the outcomes of strategic actions for com petition may constitute hierarchy and lead to social change through time (Gille spie 2000b:11). Even though archaeologists typically cannot directly examine issues such as the role of kinship in maintaining properties, they can examine t he outcomes of strategic corpor ate activities, especially when they occurred repeatedly in history (Gillespie 2000b:9). Considering the fact that agents are always situated within the wider set of social relationships, the units of analysis in an arch aeology of practice must be amenable to relational perspectives, while also allowi ng for uniqueness and flexibil ity (Barrett 2001). Houses as corporate agents fulfill those r equirements because they become the arena for various kinds of social interaction and deal with unlimited spatial and temporal dimensions, as contrasted with, for ex ample, households (Gillespie 2000b:9). The employment of houses as corporate agents furt her enables archaeologists to overcome conceptual difficulties imposed by categorical societal types, such as chiefdoms, because the dynamic nature of houses acting in space and time does not fit static taxonomic categories (Gillespie 2007). In ad dition, houses may interact with other houses across societal boundaries (Gillespie 2000b:6). They also obviate such taxonomic groupings as Â“elites Â” and Â“non-elites,Â” especially because there can be social differentiation within, as well as between houses (Gillespie 2000b:11). Among the social practices that engage mate rial remains visibl e to archaeologists are the activities associated with the consumpt ion of food. Techno-functional analysis of pottery and the examination of fauna remains provide interpretable evidence of food
29 consumption within and bet ween houses, on the assumption (see Hendon 2003) that the social house (the Lvi-Straussian hous e) is spatially coterminous with the archaeological remains of dwellings. Food is a basic element in the construction and maintenance of social relations of power and inequality, especially in the case of housebased feasting (Dietler 1996; Hendon 2003). House-based feasting would have played an important role in maintaining the soci al relations of house members and/or allied houses. Feasts could even provide opportuniti es for host houses to enhance their status, often through the display of goods includi ng important artifacts (Wiessner 2001) and through gift-giving (Clark and Blake 1994; Die tler 1996; Perodie 2001). One important point is that by their nature feasts typically create recipr ocal obligations between host and guest through the gifting of food and drink as well as items of material import (Lau 2002). Houses have been characterized as Â“corporate bodies, sometimes quite large, organized by their shared residence, subsist ence, means of production, origin, ritual actions, or metaphysical essence, all of whic h entail a commitment to a corpus of house property, which in turn can be said to mate rialize the social groupÂ” (Gillespie 2000b:2). The important point is that houses claim t heir property, define and obj ectify their group identity, and compete wit h other houses in a larger society Â“of housesÂ” for their status and power (Gillespie 2000b). The house becomes the arena for various kinds of social interaction and its members are linked within and across generations by descent, marriage, residence, adoption, and shared ri tual practices (Gillespie 2000b:9). Where multiple burials are present within resident ial compounds, usually below the house floor, this may indicate the value of ancestral ties with present house members Â– a vertical
30 linkage (e.g., Beck 2007; Gillespie 2000b). When archaeologists adopt the house-level or scale of their unit of analysi s to investigate processes of social differentiation, they can see the house as an entity in which hi erarchy fundamentally exists and inequality emerges more in the process of recruiti ng members who have shared motivations to contribute to their own house system. Data and Strategies for Comparison My project, under the supervision of Dr. A ndrew Balkansky, the director of the Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological projec t, focused on excavating one residential structure in the northeaster n part of the Tayata site, and features and artifacts associated with the structure were recove red. Subsequent labor atory analysis focusing on recovered ceramics and shell items reve aled evidence of feasting and crafting activities (Duncan et al. 2008). Even though two residential structures in the site were compared in my study in regards to the loca tion, size, and recovered material evidence, the data for corporate practice s from Santa Cruz Tayata were only partially recovered. Therefore, a comparative anal ysis of house practices among major Formative societies in Mesoamerica was essential for comp lementing my study. The comparison of practices and social processes among cont emporaneous societies was essential for revealing varied mechanisms of social tr ansformations during the Middle Formative period. My study shows that corporate agents in different so cieties combined strategies to discourage centralization of power while maintaining social balance within their community. Due to the damage caused by farming and er osion, the physical condition of the residential structure remains at Santa Cruz Tayata was generally poor. Because of this condition, as well as the lack of dated carbon samples, I cannot fully analyze diachronic
31 aspects of house practices in Tayata. Also, it was difficult to identify household floors and complete architecture profile s. One of the residential stru ctures in the north-western part was partially excavated, but the full extent of its profile is unknown. Moreover, most ceramics and other artifacts of this structure came from mi ddens, so there is a lack of contextual information. In spit e of some difficulties, I was able to distinguish differences and similarities of corporate practices in Santa Cruz Tayata. Since the available data from Santa Cruz Ta yata for analyzing st rategic actions of houses are limited, the data need to be comp lemented or compared with those from other contemporary regional c enters in Mesoamerica. Alt hough it would have been ideal if the data from Santa Cruz Tayata provided all the informa tion of house practices such as food consumption, mortuary treatment, craft making, resource acquisition, and dwelling arrangements (location, size, architecture, maint enance), only some strategic actions of houses such as food consumpti on, resource acquisiti on, and shell ornament making were recovered from excavati on (Duncan et al. 2008) and subsequent laboratory analysis. On the ot her hand, the contemporary site s of Chalcatzingo and San Jos Mogote offer rich evidence of unique practices such as burial treatments and monument and mound building (Flannery 1976; Flannery and Marcus 1983, 1994; Gillespie 2009; Grove 1987; Marcus and Fl annery 1996). Even though I cannot perform techno-functional analyses of pottery from these sites to recover evidence of food consumption practices, I can discern unique so cial processes of differentiation through the various types of strategic house practi ces, and these are comparable for analyzing similarities and differences. Only through comparison of social processes among
32 different societies is it possible to discu ss why one social organization or one trajectory of change is unlike others. Structure of the Study This study is organized in eight chapt ers. In Chapter 1 I have introduced interpretations of complex societies withi n an evolutionary framework and summarized how macroscale analysis defined stages of Mesoamerican societies, arguing the necessity of applying alternative perspectives to the study of earl y complex societies. The research problem guiding this dissertat ion was introduced in the beginning of this chapter. I also discussed general interpretations of the concepts of social complexity and hierarchy, together with an introduction to complex societies in Middle Formative Mesoamerica. Then I explained why my stud y focused on variations and historical processes rather than similarities and ev olutionary stages. Moreover, I introduced an appropriate scale and unit of analysis of agencyÂ—the house societyÂ—and practice theories to analyze processes of social differentiation. I ended the discussion by presenting the research met hods employed in this study and general results from the investigation. In Chapter 2, I further re view conceptual and theoretical backgrounds for the study of social complexity in Formative Mesoamer ica. I begin by focusing on the history of theorizing social complexity, while discussi ng limitations of neoevolutionary theories and issues of defining complexity. Further I critique the common application of the direct historical approach in Mesoam erica that identifies general similarities between past and modern societies. Then I present alter native theories to anal yze archaeological manifestations of social differentiation focu sing on variability of historical processes
33 rather than evolutionary stages and social types. I describe how theories of practice fit to my study of analyzing historical pr ocesses of social differentiation. In Chapter 3, I describe the house as co rporate agency in detail, while discussing how and why the house becomes an appropriate scale of agency for analyzing multiple trajectories of social change. I descri be the difference between the house model and household archaeology, and argue how the house mo del fits to studying processes of constituting social hierarchy. Moreover I discuss both horizontal and vertical dimensions of the house while introducing specific house pr actices such as feasting and resource management, among others. In Chapter 4, I present the background for the identification and analysis of complex societies in Mesoamerica, with a s pecial focus on Middle Formative societies. I describe the significance of the Middl e Formative period for analyzing various processes of social differentiation. The c hapter closes with a discussion of the three Middle Formative regional centers that form the basis of this comparative study: Chalcatzingo in Morelos, San Jos Mogote in the Valley of Oaxaca, and Santa Cruz Tayata in the Mixteca Alta. In Chapter 5, I describe the design and implementation of the archaeological survey and mapping at Santa Cruz Tayata together with an explanation of field methods. The chapter also introduces strate gies for conducting excavations in area A of the site and for subsequent lab analysis. In Chapter 6, I describe the result of lab analysis on evidence for house practices in Tayata. I mainly focus on feasting and crafting practices to analyze processes of social differentiation during the Middle Formative period. Feasting is further theoriz ed, and archaeological contexts of feasting
34 are examined with a techno-func tional analysis of the pottery corpus. In addition, the size, location, material, and presence or absence of features of two residential structures was compared to elucidate mult iple house practices in terms of likely competition. In Chapter 7, I focus on both Chalcatz ingo and San Jos Mogote to identify the presence of different house practices focusi ng on crafting, monument building, burial treatments, and dwelling locati on and size. The chapter also describes how my analysis is distinguishable from the neo-evolutionary macroscale in terpretations offered by earlier archaeological studies of these si tes. Furthermore, I compare the results obtained from these two sites to discuss ev idence of similar and different corporate practices and trajectories of social change. Finally, Chapter 8 concludes with a synt hesis of the result s of this study, a discussion of the significance of the conclusi ons, and suggestions fo r future research. The results of this study demonstrate t hat major Middle Formative centers in Mesoamerica were not duplicates of each ot her and thus must be appreciated for their variation. Further, they did not follow a seri es of evolutionary Â“stepsÂ” from one to the next in order to reach the top of a soci opolitical Â“ladderÂ” of complexity. Social differentiation often occurred in the absence of monolithic totalitarian regimes which monopolized and exercised power over their community me mbers. Instead we see the presence of multiple hierarchies or heterarch ies that could have maintained the societal equilibrium.
35 Table 1-1. Chronology of three Formative centers Years Mesoamerica Chalcatzingo San Jos MogoteSanta Cruz Tayata 500 B.C. 600 Cantera Rosario 700 Middle Formative Late Cruz 800 Guadalupe 900 Barranca 1000 1100 San Jos 1200 Early Formative Early Cruz 1300 Amate Tierras Largas 1400 1500 Espiridon
36 Figure 1-1. Map of Formative c enters in Western Mesoamerica
37 CHAPTER 2 THEORIZING COMPLEX SOCIETIES As discussed in Chapter 1, in archaeology complex society has long been studied as a clearly delineated manifestation of soci al complexity. The term social complexity has generally been used for indicating the matu rity of society within the evolutionary framework. Accordingly, typologies determine the degree of complexity among societies, specifically by identif ying characteristics of the elite cl ass such as the concentration of prestige items, elaborate architecture, and distinguished burial treatments. Many archaeological studies nowadays still focus on when this complexity emerged within early societies (e.g., Arnold 1996a; Earl e 1991; Feinman and Marcus 1998; Johnson and Earle 2000). In neo-evolutionary m odels, simple societies are treated as homogeneous and less differentiated, while complex societie s are considered heterogeneous and more differentiated (Ear le 1991; Feinman and Marcus 1998; Fried 1967; Sahlins 1963). Societies were categoriz ed as band, tribe, chiefdom, and state (Service 1962), or as egalitarian to strati fied (Fried 1967). The fundamental notion was that human history evolved from simple to complex, and the more complex societies succeeded in the formalization of social hier archies through centralization of power and the establishment of inequal ities (McGuire and Paynter 1991; Price and Feinman 1995). This study argues against the concept of so cial complexity as merely a category, and discusses that evolution and centralizat ion of power are not always inevitable for social transformations. Unlike neo-evolutionary theories that focus on social types and ignore processes of societal developments, such as how certain agents acquired status and power, I employ practice theories to discu ss how the variability of social processes contributed to the archaeological manifestations of social di fferentiation. Therefore, my
38 investigation of Middle Formative centers fo cused on agentsÂ’ strategic practices that encouraged or discouraged emer ging hierarchy to reveal variable non-evolutionary processes of social differentiation. This chapter introduces the conceptual and theoretical framework employed in this study and explains why theories of practi ce are employed for examining variable processes of social differentiation among Middl e Formative centers. In the first part of this chapter, I discuss issues of existing theories of social complexity, focusing mainly on neo-evolutionary perspectives on social tr ansformations. This study also addresses issues of applying the direct historical appr oaches to archaeological studies of early societies, especially ones in the Central Highlands of Mexico and the Valley of Oaxaca. Then I discuss how social complexity can be defined while not relyin g on evolutionary or taxonomical perspectives. After conceptualiz ing complexity, I present competing or complementary theories that cast doubt on a widely accepted concept of inevitable centralization and the single tr ajectory toward societal change, while discussing some issues of those complementary theories. Fi nally, I explain the advantage of employing theories of practice to anal yze how social differentiati on among archaeological records emerged through a variety of strategic prac tices. I conclude with the discussion about an appropriate scale of agency for this study. Theories of Social Complexity The issue of the development of social co mplexity has long been a major focus of archaeologists and anthropologists (e.g., Flannery 1972; Fried 1967; Johnson and Earle 1987; Sanders and Webster 1978; Service 1962). Studies of the early stages of the evolutionary model include analy ses of small-scale societies (Arnold 1996a; Flanagan 1989; Upham 1990) and chiefdoms (Arnold 1996b; Carneiro 1981; Earle 1987, 1997). In
39 Mesoamerica, ample archaeological evidence of long occupancy es pecially encouraged the discussion of social complexity at the state-level societies (e.g., Balkansky 1998; Blanton 1978; Sanders and Nichols 1988; Sanders, Parsons, and Santley 1979; Sanders and Price 1968). I first discuss iss ues among different theories of social complexity in history to provide the foundatio n to compare with my theoretical approach. The model most often employed to acc ount for the appearance of complex society in Mesoamerica was a culture history model in which most Mesoamerican cultures were influenced by the precocious Olmecs of the Gulf Coast. In the case of the Mixteca Alta, social development of Formative societies was always linked with outside influence or with Zapotec conquest from the Valley of Oaxaca (Flannery and Marcus 1983; Spores 1984). In the culture history approach, all hu man behavior is patterned and the form of the patterns is largely determined by cultur e as a whole. Models that rely on the mechanisms such as colonization and migrat ion (Bernal 1966), religion, military or economic control (Coe 1965), or trade were used for explaining change in culture history. The unit of analysis in this approac h was the culture area, a conceptual unit originally based on ethnographica lly defined cultural similarities within a geographic area. The application of the Direct Historica l Approach (Steward 1942:337-342) has a long history in archaeology, especially in ar eas where cultural continuity between past and present is well perceived (Willey and Sabloff 1993). Once connections were demonstrated between prehistoric cult ures and modern gr oups, ethnographic or historical accounts could be used to anal yze archaeological evidence in order to reconstruct socio-political organization of the past (Stahl 1993). Upham (1987)
40 explained that an application of the direct historical approach has been mainly used to stress similarities between past and present ra ther than exploring differences between ethnographic and archaeological contexts. The direct historical appr oach has been applied to many cu ltures in Mesoamerica, including ones in the central highlands, t he Valley of Oaxaca, and the Maya area. In Mexico, the Aztecs became the source for re constructing prehispanic Mexican history, and the names of Aztec deities spread throughout regions, regardless of differences in local religion and languages. One case study in the analogical use of Aztec art comes from Teotihuacan, which flourished duri ng the Classic period. Sjourn (1959) used Aztec art to interpret some Teotihuacan murals by viewing Teotihuacan as the origin place of Nahuatl religion and its art as "una escritura santa." Even though Aztec and Teotihuacan societies were very heter ogeneous and there is a need to focus on differences as well as similarities (Cowgi ll 1992:295), the direct historical approach encourages researchers to see generalities rather than spec ifics. In the Valley of Oaxaca, assuming great continuity from preh istoric to Spanish colonial times, Flannery and Marcus (1983) applied a direct historical approach to trace the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations from existing ethnohistoric reco rds. Marcus and Flannery (1994) also used the same approach to identify similarities and differences that exist between ritual manifestations in archaeological records of ritual life from Monte Albn and the Zapotec shortly after the Spanish conquest. They conc luded from the location of ritual devices, the types and forms of artifacts, and the archit ectural characteristics of ritual structures, that Oaxaca was conservative enough to have sustained the same ritual practices for the last two millennia. In the Maya area, archaeologists frequently employ ethnographic
41 or ethnohistoric analogies to analyze patterns in the archaeological re cord. In household archaeology, a link was made between the recovered house compound and the ethnographically identifiable hous ehold to analyze a possible division of labor by sex and age (Wilk and Ashmore 1988). Even though there is no need to deny the use of the direct historical approach for analyzing past social types, the use of ethnohistoric records needs to be carefully examined, especially when in vestigating societies in Formative Mesoamerica. Formative societies in Oaxaca, for ex ample, need to be studied from recovered archaeological data rather than ethnohistoric analogies with current Zapotec and Mixtec societies. Another model, by Wittfogel (1957) and Bu tzer (1976), focuses on control over hydraulic systems in desert areas, and explains that it was the way of achieving status and power. Environmental determinism gives the natural environment a privileged role in determining changes in human behavior, but it does not sufficiently consider human impacts on the environment. The implication of the model is that the emergence and development of social complexity to tally depend on environmental conditions. A weakness of environmental determini sm is that it is easy to fi nd very different cultures in regions with very similar natural environments, and similar cultural institutions where environment varied considerably. Archaeologists have also focused on the in teraction between population pressure and agricultural systems to explain the emer gence and development of sociopolitical complexity (Boserup 1965; Carneiro 1970) The environment and population are best modeled as interactive variables, but are not t hemselves causal and are insufficient to
42 explain chiefdom-level complexity in the ar chaeological record (Ne tting 1990). In Central Mexico, Sanders and Price (1968) and Sanders, Parsons, and Santley (1979) took an ecologically oriented cultural materia list approach, and focused on ecological and environmental variables to explain the em ergence and development of socio-cultural complexity. Sanders and Price (1968) took a Â“social DarwinismÂ” view and argued that civilization is an inevitable result of nat ural selection acting on social groups. Price (1973) also argued that the construction and maintenance of irrigation systems was responsible for the centralizat ion of power. In this theory, ideas, values, and religious beliefs are the means or pr oducts of adaptation to environmental conditions. However, the study of demographic change, economic intens ification, environmental relationships, and material culture change does not reveal any processes of how social structures were created and reproduced among societies. In the study of the Monte Al bn state in the Valley of Oaxaca, Blanton et al. (1981) concluded that population pressure was not a si ngle significant cause of the rise of the Monte Albn. However, Sander s and Nichols (1988) claimed that analytical primacy should be given to demographic factors because they can be easily measured archaeologically. The problem here is t hat although demography can have explanatory power, it does not mean that it, in fact, pl ays the determinative role in the development of social complexity. Cultural materialism considers infrastructu re (technoeconomy) as determinant and everything else is epiphe nomenal, and defines Darwinian natural selection, rather than a Hegel ian dialectic, as the mech anism for change (Price 1982). Moreover, Flannery (1968) argued that political and ideological systems are included along with basic economic or technological as pects of environmental exploitation. In his
43 systems theory, he took a func tional-systemic view of cult ure and defined culture as a set of interconnected components that change as a result of the relationship between their parts. Except for the culture hi story model, the introduced models take evolutionary perspectives, and thus general stages of development are important for their interpretations. Also, they take a holistic view of culture, one in which the parts are wellintegrated into the whole, and culture change in those models is simply an adaptation to environment. Because they seek regularit ies among cultures, they do not focus on broader scales to look for uniqueness in each society. Brumfiel (1983) has criticized ecologi cally oriented models because they treat societies as self-contained ent ities. A fundamental problem is the conceptualization of systems as inherently homeostatic, relying on external factors to explain change. Brumfiel (1983) employed Marxist ideas to consider the degree of social complexity, and argued that culture change can be explai ned as the result of conflicts or contradiction inherent in differ ent social formations. In her model, society as a whole is not envisioned as a social totality whic h adapts to the exte rnal environment, and explanation for change is possi ble only when internal differe ntiation becomes the unit of analysis. Although the Marxist approach, in whic h intra-societal conflict becomes the ground of struggles which result in the institutionaliz ation of power, is different from the processual approach in which adaptation to the external environment is a key concept, both models posit that change can be analyzed on a local society or regional scale.
44 The impact of macroregional interaction such as exchange, alliance, migration, and warfare on the development of social complexity has also been a focus of discussion among Mesoamerican archaeologist s (Blanton and Feinman 1984; Flannery 1968, 1972; Freidel 1979, 1986; Hirth 1984). T he role of interregional exchange networks was argued either as a stimulus for the origin of complex societies (Coe 1965; Coe and Diehl 1980), as a way for procuring pr estige goods to reinforce social position (Flannery 1968), or as a regulatory mec hanism to help provision subsistence economies (Pires-Ferreir a and Flannery 1976). Flannery (1972) emphasized the significance of information exchange in hi s systems theory, and argued that trade is a subsystem linked with others within a society composed as a functionally interrelated whole. The relation between prestige and other goods in society is very complex. Helms (1979) argued that exchanged exotic goods could symbolize sacredness and power due to the relative scarcity of t he material. In addition to exotic raw materi als, technological innovations may also serve as prestige it ems. Clark and Blake (1994) discussed how the pottery in the Soconusco region of Me soamerica functioned for serving purposes rather than cooking, and t hese elaborately crafted ceramics were prestige items. Exclusive access to exotic goods allows cert ain people to compete more effectively for prestige within the community, and prestige items can be used for social reproduction, or display and legitimization (Clark and Blake 1994). Finally, Wallerstein (1974) developed the world systems theory model and Blanton and Feinman (1984) introduced it to Mesoamerica. They mainly argued that in ter-societal contacts, especially the flow of goods among cores and peripheries, became cr ucial factors for t he development of social complexity. In interaction theories, t he unit of analysis is whole cultures that are
45 not viable but depend on inputs from other cult ures for survival and reproduction from generation to generation (Kohl 1989). Overall, ecological, functional, and adapt ationist approaches overemphasize the capture of energy from the natural environment and underestimate the significance of the social environment and the interaction with other groups. Unlike systems theory, the Marxist approach focuses on the dynamics of change through internal negotiations (Brumfiel 1992), but the scale of analysis is a lo cal society or a micro-region. Interaction theories do not take the vi ew that the explanation of the development of social complexity must be rendered in terms of individual agents and their actions. Even though pan-Mesoamerican motifs and exotic materials diffused through exchange networks played significant roles in consti tuting social hierarchy (Joyce and Grove 1999), cores and peripheries in world systems t heory are difficult to define and their relationships were always too dynamic to cat egorize. The shared characteristic of all the paradigms mentioned above was t heir propensity to ignore the meaningful actions of the inhabitants within societies. Also, those t heories employed either external or internal variables to explain social change or the degree of social complexity. Conceptualizing Social Complexity Although archaeologists employ different definitions for the term Â“social complexity,Â” this concept has been primarily used for judging whether certain societies are complex or not according to social political, and economic variables among archaeological records. Similarly, complex societies in the neo-ev olutionary framework mean certain progressive stages with clear ev idence of centralization. However, as I discussed in the introduction to this chapter, th is study intends to move away from the concept of social complexity as a prescripti ve classification. My discussion is built upon
46 how social complexity can be conceptualized within a non-evolutiona ry framework, with a perspective that the comple xity concept needs to be enabling rather than constraining. My investigation does not focus on discussi ng which variables most represent the degree of social complexity or the maturity of society. Instead, I argue that social complexity or complex society means a conc eptual entity that subs umes a variability of social processes that created archaeological manifestations of differentiation. Different processes of organizational change as outco mes of strategic actions by agents contributed to the emergence and development of complex so cieties in a variety of forms. In cultural evolution, monum ental architecture associated with elite compounds is a clear indicator of social complexity because monumentality indicates a centralized authority that can amass and control a lar ge labor force (Feinman and Neitzel 1984; Feldman 1987; Johnson and Earle 1987). However, monumentality is just one indicator of a social condition, and there are many Formative sites which suggest a high degree of complexity, but have little monumentality (e.g., Joyce and Grove 1999). I would argue that giving priority to certain variables for ex plaining the definition of social complexity is misleading. In this case, what needs to be addressed is why monumental architecture was built in certain societies in the cour se of social transfo rmations. Classifying available variables based on t he concept of evolut ion ignores the possi bility of different expressions of Â“complexity.Â” Social inequality always exists because va rious actors play different social roles depending on age, gender, and physical endo wments (McGuire 1983). Even if egalitarian societies exist under certain cond itions, all people cannot be equal in every
47 role because humans tend to seek the opport unity to deal for personal advantage. In ranked societies, qualified individuals outnum ber positions because status positions are limited (Fried 1967). McGuire (1983) argued that the definitions of complexity can be divided into two dimensions, heterogeneity and inequality, and that the two often vary independently. Heterogeneity is a measure of t he relative frequencies of distinct social identities in a society. He terogeneity generally increases with the number and degree of interdependence of social roles and statuses. For example, the development of socioeconomic specializations and the occupancy of different administrative roles among elites increase the degree of heterogeneity (Blau 1977; McGuire 1983). Inequality is a measure of status differentiation within society, and measures how much difference there is between comparable levels of access to resources by individuals (Blau 1977). Complexity here is just a degree of heterogeneity and inequality, and those two dimensions are the product of classified va riables. The primary focus for judging the degree of social complexity is on the roles of elites who emerge in the process of cultural evolution. Price (1995) argued that there are both vertical and horizont al differentiations that indicate social complexity. The horizontal dimension can be tracked with reference to patterned variation in tool assemblage, feat ures, activity areas, and evidence of craft specialization, and the vert ical dimension can be measured through the patterned variation in quantity and quality of materi als across populations (Price 1995). In response to PriceÂ’s ideas of complexity, we cannot always identify patterned variation that suggests institutionaliz ed inequality in Formative societies. Lesure and Blake (2002) faced a significant challenge toward t he interpretation of social complexity. The
48 data on architecture and artifact distribution at Paso de la Amada, on the Chiapas coast, suggested that social differentiation identifie d through different architecture styles had nothing to do with economic inequality that was suppose d to be obvious among highstatus houses and low-status ones. This indicate s a difficulty in exploring the structural associations of social, economic, or political variables in archaeological records (Lesure and Blake 2002). The notion that instituti onalized inequality s hould be a definitive attribute of complex societies (Price 1995; Price and Feinman 1995) should not be accepted because patterned variation within t he evolutionary classification framework does not always exist in archaeological record s. The idea that the patterned variation indicating institutionalized i nequality emerges in the cour se of cultural evolution completely ignores the variability of so cial processes toward social changes and developments. If typological ent ities in the evolutionary framework are associated with the concept of social complexity, there is no complexity in many Formative societies. McGuire (1983:102) also argued that the degree of social complexity can be easily analyzed by focusing on relative inequality, in which the hierarchical position of each person/group within a society c an be defined along a dimension relative to all other individuals/groups in society. In Formative societies, we cannot expect significant differences in status and social roles and thus only a relative measure of economic differences can be detected in archaeological re cords. However, relative difference in economy does not always indicate inequality because an economic variable is just one of the variables in societies and is not always associated with status and power. The idea that relative inequality within social structures indicates the degree of social complexity (McGuire 1983) falls within the cl assification of variables suggesting some
49 sort of difference. If we judge relative inequality within the evolutionary framework of classification, the concept of social co mplexity just becomes the indicator of superiority/inferiority and rich/poor. Arc haeological evidence of relative inequality indicates the presence of some successful and unsuccessful agents, but this does not mean that successful agents have more co mplex qualities than unsuccessful ones. Strategic actions of successful agents do not so lely contribute to the process of social transformations, and society is maintained and constantly reproduced by actions of all agents within society (Ortner 1984). There are other arguments on social comp lexity. Hayden (1995) proposed that permanent social inequality wi ll inevitably arise in any so ciety where humans have the opportunity to deal for personal advantage. In his view, this would happen where resources are abundant. If HaydenÂ’s theory is co rrect, social complexity never occurred when resource richness was occasionally dimi nished by climatic events or cultural practices. Also, Maschner (1991) discussed how warfare and other forms of direct competition would lead to complexity becaus e warfare and other forms of competition need a high degree of organization. In addition, Arnold (1996a) indicated that social complexity means institutiona lized control by certain indi viduals over non-kin labor, and this would occur under social or env ironmental stress. She explained that archaeologically visible changes in labor organi zation indicating elite control over the broader labor pool signify the large-scale involvement of labor in architecture construction, harvests, and ritual practices. Overall, the Â“degreeÂ” of social complexity essentially means the classification of certain variables of the archaeological records to determine if a given society is simple
50 or more complex, and introduced concepts of so cial complexity are all restricting forces. The evidence that highly-differentiated societ ies in Mesoamerica often devolved at the beginning of the Late Formative period cast s doubt on the perspecti ve that the degree of complexity increases as the society becomes less equalized. Because trajectories toward social transformations are multilineal and unique in each society, the Â“degreeÂ” in the concept of social complexity makes no sense. In the Middle Formative societies where we do not see significant differences in social roles, status, and power, people nevertheless established interregional intera ction networks to acquire new items and information and developed subsistence technolog ies to improve living conditions. I argue that agents in Middle Formative soci eties employed strategic measures to encourage or discourage the em ergence and development of hierarchical structure within the society, and the va riety of negotiation processes of social differentiation through interaction among different social entities are what I investigate for understanding social complexity. Alternative Theoretical Consid erations on Complex Societies The limitations of the ev olutionary framework of complex societies have been widely debated (e.g., Yoffee 2005). The use of the ethnographic record to classify societies into evolutionary types does not suit the varied archaeological evidence from early societies such as Chalcatzingo, San Jos Mogote, and Santa Cruz Tayata. Data from different parts of t he world also contradict t he primary concepts of the neoevolutionary theories, and require attention to variati ons among archaeological records (Chapman 2003:41-45). As discussed, it is g enerally assumed that exclusionary power predominates in small-scale, less-differentiat ed societies that evolve to more complex and stratified ones through institutionalizi ng hierarchy. However, archaeological
51 evidence of multiple hierarchies and resist ance to emerging inequality does not support premises of social evolution. In additi on to Mesoamerican examples, Yoffee (2005) argued that societies such as Chaco in Ne w Mexico and Cahokia in Illinois do not belong to the taxonomic category of chie fdoms and never became intermediate stages which evolved into states. At first, various domains of power among early societies have been analyzed in the dual-processual model (Blanton et al. 1996). This model investigates the variety of strategies used by political actors in the development of larger, more complex polities and the corresponding new institutions within thos e polities. Within this model, political actors draw from various sources of power, ei ther objective sources such as wealth and factors of production, or symbolic sources su ch as religion and ritual (Blanton et al. 1996:3). The two major strategies developed in this model are the exclusionary network strategy and the group-orient ed corporate strategy. Unlike traditional neo-evolutionary theory (e.g., Service 1971), dual-processual approaches do not assume a progression of social and political development. Nor is the character and dev elopment of social formations presumed to be governed by determinist ic trajectories or universal principles, and dimensions of history and agency can easily be considered by this approach (cf. Pauketat 2001:84). In a dual-processual model, strategies of political power in ancient societies may be characterized as falling between system s based on individualized Â“networksÂ” and systems based on Â“corporateÂ” gr oups. In the network strat egy, individual agents acquire power by using prestige goods to build allian ces. Once power is established it may be legitimized through ancestor worship within an exclusionary desc ent group. Corporate
52 strategies focus on the accumulation of group power that is shared by many individuals. Corporate power is commonly materialized in communal architecture, rather than individual prestige (Blanton et al. 1996). However, corporate organization is not necessarily synonymous with egalitarian or ganization (Feinman 2000:215). The examination of corporat e entities by archaeologists does not diminish individual agency. Even though this model provi ded the perspective that ce ntralization is not always inevitable for social transformations, it c ould not move away fr om typologies and failed to explain how and why one strategy becam e dominant and what kind of mechanisms contributed to the choice of one strategy over the other. Decentralization Perspectives Diversity in archaeological records encour aged the emergence of other competing or complementing theories and m odels that recognize the fact that the variability of social processes toward change needs to be analyzed for understanding how individual societies became complex. Crumley (1995, 2003) described societies with multiple power sources such as socio-political, ec onomic, and religious one s, and argued that social transformations can be made through i nputs from non-hierarchical sources. In other words, there may be multiple hier archies such as economic and political hierarchies (Small 1995), secular and religio us hierarchies (Wailes 1995), or no hierarchical organization (Ehrenreich 1995). As evidenced by the study of hierarchies among nobles and church officials (Wailes 1995), any society may be seen as heterarchical. The study by Potter and King (1995) in the lowland Maya area revealed that trade of utilitarian item s was heterarchically organized and luxury item trade was more hierarchically organized. Heterarchy s ubsumes hierarchical structures, and thus hierarchy and heterarchy do not need to be dichotomized (C rumley 1995, 2003). Rather,
53 the proposed dichotomy in this concept is bet ween vertical and horizontal differentiation in political decision stra tegies. Even though heterarchic al perspectives, assuming multiple sources of power, become a us eful concept to assume non-evolutionary change of societies, the concept alone does not provide solutions to analyze how those complex societies were organized. The resistance to the emergence and development of hierarchical structures within societies is another archaeological recove rable practice. Among mechanisms that prevent exclusive power are separations of pow er into different individuals or groups, such as, for example, exclud ing figures who abuse their st atus and power or dividing secular from religious power. Clastres (1987) noted that the T upi-Guarani tribes left their villages to resist political hierarchy and depr ive the power of emer gent chiefs. Trigger (1990) also observed that the Iroquoians dev eloped a system of dividing sources of power and means to exclude figures who did not follow the ideals of equality. McGuire and Saitta (1996) introduced a communal organi zation of Prehispanic western pueblos, arguing that the community controlled elites were allowed to have higher economic and ceremonial power only during times of scarcit y. This resulted in an expulsion of less powerful clans and individuals from the pueblos when they could not support the entire population and a cooperation and egalitarian ideology dur ing good times. Even though this type of organization can be labeled as heterarchical, Saitta and McGuire (1998) utilized the concept of communal, because the heterarchy concept does not have the explanatory power to reveal the dynamic re lations of these societies. Cycling between hierarchical and egalitarian societies, such as between gumsa and gumlao forms among the Kachin of upper Burma (F riedman 1984; Leach 1965), may be a way to
54 resist hierarchy. Another example of cycli ng is the Greek city state of Athens, which strategically changed between elite-centered stratified and democratic structures (Morris 1997). Permanent hi erarchies can develop only after mechanisms for maintaining equality are removed in these cases. Yoffee (2005) contested the idea that less complex societies become states through a series of programmatic stages, and argued that lived experience is varied from place to place, and each society is unique and dynamic. In his model, we see complex and unique processes of differentia tion, different types of heterarchies alongside hierarchies, and the limits of abs olute power in city-state societies. Centralization is not always a key for social transformations, and some societies become differentiated without being centra lized. Intensive studies of ethnographic chiefdoms by Feinman and Neitzel (1984) rev ealed that there are no discrete social stages and that social transformation is likel y to be continuous. An increasing number of archaeologists currently focus on the dynam ic nature of decentralized (or anticentralized) societies in which multiple hier archies and heterarchy exist (e.g., Joyce and Hendon 2000; Lesure and Blake 2002; Lopiparo 2007; Mehrer 2000). Theories of Practice: Focus on Social Processes In order to analyze how societies changed or differentiated, there is a need for a theory and model that allows a focus on a variety of activities that created archaeological manifestations of social di fferentiation. What was missing among neoevolutionary theories is the pr emise that no structures ex ist outside the way in which they are practiced by individual actors on a daily basis. Social actors have selfinterested goals and strategies and make decisions in relation to multiple factors and other agents (Giddens 1984), and those actions occur within a structural context,
55 constrained by both the biophysical and so ciocultural environment (Giddens 1984; Ortner 1984). According to Giddens (1984:25) in regards to the interpretation of the recursive relationship between structure and agency, the constitution of agents and structur es are not two independently given sets of phenomena, a dualism, but repr esent a duality. According to the notion of the duality of structure, the structural properties of social systems are both medium and outcome of the pr actices they recursively organize. Structure is not Â’externalÂ’ to indi viduals: as memory traces, and as instantiated in social practice, it is in a certain sense more Â‘internalÂ’ than exterior to their activities in a Du rkheimian sense. Structure is not to be equated with constraint but is a lways both constraining and enabling. Thus, in the process of social transformations structures provide certain constraints to agents, but all forms of social practice recursively act back on social framework and ideology (Giddens 1984). Giddens (1984:2) argues that a primar y focus of analysis needs to be put on social practices ordered across time and space rather than the social totality or the exper ience of the individual agent. Practice theory is based in the work of Marx (1963), Bourdieu (1977), and Giddens (1979, 1984), among many others (e.g., Ortner 1984). MarxÂ’s idea that history both shapes and is shaped by cultural activity became the foundation of practice approaches (Dobres and Robb 2000:4-5). Basically, pr actice is anything people do (Ortner 1994:393), but most relevant forms associat ed with questions of social change are the ones with either intentional or unintentional sociopolitical im plications (Ortner 1994:393). Practice-based approaches allow us to re cover meanings in repeated activities of everyday life, and help to illuminate both t he conscious and unconscious expressions of agents who gain knowledge and social skills through experiences and observation in their daily lives (Bourdieu 1977; Giddens 1979).
56 Practice theory is useful in studies of agency because it permits a consideration of social actors as forces that both int entionally and unconsciously create, shape, and reproduce an organizing framewor k of the society. Bourdi euÂ’s (1977) concept of habitus is essential to analyze how agents create and maintain an organizing principle, and at the same time, are constrained by it. In his definition, the habitus is: Systems of durable, transposable dis positions, structured structures predisposed to function as structuring st ructures, that is, as principles of the generation and structuring of practices and represent ations which can be objectively Â’regulatedÂ’ and Â’regularÂ’ without in any wa y being the product of obedience to rules, objectively adapted to their goals without presupposing a conscious aiming at ends, or an ex press mastery of the operations necessary to attain them, and being a ll this, collectively orchestrated without being the product of the orchestrating action of a conductor (Bourdieu 1977:72). Habitus is a concept associated with peopleÂ’s everyday life, and informs agents what is conventional, acceptable, and proper (Barrett 2001:153). The habitus is learned through daily experiences and observations, and create s and sustains an organizing principle of the society which also affects the habitus (Gosden 1999:125). However, the habitus is not a set of rules but is made as we act, as indicated by Bourdieu (1977:78). The habitus is Â“the universalising mediation that c auses an individual agentÂ’s practices, without either explicit reas on or signifying intent, to be none the less Â‘sensibleÂ’ and Â‘reasonableÂ’" (Bourdieu 1977:79). Because repeated activities people engage in on a daily basis produce patterned evidence of material culture that are likely to be recover ed in the archaeological record, in conducting archaeological rese arch it makes sense to investigate those activities (Lightfoot et al. 1998:201). Such patterning reflects habitus and is important in interpretations of social change. However, while habitus is historically constituted and people are often unconsciously subject to an organizing principle of the society, agents
57 employ all strategic options to compet e for status and power (Ortner 1984). The significant point is that actors can exerci se agency only when they choose their actions from available options, even though in tended actions may produce unintended consequences (Joyce 2004:38). Many archaeological studies employed the concept of agency and focused on certain elites, defined by typologies becaus e their institutionalized control was considered the prime mover of social transformations (e.g., Clark and Blake 1994; Dobres and Hoffman 1994). The concept that agents are domi nant individuals who act in their own interests and solely contri bute to social developments falls into the paradigm of methodological individualism (Dobres and Robb 2000:9), and ignores strategic practices of competing agents in the society. As Barrett (2001) argued, agency must include collective actions extending beyond the individualÂ’s body and their own lifespan to prevent it from returning to methodological individualism. Practice theory allows us to understand not only structural constraints but also the variability of social processes that are invo lved in social transformations (Ortner 1984, 2001). The relationship of social structur e and agents has been established, reinforced, and reinterpreted through daily practices (Gi ddens 1984), and action is largely in terms of pragmatic choice and decision-making as we ll as active strategizing or practice (Bourdieu 1977). However, since no effectiv e methodology for recovering actions of individual agents has been es tablished, an appropriate scale of agency needs to be determined for analyzing social processes of differentiation. Agency needs to be theorized for appropriately linking it with an organizing principle, and the debate still exists over whether agency is a property of an individual, or can be exercised by a
58 group (Dobres and Robb 2000; Sewell 1992; Clark 2000; Gillespie 2001; Hendon 2000). The combination of practice theory and corp orate agency which I discuss in detail in the next chapter allows us to understand how indi vidual societies devel op through strategic actions of agents over space and time. Summary I began this chapter presenting major neoevolutionary arguments on the issue of social complexity, while discussing the know n disadvantages of those theories. I also focused on the direct hist orical approach to explai n the problem of applying ethnohistoric analogies to archaeological records from highland Mexico and Oaxaca. Then I explained the limitations of utilizin g the taxonomic stages in neo-evolutionary models, while focusing on the deficiencies of defining chiefdoms. I also described my perspectives on the concept of social comp lexity by arguing against restraining and classificatory concepts within an evolutionary framework. Finally, I presented alternative theoretical considerations to teleological arguments and the premise of centralization in social transformations, and justified the reas on for employing practice theories to my investigation of comparing so cial processes of change. T he next chapter presents the house society model and discusses how an d why the house as corporate agency becomes advantageous for the study of ar chaeological manifestations of social differentiation among Middle Formative societies.
59 CHAPTER 3 THE HOUSE AS CORPORATE AGENCY As I discussed in Chapter 1, I take a hous e-centered approach (Gillespie 2007) to analyze strategic actions and their historic al outcomes, and hypothesize that house practices such as food consumption, craf t-making, monument and mound building, and mortuary treatment contributed to transformations in soci al structure. Archaeological manifestations of social differentiation ar e considered to be outcomes of strategic actions of corporate agents who competed with each other for status and power, negotiated relationships for maintaining and promoting status, and sometimes resisted emerging hierarchy. In the preceding chapter, I introduced neo-evolutionary perspectives which assumed that the centralization of power is an inevitable process in the transformation from chiefdoms to states, and that societies that did not evolve to the more complex ones represent failed examples. The unit of analysis in these approaches is always the society as a whole, and each society in the same stage of evolutionary development is considered analytically identical regardless of their geographical and historical contexts. Finally, those seemingly identical societies in the same taxonomic stage are assumed to evolve into a more complex and het erogeneous stage--the st ate--through a single trajectory. In order to supplement neo-ev olutionary theories that focus only on societal types in evolutionary stages and ignore the variabilit y of historical processes, a theory of practice can reveal how people came to live within a variety of socially differentiated structures. The units of analysis for analyzing the mechanisms of social differentiations needs to be differentiated social groups rather than the society or t he region as a whole.
60 In this regard, I discuss the concept of the house society and describe how employing the house as corporate agency is advantageous and appropriate for analyzing strategic practices and unique processes of social differentiation. In the first part of this chapter, I describe the house so ciety model introduced by Claude Lvi-Strauss to expl ain how and why houses become suitable agents for this study. Also, this chapter addresses concept ual differences between the household and the house, while discussing characteristics of household archaeology. Then I present a house-centered approach, to discuss methodolog ical advantages of the house society model in archaeological analysis. After c onceptualizing the house and explaining a house-centered approach, I present archaeological evidence of corporate practices to discuss how they indicate unique processes of social differentiation. Finally, I conclude with a discussion about the significance of a house-centered approach to analyze evidence from Middle Formative societies in Mesoamerica. What Is a House Society? Since this study focuses on how the hous e as corporate agency helps to explain processes of social differentiation, c oncepts of the house need to be defined and justified for this purpose. Claude Lvi -Strauss (1982, 1983, 1987) developed the concept of socit maisons to deal with anomalous cases of kinship practices in ranked societies. He ended up employing the em ic term for corporate social groups in these societiesÂ—the word for t he dwelling itselfÂ—for an otherwise etic concept. That is, people in such societies often used the same word for dwelling and for their significant social groupings (Lvi-Strauss 1982). Alt hough at first used prim arily by ethnographers, the house society model has been recently pr ofitably employed in more analytical by anthropologists and archaeologists (Beck 20 07; Carsten and Hugh-Jones 1995; Joyce
61 and Gillespie 2000). An increasing number of studies centered around houses demonstrate how they played si gnificant roles in structuring social organization in ancient societies (Gillespie 2000b:15). It is important to differentiate the house from similar terms such as household and dwelling. Although most societ ies have houses as residences not all societies become house societies. According to Lvi-Str auss (1982:174), a house is Â“a moral person holding an estate made up of material and imma terial wealth which perpetuates itself through the transmission of its name down a real or imaginary line, considered legitimate as long as this continuity can ex press itself in the language of kinship or affinity, and, most often, of both.Â” LviStrauss (1987) argued that certain societies whose kinship system is characterized as neither patrilineages nor matrilineages, such as occur in Polynesia, Indonesia, Melanesia, and sub-Sahara Africa, fit the concept of s ocit maisons Even though historical examples such as feudal European families were also used for characterizing a hous e society, house-centered practices of acquiring and maintaining names and titles and using different kinship strategies to enlarge (or shrink) house membership and earn hereditary privileges, are found among other societies, such as the houses of feudal Japan (Lvi-Strauss 1983). Kinship is often actively negotiated in or der to obtain more economic control or political power (Bourdieu 1977; Lvi-Strauss 1982, 1983). Because any kinship group will include members related by matrilineal and patrilineal descent, the organization of identities, property and privileges by kinshi p principles can lead to tensions (LviStrauss 1982:186), and that may result in splits (Gillespie 2000c:33). Lvi-Strauss (1987:152) argued, in contradist inction to kinship-based groups, that the house became
62 a social mechanism to subvert kinship, ignor ing or getting around kinship rules. This is especially so among societies where centralized governmental structures are absentÂ— people still relate to one another using kin-like ties--, but strong inequalities or rankings are present. Thus, fictitious kinship such as arranged marriages and adoptions often are found in house societies because they are st rategies for gaining property rights and inheriting immaterial and materi al wealth such as names and titles, using the language of descent (Gillespie 2000b:910). The primary purpose of the house is to maintain tangible and intangible properti es over generations (Lvi-St rauss 1982), and thus in a house society, actions regarding property rights shape human relations rather than relations of property based solely on kinship bonds (Gillespie 2000b:8). As noted above, social hierarchy often pla ys a significant role in house societies. Complex strategies of houses to acquirie wealth, status, pow er or property are more like in a hierarchical order or disappearing egalitarian system (Gillespie 2000b:9). Waterson (1995) argued that houses are pr ominent institutions in societies undergoing social change toward more hierarchical conditions. Others also observed the role of houses as a vehicle for naturalizing rank differ entiation (Hugh-Jones 1995; McKinnon 1995). Houses often contain close and distant re latives and non-kin members, and relational differences define the status of those me mbers (Lvi-Strauss 1987). Also, houses can incorporate other houses as a part of their estate, and vertical orders are assigned in their relationships (Forth 1991:63; Gille spie 2000c:49; McKinnon 1991:98). Thus, inequality plays important roles within house organization, and social hierarchy can be expressed as differences in political, econo mic, social, and religious power within and between houses.
63 The concept of personne morale by Lvi-Strauss (1979, 1982) is significant, especially because this study treats the house as a corporate agent. Lvi-Strauss (1987) considered that the concept of corporat e group as a classificatory entity does not fully represent what the house is, and defined the house as Â“a moral person.Â” With a moral personality, houses as corporate agents possess rights and follow obligations, and their roles and relations to other houses in the larger societ y define them (LviStrauss 1987:153). Functioning as corpor ate agents, members of the house are motivated to take actions for the interest s of the houses they belong to, and consider strategies for protecting and enlarging t heir property (Gillespie 2007:13). Houses acquire and exchange thei r property through marriage, adopt ions, warfare, and other ways, and compete with one another for property as well as political and economic status (Gillespie 2000c:2425). Moreover, the house is not a unified personhood, and members of the house have thei r own internal statuses. T hus, attention should be paid to intrahouse competition and co operation, as well as interhouse relations, in which houses as moral persons negotiate with each other in the larger society (Gillespie 2007:34). Why Use the House? Considering the fact that agents are always situated within the wider set of social relationships, the units of analysis in an arch aeology of practice must be amenable to relational perspectives, while also allo wing for uniqueness and flex ibility (Barrett 2001). Also, this study argues against neo-evolutionary perspectives on classification, such as social types and clear distinctions between t he elite and non-elite, and thus the concept of the house as corporate agency should enabl e archaeologists to move beyond such categorization. Here, I discuss reasons for employing a house-centered approach in this
64 study, while illustrating advantages of the application of the house society model in archaeological studies. I first clarify t he difference between the household and the house because the household, as utilized in househo ld archaeology, is distinct from the house in the house society model. Conceptual Differences between Households and Houses The household is a social and economic unit in which co-residents prepare and consume food and other necessities in co mmon, share a common domestic budget, and store items/foods in a common facility (Wilk and Netting 1984). Also, the household as an economic unit is typically confined to a physical building/structure, and as a social unit is limited to the life span of a f ounding couple, although multiple sequential households of descendants may occupy the same dwelling (Smith 1987). A household is therefore a temporally and spatially discrete unit. Moreover, the household as an adaptive mechanism is an irreducible entity whos e activities and structure are the result of external environmental and social conditi ons (Hirth 1993; Sheets 1992). On the other hand, the house of the socit maisons is a social Â“property-owningÂ” group (Gillespie 2009:7). House societies have been characte rized as Â“corporate bodies, sometimes quite large, organized by their shared resi dence, subsistence, means of production, origin, ritual actions, or metaphysical ess ence, all of which entail a commitment to a corpus of house property, which in turn c an be said to materialize the social groupÂ” (Gillespie 2000b:2). The important point is that the house is Â“a corporate group maintaining an estate perpetuated by the recr uitment of members whose relationships are expressed in the l anguage of kinship and af nity and af rmed by purposeful actionsÂ” (Gillespie 2000a:467). Houses include individual s and families of different status who help support house activities and agendas (Gillespie 2000b, 2009; Gillespie and Joyce
65 1997; Hendon 2001; Joyce 2000a). Also, the house becomes the arena for various kinds of social interaction, and its member s are linked within and across generations by descent, marriage, residence, adoption, and shared ritual practices (Gillespie 2000c, 2009). Moreover, where multiple burials ar e present within residential compounds, usually below the house floor, this may indicate the value of ancestral ties with present house members Â–a vertical linkage (Chesson 2007; Dring 2007; Gillespie 2000c, 2011). Thus, the house never becomes s patially and temporally discrete. Household archaeology grew out of settl ement pattern studies (Flannery 1967), and Wilk and Rathje (1984) first introduced the term. Household archaeology focuses on identifying productive activity areas and links different social units in scalar fashion to a nested hierarchy of spatia l units (from house structur es, neighborhoods, settlements, to regions). The household has been called the Â“level at which social groups articulate directly with economic and ecological proc essesÂ” (Wilk and Netting 1984:618) and the Â“fundamental unit of organizationÂ” (Hirth 1993:21). Household archaeology may reveal external and internal economic and socio-po litical relations. In Mesoamerica, for example, the presence of pan-Mesoamerican objects in a household indicates that householdÂ’s participation in interregional ex change networks. In the Valley of Oaxaca, the production of exportable ir on-ore mirrors at workshops in San Jos Mogote could indicate a higher socio-economic status of the households to which those workshops were attached (Flannery 1976; Flannery and Marcus 1983). The issue is that households as units of production and consumption are typically treated as homogenous within a so ciety, lacking variability in space or over time (Gillespie 2007:34). In terms of variati on, household archaeology has typically been
66 limited to distinguishing Â“eliteÂ” residences from Â“non-eliteÂ” ones on the basis of markers such as size, presence of exotic artifacts, treatment of subfloor dead, etc., within a neoevolutionary framework. Hous ehold archaeology lacks models of social process that might reveal how certain social groups became elites while employing successful strategies for being differentiated from ot hers. In contrast, a house-centered approach, treating houses in a house society, can ov ercome some of these limitations of household archaeology, even as it utilizes t he data and assumptions derived from the study of households, and better suits the investi gation of social complexity in Formative societies. A House-Centered Approach As I briefly discussed in Chapter 1, a Â“house-centered approachÂ” drawn from the Lvi-Strausssian house society model (Gillespie 2007) is different from other studies focusing on physical households represent ed by household archaeology. Even though Lvi-Strauss did not pay much attention to t he physical characteristics of residences or the aspects of daily life within them (Car sten and Hugh-Jones 1995:12), later studies recognize the significance of architecture as a cultural symbol in house societies (Gillespie 2000b; Scarduelli 1991; Waterson 1995). One of the most si gnificant aspects of the house-centered approach is its focus on social groups and their materiality, including domestic architectural remains. Even though the residential structure can be considered the materializat ion of the basic kinship un it (e.g., Helms 1998)Â—that is, reading kinship from houses-replacing an emphas is on kinship by the larger construct of the social house can overco me the limitations of modeling social groups primarily in terms of kinship. The point is that arch itecture and the social group are mutually implicating, and thus a hous e-centered approach generally r equires archaeologists to
67 focus on relations between them (Gillespie 2007:29). The prominent advantage of this approach in archaeological studies is the presence of houses in every society of the world, and thus archaeologists in different regions can invest igate major roles of social houses in societal transformations. A house-centered approach is suitable for analyzi ng variability in social practices and processes, rather than ca tegorizing features and attrib utes in fixed typologies, because the social house as agent is flex ible, variable, and essentially functions diachronically. Gillespie (2000c:43) discusse s the dynamic role of the house as a Â“central and fundamental organizing principleÂ” in a variety of social forms. There are several advantages of employing a house-cent ered approach in the investigation of corporate practices and processes of social di fferentiation in Formative societies, which I enumerate here. First, the house society model has advant ages for the diachronic nature of archaeological studies. House members co mpete for wealth and power within and between houses, and thus house status changes when new sources of wealth become available or interactions with other so cieties change the local dynamics (Gillespie 2000b:10). Houses include individuals and familie s of different status who help support house activities and agendas (Gillespie and Joyce 1997), and social hierarchy can be expressed as differences in prestige, weal th, and ritual and political power within and between houses (Gillespie 2000b:8). Thus when archaeologists focus on the houselevel to analyze the process of emerging soci al differentiation, they can consider the house as an agent in a social co nfiguration in which hierar chy fundamentally exists and inequality emerges out of the processes of interacting with other houses by arranging
68 marriages, exchanging items, and recruiting members who have shared motivations to contribute to their own house system (Gille spie 2000b, 2009). All these processes and practices are easier to identify with diachroni c perspectives. Lvi-Strauss (1983, 1987) suggested that the long view of history is significant for understanding the mechanisms of transformation, consolidation, and eventual dissolution of houses, which are perpetual entities that outliv e individual house members. Diachronic investigations of houses rev eal long-term strategies for acquiring, keeping, or replacing resources that are the basis for status and power, and outcomes of these strategies can constitute hierarch y and result in social change through history (Gillespie 2000b:15). Although archaeologists c annot always examine issues such as how kinship relations played roles in maintain ing the integrity of an estate, they can investigate Â“the outcomes of group activities that have enduring material components, especially those that occurred repeatedly wit hin long time framesÂ” (Gillespie 2000b:15). Temporary differentiation in social roles and activities becomes naturalized and more permanent through daily practice, and this pr ocess can be identified in the material relationship within and between houses. Thus, the long-term perspective of archaeology is not just advantageous but essential for anal yzing historical process of elaboration and the rise and decline of houses, and for consi dering which ways of living were possible within given material conditions. On the other hand, a syn chronic perspective is also important because ethnographic information provides comparable dat a for archaeological interpretations of houses. Even though ethnography has temporal limitations and rarely reveals the history of dynamic processes in which houses flourish and decline, it provides both rich
69 contextual details of the immaterial aspects of life and examples of the diversity of cultural forms (Gillespie 2000b:18-19). Sinc e the concept of the house does not have temporal and spatial limitations (Lv i-Strauss 1982, 1983, 1987), diachronic perspectives need to be well-integrated into synchronic perspectives to analyze corporate practices and vari able processes of change. The durability of the house (e.g., Beck 2007) is a significant property, and this is another advantage for archaeologists. Resident ial architecture periodically needs renovation and rebuilding or enl arging. Material culture in side residential structures needs replacement and maintenance, and house members themselves (as house property) experience cycles of life--birth, marr iage, and death. In this situation, how can houses maintain their permanency as corporate entities? Carsten and Hugh-Jones (1995:36-40) have advocated the processual nature of houses by indicating the dynamic relations among people, architectu re, house location, and social identities embedded within dwellings. Thus, the house expe riences cycles of life and death as well as renewal of generations. Some archaeologists have demonstrated strong connections between living members of houses and their ancestors by focusing on the evidence of burial treatments (Beck 2007; Gillespie 2011; Kirch 2000). Others have suggested symbolic meanings of residential space and the specif ic materials associated with components of residential architecture (Gillespie 2009; Joyce 2000b; Marshall 2000). Archaeologists can also demonstrat e the perpetuation of the house by investigating how burials or human remain s were deposited inside house property with or without elaborated tombs, and how signs of ancestral figures such as heirloomed costumes and valuable items were used to indicate close bonds with the living house
70 members (Gillespie 2007:35). Residential archit ecture creates space for actors in the present, while referencing the material remains of past structures and past house members. This means that house becomes the arena for the gathering of living house members and for the memo ry of past generations. The variability of houses also has benefits for archaeological studies, especially when archaeologists focus on variations in strategic practices to analyze historical processes of change. This is because the house society model essentially requires great attention to inter-house and intra-house variations in multiple domains of the archaeological evidence to deal with such vari ation (e.g., Gillespie 2011). The statuses of houses can be different within the sa me society, and each house may employ different strategies for su rvival. Also, houses become the arena for various kinds of social interaction with unlimited spatial and te mporal dimensions (Gillespie 2000b:3). By analyzing the size and internal structures of residences, archaeologists can investigate how house members were attached or detached from houses and house relationships, and what this situation implied for the lar ger community over time. Hendon (2007), for example, focused on variability in strategic actions and demonstrated that elite houses of the Classic Period Maya city of Copan cr eated alliance affiliations with allied or subsidiary houses to maintain or gain status and power. Kahn (2007) focused on Austronesian house societies and reveal ed that higher-ranked houses may have had their own part-time craft wo rkers, who used specific sp aces within dwellings while maintaining separate identities. Houses are most visible in their inte ractions with other houses. Lvi-Strauss (1987:178) stated that t he house is Â“a dynamic formation that cannot be defined in itself,
71 but only in relation to others of the same kind, situated in their historical context.Â” One such relationship for obtaining or increas ing property is by ma rriage or other ways of alliance to establish inter-house relationships. Even though such specific practices for arranging alliances are seldom recoverabl e from archaeological evidence alone, building inter-house relationships was obviously significant for individual houses to promote their socio-political and economic status. Hendon (2007) demonstrated that early houses in Yoro in the Cuyumapa Va lley of Honduras created connections to powerful foreign houses in the form of alliances. In addition, Brown (2007) has discussed how marriage exchange likely played a significant role in maintaining a heterarchical condition among high-ranked houses in the precontact Southeastern United States. Houses also create inter-house relations for maintaining relative equivalencies among them in the absence of centralizing authority. Lopiparo ( 2007) has demonstrated that houses in Terminal Classic Honduras us ed a diversity of ritual practices and created multiple heterarchical networks to integrate society in the absence of hierarchical structure. A dams (2007) found that houses in Kodi society in Indonesia utilized feasting to establish integrative so ciopolitical and economic relationships. Food is a basic element in the construction and main tenance of social relations of power and inequality (Hendon 2003:205), so feasting could take place within the households to maintain the social relations of house mem bers as well as neighboring or allied houses (e.g., Dietler 1996). Moreover, the concept of t he social house lacks any reference to size or the scale of complexity, and has no indication of fixed mari tal or institutional ru les, no restrictions
72 of specific kin ties, and no restrictions in the dimensions of time and space (Gillespie 2007:38). Lvi-Strauss ( 1982:84) argued that the house is an institution that exists Â“on all levels of social life, from the family to the stat e.Â” Even though this conceptual flexibility has been considered a weakness, es pecially by scholars focusing on universal similarities and ignoring variations, it becomes an advantage for archaeologists who investigate diachronic and mu ltiscalar problems. The conc ept of houses as corporate agents further enables archaeologists to overco me conceptual difficulties imposed by categorical societal types, such as chief doms, because the dynamic nature of houses acting in space and time does not fit into any static taxonomic categories (Gillespie 2007). The use of the house soci ety model also obviates such taxonomic groupings as Â“elitesÂ” and Â“non-elites,Â” especially because t here can be social differentiation within as well as between houses (Gillespie 2000b). Investigation of Houses in Formative Mesoamerica Utilizing the house society model archaeologists can better analyze a variety of material evidence over time to reveal the different strategi es of individual houses, which competed with one another for st atus and power. Certain objects may indicate not only economic status, but also the value of ances tral ties. Objects recovered from burials under the house floor or around the hous e suggest the connection between the dead and the residence itself, and thus the livi ng house members (Gillespie 2000b, 2007). Also, artifacts recovered from trash or st orage pits provide information on the daily practices of house members. The number, style, and quality of ceramics, crafts, architecture, and "exotic" artifacts among houses provide information on possibly uniquely developed house strategies for ac quiring, using, mainta ining, producing, and circulating resources. ItÂ’s important to not e in this regard that the material evidence
73 associated with a domestic structure does not simply represent the property of the immediate household members. Some of these objects, such as pottery and food remains, might be used for house-based or community-based feasting in which members of other houses participated. Also recovered figurines and some prestige items might have played a role in house-bas ed rituals, in which house members (not only immediate household members) participat ed. In this way, archaeologists can investigate the processes of social di fferentiation within and between houses from material evidence. Architecture style and size are also signi ficant to determine t he relative degree of inequality in a society. Although archaeologists tend to consider that elaborate style and large size suggest high-status houses or households, size does not always represent social status because it could simply indi cate the length of hous e duration (Gillespie 2007). Moreover, the elaboration of houses does not always indicate social status and economic power because the structural associ ations of social, economic, or political variables may not be identified through arc haeological records (Les ure and Blake 2002). The location of houses within a community is also significant, because some are associated with public spaces, architecture mounds, or other di stinctive features. Moreover, houses may have been rebuilt in t he same place for a long time, sometimes with the remains of the old houses incorpor ated into new ones, which suggests that the continuity of house location is socially meaningful (Gillespie 2000b, 2011). In terms of the social b oundary of the houses, the spatia l dimension of the physical house includes the arrangement of indivi dual features and people within it, the disposition of structures and their properties within a communi ty where the identity of a
74 house is constituted along with other features in landscape, and the sociopolitical and economic relationship among houses at the micro/macro regional scale (Gillespie 2000b). At a regional scale, we can expect a certain degree of variation in societies, ranging from highly stratified to less diffe rentiated ones, where the house systems are also very diverse. Some communities have only one or few high-status house groups, and others have ones with no distinctive stat us differences. Therefore, a simple comparison of house societies at the regional scale does not provide us information on how social hierarchy was locally mainta ined and negotiated withi n and between houses. However, by focusing on houses within each society, we can better understand how social differentiation emerged or was prev ented through uniquely developed corporate practices of houses. As discussed in Chapter 1, the Middle Forma tive in Mesoamerica is the period of transformation from non-ranked societies to hierarchical ones, and variations in archaeological data across this region show vari ous processes of social differentiation. Since the house has a processual nat ure (Carsten and HughJones 1995:36-40) and can be a useful analytical construct to bri dge the evolutionary divide between simple and complex societies (Lvi-Strauss 1983), my investigation, focusing on house practices in three Middle Formative societie s in western Mesoamerica, may serve as a useful case study to analyze how stra tegic choices and actions of houses have consequential effects. The comparison of so cial processes within three communities challenges the assumptions of evolutionary stages and the inevitable centralization of social transformations typica l of neo-evolut ionary theory.
75 Summary I began this chapter presenting the house so ciety model of Claude Lvi-Strauss to define the house society and characterize the so cial house. I then clarified conceptual and terminological differences between the hous ehold, the more familiar unit of analysis in archaeology, and the social house to make a clear distinction between them. In the comparison of households and houses, I illust rated the advantages of employing the house as an analytical unit of corporat e agency to the diac hronic nature of archaeological studies. Moreover, I suggeste d possible archaeological evidence of corporate practices to discuss how the material evidence recovered by archaeologists may indicate the strategic actions of hous es in the past. Finally, I discussed why the Middle Formative period is usefully inve stigated using a house-centered approach. Houses were defined by Lvi-Strauss as Â“moral personsÂ” whose component members are motivated to take actions for the interests of the house. The house society model focuses on strategic actions of hous es to maintain and enlarge property and acquire status and power through competiti on among houses. The strategic practices of houses may Â“forge integrative or conflictive economic and soci o-political relationships in the absence of centralized authorityÂ” (Gille spie 2009:9). Furthermore, these strategic actions may leave a significant number and amount of archaeologica l evidence of the processes of social transformations. Those historical processes can be analyzed only through diachronic perspectives, and indeed, houses cannot be well understood outside of their historical contexts (Gillesp ie 2000b, 2007; Joyce 2000a, 2007). Although there are increasi ng archaeological studies empl oying a house-centered approach, some of them cited in this chapt er, still more archaeological investigations are needed, and their utility can be further broadene d to different types of problems.
76 The next chapter presents background info rmation on Mesoamerica and the Middle Formative period to provide the contexts fo r the social conditions of three regional centers: Chalcatzingo, San Jos Mogote, and Santa Cruz Tayata. That chapter also provides the justification for my com parative analysis of hous e-centered corporate practices and social processes among those three sites.
77 CHAPTER 4 THE CULTURAL CONTEXT OF FO RMATIVE WESTERN MESOAMERICA As discussed in Chapter 1, the Ea rly and Middle Formative periods in Mesoamerica (1500-500 B.C.), c haracterized by interregional interaction networks for exchanging exotic goods as well as ideas and information (Demarest 1989; Flannery 1968; Grove 1984), were the periods of the emergence and devel opment of complex societies. Beginning in t he 1960s Mesoamerican archaeolog ists focused intensively on these periods to identify the timing of emer gent hierarchy (Clark 1991; Clark and Blake 1994), and argued which societies fit which stages of cultural evolution (Blanton 1978; Sanders and Nichols 1988; Sanders, Pars ons, and Santley 1979; Sanders and Price 1968). According to neo-evolutionary theories, major centers in Mesoamerica would have evolved into chiefdoms in the Middle Formative period through centralization, and elitesÂ’ control of resources through interregi onal networks would have played a primary role in the emergence of social different iation (e.g., Diehl 2000; McGuire and Paynter 1991; Price and Feinman 1995). Those chiefdom s belonged to an intermediate stage of social evolution and became more comple x societies called st ates by the Late Formative period (e.g., Feinman and Neitzel 1984). However, the typical neo-ev olutionary model of complex societies does not fit the archaeological data from all major Middle Forma tive centers. The data indicate that Middle Formative centers were varied and c annot be simply categorized as chiefdoms. Also, centralization was not always inevitabl e for social transformations in Formative period Mesoamerica. This chapter present s the background for the identification and analysis of complex societies in non-Maya Mesoamerica with a special focus on Middle Formative centers on the Gulf Coast of Mexi co and in the Central Highlands of Mexico,
78 the Valley of Oaxcaca, and the Mixteca Alta. In the first part of th is chapter, I present Mesoamerica as a culture area. Then, in order to introduce a variety of social forms, I discuss several major regions where primary Formative cent ers such as Chalcatzingo and San Jos Mogote flourished. This study also addresses Olmec issue which has long been argued among Mesoamer ican archaeologists. The Olmecs in the Gulf Coast of Mexico played significant roles in est ablishing interregional exchange networks and spreading or acquiring pan-Mesoamerican mo tifs and ideas (e.g., Sharer and Grove 1989). Thus some scholars treat the Olmec as the Â“mother cultureÂ” of Mesoamerican civilization (e.g., Coe 1965; Coe and Diehl 1980). Finally, I conclude with a more detailed discussion of the Mi xteca Alta and the site of Santa Cruz Tayata, where I conducted archaeological fieldwork. Mesoamerica Even though the geographical bou ndaries of Mesoamerica are difficult to define, Mesoamerica generally encompasses a geogr aphic area that includes central and southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and t he western portion of Honduras in Central America. The point is that Mesoamerica is not simply a geographic r egion but a cultural concept referring to groups of people who shared cultural, religious, and linguistic features over a long period of time (Cla rk and Pye 2000; Joyce 2000c). Interestingly, those shared features extended to groups in different socio-political formations and ecological regions through interregional networks. Among the shared practices within Mesoamer ica, subsistence activities became a key feature. Socially different groups in a variety of bioregions produced corn, beans, and squash by using appropriate strategies such as improving irrigation systems, constructing terraces on slopes, and building raised fields in swampy areas (Willey
79 1966). Even though the same kind of agr icultural production systems and food consumption practices existed outside Meso america, specific techniques of food processing and preparation as well as the mythological significance of maize characterized communities in Mesoamer ica (e.g., Coe 1994; Monaghan 1990). Another shared feature in Mesoamerica was the use of particular items that indicate sociopolitical and economic practice s. Groups of people who claim ed legitimacy in exercising power of socio-political or religious gov ernance controlled exch ange networks of nonutilitarian items such as j ade and other green stone, obsidian, iron-ore mirrors, shell, mica, fancy pottery, turquoise, sharkÂ’s teet h, stingray spines, and cacao (Grove and Gillespie 1992a; Joyce 2000c). New ideas and information also spread through interregional networks and created new valu es and lifestyles among local communities of Mesoamerica (Demarest 1989; Fl annery 1968; Grove 1984; Willey 1966). Moreover, shared characteristics in belief systems distinguished Mesoamerican cultures from others. Access to the supernat ural world required rituals using specific pathways, particularly caves and other por tals into the underworld, and trees and mountains which rose up into the upper wo rld (Gillespie 1999). Mesoamerican rituals were primarily conducted in specially creat ed spaces such as ball courts, public architecture, and temples, and the timing of t he rituals was calculated from calendrical and astronomical record-keeping (e.g., Clark 1991; Clark and Pye 2000). Ritual practices such as ballgames, burning incens e, dances, and sacrifices are recoverable from drawn images, records in text s, and archaeological remains. Within Mesoamerica a broad temporal di vision within five major periods is generally recognized: Paleo-Indian, Archai c, Formative (or Preclassic), Classic, and
80 Postclassic (Willey and Phillips 1958). Although not originally intended for that purpose, these stages are associated with a general trend in cultural evolution (Flannery 1972; Sanders and Price 1968). Mesoamerican arc haeology in the twenty-first century still focuses on these cultural stages, each stage i dentified by certain criteria marking its progression from simple to complex societies. In the next section I describe certain r egions where major societies developed in the Formative period (not including the Maya area). I introduce the Olmec of MexicoÂ’s Gulf Coast, the Valley of Oaxaca, and Chalca tzingo in the Central Highlands of Mexico to show a variety of socio-cu ltural forms. I also briefly di scuss the issue of the Olmec as a Â“mother cultureÂ” in particular relation to developments in the Mixteca Alta and the Valley of Oaxaca. The Gulf Coast Olmec My research focuses on three Middle Formative centers in the Central Highlands of Mexico, the Valley of Oaxaca, and the Mixt eca Alta. However, the larger context of the Early to Middle Formative period needs to be understood in order to analyze how individual societies developed within Mesoam erica. Because the Olmec of the Gulf Coast of Mexico are one of the most signific ant and famous cultures in this period, I begin with them. The Olmec had an agriculture -based subsistence system, intrasocietal differentiation, a complex religion, and a dist inctive art style. They created monumental stone sculptures and established and partici pated in interregio nal exchange networks (Diehl 1981). The archaeological evidence of the Olmec connection with Chalcatzingo (Grove 1984, 1987) and San Jos Mogot e (Flannery 1968, 1976) has been welldocumented, and the interconnected nature of Middle Formative centers enabled the spread of pan-Mesoamerican designs and ideas. Considering the significance of Olmec
81 culture, I explore some significant characteri stics of the Olmecs, es pecially their role in interregional interaction and influence in re gional politics as these may (or may not) have contributed to the emergence of social complexity elsewhere in Mesoamerica. The Early Formative Olmec center of San Lorenzo is situated on a low plateau overlooking the Ro Chiquito and the large C oatzocoalcos Basin in southern Veracruz (Figure 1-1). San Lorenzo flourished from around 1200 B.C. to 900 B. C. Although it has been estimated that the population of San Lorenzo was around one thousand based on the number and presumed capacity of the house mounds (Coe 1968:57), recent research has revealed that the populat ion was much higher and that occupation covered the plateau, elevated ridges to the south and north, as well as some areas of the floodplains below the pl ateau (Cyphers 1996:67). Moreov er, although there was no distinct difference in social rank among most of the siteÂ’s inhabitant s, there was a small population of an elite class, and they apparently played a crucial role in managing resources and possibly their distribution (C oe 1968:59). The site contains over one hundred carved stone monuments. Although evidence fo r the use of jade and greenstone is scarce, recover ed obsidian and iron-ore provi de useful data for analyzing exchange networks and their mechanisms in Early Formative Mesoamerica. Coe and Diehl (1980:147-152) argued that the people who had occupied the most productive river levee land became the elit e strata of San Lorenzo, and developed and maintained access to key resources by es tablishing wide social networks with outlying groups. Archaeological evidence indicative of social differentiation at San Lorenzo includes the so-called Red Palace (Cypher s 1996), a large structure with plastered and painted walls, large basalt columns to support the roof, and a sub-floor stone aqueduct.
82 Moreover, Olmec elites apparently controlle d craft workshops, including a monument recarving workshop within the Red Pala ce (Cyphers 1996). No contemporaneous structures comparable in size and form to the R ed House have been documented elsewhere in Mesoamerica (Cyphers 1999). La Venta is a Middle Formative Olmec center, taking the status formerly occupied by San Lorenzo. It is located on an island in a swamp adjacent to the Tonala river in the state of Tabasco (Figure 1-1). Only one small area of the site, Complex A, has been extensively excavated. There arc haeologists recovered abundant artifacts, precious objects, and fine stone sculpture s (Drucker et al. 1959). It has been argued, based on archaeological evidence, that Comp lex A was a restricted area only for the centerÂ’s elite. Recent mapping research at La Venta has revealed a high degree of architectural organization and planning. Accord ing to Gonzlez Lauck (1996:75), the siteÂ’s architecture includes civic-ceremonial structures (Complex C, a pyramid), civicadministrative structures (Complexes B, D, G, H, and the Stirling Â“AcropolisÂ”), the small ceremonial precinct of Complex A, and ev idence for residential ar eas within and outside of the city limits (Complex es E, I), and in the surroundi ng Â“sustaining area.Â” The elaborate constructions and burials of Complex A indicate that elites controlled great expenditures of human labor and marked their social ran ks with iron-ore mirrors, jade artifacts, and embellished graves (Grove and Gillespie 1992a:204). In terms of exchange networ ks, non-local resources such as obsidian, iron-ore, and jade have been found at La Venta, all of them imported from other regions of Mesoamerica through multiple networks dur ing the Middle Formative period (Drucker 1981:35). Among recovered items, there is a significant diffe rence in the quantity of jade
83 between the sites San Lorenzo and La Venta. Jade and other green stone was scarce at San Lorenzo, but frequent and abundant at La Venta (Garber et al. 1993:211). This suggests that exchange netwo rks for jade and greenstone we re not well established during the Early Formative in Mesoameric a and that the elite class at San Lorenzo might have had less interest in jade and greenstone for ornam entation and ritual use. Although some scholars believe that jade us e is an Â“Olmec traitÂ”, that is probably not true. For example, the earliest arc haeologically documented us e of greenstone and jadeite may be at Copan in Honduras (Fas h 1982) and the early us e of greenstone has also been identified at coastal Chiapas sites ( Clark et al. 1987). Thus, the use of jadeite and greenstone during the Early Formative period is not a unique trait of the Olmec. In addition, greenstone was the Middle Formative periodÂ’s non-perishable exotic of choice, both on the Gulf Coast and elsewhere (Gro ve 1993:97). With the Middle Formative period there is clear evidence of rapidly emer ging elites within Mesoamerican societies, and the elite in this period needed to distingui sh themselves and their social rank by acquiring and displaying exotic resources such as jadeite and greenstone (Grove 1993:97). Therefore, Â“the great ly increased popularity of greenstone in the Middle Formative may have been due to the desire by nascent chiefs for new symbols to consolidate their positions furt herÂ” (Grove and Gillespie 1992b:30). The Olmec as Â“mother cultureÂ” problem Until the recent discovery of the chief doms on the Pacific coast of Chiapas and Guatemala, archaeologists considered the Olmec of the Gulf Coast area to be the earliest complex society in Mesoamer ica (e.g., Coe 1965; Coe and Diehl 1980). Stylistically similar artifacts recovered fr om Formative sites all over Mesoamerica encouraged scholars to argue t hat the Olmec were a Â“mot her culture,Â” even with no
84 archaeological evidence that clearly i ndicates major Olmec influence on the development of contemporary and later cultures (e.g., Coe 1965, 1968b). The high agricultural productivity of the lands near San Lorenzo served as the basis for several theories about the early rise of the civilization (Coe and Diehl 1980; Stark 2000). However, the region is poor in mineral resour ces, and, in fact, sources of obsidian, ironore, serpentine, and jade are not located near Olmec center s. Thus, the Olmec had to acquire all these resources through interr egional networks. Schol ars of the Â“mother cultureÂ” school argued that the Olmec conquered and/or occupied local centers in other regions of Mesoamerica and influenced those other societies in acquiring desired resources from them (e.g., Coe 1965; Coe and Diehl 1980). On the other hand, other ar chaeologists view the Gulf Coast Olmec as just one of many Formative cultures utilizing a s hared pan-Mesoamerican symbol set with other regions of Mesoamerica, without any priority in developing these symbols or attainment of a greater level of social complexity (e.g., Flannery and Marcus 1994; Grove 1997). Long before Matthew StirlingÂ’s 1942 excavation at La Venta, museum curators and others had recognized objects in the Olmec style from sites throughout Mesoamerica. Objects without context that resembled thos e recovered from the La Venta excavations, and later from San Lorenzo, were lumped together as Olmec (Grove 1997). Scholars who do not favor the Â“mother cu ltureÂ” hypothesis c onsider that the similarities in art and artifacts are not due to Olmec influences, and the archaeological evidence indicates that Formative sites in other regions developed locally without any significant influence from the Olmec (Fl annery 2000; Flannery and Marcus 1994; Grove 1987a, 1997). Also, all the stylistic similariti es on which the Â“mother cultureÂ” hypothesis
85 relies, depend primarily upon ic onographic motifs decorating portable objects. People transport items as well as ideas and informa tion through interregional networks, and thus stylistic similarities in designs and forms suggest merely mutual contact through interaction networks. In fact, monumental art executed to Olmec stylistic canons appears at only a limited number of sites, such as Chalcatzingo in Morelos and some Pacific Coast sites, such as Pijijiapan and Ta kalik Abaj (Grove 1997). For all the above reasons, it is appropriate to suggest that the Olmec played an important role in spreading pan-Mesoamerican symbols and ideas as well as different types of commodities through interregional networks as one of the earliest influential cultures in Mesoamerica. Nonetheless, t he available evidence does not indicate any significant Olmec influences on the emergence and deve lopment of their contemporaries, especially in terms of cultur al evolutionary progression. Formative Period Oaxaca The Mixteca Alta region of Mesoam erica has been studied primarily for its Postclassic and Colonial period occupations (Byland and Pohl 1994; Spores 1967, 1984), and the Formative and Classic periods hav e received much less attention. Thus, one question addressed in my study is to what degree did Formative period societies in the Mixteca Alta interact with centers in the nearby Valley of Oaxa ca, or even with the more distant Olmec centers? The 2004-2005 ex cavations at the Mixteca Alta site of Santa Cruz Tayata recovered pottery and figurines similar to the pan-Mesoamerican style, and this fact merely suggests a gener al Mixteca Alta linkage with Â“Formative stage manifestations distributed widely over central MesoamericaÂ” (Spores 1983:74). There is no clear archaeological evidence to determine exactly when the Mixteca Alta
86 had economic and/or socio-polit ical interactions with the Olmec and other with other areas of Mesoamerica. In the case of the Valley of Oaxaca to the south of the MI xteca Alta, there is evidence that that area expl oited iron ore sources and produc ed different types of ironore artifacts, and that the Olmec acquired iron-ore objec ts from Oaxaca through exchange networks during the Formative per iod (Pires-Ferreira 1975). Flannery (1968:105) argued that Â“a special relationship exists between consumers of exotic raw materials and their suppliers, especially when the suppliers belong to a society which is only slightly less stratified than that of the consumers.Â” In his argument, society in the Valley of Oaxaca was stratified and had system s of status during the Early Formative period. Thus, these peoples were fascinat ed by the Olmec culture and predisposed to adopt their cultural practices to enhance t heir own status (Flannery 1968:106). Flannery argues that the flow of ironore had begun on a small scale because it was not a priority in their relationship at first (Flannery 1968: 106). People in Oaxaca and the Gulf Coast might have developed close interaction rela tionships, but there is no archaeological evidence to suggest significant Olmec infl uences on processes of socio-cultural developments there during the Early and Middle Formative period (Flannery 2000; Marcus and Flannery 1996). San Jos Mogote and th e Valley of Oaxaca Major Formative period societies in the Vall ey of Oaxaca actively participated in interregional networks to interact with the Olmec, the Mixteca Alta, and surrounding smaller societies (Marcus and Flannery 1996; Wi nter 1972). The Valley of Oaxaca is located to the south of the Mixteca Alta, and the archaeological evidence indicates significant degrees of interaction between these regions beginning in the Formative
87 period (Balkansky 1998; Blomster 2004; Flannery and Marcus 1994; Marcus and Flannery 1996; Spores 1984). Because the patte rns of development between these two regions are similar, including parallel stylistic sequences of pottery (e.g., Flannery and Marcus 1983, 1994), well-documented archaeolog ical data from major Formative period centers of the Valley of Oa xaca have become basic reference materials for the study of the Formative period societies in the MIxt eca Alta (e.g., Balkansky 1998; Blomster 2004; Duncan et al. 2008; Spores 1984). In pa rticular, the archaeol ogical evidence from the regional center of San Jos Mogote provides a vari ety of significant comparable data for such research San Jos Mogote wa s the largest and most powerful center in the Valley of Oaxaca during both the Earl y and Middle Formative periods (Marcus and Flannery 1996; Winter 1984). A large amount of jade and greenst one, obsidian, and iron-ore from different sour ces has been recovered at San Jos Mogote. This evidence indicates that San Jos Mogote played a major role in the establishment and management of Formative exchange networ ks of various resources (Flannery 1976; Marcus and Flannery 1996). In the Valley of Oa xaca there were major sources of ironore, one of the most val uable exchangeable resources in Formative Mesoamerica (Flannery 1976; Pires-Ferreira 1975). Also, not only was San Jos Mogote twice the size of any contemporary settlement in the Valley, but it was also one of the few settlements of this period in all of Mesoamerica where non-residential, public constructions have been found (Blanton et al. 1993:56). There are two major phases that corres pond to the Early Formative period in the Valley of Oaxaca. The first is the Tierras Largas Phase, dated from 1400 to 1150 B.C., and the following is the San Jos Phase, dat ed from 1150 to 850 B.C. (Flannery and
88 Marcus 1983; Marcus and Flannery 1996; Wint er 1984). By 1400 B.C., the beginning of the Tierras Largas phase, sedentary farming villages were located throughout the Valley of Oaxaca. Except for San Jos Mogote, th ey were small communities, containing ten or fewer cane-and mud houses, each of which was associated with outdoor cooking and storage facilities. San Jos Mogote was mu ch larger, and contained non-residential architecture and an enclosed plaza area (Fl annery 1976). It has b een argued that the changes in the nature of non-resi dential architecture at San Jos Mogote indicate that the organization of public or ritual activiti es emerged during the Tierras Largas phase, and that a centering of ritual activities at the site is asso ciated with the demographic growth in this area (Blanton et al. 1993:58) During the San Jos phase, demographic growth in the valley was not uniform, nor wa s there a gradual occupat ion of uninhabited areas. Rather, the most rapid growth o ccurred only at San Jos Mogote, which expanded to ten times its Tie rras Largas phase size (Blant on et al. 1993; Flannery 1976, 1986). Several factors suggest that San Jos Mogote was economically prominent during the San Jos phase. The small, polished iron-o re mirrors found in the valley and as far away as the Gulf Coast and Central Highlands of Mexico were made within only a small cluster of houses at San Jos Mogote (F lannery 1976). Although examples of finished mirrors have been identified at four other valley settlements, no evidence of mirror production has been located at any of these other sites (Blanton et al. 1993; Flannery 1976; Pires-Ferreira 1975). House floors at San Jos Mogote c ontained evidence of mirror polishing and manufacturing, suggesting t hat this economic specialization had a long history. Moreover, non-loca l goods such as Gulf Coast ceramics, stingray spines,
89 shells, and jade are found more frequently at S an Jos Mogote than at other sites in the region (Marcus and Flannery 1996). Thus, these di fferences in size, public construction, and economic importance suggest that San Jos Mogote was a center in the settlement system in the Valley of Oaxaca (Fl annery 1976; Marcus and Flannery 1996). In addition, the residential structures and burial data clearly indicate that there was a social differentiation at San Jos Mogote (Blanton et al. 1993; Flannery 1976, 1986). Although most of the individuals were buried without any non-perishable grave goods, certain individuals were buried with jade labrets and earspools, well-made ceramic vessels, and magnetite and shell ornam ents (Blanton et al. 1993:60). These burial data clearly mark social differentiati on and indicate that high status people could access exotic non-local resources through ex tensive exchange networks during the San Jos phase. Chalcatzingo in the Centra l Highlands of Mexico Chalcatzingo is significant for this compar ative study not only because residents of the site actively used interregional interact ion networks to acquire prestige items and pan-Mesoamerican symbolism and ideas (Grove 1987a) but also because the site shows intrasocietal differentiation with the pr esence of multiple hierarchies (Gillespie 2009, 2011). The site is located in the center of the valley of the Ro Amatzinac in the state of Morelos (Figure 1-1). The site was fi rst occupied in the Early Formative period, about.1400 B.C, and came to it s peak during the Middle Formative period (Grove 1984). Based on excavation data, it is evident that Chalcatzingo became a major regional center in the Central Highlands of Mexico and that it had established links with the Olmec center of La Venta during the Middl e Formative period (Grove 1984:163-164).
90 Chalcatzingo was extensively e xcavated in 1972-1974 and 1976 under the direction of David C. Grove (1984, 1987). The project uncovered several examples of monumental architecture and numerous resident ial structures (Pri ndiville and Grove 1987), as well as many Olmec-like carv ed stone monuments (Grove and Angulo 1987). The research also focused on understanding the role of Chalcatzingo within the Amatzinac Valley (Hirth 1987). A surface survey revealed a regional site hierarchy in the valley during the Middle Formative, and mound ar chitecture was observed at five sites (Hirth 1987). That intensive research revealed that Chalcatzingo was the largest site in the valley and the only one to contain bot h platform mounds and monuments (Grove 1984:47; Hirth 1987:355). The burial data from the site indicate the presence of a ranked social system composed of at least three hierarchicallydifferent groups (Merry de Morales 1987a). The most elaborate burials contained exotic it ems such as jade jewe lry, turquoise, an iron-ore mirror fragment, a jade bloodletter, a were-jaguar figurine, and a monument head (Grove and Gillespie 1992a; Merry de Morales 1987a). The second class of burials still belonged to the high-class ca tegory, though their gr ave preparation and offerings indicate lesser statuses. Elite buria ls in Chalcatzingo were often marked by the presence of hematite staining on the body and artifacts and by special ceramics such as miniature bottles placed in bowls, s pouted trays, and double-loop handled censers (Grove and Gillespie 1992a:196; Merry de Mora les 1987a). Due to the poor condition of skeletal material, no status differences a ccording to sex or age could be determined. However, bone chemistry analysis indicated t hat certain individuals who were buried
91 with exotic grave goods consumed more meat than other village residents (Schoeninger 1979a, 1979b). Chalcatzingo also provides information on residential architecture and associated corporate activities. Non-elite residential st ructures were fabric ated of wattle and daub, while elite dwellings were constructed of adobe brick, placed on stone foundations, and painted white (Prindiville and Gr ove 1987:66-72). Spatial analys is of elite and non-elite residences uncovered evidence of activity areas including storage facilities, food preparation, refuse areas, and burials under house floors (Prindiville and Grove 1987:66-72). Residents of some households participated in craft production (Grove et al. 1976:1206). Among the artifacts recovered at Chalcatzingo were many made from nonlocal resources such as obsidian, iron-or e, jade, and greenstone (Grove 1984, 1987). The Middle Formative was also the period when monuments were carved and erected in Chalcatzingo. Based on the stylisti c similarities to the stone monuments at La Venta, ChalcatzingoÂ’s major monuments have been dated to the Middle Formative. Those monumental sculptures were presumably made under the direction of the elite, indicating their role in the societyÂ’s ideolog ical and religious affairs (Grove et al. 1976). Those monuments are the only examples of Ol mec style bas-relief carvings in highland Central Mexico (Grove 1987a; Grove et al 1976). The carvings are differentially distributed on the site by t heme (Grove 1984). For example, stelae depicting important individuals are associated with platform arch itecture in the settlementÂ’s central area (Grove 1984:109). Overall, archaeological evidence of monumental architecture, specialized craft activities, ranked so cial classes, and participation in pan-
92 Mesoamerican interaction networks indicates a highly complex social configuration at Middle Formative Chalcatzingo (Grove 1984, 1987). The Mixteca Alta As noted above, the Mixteca Alta r egion has been studied primarily for its Postclassic and Colonial period occupations (Byland and Pohl 199 4; Lind 1979; Smith 1973; Spores 1967, 1984), whereas the Forma tive period has received much less attention. It has long been assumed that Form ative societies in the Mixteca Alta lagged behind those in the Valley of Oaxaca an d in other regions of Mesoamerica. Nevertheless, survey data sugge st that there were signific ant population centers in the Mixteca Alta by the Early Formative per iod, and their demographi c and sociopolitical parameters were on par with t he Valley of Oaxaca (Balkansky et al. 2000). Because the Mixteca Alta has not been well-documented due to limited archaeological surveys, I provide some details concerni ng its geography and history. The Mixteca region of Oaxaca State is extensive and divergent, extending about 270 kilometers from southern Puebla to the Pacific Ocean and about 180 to 200 kilometers from eastern Guerrero to the western edge of the Valley of Oaxaca (Spores 1984). Elevations run from sea level to 3, 000 meters, and climate, depending on altitude and topography, ranges from hot and dry to co ld and humid. The large area known as the Mixteca has been divided into the Mixt eca Alta, Baja, and Costa based on elevation and corresponding microenvironment (Alv arez 1998). The core area for the development of Mixteca cultur es and the central focus of the present archaeological study is the Mixteca Alta, but Mixtec-speak ing peoples and their in stitutions extended over a vast and diversified geographical domai n by the Postclassic period (Bernal 1966; Spores 1984). In the Mixtec a today reside people who are ethnically Mixtec, Chocho,
93 and Triqui. The Mixtecs proper, those who st ill speak Mixtec languages, use the term Â“NudzahuiÂ” meaning Â“people of the rain plac eÂ” to refer to th emselves (Arellanes Meixueiro 1996). The Mixteca Alta is characterized by high rugged mountains with a few narrow valley pockets spread among them. The main valley pockets are Nochixtlan, Achiutla, Tlaxiaco, Coixtlahuaca, Ju xtlahuaca, Tamazulapam, and Teposcolula (Dahlgren 1963). Among these valleys the largest by far is the Nochixtlan Valley (approximately 15 square kilometers), which itse lf is made up of several sub-valleys. However, the entire area of the Nochixtlan Valley doe s not compare to the much la rger size of the Valley of Oaxaca. In terms of natural resources, people hunted deer, turkeys, doves, quail, and rabbits for meat, hides, and feathers (Spor es 1984). Corn, beans, and squash were cultivated throughout the Mixteca, and chilis and gourds were grown in most areas (Spores 1984). In the past, the emergence of social complexity in the Valleys of Oaxaca and Mexico was thought to be a resu lt of their environments, in that nearby lakes or high water tables enabled the adoption and devel opment of plant domestication and agriculture (Palerm 1955, 1966, 1972; Palerm and Wolf 1957, 1961; Parsons et al. 1983; Rojas Rabiela 1991). Archaeologists doubted whether social complexity could independently emerge in an envir onment like that of the Mixteca Alta. Assuming that the Mixteca did not favor the emergence of soci al complexity, its urban revolution was believed to result from outside influences or even Zapotec conquest fr om the Valley of Oaxaca (e.g., Flannery and Marcus 1983; Spores 1984). Recent archaeological survey data nevertheless suggest that the mountainous environment did not hinder the early
94 development of social complexity in the r egion. In fact, in Middle to Late Formative times population densities and social complexi ty in the Mixteca Alta equaled and may have surpassed that in the Valley of Oaxaca (Balkansky et al. 2000). In other words, these ancient peoples developed social organization and economies equivalent in scale and complexity to the other ci vilizations of Mesoamerica. Over many centuries, the mountainous terrain has undergone and is currently undergoing severe erosion due to a combinati on of soil composition, topography, and illconceived land use practices (Alvarez 1998:124; Kirkby 1972:1). The Mixteca Alta used to be completely forested, but much of the forest cover has been cut down throughout human history for agriculture and firewood (Kirkby 1972). Other detrimental land use practices, such as the introduction of gr azing animals and the abandonment of terraces after Spanish contact, have exacerbated erosi on. Today the Mixteca Alta has some of the highest measured rates of erosion anywhere in Mesoamer ica. Regional settlement pattern data suggest that terracing and the so cial organization requisite for terrace agriculture formed an early stable way to liv e and produce in this area (Balkansky et al. 2000). Santa Cruz Tayata Details of the Santa Cruz Tayata arc haeological project will be described in the following chapter, so here I will briefly introduc e the site and discuss characteristics of its Cruz phase, equivalent to the Early and Middle Formativ e periods in Mesoamerica. Santa Cruz Tayata is located in the Mixteca Alta, within the modern di strict of Tlaxiaco (Figure 4-1). Santa Cruz Tayata was i dentified as one of t he largest pre-urban Formative period centers in the Mixteca Alta during regional archaeological surveys in
95 1994, 1995, and 1999 (Balkansky 1998; Balkansky et al. 2000). This settlement was a likely precursor to the later urban cent er at Huamelulpan (Balkansky 1998). Santa Cruz Tayata was first settled duri ng the Early Formative Early Cruz phase (by 1200 B.C.), and its ceramics are recogni zable as part of MesoamericaÂ’s Red-onBuff horizon. Some pottery also exhibits the later pan-Mesoamerican excised motifs (Balkansky et al. 2000). Despite serious er osion problems, Tayata has been shown to have remains of at least four platform m ounds that date to t he Formative period. Because there is no significant occupati on after the Late Cruz phase, Santa Cruz Tayata provides data to study the development of an early sociopolitical center in Oaxaca undisturbed by both later occupations and modern construction (Balkansky et al. 2000). Surface survey and excavation data clearly indicate that Tayata participated in interregional pan-Mesoamerican netwo rks during the Formative period. The chronology of the Mixteca Alta has been broadly divided into four different phases from the Early Formative (1500 B.C. ) through the Late Postclassic and Historic (A.D. 1500). The earliest phase has been call ed the Cruz phase (1500-300 B.C., Early and Late), followed by the Ramo s phase (300 B.C.-A.D.150, Ea rly and Late). These two phases are contemporary with the Earl y through Late Formative periods in Mesoamerica. The Las Flores phase (A.D. 150-1000) pertains to the Classic through Early Postclassic periods of the Mixteca Alta, and the Natividad phase (A.D. 1000-1520) is contemporary with the Late Po stclassic period. The Mixteca Alta was first occupied in the Archaic period (6000-1500 B.C.) and Early Formative village life was well underway by 1350 B.C. Late Formative urbanism and state formation began by 300-200 B.C. when many sites in the Mixteca Alta we re abandoned (Balkansky et al. 2000). Classic
96 period cities occupied most Mixteca Alta valleys by A.D. 300. As noted above, occupation of Santa Cruz Tayata began in the Early Cruz phase, and the site declined by the beginning of the Ramos phase. The Cruz Phase (1500-300 B.C.) The Cruz phase has been divided into Early and Late subphases corresponding to the Early and Middle Formative periods in Me soamerica. It was during the Early and Late Cruz phases that Mixteca Alta villages t ook root and became the basis of the later urban civilization (Balkansky et al. 2000). Ther e were 55 Early Cruz sites occupying 242 ha, and each valley in the Mixteca Alta had a cluster of sites, including one main political center (Balkansky et al. 2000). Some of the Early Cruz centers have monumental construction (Spores 1983) and exot ic items such as ornamental shell and obsidian on the surface (Balkansky 1998). In terms of the Cruz phase ceramics, common designs were double-line break motifs on tanware bowl rims and the carved Â“fire-serpentÂ” on cylindrical gray bowls. These decorated vessels have been recovered at most of the sites, not si mply the main centers (Balkansky et al. 2000). Moreover, the similarities between the pottery and figurine styles in the Cruz phase and those at other contemporary sites in Mes oamerica suggest the Mixteca AltaÂ’s linkage with panMesoamerican interregional networks (Spor es 1983). However, there is no clear archaeological evidence that can answer t he question about exactly when the Mixteca Alta had economical or socio-political ti es to other parts of Mesoamerica. By the Late Cruz phase, there were 237 sites covering 1,183 ha, including pronounced twoand three-tier settlement hier archies in each valley (Balkansky et al. 2000). Early Cruz sites such as Penasco -Tlacotepec, Santa Cruz Tayata, and La Providencia remained the local head towns in the Late Cruz phase (Balkansky et al.
97 2000). Major Late Cruz sites had four to six m ounds and a plaza, but most of the sites during this period did not have apparent non-re sidential architecture (Balkansky et al. 2000). By the later part of the Late Cruz phase, non-residential architecture in the Valley of Oaxaca exceeded that in the Mixteca Alta (Kowalewski et al. 1989:105), and it is clear that more effort in non-residential architecture constr uction in the Valley of Oaxaca was associated with the rise of Monte Albn (Balkansky et al. 2000:372; Marcus and Flannery 1996). This fact suggests that non-re sidential architecture construction in the Mixteca Alta area was not as important as in the Valley of Oaxaca. The scarcity of nonresidential architecture is one of the reasons why the Mixteca Alta has been considered to lag behind the Valley of Oaxaca (Ber nal 1966), but the amount of non-residential architecture and the scale of monumentalit y do not always indicate the importance, degree of maturity, or power of sites. T hus, although there is an assumption that the Early and Middle Formative Mixteca Alta la gged behind the Valley of Oaxaca and other parts of Mesoamerica (Bernal 1966; Blanton 1978; Caso et al.1967), recent extensive surveys in the Mixteca Alta (Balkansky et al. 2000) have indicated that the assumption needs to be reconsidered. Summary I began this chapter presenting characterist ics of Mesoamerica to illustrate the interconnection of diverse societies. I intr oduced the Gulf Coast Olmec, the Valley of Oaxaca, and the Highlands of Mexico to show a variety of socio-cultural forms, while discussing Olmec issues with the Mixteca Alta and the Valley of Oaxaca. I then discussed characteristics of the Mixtec a Alta and Cruz phase developments, when Santa Cruz Tayata flourished as one of the r egional centers. The next chapter follows from this discussion by detailing the design and implementation of the archaeological
98 survey, mapping, and excavation project at Santa Cruz Tayata. The main purpose of Chapter 5 is to discuss and interpret features and artifacts recovered in association with residential structures.
99 Figure 4-1. Mixteca area map: the location of Santa Cruz Tayata
100 CHAPTER 5 EXCAVATIONS AT SANTA CRUZ TAYATA In this chapter I explain the methods and st rategies the Santa Cruz Tayata project employed to gain as complete a picture as possible of the site during the Cruz phase. The NSF project, directed by Dr. Andrew Ba lkansky, divided the site into areas A and B, mapped, surface collected, and excavated hi lltop areas to obtain information about dwellings, mounds, and public architecture constr uction, length of residential occupation, and associated artifact assemblages (Dunc an et al. 2008; Balkansky and Croissier 2009). In regards to my work on the proj ect, I participated in mapping and surface surveys in 2003 and excavations in 2004 with funds from the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, In c. (FAMSI). Even though the original purpose of my FAMSI project was to collect the dataset and create a GIS data base for intra-site analysis, that work could not be achieved due to time limitations, technical difficulties, and other factors in the field. Ho wever, I was able to conduct excavations at residential and non-residential stru ctures, and that research recovered features and a variety of artifacts, including the ceramics that I have utilized for the techno-functional analysis discussed in Chapter 6. That analysis and other laboratory studies have provided a unique set of dat a, which have allowed me to analyze house-centered practices and possible processes of soci al change. The analysis reveals how the members of residential groups lived, what ki nd of strategic actions played roles in creating relations within and between social houses, and how social processes of differentiation occurred in this regi onal center of the Mixteca Alta. As noted above, this chapter describes the research methods in greater detail with a special focus on the excavation of a dwe lling I conducted under the supervision of Dr.
101 Andrew Balkansky. I first introduce the stra tegies of surface survey, mapping, and collection designed by the proj ect director, and describe what was recovered from those initial surveys. I also mention the ex cavation methods and discuss details about excavations of the re sidential structure, al ong with my preliminary analysis of the socioeconomic condition and activities of t he dwelling based on recovered features and artifacts. I then turn to another residential structure in a di fferent zone (Excavation 2) and discuss my interpretations of the prac tices engaged by members of social houses, although I note that I did not conduct the excavations of Excavation 2 zone (the data from this dwelling are relati vely fragmentary). Finally, I conclude with a discussion of comparing these two social houses in Santa Cr uz Tayata to indicate that social houses as corporate agents took different strategies to differentiate themselves from others. The Santa Cruz Tayata Project In 2003 I participated in the first stage of t he three-year research project at Santa Cruz Tayata, funded by an NSF grant to t he principal investi gator, Dr. Andrew Balkansky of Southern Illinois University. T hat research was carried out with permission from MexicoÂ’s Instituto Naci onal de Antropologa e Historia (INAH), the Centro INAH Oaxaca (the state capital), and the authorities in the town of Santa Cruz Tayata. The 2003 field season was devoted to surface colle ctions and the creat ion of a site map using a Topcon Total Station. As a member of the project, my first task was to map the entire settlement area of Santa Cruz Tayata and its environs, including some of the surrounding topography. We began work in the first week of May and finished mapping and surface collecting by the last week of July. To map the site we established an arbitrar y grid where the firs t mapping station, or primary datum point (PDP), was assigned E 1000 N 1000 and elevation 100 m
102 coordinates. We oriented the grid to magnet ic north. This primary datum point was permanently marked by a nail hammered in an outcrop of rock on the hilltop of Santa Cruz Tayata. Consequently as we moved th e location of the mapping station, we marked all station points with nails and mark ings on the ground or on bedrock outcrops. We did this so that the mapping points could be retraced in the future. In addition, as we established areas for excavation, we marked the datum points for each excavation area with a nail that was left on the ground even a fter we finished working in an area. The location of each of the excavation area datum points was also recorded with the total station and integrated with the ma ster site map as well. We mapped by taking measurement points along all cultural featur es visible on the surface of the site, such as early pl atform mounds, stone foundations of households, terrace walls, pathways, and t he perimeter of structures. We also took measurement points for the natural slope and terrain, t he perimeter of eroded areas, and collection area locations. In all, we took 4,733 m easurement points. A ll measurement and notebook data were downloaded, transformed and manipulated using Surfer 7.0 and Arcview software. I generated topographic cont our maps in Surfer, which I later exported to Arcview to show the elevat ion range of the site (Figure 5-1). Despite erosion problems, all major cultur al and natural features at Santa Cruz were mapped. We mapped a total of 2 km whic h included the 70 ha core of the site, to identify the boundaries of Santa Cruz Tayata (Figure 5-2). It is not clear, however, whether some of the outer z ones belong to Tayata proper or pertained to its nearest satellites because of erosion in the area. Becaus e of this situation, the issue of ultimate
103 site size is difficult to resolve. While m apping, we took photos and notes on terraces and structures, conditions of preservation, su rface artifacts, and excavation potential. Surface Collections Collections were made at the same time as mapping, and collection units were chosen based on both random and non-random sa mpling strategies. Collection area locations were determined in two ways. First, we randomly placed collection areas across the various sectors of the site as they were being mapped. Then, we made collections in places associated with specific surface features, such as platform mounds, terraces, or visible house foundations. While surface collecting we took notes on the excavation potentials for each place sampled. The surface collection phase of the Tayata project served two purposes. The first was to identify residential areas that might be good candidates for excavation based on their state of preservation and their representativeness of the residential occupations found throughout the site. The collected arti fact assemblages provided information on the artifact inventory ranges of the various residential areas. By comparing these ranges, we were able to assess the representativeness of the various resident ial areas, allowing us to ascertain that the excavations to be carried out would be in residential areas representative of the occupati ons found at Santa Cruz Tayata. Second, through surface collections we wanted to identify and map the extensio n of different temporal occupations found at the site. Based on the surface collections, we identified Cruz period (1500-300 B.C.) occupat ions on the north-east side (the highest location) and north side of the site. We mapped the full ex tension of the Cruz phase settlement and the later-period occupation that extended to the adjacent hills from Santa Cruz Tayata.
104 The data generated by the surface collectio ns allowed us to identify several patterns. First, the surface ceramic artifa ct results revealed the presence of rough tanware everted rim bowl fragments (a Cruz period diagnostic ty pe) near the primary mound of the site. Almost all surface-colle cted ceramics were Cruz period diagnostics or undiagnostic utilitarian types in vessel form s that could fit well within a Cruz period occupation. Throughout the site the most co mmon ceramic artifacts were coarse brown jar and bowl fragments. Near t he highest point of the site and the central platform mound (Mound 1), we found pieces of Leandro Gr ay pottery along with relatively high densities of obsidian, one of the critic al raw materials circulated throughout Mesoamerica. The surface ceramic data indicate t hat throughout the ent ire Cruz period settlement there were only slight differences in material cu lture indicators of social status. The most common ceramic types encountered were utilitarian coarse paste vessels, mostly jars and finer paste bowls. This basic surface artifact assemblage was representative of the occupati ons that covered the majority of the site. Only slight differences could be detected among the arti fact assemblages from the area where a central platform mound, other low mounds, and a possible plaza were located. From all these results, it was decided to focus on some locations that showed additional signs of residential occupation, such as a high density of construction materials on the surface, ground stone fragments, and vi sible stone alignments. Test Unit Excavations From the mapping and surface collection phase of the study, we were able to identify some distinct site areas. The core ar ea of the site was arbitrarily divided into sub-areas A and B. That division was necessa ry because the size of the site was too
105 large to cover at one time, and our primar y focus was on revealing major Formative period features. Excavations began in the second field season of 2004, and involved initial 2 x 2 m test-unit excava tions at Area A of the site (F igure 5-3). Area A was chosen for intensive excavation because we c ould identify primary and secondary mounds dating to the Cruz period, significant conc entrations of surface artifacts, and surface indications of structures such as stone alignments or the presence of a lot of construction materials. In detail, surface su rveys and collections in area A indicated that the central platform mound and its surrounding area had high densities of obsidian and fragments of marine shell. Also possible non-residential archit ecture dating to the Cruz period is located on the opposite side of t he large central mound, and is situated on a raised platform that has a series of wall c onstructions. With respect to area B, the project started to excavate selected locations in early summer 2004, though I exclusively excavated residential and non -residential structures in area A. The aims of test unit excavations were to evaluate patterns observed in the surface collections, establish sequences of occupation, and locate intact subsurface remains for more extensive subsequent excavations (following Spencer and Redmond 1997). Excavations at other Formative period cent ers in Oaxaca (e.g., Marcus and Flannery 1996; Whalen 1981; Winter 1972) suggested t hat residential structures with storage areas, craft production loci, non-residential bu ildings, and graves might be uncovered in the excavations. The initial excavations we re placed in contexts both with and without surface architecture, and distributed ac ross area A (and later area B). The test excavations not only told us about the various uses given to different sectors of the site, they also enabled us to understand the histor y of human habitation in this locality.
106 Horizontal Excavations The objective for horizontal excavations wa s to define the contexts of structures comparable to other excavated Formative per iod sites (e.g., Flannery 1976; Grove and Cyphers Guilln 1987; Lesure 1997; S pencer 1982). Both residential and nonresidential contexts were sampled. These contexts included the large central platform mound, the area adjacent to t hat structure, the lower pl atform mounds, residential terraces, and visible dwelling foundations Stratigraphic and horizontal excavations revealed complete architectural layouts and activity areas for each level. I mainly conducted horizontal excavati ons in the north-eastern part of area A, where a residential structure (House 4) and its associated features, as well as non-residential architecture with unique stone f oundations, were recovered. Excavation Methods and Strategies Each excavation area was laid out as a trenc h divided into 2 x 2 m excavation units. For each excavation area we established a datum point independent of the full-site grid. This datum point was used to lay out the grid for the excava tion area. Once an excavation area was laid out, we set up t he second point that would serve as the arbitrary zero elevation point. The zero elev ation point was used to record all excavation levels using a line-level; this allowed us to quickly establish relative levels for the surface and subsequent layers and features. We usually picked a zero elevation point somewhere on top of the excavated terrace, given the need for flexibility to move up and down in terraced terrain. From the zero elevation point we obtained a relative elevation for the excavation area datum poi nt, and as the datum point was integrated into the full-site grid, we obtained excavati on level information in relation to the entire site map.
107 Each 4 square meter excavation unit on a grid had a unique name (e.g., N4302 E4484). We initially excavated in 10 cm leve ls. However, once the natural stratigraphy of a place was understood, we proceeded to ex cavate in natural stratigraphic layers. We used the term Â“levelÂ” to measure the depth throughout the excavation, and the term Â“layerÂ” for the natural stratum. We excavate d with shovels and trowels for the most part, and dental picks and brushes when excavating burials. In each area we excavated to the natural, sterile soil layer first to see the full depth of the stratigraphy. For all cultural and natural soil layers we noted the texture, color (using a Munsell soil color chart), consistency, distribution, depth, thickness, artifact density, and t he presence of roots and burrows. The plow zone and its materials were ex cavated and processed in the field and laboratory as were all other soil layers and excavation materials. All excavated soils were sifted in a Â’Â’ mesh. Ceramic, lit hics, and bones were bagged, and labeled. All bags were labeled with information about the si te, sector, excavation area, excavation unit, layer, level or depth of the deposit, in itials of the excavators, and date of excavation. Back at the field house we re-bagged and re-tagged damaged bags. We assigned each bag a control number, and we then entered the bag number along with all the tag information into a master bag list. All artifacts, except for soil, bone, or carbon samples, were washed and stored for analysis. In addition, the location of all recovered artifacts and architectural features was recorded in our field notes and drawings according to excavation unit (XY coordinates ) and level or depth (Z coordinates). We made scale drawings of profiles and plan view s, and took digital photographs of all architecture, features, and soil ty pes encountered in excavations.
108 House 4: Analysis of Features and Activities House 4 (Balkansky and Croissier 2009:62) wa s found in a test excavation at Area A. Once we identified a residential occupat ion and signs of construction, we extended our initial test trench into more extensiv e and horizontally broad ex cavation blocks. The purpose of expanding our excavations horizontally was to expose the entire residential complex and ascertain chronological relati ons between construction and features. When we expanded our excavation blocks we used 2 x 2 m excavation units that could be excavated whole, in half as a 1 x 2 m unit, or as a 1 x 1 m quarter of an excavation unit. By the time we extended test excavations into these larger blocks we had a good idea of the natural stratigraphy of the place and so excavated in nat ural stratigraphic layers. House 4 was located in a south-eastern par t of area A (Figure 5-4), where two low mounds face each other and a plaza might exist between them. Also, this location is the highest elevation at the site. We identified a terrace next to House 4 and considered it to be a possible area for excavation because of the amount of construction materials found on the surface and also because, toward the back of the terrac e, we identified and mapped a square stone alignment. We dete rmined that this building was possibly non-residential architecture and we assumed some domestic structure might be located near it (Figure 5-5). Excavation units around this residential stru cture started to turn up large quantities of ceramics, and the excavation area was expanded unit by unit to def ine the full extent of this structure. We eventually identified domestic features such as trash and storage pits as well as burials (Duncan et al. 2008). The walls of the structure extended to at least 4-5 meters wide by 4-5 meters long, for a total area of 1625 square meters. However, the exact dimensions of the stru cture are difficult to determine because some
109 parts of the stone foundations had disappeared, and some post holes were hard to identify (Figure 5-6). In te rms of a spatial relationshi p with the non-residential architecture, this Cruz phase residence was located approximatel y 10 meters east of the non-residential structure (F igure 5-7), and a broad Â“carpet Â” of small stones suggests the existence of a small plaz a between these two structures. Stratigraphy and recovered artifacts In the area where House 4 was located (N4302 E4486), the stratigraphy consisted of five layers (excluding some intrusions and minor layers). Layer I was the plow zone that extended across the entire su rface of this area. It was a firm to very hard medium brown (5 YR 4/4 reddish brown) loam that had a lot of roots and insect burrows, as well as a lot of mixed rock and gravel. It was about 15-30 cm thick and followed the natural slope of the surface. The plow zone had a m edium concentration of ceramic and lithic artifacts. These artifacts do not have a clear cultural context, so they were not taken into consideration in the artifact assemblage an alysis. Many ceramics from the plow zone were known Cruz type vessels. Layer II was a dark reddish brown (5 YR 3/ 3) organic soil that spread and faded to the east, and it was about 10-20 cm thick. Th is layer had a lot of roots and insect burrows and a low-to-medium artifact density. Mo st of the pottery fragments in this layer were rough tanware jars and bowl fragments. Layer III was a 10-15 cm thick hard clay loam of dusky reddish brown color (5 YR 6/4 light reddish brown). It had a medium density of artifact s, few roots, and few insect burrows. As in Layer II, the ceramic artifact types that dominated in this layer were utilitarian jars and bowls.
110 Layer IV was immediately above the st one foundation level, and was a 10-20 cm thick clay loam of dark reddish gray (5 YR 4/2 dark reddish gr ay). Layer IV had a medium density of ceramic and lithic artifact s and a very low density of bone material. It had few root and burrow intrusions and a lo w density of mixed gravel. The most common artifacts recovered were tanware bowl fragments Layer V was right at the level of Hous e 4Â’s stone foundations. It was a 5-15 cm thick reddish gray to brown (2.5 YR 5/4 reddish brown) silty clay soil that underlay House 4 and lay directly on top of the sterile natural layer t hat makes up the entire hill of Santa Cruz Tayata. Layer V had a low-to-medi um density of ceramic and lithic artifacts. There was no significant concentration of obsidia n blades or other lit hic artifacts. Layer V contained artifacts that were at some point in the past, either during the House 4 occupation or after its abandonm ent, in the general proximity of the house itself. The recovered artifacts occurred within the walls and roof debris of the house. Furthermore, Layer V had not been damaged by plow disturbance. For these reasons I included the artifacts from this layer in the house artifa ct assemblage analysis, keeping in mind that their presence in the structure may be due to post-abandonment processes. The stone foundation of the house la y approximately 1.65 m below the surface. Artifact assemblage data from the hous e excavations provide information on the likely household consumption practices and in turn about householder activities and their socio-economic status (Smith 1987:306). The limited disturbance from erosion and mechanized farming suggest that most arti facts within the House 4 zone represent activities that took place there in ancient ti mes, especially the artifa cts from layer V. In my House 4 artifact analyses I disregarded arti facts from the plow zone layer. However,
111 most of the artifacts obtained in the House 4 excavations came pr imarily from middens and burials, and only secondarily from materi al preserved beneath underlying roof or wall collapse debris in layer V. Socio-economic status of residents Out of more than 10,000 total ceramic sherds retrieved during the House 4 excavations, fragments of luxury ware vessels were rarely recovered, and only a small number of complete vessels were found. In addition, my laboratory analysis identified a limited number of ceramics with pan-Mesoamer ican motifs or ceramic styles, perhaps inspired by the Valley of Oaxa ca center, where they had o ccur as part of the ceramic assemblages of higher status social hous es (Flannery and Marcus 1983, 1994). The most common ceramic artifacts f ound in House 4 were utilitarian bowls, followed by finer utilitari an bowls and cylinders, and then utilitarian jars. Ceramic artifacts that were much less common were finer utilitarian ja rs, special forms with ritual functions such as braziers, fine gray ware bowls, and luxury wares. However, when we consider the size of the stru cture and thus the number of inhabitants in this dwelling, the recovery of a significant proportion of lar ge serving vessels in the House 4 ceramic assemblage indicates unusual food consumpt ion practices. Higher frequencies of dog and fish remains at House 4 provide some evidence of feasting (Duncan et al. 2008:5315). House 4 inhabitants utilized obsidian blades. Ho wever, very few obsidian flakes or cores were found. In addition, House 4 occupants possessed ornaments and tools made of marine shell such as pearly and spiny oysters from the Pacific Coast (Figure 58). The presence of multiple worked shell pieces and shell-production debris from the floor and middens suggests t hat members of this house engaged in crafting activities
112 (Balkansky and Croissier 2009:61; Duncan et al. 2008). Moreover, a great proportion of ceramic figurines came from the middens of House 4, and some are very different from the figurines of House 2 (Figure 5-9). Overall, even though the artifact assembla ge suggests that House 4 was not the residence of typical elites, this social house was relatively wealthy and probably engaged in competition wit h rival houses, because inhabitants could access interregional networks and secu re imported items, manufact ured some crafts, provided certain burial treatments (discussed below ), and showed great hospitality through feasting (Balkansky and Croissi er 2009; Duncan et al. 2008). Activities My laboratory analysis indicates that the most common ceramic artifacts found in House 4 were coarse paste jar and fine pas te bowl fragments. For example, there was a great number of utilitarian jars, bowls, and cylinders in the northern section of the house, and this fact suggests that cooki ng and food-serving activities took place somewhere around that sect ion of the residence. The artifact assemblage found in the House 4 excavations suggests that the inhabitants or nearby neighb ors may have been engaged in non-specialized domestic and subsistence activities. These activities would have included cooking, storing and grinding corn, carrying and storing water, hu nting, informally producing expedient stone tools and arrow shafts, and working or scrapping wood or leather. The presence of possible open-air firing feat ures suggests that inhabitants of this residence may have engaged in pottery produc tion, even though no evidence has been found to determine whether pottery producti on went beyond the needs of the household (Balkansky and Croissier 2009:62-63). In regard s to lithic production, the lithic artifacts
113 indicate that some informal expedient tool production may hav e taken place in House 4, but the amount of lithic artifacts retriev ed were nowhere near the quantities normally found in lithic tool production ar eas (Burton 1987; Clark 1986). In addition, there is evidence of dog feasts at Santa Cruz Tayata, comparable to the data from Tierras Largas and San Jos Mogote in the Valley of Oaxaca (Flannery and Marcus 1994; Marcus and Flannery 1996). Feature 99 of Tierras Largas contained the remains of at least five dogs, all systematically butchered. All bones were systematically divided, as if they were given to certain people with specific parts of meat. Also, all the shoulder blades had been simila rly smashed in order to free the humerus and the rest of the forelimbs. Similar feas ting evidence also was found at a house at San Jos Mogote (Marcus and Flannery 1996). In Santa Cruz Tayata, multiple dog rema ins were recovered from midden 1 (Figure 5-10) and another midden feature of House 4. All the dog bones were burnt, and there was a trace of butchering or cutting marks. Burning patterns on the bones suggest that the dogs were burnt after butchering (Duncan et al. 2008:5316). I excavated only one half of midden 1 in House 4, but I assu me that we would have found more dog and other animal remains if the whole midden had been excavated. Even though dog and other animal bones came from middens in the Excavation 2 zone, there was no significant concentration of dog remains (D uncan et al. 2008). The data suggest that large quantities of dog meat were consum ed in or around House 4 (Duncan et al. 2008:5316). Also, another interesting point is that we recovered at least five dog figurines within that midden pit (Figure 511), and no dog figurines were recovered from any other feature of the site. Moreover, the presence of extrem ely high numbers and
114 proportions of serving vessels (see details in the following chapter) indicates that this residence could have been one of the major locati ons for dog feasting at Tayata at that time. Overall description of House 4 The Cruz phase House 4 was located approximately 10 m east of the nonresidential structure. The latte r is situated on a raised platform and has a series of wall constructions. A small plaza area might have existed between the non-residential structure and House 4. The zone that incl udes residential and non-residential structures is located on the east side of the large c entral mound (Figure 5-3) House 4 had stone foundation walls and upper walls filled with small stones and clay. This appears to be the same pattern as in the Valley of Oaxaca where dwellings feature stones placed at wall bases to support the foundation and wo oden posts in the corners; those walls largely consist of reeds or cane plas tered with mud (Flannery 1976; Marcus and Flannery 1996). Two burials were recovered under the floor of the House 4 zone, and their associated offerings included shell-bead neckl aces, decorated pottery, and fired-clay figurines (Duncan et al. 2008:5317). Also, ther e was a possible doorway in the northern part of the residential structur e, and a trash pit and a suspected storage pit were also recovered just outside of this possible doorway. The probable storage pit that I excavated was roughly bell-shaped and contai ned some partial ceramic vessels, one complete figurine, one metate, obsidian blad es, shell ornaments, an d a large number of ceramic sherds. A trash pit that I also excavated is located just 2 meters west of the storage pit. It contained abundant organic re mains, which provided ample carbon samples for dating. We also found a large num ber of ceramics, obsidian blades, worked
115 shell and shell ornaments or tools, mult iple dog remains, animal and human figurines, and Olmec-style figurines at that midden (Duncan et al. 2008:5315). Because that midden occupies a small area near the house, we suspect that it was a household midden rather than a community midden such as was sometimes found in the Valley of Oaxaca (Flannery and Marcus 1994:28-31). In terms of its construction, the H ouse 4 residential structure does not have features of a high-status dw elling. It does not sit atop a small platform and does not have an impressive stone foundation and wa lls whitewashed with clay and plaster (Flannery 1968; Flannery and Marcus 1983). Ho wever, all the recovered artifacts suggest that its residents were able to acce ss a variety of items that could not be acquired through local exchange networks. Also, possible stor age features may indicate a higher economic status of this social house. We collected carbon samples throughout the ex cavation, some of which were sent to the Beta Analytic Radioc arbon Dating Laboratory by Dr. Balkanky. One sample came from the deeper part of the mi dden feature of House 4 (Tabl e 5-1), an older cultural layer, Layer V, that is on t he level of a presumed floor (sample # 048). After calibrating, the results suggest that the most likely cale ndrical date for the sample is around 12601000 cal B.C. (Duncan et al. 2008). The resu lts suggest that a residential occupation may date to the late Early Formati ve to Middle Formative period. There are, however, other fa ctors to consider in dating House 4. Upon comparing the artifact assemblages associated with t he carbon sample, I found little difference in ceramic styles; they can all be catalogued as characteristically Early and Late Cruz. We rarely find Ramos-style (Late Formative) ceramic types in this house. Dr. Balkansky
116 concurred that the ceramic assemblage from this residential structure belongs to the Cruz phase. House 2: Analysis of Features and Activities A general outline or form for the residentia l structures in the Excavation 2 zone was difficult to define because the foundation area had been heavily damaged and multiple residential structur es had been rebuilt over older ones. Nonetheless, based on the recovered archaeological data, this resi dential structure (or st ructures) was not a typical elite or wealthy house. However, its inhabitants possessed a certain number of imported items and many decorated fine vessels Techno-functional analysis of pottery (detailed in Chapter 6) and lim ited evidence of fauna remains indicate no clear evidence of feasting, but the presence of red-on-buff vessels suggests that this area might have been occupied earlier than the area where House 4 was situated. Moreover, the presence of massive wall constructions, rela tively large architecture, and some large middens may indicate long occupancy in this area of the site. However, like House 4, there is no archaeological eviden ce of a significant concentration of luxury wares or items, nor of special burial treatments (Duncan et al. 2008). Location and excavations House 2 is located in the north-western part of area A, appr oximately 250 m away from the House 4 zone (Figure 5-3). The residential structure(s) was on the north end of the hill, isolated from the central zone w here three mound structures form a linear arrangement. The elevation of this house area is relatively low, and Classic period pit features were found on an adjacent hill sl ope. There was not much expectation of recovering large-scale high-status Cruz hous es in this isolated area, but dispersed
117 settlement remains suggest that some successful social houses occupied and maintained their house estates outside the core areas. House 2 was found in test excavation unit N4504 E4366, and the trench was set up in 2 x 2 m excavation units. When Tayata project members excavated this unit, wall remains of the house were uncovered no mo re than 35 cm below the surface. The excavators decided to exp and the trench to open up the entir e extent of the house, and this became an excavation block 10 x 14 m in size. The excavation area was divided into 35 units (A-E for north axis and 1-7 fo r eastern axis), such that the trench, N4504 E4366, became C3 in this system. The excavators eventually identified house f eatures such as trash pits, burials, postholes, and floors. The walls of the residential structure were at least approximately 7-8 meters wide by 5-6 meters long, covering a total area of 35-48 sq m. However, the actual size of the Cruz phase residenc e will never be known because the wall construction of the older Cruz residential st ructure(s) was removed for reuse, and the structure itself was demolis hed and buried, or else rebu ilt. Even though this structure was located in a relatively isolated zone, the evidence of long occupancy in the same space suggests that house location was so cially meaningful (Gillespie 2000c). The evidence of long occupancy also suggests that this social house might have had hereditary proprietary rights to land and structures (e.g., Gillespie 2011). I did not conduct excavation in this zone, and the stratigraphy of the House 2 zone has not been well described. Also, the presence of some large middens makes an identification of the precise st ratigraphy of this zone more difficult to understand. In the process of digging large tras h pits, the original layers of the house had been destroyed
118 or significantly manipulated by ancient inhabitants. Layers of the trash features do not represent regular sedimentary pr ocesses, so artifacts in the lowest part of the trash pit do not always indicate that they were used in the earlier cultural ph ases. Fortunately for the archaeologists, Santa Cruz Tayata and satellite sites were abandoned, and there was no significant occupation after the Late Cr uz phase (Balkansky et al. 2000), so we can generally assume that recovered artifacts from the structure(s) of the Excavation 2 zone represent what was acquired, made, and used in t he Cruz phase. Recovered artifacts As in all excavations, the patterning of ar tifacts retrieved in the House 2 zone is the unintended result of both ancient cultural activities and historical and modern disturbances and natural taphon omic processes. Assuming many portions of the assemblage are the results of ancient ac tivities, because of only limited disturbance from later occupations as well as from erosion and mechanized farming, the recovered artifacts could indicate possible consumption practices and other strategic actions of the residents of this zone. As wit h House 4, House 2 artifact assemblages suggest a stable non-elite occupation. House 2, however, had a much higher vo lume of artifacts than House 4. This is mainly because multiple households occupied the same location for a longer time period, while the occupation hist ory of House 4 is unknown. Also, there was a size difference between House 4 and House 2. Moreover, some large trash pits associated with this residentia l structure(s) contained a large number of vessels and other artifacts. Most of t he excavated artifacts are likel y the result of secondary postabandonment refuse because nearby neig hbors could dump their trash in the abandoned structures.
119 Most of the artifacts obtained in the H ouse 2 excavations came primarily from burials and middens. The fewest were found in hearths and or directly on floors. The pottery assemblage from a specific locus of this house was statistically analyzed in my laboratory research. Judging from the distri bution of earlier Cruz pottery, such as redon-buff sherds, the northwest and southwes t sides of the excavation zone could represent earlier occupations. Thus te chno-functional analysis was conducted on pottery assemblages only from those se ctions. The House 2 analysis disregarded artifacts recovered in plow zones. The mo st common artifact types found in this structure were coarse paste jars and finer pas te bowls. There is no significant difference in the type and style of the pottery assemb lages between House 4 and House 2, though the proportion of large serving vessels is higher among pottery assemblages from House 4 (see Chapter 6). Socio-economic status of residents Out of more than 10,000 sherds retriev ed during House 2 excavations, only a limited number of fragmented luxury vessels we re recovered, and very few complete vessels were found. In addition we f ound a limited number of ceramics with panMesoamerican motifs. Although my analysis indicates that the House 2 artifact assemblage contained a great er proportion of Fine Gray, At oyac yellow-white, and other luxury wares than House 4, the overall House 2 assembl age still fits well within the bounds of a non-elite artifact assemblage. The most common cera mic artifacts were utilitarian jars, cylinders, bowls, and finer utilitarian bowls. Compared with the House 4 assemblage, House 2 had much higher volu mes of artifacts (which may simply represent a longer occupation), but the ar tifact assemblages are almost entirely utilitarian and represent common domestic and subsistence activities. Unlike House 4,
120 the proportion of larger and finer serving vessels is relatively low in the pottery assemblage, even though the amount of analyz ed samples from the House 2 zone is low. In terms of lithic indicators of socio-ec onomic status, we found obsidian in House 2 and very little green stone or jade artifacts in t he burial context. Inhabit ants of this sector of the site or of House 2 used and had access to obsidian and other foreign items. As in House 4, the segment of t he population associated with Hous e 2 obtained their obsidian as finished blades (or obsidian cores for cra fting), and then used them extensively until exhausted. Although some fragments of she ll ornaments have been recovered from this house, the proportion of shell items and worked shell was lower (Balkansky and Croissier 2009:62). The architecture style and scale and t he presence of luxury wares and imported artifacts may suggest that this social house wa s wealthy, but overall evidence, including simpler burial treatments, indicates this stru cture did not belong to an elite social house. Moreover, while some complete and semi-c omplete figurines with pan-Mesoamerican designs were recovered from House 4, sugges ting the significance of ritual practices there, only smaller and fr agmented figurines were recovered from House 2. Activities The overall artifact assemblage of H ouse 2 excavations suggests that the neighbors or inhabitants were non-elites w ho engaged in non-specialized domestic and subsistence activities, even though they mi ght be relatively high status people. The main vessel forms and types were the utilitar ian jars and finer utilitarian bowls. The main activities taking place at House 2 were of a domestic nature: cooking, storing food and water, processing domesticated and wild f oods for household consumption, and serving
121 food. The most common informal lithic tool found in House 2 were expedient chert flakes, indicating that some informal expedi ent tool production may have taken place in this structure. This structure also reveal ed a good deal of stone artifacts to grind corn, roots, or seeds. In House 2 we did not find enough evidence of ritual activity beyond the household level, and a limited number of fr agmented figurines may indicate less interest in making or using them. In terms of feasting, t he presence of some large middens may suggest high food consumption, but it could simply mean that people occupied this area for a long time or that the middens were comm unity middens shared by some neighbors. Even though the amount of pottery I analyzed from this structure is relatively small, my techno-functional analysis of the pottery assemblage (in Chapter 6) along with faunal evidence does not indicate any clear evidence of feasting in this zone. Although I lack information on any radiocarbon dates from this structure, stylistic analysis of the recovered pottery from Hous e 2 shows no major difference from that of House 4. However, since most House 2 dat a derive from middens and the structure has not been fully recovered, ther e is no certainty that the occupation periods of those households were contemporaneous. Analysis of House Strategies at Santa Cruz Tayata The overall evidence shows that a per iod of major occu pancy of these two residential structures could be contemporaneous and that thei r socioeconomic statuses were not much different. Neo-evolutiona ry approaches might interpret those two structures as non-elite houses in a Middle Formative society. However, the inhabitants of each house were not identical in their choice of location, architectural size and style, or types of practices. I w ould argue that the lack of majo r inequality between them was
122 created or maintained through daily pr actices of houses. Practices need to be understood within their own historic al contexts, but at the same time, strategic actions of social house members cannot be understood individually because these actions were constantly modified and developed in the arena of dynamic inter-house competition (Gillespie 2000b:10-11). In this final section, I interpret house practices to show how each house tried to differentiate itself from others by employing different strategies. Architecture House 4 was relatively small, and its wall construction was thin and low. At this time, there is no evidence that the stru cture was rebuilt in the same place by incorporating the remains of old residential structures. T here are some pit features outside of the house, and there was possibly a doorway on the north side of the house. On the other hand, House 2 was relatively la rger and there is clear evidence of longtime occupancy, even though the boundary walls of multiple sequential houses have not been determined. Persistence of dwelling location may demonst rate the development of hereditary proprietary rights to land and structur es (Gillespie 2000b:16). The wall size of House 2 was larger, and larger stones were used in its construction. The House 2 structure(s) also had some large pit features from which a significant number of artifacts were recovered. Location House 4 was located between two low mounds which likely were built after the house was erected (Duncan et al.:5316). Hous e 4 occupied one of the highest locations of the site, and public architecture was cons tructed just 10 m to the west. The primary mound and those two low mounds were r oughly aligned, and plaza areas existed among those mounds (Duncan et al.:5316). We therefore treated this area as a core
123 zone of area A. House 2, on the other hand, was located on the northwestern corner of the hill-top site, and was at least 200-250 m away from the core zone. Currently available data indicate little correlations bet ween occupation of different locations at the site and status differences, but if future ex cavations uncover more house structures, we will better understand the use of space in Santa Cruz Tayata. Burial Treatment No evidence of elaborated bur ial treatment was found for burials from House 4 and House 2. House 4 had two major burials, wh ere a limited number of luxury items such as small bead necklaces were recovered as grave goods. One of the burials also contained parts of shell ornaments, figur ines, burned dog bones, and decorated pottery sherds (Duncan et al.:5317). Based on food cons umption practices, acquisition of exotic items, craft production, and bur ial location in an elite residential zone, the buried individuals might be interpreted as member s of a higher-status house (Duncan et al. 2008:5316). On the other hand, House 2 may have had more than five burials, but most had been destroyed in the process of rebuildi ng structures and digging trash pits. Many scattered human bones were recovered, and t hus only a few burials were analyzed for mortuary practices. Like House 4, only a lim ited number of luxury items were recovered as grave offerings Crafting As interregional exchange networks develop ed during the Middle Formative period, households started to acquire ma rine shells of different kinds The people of Santa Cruz Tayata were making shell objects and depositing some shell beads in the residential architecture fills. Shell items from features of the Cruz period consist entirely of products that were likely manufactured at the site such as disk beads and perforated shells and
124 the debris from marine shell-working (Figur e 5-12) (Duncan et al. 2008:5315; Balkansky and Croissier 2009:62). Although ut ilizing imported raw shell material (Figure 5-13), shell production and use in this time could have been largely meant for internal consumption. However, cr afted shell products might have been distributed across the entire community by House 4 (Balkansky a nd Croissier 2009:62). H ousehold practices of acquiring marine shells, crafting ornam ents and tools, and building a distribution network could have been used to create social relations with other houses in the form of producers, distributors, and receivers (Bayman 2002; Isaza Aizpurua and McAnany 1999). Thus, crafted shell items may demonstr ate a corporate group identity across the community rather than di screte personal identities. Even though there is no archaeological data from surrounding communities House 4 or other social houses of Santa Cruz Tayata could have manufactu red specific products, such as small perforated shell ornaments of varying degrees of quality, for the express purpose of distributing them to the su rrounding communities. Thus, cr afted shell items could have helped define the social landscape of the Ta yata community relati ve to others in the Mixteca Alta (e.g., following Bayman 2002). Pottery and Artifacts I discuss the results of my techno-functi onal analysis of pottery and some faunal remains in the next chapter, so here I briefl y describe pottery and related artifacts from House 4 and House 2. The proportion of fine serving vessels is high in House 4, especially when we consider the proporti on between a maximum number of inhabitants in this small house and an expected number of serving vessels for ordinary food consumption. There are shallo w and large plates, small cylinders for drinking, and many well-decorated bowls. The diam eter of many serving vesse ls was more than 30-40 cm,
125 and the size of most jars for cooking and st oring was also large. On the other hand, although many serving vessels were recove red from House 2, the proportion of fine large serving vessels is relatively low, and the proportion of poor ly-decorated utilitarian jars and bowls was relatively high (see details in Chapter 6). The pottery assemblage was different between two houses in different locations, especially for the relative number and absolute quality of serving ve ssels. In addition, both houses acquired obsidian, shell, mica, and highly-decor ated pottery through interregional exchange networks, but clear evidence of shell work ing was found only in House 4 (Balkansky and Croissier 2009). Summary I began this chapter presenting methods of the preliminary archaeological surveys and test unit excavations of the Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological project directed by Dr. Andrew Balkanksy of Southern Illinois Universi ty to provide the contextual background for my research. I then discussed how I c onducted excavations at the House 4 zone, adding interpretations about social house stat us and activities. Following the description of the House 2 excavations, I compared what I interpret as two soci al houses to analyze differences and similarities of possible corporate practices. No clear social differentiation is notic eable between these two social houses, even though each residence shows differences and si milarities in architecture style, distribution of prestige artifact s, presence of certain artifa cts, techno-functional aspects of pottery assemblages, and mortuary prac tices. The conventional elite/non-elite dichotomies, such as burials with distinctive treatments, relative size of houses indicating wealth, occupancy of specific elite or non-elite location of the site, elaborated
126 architecture, and significant interest in food presentation and uniq ue food consumption, do not fully fit the Tayata data. If I simply follow the neo-evol utionary criteria of social rank, some aspects show that House 2 was richer and more powerful, but other factors indicate that House 4 was richer and more powerful. Until now, ve ry few house-centered approaches have been applied to Formative societies of Mesoameric a (e.g., Gillespie 1999, 2006; Joyce 1999, 2007), so the research model focusing on strat egic practices of Formative period social houses will be theoretically significant for mo ving beyond classifying attributes of social hierarchy. The next chapter presents the methods and results of my laboratory research, employing a techno-functional analysis of the recovered pottery. The chapter also introduces additional evidence of feasting and crafting practices which were strategically employed for the interests of t he social house. The ultimate purpose of the next chapter is to reveal practices of Tayata house members and possible processes of social differentiation, to then compar e with the data from Chalca tzingo and San Jos Mogote in Chapter 7.
127 Table 5-1. Radiocarbon data from the midden feature of House 4 (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological project, provided by Dr. Andrew Balkansky) Sample data Measured 13c/12c Conventional radiocarbon age ratio radiocarbon age Beta 216158 2930 +/40 BP -25.7 o/oo 2920 +/40 BP Sample: Tayata048 Analysis: AMS-Standard delivery Material/Pretreatment: (charred ma terial): acid/alkali/acid 2 Sigma calibration: Cal BC 1260 to 1000 (Cal BP 3210 to 2940)
128 Crtin3 Breaklines Hard Soft Elevation Range -36 -26.867 -26.867 -17.733 -17.733 -8.6 -8.6 0.533 0.533 9.667 9.667 18.8 18.8 27.933 27.933 37.067 37.067 46.2 46.2 55.333 55.333 64.467 64.467 73.6 73.6 82.733 82.733 91.867 91.867 101 50005001000Meters N E W S Figure 5-1. GIS-based general ma p (with elevation range).
129 3800400042004400460048005000 3400 3600 3800 4000 4200 4400 4600 4800 5000 Santa Cruz/Catarina Tayata 0m200m400m = Core area of the site Figure 5-2. Santa Cruz Tayata site map.
130 Area A, Santa Cruz/Catarina Tayata 4250430043504400445045004550 4250 4300 4350 4400 4450 4500 4550 COL A1 COL A2 COL A3 COL A4 COL A5 COL A6 COL A7 COL A8 COL A9 COL A10 COL A11 COL A12 COL A13 COL A14 COL A15 COL A16 COL A17 COL A18 COL A19 COL A20 COL A21 COL A22 COL A23 COL A24 COL A25 COL A26 COL A27 COL A28 COL A29 COL A30 COL A31 COL A32 = Collection Locations = Excavation Zones 0m50m100m Figure 5-3. Area A of Santa Cruz Tayata and excavated zones.
131 4452445444564458446044624464446644684470447244744476447844804482448444864488449044924494449644984500450245044506450845104512451 44516 4280 4282 4284 4286 4288 4290 4292 4294 4296 4298 4300 4302 4304 4306 4308 4310 4312 4314 4316 4318 4320 4460 4464 4468 4472 4476 4480 4484 4488 4492 4496 4500 4458 4462 4466 4470 4474 4478 448 2 4486 4490 4494 4498 4480 4484 4488 4492 4496 4500 4504 4508 4478 4482 4486 4490 4494 4498 45 02 4506 N 4308 N 4306 N 4304 N 4302 N 4300 N 4298 N 4296 N 4294 N 4292 N 4290 N 4288 N 4286 N 4292 N 4290 N 4288 N 4286E E Cala 1 Cala 3 Cala 4 Cala 5 Cala 6 Cala 7 Cala 2 Cala 9 Cala 10 Cala 11 Cala 12 Area A: physical settings of architecture and excavation zone Stone foundation Non-residential architecture House 4 Figure 5-4. Location of House 4. Pi nk color indicates stone foundations.
132 Figure 5-5. View of the non-re sidential architecture from the House 4 zone (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological project, photo by Takahashi).
133 Figure 5-6. Wide view of House 4 zone (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeol ogical project, photo by Matsubara).
134 44584460446244644466446844704472447444764478448044824484448644884490449244944496449845004502 4294 4296 4298 4300 4302 4304 4306 4308 Cala 1 Cala 3 Cala 4 Cala 5 Cala 6 Cala 7 Cala 2 2 x 2 (meter) walls of architecture : public (left) and domestic (right) Figure 5-7. Distance between pub lic and domestic architecture.
135 Figure 5-8. Marine shell ornaments recovered at House 4 features (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological pr oject, photo by Takahashi).
136 Figure 5-9. Figurine recove red at House 4 (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological project, photo by Takahashi).
137 Figure 5-10. The profile of the midden 1 (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological project, photo by Takahashi).
138 Figure 5-11. One of the dog figurines recove red at House 4 (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological projec t, photo by Takahashi).
139 Figure 5-12. Worked shell debris recovered at House 4 (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological project, photo by Takahashi).
140 Figure 5-13. Worked spiny oyster recovered at House 4 (courtesy of Santa Cruz Tayata archaeological project, photo by Takahashi).
141 CHAPTER 6 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATIONS OF ARTIFACTS As discussed in Chapter 1, the primary pur pose for excavating residential areas at Santa Cruz Tayata was to learn about residential st ructures and acquire necessary data to interpret house-based corporate practice s. The excavation data provided information on the socio-economic standing and other char acteristics of the inhabitants of the excavated residences, and my subsequent l aboratory analysis, focusing on technofunctional features of recovered ceramics, re vealed feasting practices. In this chapter, I summarize the procedures and results of the laboratory analysis while making interpretations of specific practices. In comparison with Formative cultures in the Valley of Oaxaca, those in the Mixteca Alta have not been studied thoroughly, and thus the functional classification of ceramics from the Mixteca Alta relies on thos e from the Valley of Oaxaca. However, recent survey and excavation projects in t he Mixteca Alta are gr adually providing the data on Mixteca pottery types (e.g., Byl and 1980; Byland and Pohl 1994; Lind 1987; Plunket 1983). There is nevertheless a need to create an original ceramic classification based on the Mixteca pottery. Also, very fe w archaeologists applied a techno-functional approach to Mixteca pottery before this study so a greater focus on technical and functional aspects of Mixteca pottery is encouraged. The first part of this ch apter addresses issues of analyzing Formative pottery in Oaxaca. I then discuss methodological pr ocedures of the laboratory analysis by focusing on strategies as interpreted from a techno-functional analysis. Interpretation of the function of a vessel form is based on a theoretical analysis of the relationship between form and function, which suggests that certain forms and properties represent
142 more ef cient solutions to certain functional requirements (Braun 1983; Hally 1986; Hegmon 1992). What I mainly investigate from the pottery assemblage is serving vessels, which are relatively open and in the ca se of those used for feasting, relatively large. A small drinking cup or pitcher, an open bowl with an out aring rim and a at base, and a larger pitcher with a spout and vertical handle generally belong to the category of serving vessels. After discussing methods and strategies, I pr esent the data from features that I analyzed, including those disassociated from the residential structures, while interpreting results from the laboratory re search. Finally, I conclude with the discussion of how feasting practices could have maintain ed social relations among social houses in the less-differentiated communi ty of Santa Cruz Tayata. Formative Pottery in the Valley of Oaxaca and the Mixteca Alta San Jos Mogote in the Valley of Oaxaca gives us an example of typical ceramic assemblages of a household during the Formati ve period. From 1150 to 500 B.C., San Jos Mogote was the largest chiefly center in Oaxaca, and had a greater variety of ceramics than any other contemporary villa ge in the Valley (Flannery 1976; Flannery and Marcus 1994). Because of the lack of int ensive pottery analyses in the Mixteca Alta until recently, as well as assumed or accept ed cultural similarities between these areas (e.g., Blanton et al. 1999; Blomster 2004; Fl annery and Marcus 1983, 1994; Lind 1987), pottery from the Valley of Oaxaca has been considered useful for comparison with the Mixteca Alta. Therefore, this secti on introduces archaeol ogical and ethnographic characteristics of pottery-making in the Valle y of Oaxaca, while discussing issues of analyzing social status based on ceramic evidence. This section also describes
143 variations in form of Formati ve pottery in the Valley of Oaxaca to address the problem of applying pottery sequences in the Valley of Oaxaca to those in the Mixteca Alta. Two principal techniques of forming po ttery are evident in Formative ceramics from Oaxaca. One is press-mo lding and the other is concentric rings. Press-molding is done by laying previously flattened slabs of clay body over a gourd or a previously made vessel, often using wood ash and dry clay powder to prevent the two vessels from sticking together (Rice 1987). In the other technique, the potte r begins by taking a lump of clay and pounding it into a disc, which becomes the base for a new vessel. Concentric rings of clay are then added to the disc in order to build up the sides of the vessel (Rice 1987). Evidence for both the pre ss-molding technique and the concentric ring forming method is found in vessels of the Tierras Largas phase (1400-1150 B.C.) and the San Jos phase (1150-850 B.C. ) (Flannery and Marcus 1994). Moreover, Formative pottery was often burnished with quartz pebbles, many of which were found in the Oaxaca exca vations (Flannery and Marcus 1994). The burnishing technique is used to reduce the poros ity of the vessel surf ace, thus reducing evaporation or absorption of moisture in the contents (Rice 1987). In terms of firing, no kilns have been discovered in any Early Formati ve sites in Oaxaca (e.g., Whalen 1981; Winter and Payne 1976). The absence of kiln s suggests that Formative potters fired pots above ground, and the above-ground firing te chnique is still known among potters of San Marcos Tlapazola in the Valle y of Oaxaca today (Payne 1994). Archaeological evidence s hows that there was a trem endous diversity among San Jos phase vessels, while the earlier Tierras Largas phase vessels had a relatively limited range of shapes. There we re charcoal braziers, tecomates for storage, large jars
144 for cooking, and smaller bowls for individual servings of foods in the San Jos phase (Flannery and Marcus 1994), although it is some times difficult to determine the exact function of the ceramic vessels because the three major categories (serving, cooking, and storing) do not cover other potential f unctions of the recovered vessels. Many archaeological reports, for example, only re fer to storage vessels, cooking pots, or serving dishes, but there are many other po ssibilities for the func tion of the pottery vessels. Some categorized vessels might have been used for fermentation, maize soaking, parching, evaporating salt, tanning, decanting, and other purposes, but it is very difficult to identify such specific uses. In addition, there is a difficulty in comparing styles across space because archaeologists and art historians employ diffe rent and varied concepts of what style is. Hegmon (1992:529) states that st yle is a way of doing something, and reflects a choice among varying alternatives. Different styles are not always mutually exclusive, and one style does not conveniently mark the art of a group or artisan (Hegmon 1992:523). Also, because archaeologists have tended to ove r-emphasize the use of style to communicate information, issues of pr oduction and perpetuation of style are often neglected (Hegmon 1992:521). In the Valley of Oaxaca, even though styles may have served as social boundary maintenance mec hanisms between hostile villages (Dennis 1987), we can generally say that style as well as information transmitted by it is contextdependent and varies accordingly. Ethnographic examples of pottery-making are available in the Valley of Oaxaca, and many contemporary villages in Oaxaca are famous for co mmercial ceramics. Among all these villages, San Marcos and Atzompa provide us with an important
145 context for understanding Forma tive pottery of the Valle y of Oaxaca. Although the process of making pottery at San Marcos Tlapazola is very much the way some Formative vessels appear to have been formed (Flannery and Marcus 1994), the most important analogy is seen in the firing proce ss. No formal kiln is used at San Marcos, and vessels are simply stacked in the dooryard of the potterÂ’s house. The fuel--dried organ cactus or maguey leaves--is then pile d over the stack of pottery and ignited. When the firing is over, a layer of fine ash re mains in situ. This ethnographic example is roughly similar to what archaeologists have found at Formative villages in the Valley of Oaxaca (plenty of ash, but no kilns and no pr oof of firing), and the evidence of pottery production in this fashion has been noted in the Mixteca Alta (Balkansky and Croissier 2009). Another ethnographic example comes from Santa Maria Atzompa. Potters of Atzompa use the same clay sources that potte rs of Formative villages such as Tierras Largas and San Jos Mogote used (Flannery and Marcus 1994; Stolmaker 1973). Atzompa potters use concentric rings fo r forming pottery and use gourd scrapers and quartz pebbles for burnishing. Stolmaker (1973:57) calculated that a young woman at Atzompa with no children could complete three dozen small jars in a half day, and that the burnishing of jars with a quartz pebble took less than two hours of wo rk per dozen vessels. These calculations by Stolmaker (1973:57) are useful, but we ne ed to acknowledge the fact that potters at contemporary villages make pottery for commer cial purposes. Thus the amount of time Formative villagers spent meeting their own needs may have been less with the same methodology. In terms of t he question about whether Formative potters were men, women, or whole family mem bers, ethnographic examples from the Valley of Oaxaca do
146 not provide useful information on this iss ue because of the fact that contemporary pottery-making is a commercial enterprise and thus both men and women work at this craft. According to ethnographi c examples from Kalinga (S tark et al. 2000), Gamo (Arthur 2002), and Cameroon (Gosselain 1992), pottery production cross-culturally is largely a female activity. However, there is no evidence that there was a clear gender distinction with respect to acti vities through history. Specific luxury wares from the Early to Middle Formative period, such as Oaxaca Delfina Fine Gray, required potters to acquire special skills (Flannery and Marcus 1994:259), but archaeolog ists are unlikely to determine exactly whether those potters during the Formative period were men or women. In regards to issues of analyzing soci al status through pottery, there were differences in ceramic assemblages between higher status and lower status households as soon as hereditary differences in social rank emerged (e.g., Flannery and Marcus 1994). Drennan (1976) repor ted that bowls (especially decorated gray bowls) were more common around high-status households at Fabrica San Jos, while jars and other storage vessels were more common at low-status households. Although this archaeological evidence may indicate that low-status households had restricted access to decorated bowls, it may also reflect differ ent ranges of activities between households. Archaeologists suspect that there were mo re feasting activities and more frequent entertaining of elite guests by high-status households in the Valley of Oaxaca (e.g., Blanton et al 1999; Marcus and Flannery 1996). In addition, the status differences observed by Drennan (1976) indicate differe nces in ceramic assemblages between
147 large and small villages because there were more high-status families at larger regional ceremonial centers. This being the case, do regional differences in ceramic assemblages only indicate differences in social status? Plog (1976) not es that the Middle Fo rmative ceremonial centers of Huitzo and San Jo s Mogote had a different reper toire of motifs on Atoyac Yellow-white pottery. One minor Formative center, S an Sebastian Abasolo, lacked some of the major San Jos phase luxury wares, but used a fine white ware which has not been recovered at any major San Jos phase ceremonial centers (Flannery and Marcus 1994). Although more data are necessary to discuss the issues of local and regional differences in pottery assemblage, differences in pottery assemblage are not always status related. In addition, there is a questi on about whether the differences in motif preference reflect differences in social status or not Archaeologists tend to co nsider that pottery with symbolic motifs suggests an associatio n with high-status groups or households, and that motif differences suggest chronolog ical difference, with one motif succeeding the other over time. However, cases fr om San Jos Mogote (Flannery 1976) and Tomaltepec (Whalen 1981) suggest that both higher-status and lower-status households were associated with each set of motifs. Pottery Form Variations in the Va lley of Oaxaca and the Mixteca Alta The recognition of similarity in pottery sequences between t he Valley of Oaxaca and the Mixteca Alta requires a closer look at pottery form changes in the Valley of Oaxaca. Tierras Largas phase households had neck ed jars for boiling or storing liquids, tecomates or neckless jars for wet or dry storage, hem ispherical bowls for individual servings, and bottles for special liquids (F lannery and Marcus 1994:55). During the San
148 Jos phase, flat-based bowls that could be cylindrical or conical gradually replaced hemispherical bowls. At the same time neck ed jars and tecomates got larger as storage needs grew and pottery-making improved (Fl annery and Marcus 1994 :135). One of the most important and new vessel forms of the San Jos phase was a portable brazier for cooking with prepared pine charcoal. Also, spouted trays for pouring pigment appeared in this time period. Then, in the su cceeding Guadalupe phase, bowls with more outcurved or flaring walls increased at t he expense of cylinders and outleaning-wall bowls (Flannery and Marcus 1994:161). By the Rosario phase, one could see clear differences between the ceramic assemblage s of low-status groups and elite groups (Drennan 1976). All those data from the Va lley of Oaxaca have been compared with those from Mixteca Alta sites, including t he Formative sites of Etlatongo and Santa Cruz Tayata. Because the Tayata project recove red a significant amount of San Jos phaselike ceramics, I discuss details of the San Jos phase vessels here for analytical reference. The San Jos phase pottery assemblage is marked by the replacement of hemispherical bowls by flat-based bowls (F lannery and Marcus 1994:135). Those flatbased bowls varied from cylinders with vertical walls to open bowls with outleaning walls. Also, carved designs on the San Jos vesse ls were distinctive of the period that archaeologists can define as the San Jos phase on the basis of vessel form and decoration, without focusing much on surf ace color (Flannery and Marcus 1994:135). However, surface color is very important in San Jos phase pottery because the color of the pottery is no longer limited to buff, red, or red-on-buff, but includes gray, black, white, or black-and-white (Flannery and Marcus 1994:149). In addition to the
149 appearance of new types of vessels such as charcoal braziers, multi-compartment vessels, spouted trays, pigment dishes, and e ffigy vessels of many kinds, jars with flaring necks increased in size, and many had plastic decorations such as jabs, slashes, or punctations. Tecomates grew heavier and had many varieties of rocker stamping and punctation. As exchange networks developed dur ing the San Jos phase, it is easy to guess that new ideas about the designs and decor ation skills of pottery traveled rapidly, and that black ware, white ware, different ially fired white-and-black ware, and red-onwhite ware became common (e.g., Flanner y and Marcus 1983, 1994). Moreover, during the San Jos phase, a series of pan-Meso american excised and incised motifs or designs were utilized. The San Jos phase wa s not the period in which those designs and motifs first arose, but it was the fi rst period in which they appeared mainly on cylindrical and conical bowls (Flannery 1976). Archaeological evidence clearly shows that San Jos Mogote acquired foreign pottery and exported manufactured pottery through interregional networks, and had specialized potters who produced finer vessels such as Delfina Fine Gray (Flannery and Marcus 1994). Delfina Fine Gray was a luxu ry ware found at sites across Early and Middle Formative Mesoamerica, and whose orig in was the Valley of Oaxaca (Flannery and Marcus 1994:259). In terms of the vessel forms of De lfina Fine Gray, flat-based bowls with vertical walls (cylinders) were the most common form that was recovered from the middens of Tayata. Most of the cyli ndrical vessels of this type were decorated with specific designs, such as Â“EarthÂ” and Â“SkyÂ” symbolism (Flannery and Marcus 1994:136) and Â“double-linebreakÂ” motifs (Flannery an d Marcus 1994:140) on the exterior walls.
150 In terms of the Cruz phase ceramics in the Mixteca Alta, t he observation regarding change in vessel forms at Etlatongo in the Mixteca parallel those for the Valley of Oaxaca (Blomster 2004). The shift away from hemispherical bowls and the greater frequency of cylindrical bowls early in t he Middle Cruz phase appears to match the pattern for the San Jos phase (Winter 1994). According to the research by Blomster (2004), Etlatongo ceramic assemblages appear to conform to the Valley of Oaxaca pattern in that greater fr equencies of decorated vessels and possible import wares mark relatively high-status residences, while lo w-status houses have higher frequencies of coarse utilitarian wares and relatively undecorated pottery (Flannery and Marcus 1994:339). In higher-status residences and public areas at Etlatongo, higher frequencies of decorated serving vessels were recovered (Blomster 2004). However, at the same time, data also show that a hi gh percentage of decorated cooking and storage vessels were recovered from most features at Etlatongo. Perhaps Blomster assumed that households at Etlatongo wo uld show the same trend as those in the contemporary Valley of Oaxaca sites. It is reasonable to think that high-status houses had better access to luxury wares at Etlatongo, but t he access to those special wares might not be limited to higher-status houses or households. Actually, there is a sample bias in BlomsterÂ’s research. Most of the samples with Middle Cruz contexts come from highstatus residences or public areas at Etlat ongo, and thus I argue that there is a need to focus on samples with average and lower status houses. Stylistic and Techno-Functional Approaches in Pottery Analysis Style analysis basically focuses on decorative variation in pottery, but as noted, different styles are not always mutually exclusive (Hegmon 1992: 523). Generally, style differences among ceramic vessels often prov ide the means by which archaeologists
151 can determine the relative date of a site. Style also plays a role in pottery production in which pottery is linked to specific producti on areas correlated with spatially restricted sources of raw material (Rice 1987). Moreov er, exotic or non-local styles or designs allow archaeologists to argue for exchange, migration, and ot her forms of interaction, although archaeological evidence indicates that there were many widely shared styles, designs, and forms in the Formative period, and thus similarities are not always evidence for the degree of interaction between specific regions or sites (e.g., Flannery 2000; Grove 1997). On the other hand, techno-functional analysi s explains the way pottery was made and utilized. Ceramic vessels were used as containers, and many attributes of pottery sherds contain rich information on po ttersÂ’ manufacturing techniques, vessel morphology, and paste composition (Br aun 1983). Also, techno-functional analysis provides us with information on the potterÂ’s decision-making processes because potters selected raw materials and utilized manufacturing techniques within a given choice of vessel morphology and composition (Braun 1983). This choice is based on labor and material costs, with desired vessel life expec tancy relative to the need for the desired product (Braun 1983). The basic assumption is that the form of a ceramic contai ner is strongly influenced by its intended function. Ceramic vessels can be used in food-related activities such as cooking, processing, fermentation, serving, eating, wet and dry st orage, transportation of liquids, and washing (Hally 1986). The functional nature of pottery can be analyzed along several dimensions. These include shape, physical properties determined by attributes such as wall thickness and pas te composition, patterns of use wear, and
152 patterns of association or context (Hally 1986). Technofunctional analysis of pottery allows archaeologists to explain technical and functional variations of the ceramic, rather than just describing it. In the laboratory analysis I conducted, based on a perspective that potential intrasite social hierarchy will be expressed in ce ramics and other artifact s. I carried out an attribute analysis of Tayata ceramics recove red from features at residential and nonresidential structures, followi ng widely employed techno-functional analytical procedures (Braun 1980, 1983; Hally 1986; Henrickson and McDonald 1983). The analysis of the spatial distributions of the different vesse l-use classes provides insight into the organization of space within the communi ty because there are various social, ideological, and economic factor s that impact the di stribution of different functional classes of vessels. The first step of the analysis was to det ermine the probable function of vessels based on forms, surface treatment, wall thi ckness, and patterns of use wear. My analysis next focused on calculating the minimum number of vessels (MNV) for each context, and several sherds from the same vessel were counted as one vessel. In determining MNV, all rim sherds and some basal sherds that clearly show the angle of the vessel wall were counted. Then, a classifi catory division between restricted vessels and unrestricted ones was made, while analyzi ng inferred function of each vessel based on form, surface treatment, wall thickness, si ze, and patterns of use wear. Details such as coil breaks, sooting, and interior abras ions were recorded as present, possibly present, or absent. Also, exterior and inte rior surface treatment was recorded.
153 Exterior surface treatments are clearly of interest in typology and chronology. The examination of interior surface treatm ents can be useful in addressing possible functional categories (Hally 1986; Henrickso n and McDonald 1983). Interior surface treatment was recorded as smoothed, burnished, or scraped. Bowls for serving purposes were burnished more carefully than ja rs, on both interior and exterior surfaces. In terms of wall thickne ss, thickness was measured 3 cm below the rim. When measured consistently, thickness can refl ect technological traditions and functional considerations (Rice 1987). Rims were de scribed as round, square (flat top), and exterior lip. Rim diameter was measured on a 1-cm-increment chart when a sufficient rim section was available to assure reli ability of the delivered measurement. Rim diameter data complement vessel form informat ion. In addition, ther e were many small rim sherds that do not really tell the form of the vessel, so they were labeled as Â“unidentified.Â” Paste color is also important for esti mating chronology and fo r comparing patterns with those from the Valley of Oaxaca, but only a simple classification was made. This is because the variety of color on vessels was limited and was similar to vessel assemblages from the Valley of Oaxaca si tes. During analysis, I consulted with Dr. Balkansky about the possible time period of each vessel assemblage from the features. Moreover, the type (organic temper or stone temper), size, and density (fine, coarse, very coarse) of major aplastics was reco rded in order to support the arguments for vessel functions. Finally, the weight of all the decorated sherds and undecorated sherds was calculated.
154 Techno-Functional Aspects of Pottery A basic distinction of pottery vessels is w hether they are restrict ed or unrestricted. An unrestricted vessel is characterized by the absence of constrictions between rim and base, while a restricted vessel is one in wh ich the maximum body di ameter exceeds the rim diameter (Rice 1987). Unrestricted vessels often have proportionately larger rims than restricted vessels. Archaeologists generally consider that restricted vessels, such as ollas, tecomates and bottles, were used fo r food preparation, c ooking, and storage, and that unrestricted vessels such as hemis pherical bowls, conical bowls, and cylinders were utilized in serving food and drink (e.g ., Braun 1980, Hally 1986). However, vessels do not always need to be used in the task for whic h they are best suited (Sinopoli 1999). Also, vessels are often subject to secondar y uses once they can no longer serve their initial function (Skibo 1992:38). Furthermo re, tecomates were likely multi-purpose containers and were not suited for indivi dual serving purposes (Arnold 1999). The next procedure of the te chno-functional analysis was to classify vessel types based on characteristics of cooking, storing, and serving wares. A functional category of cooking vessels tends to be generalized becaus e it is difficult for archaeologists to identify whether or not a particular piece of pottery was used only for food processing. As a matter of the fact, although it is relati vely easy to determine whether it was suited for boiling, vessels identified as cooking pots tend to have the widest range of variation (Mills 1989). Decades ago Linton (1944) argued t hat an effective cooking pot must have a mouth large enough to prevent excessive boiling over and to permit stirring contents, but at the same time, small enough to prevent it from boili ng dry every few minutes. Most of the restricted vessels fit this cat egory, and the tecomate has an ideal form for direct-heat moist cooking (A rnold 1999:162). A cooking contai ner for boiling must allow
155 for access, either with a bowl or some type of ladle, and at the same time, it must allow for some moisture to escape while controllin g the rate of liquid evaporation (Arnold 1999). In addition to ideal vesse l forms for cooking, we need to see different aspects of the vessels, such as wall thickness, sooting, internal abrasions, and surface treatment, in order to identify whether the vessel was used for cooking. Storage vessels are often difficult to dist inguish from cooking vessels, but they have a relatively large capacity and are oft en fitted with a lip form to accept a cover (Hally 1986). Storage vessels also have restri cted orifices to prevent spillage, but these should not be so small as to inhibit removal of the contents. Moreover, horizontal space efficiency is important for storage vessels, and thus they need to be taller than wide (Hally 1986). Hally (1986:291) states that a la rge jar is ideal for storing because it is difficult to manipulate the cont ents and is difficult to move when full. Also, the number of recovered storage vessels should be relative ly few because they have long use-life due to the least breakage possibilities (Hally 198 6:285). Moreover, we need to see whether there is any sooting on the surface of the vessels to determine whether they were utilized in direct-heat cooking. Even though we have criteria for distinguishing storage vessels from cooking vessels, it is some times difficult to det ermine the functional categories of storage because so me restricted vessels were used for multiple purposes. However, storage vessels are important to i dentify actions of surplus or accumulation, and thus may suggest economic inequality among households at archaeological sites. Finally, the distribution, number, and sizes of serving vessels are significant for interpreting social practices because feasting is a basic element in the construction and maintenance of social relations of power and inequality (e.g., B litz 1993; Dietler 1996).
156 Spielmann (2002:198) also ar gued that ceremonial feasting and the need for the specialized crafts was responsible for changes in economic activities. Moreover, Mills (1999) believes that patterns of food consum ption, including prep aration and serving techniques, as well as social contexts, particu larly involving feasting, had a great impact on serving vessel size and shape in t he prehistoric northern Southwest. As noted above, unrestricted vessels are generally categorized as serving vessels, but the characteristics of serving vessels need to be described. Serving vessels with access for dipping need to be wide, unrestrict ed, have a shallow prof ile, have a slightly inturned rim to prevent spillage, and have a stable base (Hally 1986:290). Also, serving vessels of this kind vary in size with t he size of eating group and often have elaborate decoration. On the other hand, serving ve ssels for pouring need to be narrow, have a restricted orifice with a neck or collar el evated, and have an outflaring rim (Hally 1986:290). Those criteria fit conical bowls and cylinders nicely. An increase in the number and size of flat-base bowls during the Middle Formative period may suggest a change in foodways, increase in house size or wealth, and an increase in competitive feasting. Laboratory Analysis: the Pottery Asse mblage from Santa Cruz Tayata As described in Chapter 5, I excavated re sidential and non-resident ial structures in area A of Santa Cruz Tayata. Vessel assemblages from features of the Cruz structures (Figure 6-1) are useful for analyzing whether t here are patterned variations of functional groups of pottery. Eventually, wit h the data of other recovered artifacts, social practices taking place inside and outside structures can be analyzed. With respect to pottery analysis, even though pottery sherds from t he entire area of the House 4 were analyzed (Appendix B), my primary focus was on vessel assemblages of two middens (features 1
157 and 2) associated with the house, one midden or burial next to the house (feature 3), and a primary burial under the floor. Also, I analyzed a vessel assemblage from a deep excavation unit (127Â–320 cm) placed at the c enter of the public (non-residential) architecture and from the test pit in the primary mound for compar ing with the data from residential structures. Feature 1: Midden 1 of House 4 As described in the previous chapter, this Middle Formative midden contained a wide variety of vessels along with dog remains, dog figurines, and obsidian blades (Duncan et al. 2008). Sherds from 273 vesse ls (MNV) were recovered from Midden 1 associated with House 4 (Table 6-1). Forty-nine sherds were too small to identify the exact forms of whole vessels and thus were put into the Â“unidentifiedÂ” category. Twentyfive jars and one tecomate we re recovered, and those rest ricted vessels comprised less than 10% of the entire assemblage. In terms of unrestricted vesse ls, 29 hemispherical bowls (10.6%), 83 cylindrical bowls (30. 4%), and 86 conical bowls (31.5%) were recovered from this pit (Figure 6-2). Therefor e, almost 90% of the vessels from this pit were unrestricted, and probably utilized in serving (Table 6-2). In comparison with cylinders and conical bowls, the number of hemispherical bowls was fewer than expected. These data indicate that this assemblage co rresponds in time to the late San Jos or Guadalupe phase in the Va lley of Oaxaca, because of the declining number of hemispherical bowls and increasing number of conical bowls. Also, only one tecomate was recovered from this pit, indicating that th is assemblage is less likely to equate to the Tierras Largas or early San Jos phases (i f I follow the data fr om Etlatongo in the Mixteca Alta and San Jos Mogote in the Valley of Oaxaca). Because there is one
158 natural layer in the middle of this pit, I considered that two di fferent deposits might represent different time periods. However, there was no significant difference between the recovered artifacts from the upper and lower parts of the pit. In terms of the rim forms, many jars and some cylinders have flat (square) rims, and covers could have been placed on these vessels. Moreover, there were very few bowls with the outflaring walls that charac terize the Guadalupe ph ase, and most of the conical bowls had less-outleaning walls. Over all, a higher percentage of unrestricted vessels may be related to a serving contex t, with fewer used for cooking. At least a couple of dogs were butchered and their remain s buried in this pit, so this house could have been associated with feasting activities on some occasions (Duncan et al. 2008). Vessel size is important because trends toward increasing vessel size may suggest changes in foodways, increase in house size, increase in house wealth, and increased competitive feasting (Mills 1999:11 3). Thirty-seven out of 273 (MNV) had larger orifices (> 30 cm), and larger ve ssels made up 13.6% of the entire assemblage (Table 6-3). Interestingly, more than 50% of the hemispher ical bowls (15/29) of the assemblage were large vessels. Also, ther e were fifteen large cylinders and seven large conical bowls in the assemblage. Only 8.1% of the conical bowls were large ones, and thus large conical bowls were rarely used at this house. However, I need to ascertain data on the sizes of vessels from other household features at Tayata before drawing firm conclusions. In the case of San Jos M ogote, the size of t he hemispherical bowls became larger during the middle San Jos p hase (Flannery and Marcus 1994), so the large hemispherical bowls at Tayata Hous e 4 suggest that the house dated to the Middle Cruz rather than the Early Cruz phase.
159 None of the hemispherical bowls was decor ated. Jars were all brown, and there were many fine gray, yellowish white, or wh ite brown bowls in the assemblage, but the number of luxury wares, such as Delfina Fine Gray and other foreign wares with panMesoamerican motifs, was very limited. In th e Valley of Oaxaca, low-status families had more jars relative to indivi dual serving bowls, and their assemblages were dominated by wares that tended to be buff with a red slip or monoc hrome brown (Flannery and Marcus 1994:333). Based on these criteria, t he House 4 residence was not occupied by low-class inhabitants. However, at the same time, this assemblage does not represent a high-status house if I compare recovered arti facts, house construction, and other factors with those from high-status houses in S an Jos Mogote. Based on the currently available evidence, members of House 4 had access to foreign items, used many unique figurines, shell ornaments, and obsidi an blades, occupied a good location on the site (one of the highest elevation spots and next to public architecture), and might have organized and participated in do g feasting activities. Feature 2: Midden 2 of House 4 Sherds from 182 vessels (MNV) were recovered from Midden 2 associated with House 4 (Table 6-1). Even though this midden is adjacent to Midden 1, there is a difference in the size/shape and characteristics of its contents. Twenty-five sherds were too small to identify the exact forms of t he whole vessel and thus were put into the Â“unidentifiedÂ” category. Tw enty-seven jars but no tecomates were recovered. In feature 2, restricted ve ssels composed less than 15% of the entire assemblage. In terms of unrestricted vesse ls, 12 hemispherical bowls (6.6%), 34 cylindrical bowls (18.7%), and 84 conical bowls (46.2%) were reco vered from this pit (Figure 6-3). Almost 83% of the vessels were unr estricted (Table 6-2), and the number of conical vessels
160 was very high. In comparison with conical bowls, the number of hemispherical bowls and cylinders is limited. Like the data from feature 1, these dat a suggest that this assemblage corresponds to either the late San Jos or Guadalupe phase because of the relative number of conica l bowls. The number of outle aning-wall bowls is higher, and there are some outflaring bowls with geometric designs. The fact that no tecomate was recovered and more conical bowls exist in this assemblage indicates that this midden is co ntemporary to or even more recent than the assemblage of feature 1. Ther e is no critical difference in recovered vessel forms at the upper part and the bottom part of the pit. Another interesting difference between feature 1 and feature 2 is that many carbon samples and burnt objec ts were recovered from feature 1 but not featur e 2. The fact that almost 50% of the recovered vessels were conical bowls suggests that there was a nec essity for using such high numbers of conical bowls when those two middens were in use. Also, some unique figurines, foreign artifacts, and a huge metate were re covered from this midden. Overall, the vessels and other artifacts suggest a relatively higher status of the house, if we follow the criteria of the hi gh-status houses in the Valley of Oaxaca. In terms of vessel size, 19 out of 182 vesse ls had larger orifices (> 30 cm), and larger vessels made up around 10.4% of the entire assemb lage (Table 6-3). One-third of the hemispherical bowls (4/12) in the a ssemblage were large vessels, and there were no large jars. Also, there were 5 large cylinders and 10 large conical bowls in the assemblage. Only 11.9% of the conical bow ls were large ones, and thus vessels for large-scale serving were not so important at this house (if the midden goes with the house). Based on the data from these two f eatures, a limited number of large conical
161 bowls was utilized by this household. Howeve r, many conical bowls larger than 20 cm were recovered from these units. I suggest that such high numbers of medium and large unrestricted vessels were beyond the needs of immediate house members. In terms of vessel colors, a majority of vessels were brown and there were no redon-buff vessels. Although there were so me fine gray, white, and yellowish white cylinders and conical bowls, there was no f ancy ware with pan-Mesoamerican motifs. The colors of all the hemispherical bowls were brown or reddish brown. Feature 3: Midden/Burial of House 4 This feature has been treated as a burial (Duncan et al. 2008) but I suspect that it was utilized mainly as a midden because the c ontents recovered from this feature are similar to those of other middens. Trash pi ts were often utilized as secondary burial places, so this case is not unique. One hundred and sixteen vessels (MNV) were recovered from this midden/bur ial associated with House 4 (Table 6-1). In comparison with primary burials with a shell-bead ne cklace, figurines, and decorated pottery (Duncan et al. 2008:5317), no luxury grave offerings were recovered. Thirty-nine sherds were too few to ident ify exact vessel forms and thus were put into the Â“unidentifiedÂ” cat egory. Fifteen jars, one tecomate, and one charcoal brazier (MNV) were recovered, and those restricted vessels represent less than 15% of the entire assemblage. In terms of unrestrict ed vessels, 6 hemispherical bowls (5.2%), 18 cylindrical bowls (15.5%), and 36 conical bowls (31%) were recovered from this unit (Figure 6-4). Almost 78% of the vessels ar e unrestricted (Table 6-2), and again suggest an unusual need for unrestricted vessels. In comparison with cylinders and conical bowls, the number of hemispherical bowls is very limited.
162 The data from all three f eatures suggest that these assemblages correspond to the late San Jos or Guadalupe phases. Many jars in this assemblage had square rims, so covers or lids may have easily been utiliz ed. The number of outflaring-wall bowls was limited, but there was one conical bowl with a wavy rim and one with an extremely outleaning rim. Again, a high percentage of unrestrict ed vessels may reflect an emphasis on serving rather than cooking. In terms of vessel size, 18 out of 116 vessels (MNV) had larger orifices (> 30 cm), and larger vessels occupied about 15.5% of t he entire assemblage (Table 6-3). Again, 33.3% of the hemispherical bowls (2/6) of the assemblage were large vessels, although the sample size is limited. There was one large jar whose orifice was 44 cm. It was roughly burnished on both sides, and there was no sooting and internal abrasion. Also, there were three large cylinders and eleven large conical bowls in the assemblage. Here, 30.6% of the conical bowls were lar ge ones, and the size of those large vessels was 30-36 cm. Also, there were many unrestr icted vessels with orifices smaller than 18 cm. Based on the data from all three f eatures, this household had a high number of small, medium, and large serving vessels. In terms of vessel colors, none of the hem ispherical bowls was decorated. Jars were all brown and there were many fine gr ay, white brown, or yellowish white bowls and cylinders in the assemblage. There were no Delfina Fine Gray or other foreign wares with pan-Mesoamerican motifs. Burial 1 of House 4 A cremated figure was recovered with offeri ngs from this burial (Duncan et al. 2008). Sherds from 99 vessels (MNV) were re covered with this shallow sub-floor burial in House 4 (Table 6-1). Twentythree sherds were put into the Â“unidentifiedÂ” category.
163 Eleven jars, one tecomate, and one charcoal br azier (MNV) were recovered, and those restricted vessels comprised less than 15% of the entire assemb lage. In terms of unrestricted vessels, sherds from 7 hemispher ical bowls (7%), 16 cylindrical bowls (16.2%), and 40 conical bowls (40.4%) were recovered around this burial (Figure 6-5). Again, 83% of the vessels at this pit were unrestricted (Table 6-2). Similar to the three other features, the number of hemispher ical bowls was very limited, and only one tecomate was recovered. There were some very shallow as well as tall conical bowls, and the number of outleaning bo wls was limited. There were no outflaring-wall bowls. Most of the conical bowls at this burial were well polished. Also, a ce rtain number of jars and cylinders had flat rim tops I had expected to find some luxury foreign vessels buried as offerings, but none were found. Overall, the burial midden had a high percentage of unrestricted vesse ls (83%). Although this was a relatively shallow burial, sherds from many serving vessels occurred in the midden. In terms of vessel size, 13 out of 99 ve ssels had larger orifices (> 30 cm), and larger vessels represented around 13.1% of the entire assemblage (Table 6-3). About 28% of the hemispherical bowls (2/7) in t he assemblage were large vessels, although sample size is small. There were four large jars, and three of them had 42-44 cm orifices. These jars were roughly burnished on both sides, and no sooting was identified. Also, there were three large cylinders and f our large conical bowls in the assemblage. Only 10% of the conical bowls were lar ge ones, and all of these conical bowls were polished inside. There were three very sma ll cylinders with orifices of 8-12 cm. In terms of vessel colors, mo st of the serving vessels were fine gray or yellowish white, and attention had been paid to the quality (well-polished or smoothed with
164 decorations) of those vessels Unlike hemispherical bowls fr om other features, some hemispherical bowls were a dark gray color. The number of si mple tan wares was small. Excavation 2 Zone: House 2 The pottery assemblage from zones of t he earliest occupation levels of House 2 was analyzed for comparing practices of soci al houses. Sherds from 199 vessels (MNV) were recovered from midens associated with House 2 (Table 6-1). Eighty-three sherds were small and were put into the Â“unidentif iedÂ” category. Twenty-six jars, one tecomate, and two charcoal braziers were recover ed, and those restricted vessels composed about 15% of the entire assemb lage. In terms of unrestric ted vessels, 19 hemispherical bowls (9.5%), 19 cylindrical bowls (9.5%), a nd 49 conical bowls (24.7%) were recovered from these pits. Almost 75% of the vessels from the pits were unrestricted vessels (Table 6-2), and the number of conical bowls was high even in this different area of the site. Although there were many unidentifi able sherds, the number of hemispherical bowls and cylinders was the same. In t he House 4 zone, cylinders always outnumbered hemispherical bowls. Although conical bowls at House 2 had less-outleaning walls, I do not see any critical difference in vesse l assemblages between the House 4 zone and the Excavation 2 zone. The same midden(s) was used in different time periods by different household members and residences here we re built over older houses, so it is difficult to identify the contexts of each feature. Moreover, I analyzed only a small number of sample vessels from this area, so further analysi s will be required to provide more information about these residential structures. Howeve r, only one tecomate out of 199 MNV was recovered from these pits, whic h suggests that this assemblage does not correspond to either the Tierras Largas or early San Jos phases, if I follow the data from Etlatongo in Mixteca Alta and San Jos Mogote in the Valley of Oaxaca. Overall,
165 the presence of a high percentage of unres tricted vessels suggests an emphasis on serving and less on cooking. In terms of vessel size, 9 out of 199 ve ssels had larger orifices (> 30 cm), and larger vessels composed only 4. 5% of the entire assemblage (Table 6-3). About 21% of the hemispherical bowls (4/19) of the assemblage were large vessels, and there were no large jars. Three out of four hemispheric al bowls had 38-40 cm orifices. Also, there were one large cylinder and three large conical bowls in the assemblage. Only 6.1% of the conical bowls were large ones, suggesting t hat large conical bowls were rarely used in the Excavation 2 zone. The number of lar ge vessels was very limited in this area, suggesting that the vessel assemblages there belonged to earlier periods. In terms of vessel colors, t he number of gray vessels was fewer in this area, but there were still many gray wares that were rare during the Tierras Largas phase in the Valley of Oaxaca. The major difference in the vessel assemblages between the House 4 zone and the Excavation 2 zone is that there were some red-on-buff sherds from the Excavation 2 features, alt hough the number of those sherds was small. No red-on-buff vessel sherds were recovered from analyzed features of House 4. Non-Residential Structure in the House 4 Zone Even though analyzed samples from this non -residential structure were small, the data are comparable to those from the two residential st ructures. Sherds from 59 vessels (MNV) were recovered from a 300-cm-deep excavation unit located in association with possible public (non-residentia l) architecture (Table 6-1). The pottery assemblage came from the 2 x 2 m pit (N4302 E4466) in the center of a structure on a raised platform. Thirteen sherds fell into the Â“unidentif iedÂ” category.
166 Only three jars were recovered, and t here were no tecomates. Here, restricted vessels composed only 5.1% of the entire assemblage. In te rms of unrestricted vessels, two hemispherical bowls (3.4%), seven cylindr ical bowls (11.9%), and 34 conical bowls (57.6%) were recovered (Figure 6-6). Al most 94% of the vessels were well-made unrestricted vessels (Table 6-2), suggesting that this locale was utilized for nonresidential purposes. The low nu mber of recovered vessels also met our expectations that this was non-residential architecture. Ex cept for some tiny beads, no figurines or other luxury items were recovered from this unit, although I had expected to perhaps find more items related to po ssible religious activities. The number of conical vessels was very hi gh, and most of them were polished or smoothed on both sides. In comparison with coni cal bowls, the number of hemispherical bowls (3%) and cylinders (12%) was limited. In regards to the shape of conical bowls, there were many bowls with hi ghly outleaning walls or even outflaring walls. There is no critical difference in recovered vessel fo rms from the upper and lower parts of the excavation unit, but only 15 vessels were reco vered, from the 190-320 cm level. They included ten conical bowls (all gray), tw o cylinders (all yellowish white), and three unidentified vessels. Moreover, we found abundant carbon samples from this deep pit, which we suspect are evidence of ritual acti vities using incense burners. Overall, the data show that this assemblage corresponds to the Guadalupe phase (or later) in the Valley of Oaxaca. Thus, this non-residentia l architecture might not be contemporaneous with House 4 (Duncan et al. 2008) In terms of the vessel size, ten out of the 59 vessels had larger orifices (> 30 cm), and larger vessels occupied around 16.9% of the entire assemblage (Table 6-3). All
167 three jars were small in size. There were two large cylinders and eight large conical bowls in the assemblage. About 24% of t he conical bowls were large ones, but many base sherds here did not provide sufficient in formation concerning t he size of the bowls, though they did reveal the form or shape of the vessels because their wall parts were preserved very well. I assume that there were more large conical bowls and cylinders in this unit. Based on these data, most of th e serving vessels associated with this nonresidential architecture were medium and large vessels. In terms of vessel colors, none of the hem ispherical bowls was decorated, and jars were all brown. Most conical bowls were gray, and cylinders were yellowish white. There was no luxury ware such as Delfina Fine Gray in this assemblage. There were very few simple brown vessels. In the Valley of Oaxaca, utilitarian vessels for daily use as well as less elegant vessels were not associated with high-status residences and public buildings (e.g., Marcus and Flannery 1996) so the Tayata data match with those from the presumed c ontemporaneous Valley of Oaxaca sites. Mound Structure in Area A I selected the pottery assemblage from t he excavation unit of this principal mound structure for comparison with the data from the other re sidential and non-residential structures. Even though the timi ng of the construction of this tall mound is unknown, it could be associated with structures in t he House 4 zone because the map (Figure 5-3) shows that all structures were aligned in space. Ninety-one vessels (MNV) were recovered from an excavation pit associ ated with the mound (Tabl e 6-1). Seventeen sherds were too small and thus were put into the Â“unidentifiedÂ” category. Nine jars were recovered, but there were no tecomates. Here, restricted vessels composed only 10% of the entire assemblage. In terms of unres tricted vessels, 8 hemispherical bowls (8.8%),
168 18 cylindrical bowls (19.8% ), and 39 conical bowls (42. 9%) were recovered. Around 88% of the vessels were unr estricted (Table 6-2), and the number of conical vessels was very high. This assemblage came from a non-residential feature, so a sim ilarity to the data with from the non-residential ar chitecture in the House 4 zone was expected. There were many conical bowls with highly outlean ing walls, and most of them were well polished. Some conical bowls had unique rim forms with simple incision, but none had unique motifs on the outer surfaces of the ve ssels. Also, all nine jars here did not have any sooting, and some of them were smoothed or polished. Thus, they were less likely to have been utilized in cooking. The fact th at 88% of the vessels here and 94% of the vessels in the deep excavation un it of the non-residential stru cture were serving vessels suggests those places were used for feasti ng activities. No figurines and luxury imported items were recovered from this unit. In addition, no comal sherds were recovered from any feature of the site, indicating that the vessel assemblages of Tayata belong to the pre-500 BC period. In terms of vessel size, 14 out of 91 vesse ls had larger orifices (> 30 cm), and larger vessels composed around 15.4% of th e entire assemblage (Table 6-3). Only one hemispherical bowl out of eight in the asse mblage was large, and there were two large jars. These jars had 44 cm orifices, but the wa ll thickness as well as internal treatment was different. Also, there were three large cylinders and eight large conical bowls in the assemblage. About 20% of the conical bowls were large ones, but no bowl had an orifice larger than 38 cm. T he data suggest that the use of large vessels was limited here.
169 In terms of vessel colors, none of the hemispherical bowls was decorated. Jars were all brown, and most of the serving vessels were gray or yellowish white in the assemblage, but there was no luxury ware such as Delfina Fine Gray. Based on currently available evidence, fine gray bowls and fine yellowish white (similar to Atoyac Yellow-white in the valley of Oaxaca) cylinders were always associated with public places. At the same time, however, light br own conical bowls were utilized as serving vessels. Overall, the data from all vessel as semblages (houses, public architecture, and a primary mound) show that at Santa Cruz Tayata, access to luxury foreign wares from the Valley of Oaxaca and beyon d was relatively limited. Discussion: Social Pro cesses of Differentiation Even though no significant evidence of soci al inequality was recovered from Santa Cruz Tayata, it seems likely that social differentiation increased as houses competed for status and power. The number of excavated dwellings was limited, but it is possible to suggest how social houses tried to different iate themselves by employing strategic actions while at the same time discouragi ng the emergence of centralized authority in this Middle Formative center. I believe t hat feasting was one of the key strategic practices that was part of processes of so cial differentiation, and it is amenable to archaeological analysis. One justification for the arc haeological inference for feasting is that feasting is a popular practice among many societies. However, the difference between normal consumption and feasting is undefined. Eviden ce of feasting is generally inferred archaeologically from ceramic data and food remains. Faunal (e.g., Hockett 1998; Shaw 1999), botanical (e.g., Turkon 2004), and isot opic (e.g., Smalley and Blake 2003) analyses have all been used convincingly to argue for the politic al importance of
170 feasting. Ceramic data have also been used to reveal systems of f easting (e.g., Blitz, 1993; Clark and Blake, 1994; Hendon 2003; Potte r, 2000). However, archaeologists rarely identify individual feasts from hous ehold features, except for midden deposits that represent remains of all types of feas ts and other ritual and mundane activities. At Santa Cruz Tayata, for example, all the feasting activities in the Cruz phase might have been lumped together and treated as a single temporal unit. Over a period of several hundred years, food choice and production, pottery styles, and other elements of feasting could change. Because of that, archaeologist s need to establish rigorous hypotheses to credibly deal with the data from middens. Thus, an archaeological approach to feasting must ad dress how food consumption practices and status would have intersected during specific social transitions, such as the evident increase in social differentiation among Middl e Formative societies in Mesoamerica. The study of feasting is favored by some neo-evolutionists as a means to identify the presence of elites in the archaeologic al record. Archaeologists have typically interpreted the existence of complex, prestate societies using certain trait-based indicators of elite persons (e.g., Cr eamer and Haas 1985; Peebles and Kus 1977; Renfrew 1973). In the neo-evolut ionary framework feasting is viewed as a political tool to control society and demonstrate the power of generosity of a lim ited elite group. However, archaeological evidence from Tayata and other centers indicates that feasting occurred in the absence of archaeologic ally identifiable c entralized authority. Considering the burial and house hold data from Tayata, my hypothesis is that housebased corporate agents utilized feasting strat egically for integrative purposes to discourage emergent hierarchy within the community.
171 In the Valley of Oaxaca and the Mixteca Alta, an increase in the number and size of flat-base bowls during t he Middle Formative period has been reported (Blomster 1998, 2004; Drennan 1976; Flannery and Marcus 1983, 1994). This evidence may suggest changes in foodways, increases in household si ze, increases in household wealth, or an increase in competitive f easting. Mills (1989:137) obser ved that patterns of food consumption, particularly feas ting, including preparation and serving techniques as well as social context, had a great impact on serv ing vessel size and shape in the prehistoric northern Southwest. Spielmann (2002:198) also explained th at feasting generally creates demands for larger cooking and more elaborate serving vessels. Serving vessels from House 4 at Tayata clearly s how these trends, and indicate that house members strategically decided to not onl y increase the number and size of serving vessels, but also to modify their shape. Feasting is a basic element in the constr uction and maintenance of social relations of power and inequality (Blitz 1993; Dietl er 1996; Hayden 1996). Dietler (2001:67) defined a feast as Â“a form of public rit ual activity centered around the communal consumption of food and drink.Â” One important point is that by their nature, feasts create reciprocal obligations bet ween host and guest through the gifting of food and drink as well as items other than good (Lau 2002). Such reciprocity does not necessarily put people on an equal status, but it may se rve to reinforce a rigid strati cation (Keating 2000). In many cases, feasts provide opportuni ties for sponsors to enhance their status, often accomplishing this through the displa y of goods, including important artifacts (Wiessner 2001) and through gift-giving (Cla rk and Blake 1994; Dietler 1996; Perodie 2001). This type of feast empowers hosts, and the purpose of feasting is to acquire or
172 create socioeconomic, sociopolitic al, and/or religious power. House practices of this kind may be seen in Formative societies where the reciprocal nature of feasting started to become a political tool to lead others into social debt. If social houses in Santa Cruz Tayata were attempting to main tain some social equality, certain mechanisms would have b een employed to prevent the emergence of social hierarchy because houses are fundament ally competitive fo r status and power (Gillespie 2000b:8). Even though the nature of feasting is political and thus maintaining feasting practice as a leveling mechanism requi res great effort and patience, feasting in House 4 may have served to strengthen relations of house members and allied houses. What is significant is that commensal consum ption and distribution of foods and drink is a practice which serves to establish and re produce social relations (Dietler 2001:85). Feasts become the mechanisms of social solidar ity that serve to establish the sense of community. Although future excavations ma y uncover other houses at Tayata with evidence of feasting, current data suggest that only House 4 hosted feasts. This indicates that House 4 may have been more power ful in certain social interactions than the other archaeological evidence suggests. Feasting also naturalizes and objectifies in equality in social relations. When one social house continuously hosts feasti ng, others symbolically acknowledge their acceptance of subordinate status (Die tler 2001:72). Eventually, the host who continuously shows hospitality and generosity ma y occupy a particular elevated status position. This system does not require guests to pay the social debt, but it defines the power relationship between hosts and guests (Dietler 1996, 2001; Wiessner 2001).
173 Feasting is a political tool for corporat e groups like houses to establish social relations with other houses. Under the system of patron-guest feasts, high-status houses could use feasts to strengthen their status and power. However, archaeological evidence shows that House 4 was not ec onomically dominant an d did not monopolize resources within the site. Another function of feasting is to create social debts to maintain equitable social relations, and the system potentially becomes a mechanism for preventing or discouraging emergent hierar chy in a small-scale society like Santa Cruz Tayata. As I noted above, future excavations may uncover more houses with evidence of feasting, but at this time I w ould argue that House 4 strategically employed feasting practices to discourage or prevent the concentration of power, while using shell-ornament production and other practices to compete for status and power. In other words, House 4 achieved higher status throu gh combined strategies, while discouraging the emergence of dominant authority. Ev en though Santa Cruz Tayata eventually declined at the beginning of the Late Formative period, centralizati on of political power may not have played a significant role in the processes of social differentiation at this community. Summary I began this chapter introducing characterist ics of Formative pottery in the Valley of Oaxaca while discussing issues of the analyt ical utility of similarities in pottery sequences of the Valley of Oa xaca and the Mixteca Alta. I then discussed the methods and procedures of my l aboratory analysis, while putting emphasis on a technofunctional study of the pottery samples. Finally, I described household features and explained the results of the laboratory analysi s to indicate consumption practices, especially feasting. Food consumption is one of the primary practi ces of any household,
174 and the techno-functional analysis of pottery revealed possible feasting activities at one of the Tayata households. The evidence of higher frequencies of dog remains and fish bones in the middens of House 4 (Duncan et al. 2008:5315) also support the likelihood of feasting practices at this house. Hous e-based feasting could have played a role in maintaining social relations of house mem bers and allied houses. Or feasts could even provide public opportunities for host houses to enhance their status vis--vis their neighbors (Clark and Blake 1994; Dietler 1996; Perodie 2001; Wiessner 2001). In the next chapter I present different types of archaeological evidence indicating house practices which may have encouraged or discouraged emergent hierarchy in Formative Mesoamerica. The data from Chalcatzingo and San Jos Mogote demonstrate decentralizing processes of soci al change, and multiple hierarchies or heterarchical structures played significant ro les in maintaining the social balance in these societies without centra lized authority during the Mi ddle Formative period. The ultimate purpose of the next chapter is to provide examples of house practices comparable to those interpreted from the dat a from Santa Cruz Tayata and to analyze differences and similarities of the proc esses of social change among contemporary regional societies, all of which are considered Â“chi efdomsÂ” in neo-evolutionary perspectives.
175 Table 6-1. Vessel forms: house and non-hous e features at Santa Cruz Tayata Provenience Jars, bottles tecomates, charcoal hemispherical bowls cylinders conical bowls Unidentified (too small) MNV # % # % # % # % # % # % House 4 features Pit feature 1: Midden 1 N4306 E4486, 4488 25 9.2 1 0.4 29 10.6 83 30.4 86 31.5 49 17.9 273 Pit feature 2: Midden 2 N4306 E4490 27 14.8 0 0 12 6.6 34 18.7 84 46.2 25 13.7 182 Pit feature 3: Burial 2 zone N4302 E4484 15 12.9 2(1+1) 1.7 6 5.2 18 15.5 36 31 39 33.7 116 Burial 1 zone: N4302 E4488,4490 11 11.2 2(1+1) 2 7 7 16 16.2 40 40.4 23 23.2 99 Excavation 2 House 2 zone 26 13.1 3(1+2) 1.5 19 9.5 19 9.5 49 24.7 83 41.7 199 Total 104 12 8 1 73 8.4 170 19.6295 33.921925.1869 Non-house features Non-residential structure: N4302 E4466 3 5.1 0 0 2 3.4 7 11.9 34 57.6 13 22 59 Structure 1: N4326 E4358 9 9.9 0 0 8 8.8 18 19.8 39 42.9 17 18.7 91 Total 12 8 0 0 10 6.7 25 16.773 48.630 20 150
176 Table 6-2. Restricted and unrestricted vessels at house and non-house features Provenience Restricted Unrestricted Total House 4 features # % # % # N4306 E4486 26 12 19888 224 Feature 1 Midden 1 N4306 E4490 27 17 13083 157 Feature 2 Midden 2 N4302 E4484 17 22 6078 77 Feature 3 Burial 2 zone N4302 E4488 13 17 6383 76 Burial 1 zone Excavation 2 29 26 8774 117 House 2 zone Total 112 17 53883 650 Non-house features N4302 E4466 3 6 4394 46 Non-residential architecture N4326 E4358 9 12 6588 74 Structure 1 Total 12 10 10890 120
177 Table 6-3. Distribution of large vessels at house and non-house features (30cm or larger orifice) Provenience # Vessel forms, characteristics House 4 features N4306 E4486 37(MNV:273) 15 cyl, 15 hemi, 7 conical Midden 1 13.6% Max: 38cm (bowl) N4306 E4490 19(MNV:182) 5 cyl, 4 hemi, 10 conical Midden 2 10.4% Max: 34cm (2 bowls) N4302 E4484 18(MNV:116) 3 cyl, 2 hemi, 11 conical, 1 jar Burial 2 zone 15.5% Max: 44cm (jar) N4302 E4488 13(MNV:99) 3 cyl, 2 hemi, 4 conical, 4 jar Burial 1 zone 13.1% Max: 42-44cm (3 jars) Excavation 2 9(MNV:199) 1 cyl, 4 hemi, 3 conical House 2 zone 4.5% Max: 38-40cm (3 bowls) Total N/A Non-house features N4302 E4466 10(MNV:59) 2 cyl, 8 conical Non-residential architecture 16.9% Max: 32cm (conical bowl) N4326 E4358 14(MNV:91) 3 cyl, 1hemi, 8 conical, 2 jars Structure 1 15.4% Max: 44cm (2 jars) Total N/A
178 Figure 6-1. Forms of Cruz phase vessels reco vered at midden features of House 4. The first three restricted vessels are: A. a jar, B. a tecomate, C. a jar. The remaining four unrestricted vessels are: D. a basin, E. a conical bowl, F. a cylindrical bowl, G. a hemispherical bowl. A B C D E F G
179 Figure 6-2. Examples of serving vessels recovered at the midden of House 4 (N4306 E4486). A. a hemispherical bowl (tan, diameter: 30cm), B. a cylindrical bowl (white, diameter: 26cm), C. a conica l bowl (gray, diameter: 22cm), D. a conical bowl (gray, diameter: 20cm). A B C D 22cm 20cm 30cm 26cm
180 Figure 6-3. Examples of serving vessels re covered at the midden/storage pit of House 4 (N4306 E4490). A. a hemispheric al bowl (reddish brown, diameter: 34cm), B. a cylindrical bowl (white/gray, diamet er: 20cm), C. a conical bowl (white, diameter: 30cm). A BC 34cm 20cm 30cm
181 Figure 6-4. Examples of serving vessels re covered from the Burial 2 zone of House 4 (N4302 E4484). A. a conical bowl (tan, diameter: 22cm), B. a conical bowl (gray, diameter: 31cm). A B 22cm 31cm
182 Figure 6-5. Examples of serving vessels re covered from the Burial 1 zone of House 4 (N4302 E4488). A. a conical bowl (gray, diameter: 23cm), B. a conical bowl (gray, diameter: 17cm), C. a cylindr ical bowl (white, diameter: 12cm). A BC 23cm 17cm 12cm
183 Figure 6-6. Examples of serving vessels reco vered from the non-resi dential architecture excavation unit in Area A (N4302 E4466). A. a conical bowl (gray, diameter: 32cm), B. a conical bowl (light gray, di ameter: 30cm), C. a conical bowl (gray, diameter: 29cm). A BC 32cm 30cm 29cm
184 CHAPTER 7 HOUSE PRACTICES IN FORMATIVE MESOAMERICA As discussed in Chapter 1, the regional fo cus in my study is the Central Highlands of Mexico, the Valley of Oaxaca, and the Mi xteca Alta in the Middle Formative period. Chalcatzingo in the Central Highlands of Me xico and San Jos Mogote in the Valley of Oaxaca were chosen because they offer well-documented archaeological contexts contemporaneous with Santa Cruz Tayata. All of those center s participated in interregional interaction networks and thus shared pan-Mesoamerican ideas, items, and motifs (e.g., Coe and Diehl 1980; Clark 1991; Flannery and Marcus 1994; Grove 1987). Also, archaeological evidence from those si tes indicates the presence of social differentiation within the community, and exca vation of residential structures there provides valuable sets of data that enable an alyses of strategic practices of corporate agents. All societies examined in this study would be classi fied as Â“intermediateÂ” by Feinman and Neitzel (1984), and neo-evolutionary theorists look for evolutionary structuring principles that can be used to compare societies at the same progressive stage or between different stages of an evol utionary typology (Blanton et al. 1996; Renfrew 1974; Sahlins 1963; Spencer 1993). However, the data from these Middle Formative centers cast doubt on neo-evoluti onary categorization of chiefdoms, and support the proposals that societies change in non-evolutionary processes and that differentiation occurs without centralization. This chapter introduces multiple data sets such as settlement patterns, mortuary practices, and dwelling location and size, to establish a foundation for comparing variable processes of social change, while al so considering how the data sets do not fit the neo-evolutionary model of chiefdoms. In the first part of this chapter, I present a
185 summary of settlement pattern studies at Chalcatzingo and San Jos Mogote during the Formative period, with special emphasis on the Middle Formative period. The description of those early settlement patte rns enables us to understand circumstances of the local socio-political environment. Then, I discuss dat a from each site to analyze corporate practices, and to rev eal the utilization of different strategies for competition and social integration. I focus on dwellin g location, burial tr eatments, and monument building in Chalcatzingo, while investigat ing burial treatments and characteristics of residential architecture in San Jos Mogot e. I also discuss evidence of corporate practices in some smaller sites in the Valley of Oaxaca to compare them with San Jos Mogote. Finally, I conclude with a discussion about how unique corporate practices at those regional centers contributed to the emergence of variable processes of social differentiation during the Mi ddle Formative period. Formative Period Settlement Patterns Neo-evolutionary archaeologists generally study the degree of po litical inequality by identifying multi-tiered settlement syst ems (Creamer and Haas 1985:742; Earle 1991:3; Feinman and Neitzel 1984:76; Hayden 1995:63; Spencer 1982:5). This perspective posits that farme rs are expected to be evenly spaced across the landscape in an egalitarian type system, fo rming a single-tiered settlem ent. In the definition of chiefdoms, a two-tiered settlement pattern is expected within a regi on, with a larger and functionally diverse regional c enter controlling the multi-site polity (Carneiro 1981; Earle 1978; Wright 1977). Differences among the same-tiered systems are not expected within this framework. A gener al problem of settlement pattern analysis is the use of surface surveys to identify site-tiers. Some deeply buried sites may not be recovered, and the distribution of surface sherds at identified sites does not always represent the
186 extent of those sites. In Chapter 4 I discu ssed settlement patterns in the Mixteca Alta. Here the Formative settlements at Chalca tzingo and San Jos Mogote are discussed to examine differences in the settlement c haracteristics of those regional centers. Chalcatzingo Long-term archaeological projects at Chalca tzingo revealed that this center was influential in the region from the Early Fo rmative period (Amate phase), and grew to become a powerful political and re ligious center in the highl ands of Mexico by the late Middle Formative Cantera phase (Grove 198 7a:440). However, some aspects of the Chalcatzingo settlement do not fit the tax onomic category of an intermediate stage of chiefdoms. Chalcatzingo during the early Middle Fo rmative Barranca phase is contemporary with San Jos Mogote during the San Jos and Guadalupe phases (Table 1-1). During the Early Barranca phase, the inhabitants of Chalcatzingo transformed the natural hill slopes to a series of terraces covering 10 hect ares of level fields (Prindiville and Grove 1987:79). Even though the terracing activities required organized labor and a significant amount of time, no evidence of centra lized authority has been recovered in the Barranca phase, except for some burials exhibi ting higher ranks in the society (Merry de Morales 1987b:96). Moreover, there is evidence that the settlement was dispersed, with only one residence per terrace. The dispers ed settlement form was maintained through the following Cantera phase (G rove 1987b:421). Despite its st atus as a major regional center in the central highlands of Me xico, the population of the village has been estimated at less than 325 people (Prindi ville and Grove 1987:79). The size of Chalcatzingo during the Barranca phase wa s 13 hectares, making it the largest
187 settlement in the Amatzinac Valley. Chalcatz ingo was positioned at the top of the valley site hierarchy (Prindiville and Grove 1987:79). Chalcatzingo grew to about 40 hectares during the following Cantera phase. Residents erected stone carvings, stylisticall y similar to monuments at the Olmec site of La Venta on the Gulf Coast (Gro ve 1989), indicating the creati on of ties with that distant center (Grove 1987a:435). In spit e of the growth in site si ze, the population of the core area was still only about 400 people (Prindi ville and Grove 1987:80). Even though archaeological evidence indicates that Chal catzingo exercised power over surrounding polities (Grove 1987b:421), the population size does not fit the characteristic of chiefdoms. San Jos Mogote During the Tierras Largas phase in the Va lley of Oaxaca (Table 1-1), San Jos Mogote was a small center, covering less t han 10 hectares. However, in the following San Jos phase, the village developed signif icantly in size and in socio-political influence over other settlements in the Va lley of Oaxaca. When San Jos Mogote reached 70 hectares in size during the San Jo s phase, It was ten times larger than any other sites in the valley (Kowalewski et al. 1989:66). This large cent er persisted into the Guadalupe phase (Table 1-1) (Flannery 1976). The growth of San Jos Mogote during the San Jos phase was rapid and extreme, and neo-evolutionary explanations of gradual and progressive expansion of this large village do not match these data. Because the center was composed of the main village and numerous outlying barrios, there is no general agreement on the actual size of San Jos Mogote (Marcus and Flannery 1996:106). Howe ver, the overall population of San Jos Mogot e was probably around 1000 if mo st outlying barrios are
188 included in the estimate (Kowalewski et al. 1989; Marcus and Flannery 1996). The possibility that an estimated population of 2000 lived within the more than 40 other communities in the Valley of Oaxaca duri ng the San Jos phase (Kowalewski et al. 1989) would mean that half of the population of the valley lived at San Jos Mogote. Most villages in the valley had populations of 100 persons or fewer at that time (Kowalewski et al. 1989). Twelve to fourteen satellite villages were located within 8 km of San Jos Mogote, even though there were unoccupied farmlands else where in the valley (Kowalewski et al. 1989; Marcus and Flannery 1996). That settlem ent pattern suggests that those satellite villages received economic and sociopolitic al benefits by being close to San Jos Mogote. Obsidian data from the San Jos phase, for example, provides some evidence of close ties between certain wards at S an Jos Mogote and certain villages in the valley. For example, the ward called Â“Ar ea CÂ” at San Jos Mogote had quite similar obsidian source percentages as did the va lley villages of Abasolo and Tomaltepec (Marcus 1989:175-187). Marcus has also point ed out that Area C was likewise linked to Tomaltepec and Abasolo by way of the pan-Me soamerican Â“fire-serpentÂ” imagery on their ceramics. In contrast, San Jos Mogot eÂ’s Area B is linked to Huitzo and Tierras Largas with Â“were-jaguarÂ” imagery on their ceramics (Marcus 1989). Even though such portable objects do not provide definite proof of any alliances or associations, the evidence nonetheless indicates frequent intera ctions between San Jos Mogote and its surrounding villages. Traces of Corporate Pr actices at Chalcatzingo As discussed earlier, only one resident ial structure was situated on any Chalcatzingo terrace (except for Terrace 1), creating a di spersed settlement pattern
189 during the Barranca and Cantera phases (P rindiville and Grove 1987:79). Over generations, the residential stru ctures on those terraces were intentionally burned at intervals, and then rebuilt in the same locati on (Grove and Gillespie 2002:17; Prindiville and Grove 1987:74). This practice has been interpreted as the development of hereditary rights to property (Prindiville and Grove 1987:80), both to the dwellings as well as to the terrace (Gillespie 2011:100). As Grove and Gillespie (2002:17) discuss, residential structures had a lif e-cycle with ritual moments of birth and death, and the cycle can be duplicated in the inhabitantsÂ’ life-cycles (e.g., Chapman 1994; Gillespie 2000d: Mock 1998). Monumental architecture at Chalcatzingo indicates competition among elite groups. Many high-status subfloor burials in Plaz a Central Structure 1 indicate that this residence belonged to a high-status group (Prindiville and Grove 1987:79). In neoevolutionary theories, this chiefly group would have bee n a dominant force of the society and have controlled all resources. However, there is evidence for multuiple highstatus groups at the site. For example, excavations on Terrace 25 recovered a number of high-status burials in a large sunken stone-walled patio that contained a large rectangular stone altar-throne. Nearby, on th e same terrace, was a stone-faced platform with an associated carved stone stela (Fas h 1987). Moreover, other Cantera phase stone-faced platforms are known at the site on different terraces. Even though it is difficult to determine if those platforms were substructures for high-status houses (Prindiville and Grove 1987:64), stelae with carved images of standing personages were associated with some of those platforms. Taken together these data indicate that
190 multiple high-status groups competed fo r supremacy during the Cantera phase (Gillespie 2011). Mortuary practices of high-status houses at Chalcatzingo provide further details about the presence of multiple hierarchies at that center However, before discussing mortuary practices at Chalcatzingo, I sha ll comment on some characteristics of residential burials which are common to many Mesoamerican households. First, residential burial is the form of burying the dead in the immediate spaces of the living, specifically under house floors in most ca ses (Gillespie 2011:98). Living in the same space with the dead creates a continual in teraction with the dead, who are usually viewed as ancestors who share identities, statuses, and property rights with the living (Gillespie 2011:99). Residential burials generally suggest property cl aims to the land where the residences are situated, and the physical presence of the dead as shareholders strengthens the structural relati onship with the property (Gillespie 2000b). Also, sequential burials in the same locati on of the residential structure signify Â“the strategic linking of identities of the living inhabitants to the deceased over timeÂ” (Gillespie 2011:100). Another important characteri stic of residential burial is the closed nature of mortuary space in co mparison with burials in cemeteries or public structures. Joyce (1999:41), in her analysis of Formative burials in Mesoamerica, argued that residential burials reveal personal identities that emerge and are played out within the house as a social arena, while group ident ities are manifested by burials within nonresidential structures, mainly platform mounds (Gillespie 2011:99). Thirty-eight burials were recovered beneat h the floors of ChalcatzingoÂ’s largest residential structure, Plaza C entral Structure 1. That quantity helps indicate that the
191 residence had been occupied over generations. Buri als from PC Str. 1 show variable social status from low to high, with the highes t status exhibited by individuals with jade objects in stone crypts. (Merry de Morales 1987b:98). However, all of these subfloor burials date to the Late Cantera subphase and we re recovered from under the floor of a Late Cantera phase structure t hat had been rebuilt over the re mains of earlier structures. Despite the great longevity of the residential location, t he PC Str. 1 burials were apparently deposited within a short period (Merry de Mora les 1987b:101). This evidence suggests that these burials do not represent a high number of generat ions of inhabitants nor the members of a singl e household (Gillespie 2011:102). Terrace 25, with its sunken patio and stone altar-throne, shows a long use of the location for burying higher-status individual s. In the Middle Barranca subphase, a residential structure had been bu ilt on this terrace and several burials on Terrace 25 may have been associated with the structure (Fash 1987:86). Later, in the Cantera phase, a table-top altar-throne of multiple cut stone blocks was erected on and above the remains of the Barranca phase house, re flecting an association of the altar-throne with that past house and those already buried in that location (Gillespie 2009:12). The structural setting of the Terrace 25 burials had been changed from resi dential to ritual or ceremonial with the erection of the sunk en patio (symbolically a portal to the underworld; Gillespie 2009). These acts reveal the significance of the continuity of connections with ancestors between the Barranc a and Cantera phases (Gillespie 2011). The inclusion in graves of exotic it ems such as jade beads and other greenstone ornaments is taken as a clear indication of w ealth, prestige, and status for the survivors who bury the dead (e.g., Flannery 1968). Even though PC Str. 1 has been recognized
192 as an elite residential structure, few indi cations of economic w ealth other than jade items were found by its excavators. It has been suggested that jade items cannot always be treated as definite markers of high-status groups (Merry de Morales 1987b:99). For example, jade beads were di fferent from other greenstone items because they were often recovered in or near the mouth of the deceased (Merry de Morales 1987b). The two Â“richestÂ” burials recovered at t he site were Burials 39 and 40, found atop a large earthen platform, PC Str. 4. These are the only two Cantera phase burials recovered at Chalcatzingo that had been weari ng the jade as jewelry at the time of burial (Merry de Morales 1987b:98). The two i ndividuals wore more jade than was found in all other of the siteÂ’s burials co mbined (Merry de Morales 1987b:98). Gillespie (2011:115) interpreted these two individuals as Â“h istorically distinct individualsÂ” who can be distinguished from the other deceased persons among the PC Str. 1 burials. According to Gillespie (2011:115), identities of these two individuals were signified Â“in their inalienable association with specific, likely named, intact it ems of house property that remained on their bodies in death rather than broken up and retained by survivors.Â” The data suggest those two individuals were Â“memorialized within a much wider social field than simply that of their own house (and allied houses)Â” (Gillespie 2011:115). The mortuary practice of increasing display capabi lities, by burying them atop the PC Str. 4 mound, suggests the increasing awareness of constructing public images (Gillespie 2011:115). Connections or interactions between Chalcatzingo and the Olmec have been investigated (e.g., Grove 1989, 1997), and so me shared patterns have been recognized
193 in certain burials. For example, Gillespie (2 011) notes that La Venta burials and the Chalcatzingo Burials 39 and 40 share the practi ce of wearing jade jewelry (earspools, bead belts), and the use of red pigment on or over the grave furn iture (Drucker 1952; Drucker et al. 1959). Merry de Morales (1987b:103) points out other similarities between La Venta interments and subfloor burials of PC Str. 1. Mor eover, Chalcatzingo Burial 33 included a small stone anthropomor phic figurine in the Â“La Venta Olmec styleÂ”, as well as a jade awl (Gillespie 2011:116). This evi dence seems to indicate that La Venta and Chalcatzingo referenced each other for mortuary practices, even though it is difficult to determine which siteÂ’s high-status groups were responsible for initiating this chain of repeated practices (Gillespie 2011). The links between La Venta and Chalcatzingo al so occur in the monumental art at both sites, often in the form of certain ic onographic symbols that o ccur only at these two sites (Grove 1989:134). At the same time, Chalcatzingo independe ntly developed a set of its own motifs, and those do not co-occur at Olmec centers on the Gulf Coast (Grove 2000). Corporate Practices in San Jos Mogote Considering first burial diversity, in t he Valley of Oaxaca, t he Tierras Largas phase burial record exhibits a limited amount of diversity, but diversity appears to increase during the San Jos phase (Winter 1972). Fr om the Middle Formative Guadalupe phase burial data, there is a hint t hat two distinct levels of so cial status, encoded in mortuary ritual, may have emerged (Flannery 1976; Marcus and Flannery 1996; Winter 1972). Even though the mortuary practices dur ing the Guadalupe phase begin to show rankings in burial treatments, available data do not indicate su ch distinctive diversity of burial treatments during the pr evious San Jos phase (Flannery 1976; Winter 1972).
194 As for social ranking as discerned from burials, no Tierras Largas phase burials in the Valley of Oaxaca have so far provided the evidence of high-status groups (Winter 1972). Of the San Jos phase burials, five interments at Tomalt epec and four at San Jos Mogote showed some degree of high st atus, and one of the San Jos phase burials (Burial 11) was a male from Toma ltepec in a seated position with two ceramic vessels and a greenstone celt at his feet, another vessel at his head, 15 greenstone beads near his neck, and one in his mout h (Whalen 1981:147). Fr om the Guadalupe phase, two female burials indicated an affiliation with high-status groups, and Burial 68 at Tomaltepec had a ceramic vessel at her head, a chert point at her chest, and a greenstone bead in her mouth and one at her chest (Whalen 1981:152). The most remarkable burial came from Fabrica San Jos (Burial 39), where a female was buried with a vessel at her feet, two at her chest, and one at her head, as well as 47 round and six tubular greenstone beads. In terms of recovered items from burials and other feat ures of households, many exotic items that circulated in San Jos phase society were not controlled by dominant high-status groups (Marcus and Flannery 1996). Even though the evidence that thousands of Gulf Coast mussels, Pacific Coast pearl and spiny oysters, and Pacific Coast estuary snails reached San Jos Mogote indicates competition among houses, some mechanisms prevented the concentration of those exotic items in specific houses. Marcus and Flannery (1996) believe that some of these exotic items may have been considered sumptuary goods and others may have been used as trade goods by being converted into ornaments.
195 Oaxacan archaeologists consider that ev idence for rank from burials and other features is ambiguous before t he Rosario phase, immediately prior to the foundation of Monte Albn in the Valley of Oaxaca (F lannery and Marcus 1983; Marcus and Flannery 1996). However, it is possible to argue that corporate groups of San Jos Mogote and surrounding small settlements did not use mortuary practices for expressing social differentiation, even though differentiation gr ew as houses competed for status and power during the Early and Middle Formative periods. According to the evidence from burials, the increase in the number and quality of grave items occurred in the Valley of Oaxaca from the Guadalupe pha se (Table 1-1). However, in the interpretations of Marcus and Flannery (1996:93), po litical inequality emerged in the Valley of Oaxaca during the San Jos phase. This means that changes in mortuary practices of exhibiting wealth did not contribute to the emergence and early development of social hierarchy in the Valley of Oaxaca. The earliest well-documented non-residential architecture, dating to the Tierras Largas phase, was found at San Jos Mogote. It is comprised of three successive rebuildings of a rectangular one-room building. The most complete construction was the final rebuilding (Structure 6), which is a 5.3 x 4.3 m, whit ewashed structure on a platform 8 x 8 m wide, and 40 cm hi gh (Flannery and Marcus 1994:128-129). Archaeological evidence of households from the Tierras Largas phase is poor, and only one residential structure, whitewashed and raised on a small platform, has been recovered (Flannery and Marcus 1994). During the San Jos phase Marcus and Flannery (1996:103) interpret a change in status of San Jos Mogote households from elit e to non-elite. The sizes of House 2 in
196 Area C and House 13 in Area A, for example, were almost the same during that phase, but House 2 was whitewashed and contain ed a higher frequency of animal bones and exotic artifacts than House 13. Moreover, House 16-17 in Area B was whitewashed and contained similar artifacts to House 2, but with higher quantities of jade (Marcus and Flannery 1996). Overall the evidence indicates that the size or form of architecture does not reflect the wealth of indi vidual houses, but that the econom ic status of inhabitants of whitewashed houses was likely higher withi n the community. Spencer (1993) argued that this situation of social diversity coul d have generated internal sources of political authority. What appears to be cor porate practices of controlling the display of status and power could indicate some sort of leveli ng mechanism. Thus the notable implication is that corporate groups in each ward of S an Jos Mogote tried not to distinguish themselves from others for t he sake of maintaining balance within the community. The fact that architecture size and form do not reflect socio-economic status and power shows a lack of fit between these data and t he taxonomic category of chiefdoms as usually understood. The small settlement of Fabrica San Jo s provides comparable data of higher status households during the succeeding G uadalupe phase. The hi gher status of one house was inferred from Burial 39, a female individual buried with a significant number of exotic items (Drennan and Flannery 1983:67), as noted above. Marcus and Flannery (1996:113-115) suggested that s he might be an elite member of this center because she could have been sent from San Jos M ogote. Another example of higher status households comes from the site of Huit zo, where three Guadal upe-phase households have been interpreted as high-status residences due to their proximit y to non-residential
197 architecture (e.g., Flannery and Marcus 1983:62) As at San Jos Mogote, the size and form of residential architecture did not indica te any socio-economic or political status. However, the significant point is that the primary evidence of higher status households at San Jos Mogote, such as different proportions of arti fact types, did not play any roles in indicating elevated status at Huitzo. In addition, the site of Tomaltepec in the Tlacolula arm of the Valley of Oaxaca had highand low-status houses ever since the beginning of the San Jos phase. Structure 11 and House 4 shared domestic refuse and stor age pits, but show clear differences in architecture size and accumulation of exotic items. While Structure 11 was 4 x 8 m and raised 1 m on a platform, House 4 was 4.9 x 2.2 m in size (W halen 1981:43-45). In addition to size differences, Structure 11 contained higher frequencies of mica, nonlocal chert, shell ornaments, and obsidia n (Whalen 1981:60). The unique aspect of the evidence is that Structure 11 and House 4 manife st the only residential diversity of size and form documented from the Early or Midd le Formative in the Valley of Oaxaca, and the location of the site wa s not at the heart of political power, namely at San Jos Mogote (Whalen 1981). In the Valley of Oaxaca, hierarchy was not emphasized by residential differences and households were relatively similar in si ze and form. Social status and power were not displayed by elevating elite residences above those of t heir neighbors. Instead, differences in the quantity and quality of exotic items were hidden by houses to maintain social relations with others. Throughout t he entire Early and Middle Formative periods, all residences were small, and thus Flanner y and Marcus (1983:60) observed that Â“even
198 the most elaborate Rosario phase residences so far discovered could have been built by the members of one family.Â” In terms of interaction, some neo-ev olutionary archaeologi sts believe that interaction played major roles in the emergence of instituted hierarch y. However, in the Valley of Oaxaca, corporate groups in neigh boring valleys lived within relatively short distances of each other. Thus, extra-valle y contact could have been frequent, even prior to the San Jos phase (Marcus and Flannery 1996:52). Therefore, t here is a possibility that different types of interaction may hav e been well developed before social hierarchy emerged. Even in their relationships with the Olmecs, corporate groups in the Valley of Oaxaca might have incorporated Olmec-ty pe imagery as one among numerous foreign sources of prestige item s (Marcus 1989; Marcus and Flannery 1996:119-120). Discussion: Social Pro cesses of Differentiation I have discussed the variety of corpor ate practices to describe how houses uniquely competed with other houses and at the same ti me managed relations with one another for maintaining social equilibrium in the community during the Middle Formative period. Even though I investigated different aspects and datasets of corporate practices in Chalcatzingo and San Jos Mogote, a com parison of practices and social processes provides us with ideas about how archaeological manifestations of so cial differentiation emerged out of variable strategic practice s undertaken by a network of interacting houses within changing material and historical conditions. I argue that the presence of multiple hier archies maintained some social balance at Chalcatzingo and discour aged the emergence of dominant authority during the Middle Formative period. The neo-evolutiona ry interpretation t hat a single chiefly lineage emerged at Chalcatzin go associated with Terrace 1, transforming society and
199 increasing the inequality gap (e.g., Evans 200 4), does not fit the Chalcatzingo evidence. My thesis examines how multiple high-status corpor ate groups emerged and differentiated themselves from others by em ploying strategic social actions throughout history. Social differentiation at Chalcatzingo grew as houses competed for owning and enlarging property. Some groups successfully promoted status and power by managing estates, acquiring and contro lling resources, building monum ents for displaying group identity and status, and engaging in unique mortuary practices, while others were possibly incorporated into more powerful houses. As discussed, each terrace was occupied by a single residence (Prindiville a nd Grove 1987), interpreted as associated with a specific social house, and preserving t hat housÂ’s estate in the same location for multiple generations legitimated the soci al status of the house as it developed hereditary property rights to land and reside ntial structure (e.g ., Gillespie 2007). Successful houses increase the number of h ouse members through different types of alliances, and they enlarge properties by in corporating other estates and acquiring exotic items and foreign ideas through interr egional networks (e.g., Gillespie 2000b). As seen among the burials at Chalcatzin go, mortuary practices are varied, and houses utilized different strategies to ma ke connections with ancestors. Residential burials at Chalcatzingo contain remains with heirloomed costum e ornaments and other valuable items that signify ancestors (Gille spie 2011). Mortuary practices create vertical relations between the living and the dead, and the house becomes perpetuated in part through these means (Gillespie 2007:36). Bu rials and monuments at Chalcatzingo also show strong connections with houses in different regions, such as the Gulf Coast Olmec.
200 Incorporation and display of foreign it ems, images, and ideas creates a bond beyond the community, and houses can collectively main tain social balance for discouraging the emergence of centralized groups by creati ng alliances with powerful societies in different regions. San Jos Mogote and smaller centers in the Valley of Oaxaca also show evidence that multiple hierarchies ra ther than centralized authority played significant roles in societal development. Even though social diffe rentiation increased during the San Jos phase (Marcus and Flannery 1996:93), corporate groups at San Jos Mogote tried to hide disparities in socio-economic status, and maintained social balance by carefully choosing actions to discourage the emergence of a centralized hierarchical structure. I discussed the alliance strategy of San Jo s Mogote houses and addressed the issue of why this center did not have much opposition within and beyond communities throughout the Middle Formative period. Neo-evolutionary theory assume s that the elites accumulate wealth and display status and power by elaborating resi dences and burials and building mounds and monuments. The residential structure is a constant reminder on the landscape of the differences between those who live in larger well-constructed residences and those who do not (e.g., Spencer and Redmond 2004). Howe ver, at San Jos Mogote the size and form of the residential structures did not develop to di splay status and power. Rather, houses in different wards of the site tried not to construct distinctive house features, possibly to avoid conflict and maintain st ability. Only when we see the quantity and quality of valuable artifacts within the structure can we i dentify probable variations in socio-economic status.
201 I further argued that creating external al liances among houses played a significant role in maintaining social relations withi n the San Jos Mogote community and smaller centers in the Valley of Oaxaca. The Tierras Largas phase residential structure recovered in Area C of the site was rebuilt at least three times (Flannery and Marcus 1994). Thus, the social house associated with t hat structure claimed the longevity of status by occupying the same space for generations. Houses in Area A and B competed with ones in Area C, and corporate groups in each ward created alliances with neighboring smaller societies in the Valley of Oaxaca. The evidence of different alliances is reflected in shared images on ceramic vessels and in similar obsidian distribution patterns between the wards of S an Jos Mogote and outly ing allied villages (Flannery and Marcus 1994; Marcus 1989; Marcus and Flannery 1996). San Jos Mogote did not face competiti on originating from within the valley for centuries and functioned at the top of the polit ical organization. Houses in each ward competed for status and power a nd took strategic actions to differentiate themselves by allying with smaller communities. It is possibl e to argue that those house practices could eventually have become an integrative mechanism for organizing societies in the valley (suggested by Feinman 1995:268), and houses at San Jos Mogote tried to maintain the balance within the site by restricting di splays of status and power. The size and form of houses in Area A (House 13), B (House 16 & 17), and C (House 2) were almost the same. Minor differentiation during the San Jos phase, such as whitewashed house walls (Marcus and Flannery 1996), suggests that multiple hierarchies within the site facilitated social stability.
202 Summary I began this chapter discussing settlement patterns at Chalcatzingo and San Jos Mogote, while analyzing whether the evidence fits the ideal chiefdom categorization. Then I considered details about corporat e practices focusing on houses (not households) while discussing dwelling locati ons and mortuary treatments over time at Chalcatzingo. I then discussed the size and fo rm of residential architecture as well as mortuary treatment at San Jos Mogote and surrounding small sites to analyze and interpret house-based corporate strategies within and beyond the community. Finally, I summarized the data from t hese two regional centers co ntemporaneous to Santa Cruz Tayata, and concluded with the discussion about how the diversity of their corporate practices contributed to the emergence and dev elopment of social differentiation. The data set suggests that no centralized au thority in these two regional centers monopolized control over the community and its hinterland during the Middle Formative period, and that outcomes of various cor porate practices show instead a variety of social forms. The strategies I found in thes e Formative centers ar e the combination of competing and integrating practices that c ould discourage or slow an emergence of centralized authority. The next ch apter presents a final discussion of the results of this comparative research and c oncludes with my perspectives on how archaeological manifestations of social differentiation em erged and developed through the variability of social processes during the Middle Formative period.
203 CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSION A House-Centered Approach to Issues of Social Complexity My study began with the general thesis that Mesoamerica provides rich archaeological data for understanding the formation of complex societies in its different regions, which were interconnected with one another. The Middle Formative period is especially significant because specific ideas of value and legitimacy, which were articulated in part through various social practices that es tablished order, are considered to have structured actions or c onstrained alternative actions and values in subsequent time periods in Mesoameric a (Joyce 2000c; Joyce and Grove 1999). My particular interest focused on the thesis, as explained by various archaeologists, that social differentiation started to develop in concert with Midd le Formative chiefdoms, and the emergence and development of complex societies in Mesoamerica depended on a balance between the ecologic al parameters of populat ion and environment and the effects of regional and interregional interact ion controlled by competitive chiefly figures (Clark and Blake 1994; Dobres and Hoffm an 1994; Marcus and Flannery 1996). With many archaeological studies focusing on when this social configuration emerged within early societies (e.g., Arnold 1996a; Earl e 1991; Feinman and Marcus 1998; Johnson and Earle 2000), I started to investigate t he evidence for this concept of social complexity as well as the processes of emergent complexity. As detailed in Chapter 2, the study of complex societies in Mesoamerica has been dominated by neo-evolutionary theories (e.g., Sanders and Price 1968; Spencer and Redmond 2004), and origin and devel opment of social inequality has been analyzed by archaeological variables associated with sp ecific stages within an evolutionary
204 framework. Mesoamerican societies were categorized into social types and were presumed to evolve from simple to comp lex. Also, centralization of power was considered inevitable for any social transformations to the next stage. However, although societies in Late Formative Mesoamerica are clearly more stratified than those in the Middle Formative period, the archaeologi cal evidence from Middle Formative centers fails to matc h these neo-evolutionary assumptions. I considered that an analysis of the processe s of the emergence of social ranking must encompass variation in the mani festations of social comp lexity, rather than assume homogeneity or some inev itable trajectory towards cent ralized hierarchy. Therefore, I was interested in conceptualizing complexi ty in non-evolutionary perspectives, and investigating how archaeological manifestati ons of social differentiation emerged as outcomes of a variety of hum an agentsÂ’ strategic actions. I emphasized that we could not fully understand the processes of social differentiation until we changed the unit of anal ysis from the society as a whole to smaller entities, namely, act ual corporate groups that could express corporate agency and that would exhibit variation both within and between sites or regions. I further suggested that agentsÂ’ strategic practice s might encourage or discourage emergent hierarchy and that multiple hierarchies or heterarchical structur es could have played significant roles in social change. My ca se study therefore focused on three Middle Formative centers in the Central Highlands of Mexico, the Valley of Oaxaca, and the Mixteca Alta that provide comparable data of corporate agentsÂ’ practices for differentiating themselves from others in t he societies, in the absence of significant socio-economic and polit ical inequality.
205 My study followed the prem ise that archaeological mani festations of social differentiation are outcomes of strategic actions of agents who competed with each other for status and power, negotiated rela tionships for maintaining and promoting status, and sometimes resisted em erging hierarchy. Therefore, it is my contention that understanding a variety of cor porate practices is essential for revealing how social differentiation occurred through multiple trajec tories within a community over time. In order to focus on the variability of historical processes, I em ployed practice theories that reveal how people came to live within one of a variety of socially differentiated structures. Practice theories posit that social analysis should focus on the ways that agents work within organizing principles to wh ich they are habituated, and allow us to understand the variability of social processes t hat are involved in social transformations. Because my study focuses on micro-scale corporate practices to analyze processes of social differentiation, I employed a house-center ed approach (Gillespie 2007) which I described in Chapter 3. Lv i-Straussian houses, as corporate agents following his definition, allow for the analysis of strategic actions and their historical outcomes because the study of the house always deals with duration or longevity, a linking of the present with the past (Gillespie 2000b:18). Diachronic rather than synchronic research concerning houses is nece ssary to reveal long -term strategies for acquiring, maintaining, and replacing res ources, and how the outcomes of strategic actions for competition may constitute hier archy and lead to social change through time (Gillespie 2000b:11). The background for the identification and analysis of complex societies in nonMaya Mesoamerica was discussed in Chapt er 4 with a special focus on Middle
206 Formative centers on the Gulf Coast of Me xico, the Central Highlands of Mexico, the Valley of Oaxcaca, and the Mixteca Alta to describe the interconnected nature of Middle Formative societies. In my fieldwork, I conducted survey, mapping, and excavations at the site of Santa Cruz Tayata in the Mi xteca Alta. The Tayata project was designed and organized by Dr. Andrew Balkansky of S outhern Illinois University, and I joined the project with a grant I re ceived from the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI). As described in Chapter 5, I conducted excavations in the northeastern part of area A at Tayata. There a residential structure and its associated features, as well as a non-residential structur e with unique stone foundations, were uncovered. Artifact asse mblage data from the household excavations at Area A provided information allowing me to interpret household consumption practices and in turn, householder activities and their socio-economic status (following Smith 1987). Most of the ar tifacts obtained from the House 4 excavations in area A came from burials and middens and secondly fr om below roof or wall debris. The least number of artifacts were f ound in hearths and directly on fl oors. The pottery assemblage from this house was carefully reco rded in detail for further analysis. In order to analyze possibl e archaeological evidence for feasting practices in Santa Cruz Tayata, I employed a techno-f unctional analysis of pottery assemblages from two residential st ructures (Chapter 6). Techno-func tional analysis, along with the evidence from faunal remains, provided in formation on food consumption practices at House 4. I argued that house-bas ed feasting could have played a role in maintaining the social relations of house members and/or allied houses. Feasts could have also provided opportunities for host houses to enhance their status, often through the display
207 of goods including important artifacts (Wie ssner 2001) and through gift-giving (Clark and Blake 1994; Dietler 1996; Perodie 2001). My laboratory analysis also focused on the evidence of shell-working associated with Ho use 4, and I hypothesized that acquiring marine shell and crafting shell ornaments c ould have demonstrated a corporate group identity within the house and the community, and the distribution of crafted shell items may become a communal identity relative to others in the Mixteca Alta (e.g., Bayman 2002). As described in Chapter 7, my compar ison of corporate practices and social processes based on archaeological evidence fr om Chalcatzingo, San Jos Mogote, and Santa Cruz Tayata was significant for rev ealing similarities and differences in the mechanisms of social differentiation. These three centers are important because of their role as prominent political centers and ar e integral to my research agenda to demonstrate that societies do not always follo w a series of stages from simple to complex. Furthermore, all three of these ce nters declined in size and influence at the beginning of the subsequent Late Formative period (c. 500 BC), which is another indicator that centralization and increasing comp lexity from chiefdom to state levels is not inevitable. Mechanisms of Social Differentiation Mechanisms of social differentiation at Chalcatzingo, San Jose Mogote, and Santa Cruz Tayata were discussed in Chapters 6 and 7. I introduced burial treatment practices from Chalcatzingo and argued that the co mpetition of multiple property-owning corporate groups likely discouraged or slowed the emergence of c entralized authority. San Jos Mogote also showed evidence of impeding emergent hierarchy in another manner. Each social house or corporate group in areas A, B, and C of the site created
208 alliances with surrounding settlements, and the outcomes of these practices created a power balance within and beyond the San Jos Mogote community. I interpreted, from a house-centered perspective, that houses in ea ch ward of San Jos Mogote employed integrative strategies to maintain and tr ansform the society while discouraging the emergence of centralized authority. Long-te rm interactions created horizontal relationships among multiple houses in diffe rent areas of the Va lley of Oaxaca, and property-owning corporate groups at San Jos Mogote occupied the same spaces for generations to create a vertical relationship with their ancestors. Finally, the evidence of feasting from Santa Cruz Tayata indicates that corporate groups could have employed feasting practices as an integrative mechanism I also argued that the presence of rich feasting evidence in one house does not al ways mean that this house controlled the society or achieved highest status, because food, including dog meat, could have been shared among residents for integr ative purposes. Also, architecture and burial evidence indicates no particular socio-economic differentiation in Santa Cruz Tayata. Overall, these societies transformed thr ough multiple trajectories created by a variety of corporate practices, and agents employed decentralization strategies to maintain social harmony within the communi ty, even as they sought to enhance their own prestige and status. Corporate groups al ways compete to differentiate themselves from other groups by employ ing various strategies, and thus eventually one house may successfully acquire power, in which case soci ety becomes more stratified. In the case of the centers I have discussed, as I noted above, they all dec lined at the beginning of the Late Formative period, even though each had became more differentiated at the end of the Middle Formative period.
209 General Contributions and Future Research Potentials This study contributes a new and substantia l set of empirical archaeological data for a part of the Mixteca Alta that has not been intensively investigated. Prior archaeological surveys in the Mixteca prov ided preliminary chr onological and settlement data on the principal centers and isolated struct ures in the Nochixtlan Valley (Spores 1967, 1972, 1974). With the except ion of the site of Huam elulpan (Balkansky 1998), no archaeological surveys have been conducted for mo st of the Formativ e period sites of the Mixteca Alta. Moreover, only a limited number of archaeological studies focusing on Formative Mesoamerica have employed corporate agency to analyze microscale strategic actions to understand processes of social different iation. Thus, my study complements the dominant macroscalar neo-evolutionary perspec tives of centralization and progressive stages, and provides alternative views for inte rpreting archaeological manifestations of social differentiation. Finally, my study presents a case for Middl e Formative regional centers as house societies in which corporate agents took a va riety of strategic actions to enhance their status and power, while paying a ttention to maintaining soci al balance or equilibrium within and beyond the community. A comparativ e analysis of social processes among these contemporary (and historically relate d) centers, focusing on similarities and differences in their mechanisms of social differentiation, provides a valuable contribution to Mesoamerican studies and to the understanding of the emergence of complex ranked societies more generally. Throughout this study I developed an understandi ng of the nature and intensity of complex societies in Formative Mesoamerica. Although this study is principally based
210 on partial archaeological data, it provides substantial evidence for the mechanisms of social transformations at three Middle Fo rmative centers. However, like many interpretations of ancient activities bas ed on preserved archaeological data, it is susceptible to challenges from competing t heoretical perspectives. This is the first systematic study of Formative houses in the Mixteca Alta, and thus the interpretation of the results is limited by the scarcity of co mparable data. The possible patterns identified in this study are not testable until additional houses are exca vated. For example, it was hard to associate some of t he features and their artifact assemblages with particular residential and non-residential st ructures. Thus, the conclusions I reached about the nature of house practices are limited by the siteÂ’s state of preservation. Although I can argue that the excavated houses date to the Cruz period, I am unable to definitively state that these houses were associated or were in use at the same time. My analysis was limited to a sample of features associ ated with the structures, and it is unknown at this time how many other features ma y have been associated with them; thus, I am uncertain as to the repres entativeness of my sample. Future archaeological work, including ex tensive excavations, is recommended to confirm the variability of corporate practice s and processes of social differentiation. The scarcity of Formative period research focusing on microscale practices makes it difficult to understand how other processes of differentia tion occurred in different sections of the sites. In concluding this study, I reiter ate that my research results expand our knowledge of Middle Formative societies an d the concepts of social complexity. However, further research is needed to understand how and why certain major Middle
211 Formative centers with evidence of social hierarchy declined at the beginning of the Late Formative period.
212 APPENDIX A ARCHAEOLOGICAL FEATURES Table A-1. Pit feature 1 of House 4: midden in the north side of the house covering zones N4306, E4486 & 4488. Ce=cer amics, Li=lithics, Bo=bones, Fig=figurines. Bag# Locus Capa Level Contents 1332 N4306 E4486 I 1 (123-136) Ce, Li 1333 N4306 E4486 II 2 (137-160) Ce, Bo 1335 N4306 E4486 III 3 (161-174) Ce, Li 1338 N4306 E4486 IV 3 (161-174) Ce, Li 1339 N4306 E4486 Soil sample 1341 N4306 E4486 III 3 (165-165) Carbon 1342 N4306 E4486 IV 4 (175-194) Ce, Li, Bo 1360 N4306 E4486 IV 5 (195-212) Ce, Li, Bo 1368 N4306 E4486 IV 3 to 5 Fig 1370 N4306 E4486 IV 6 (213-224) Ce 1353 N4306 E4488 surface 117-156 Ce, Li, Bo 1358 N4306 E4488 I 1 (157-170) Ce, Li 1361 N4306 E4488 II 2 (171-186) Ce, Li 1362 N4306 E4488 III 2 (171-186) Ce, Bo 1372 N4306 E4488 III 3 (187-200) Ce, Li 1373 N4306 E4488 III 4 (201-212) Ce, Bo 1374 N4306 E4488 III 5 (213-224) Ce
213 Table A-2. Pit feature 2 of House 4: midden in the north-east side of the house covering the zone N4306 E4490. Ce=ceramics, Li =lithics, Bo=bones, Fig=figurines. Bag# Locus Capa Level Contents 1352 N4306 E4490 surface 145-157 Ce, Li, Bo, Mica 1359 N4306 E4490 I 1 (158-170) Ce, Li, Bo, Shell 1363 N4306 E4490 II 2 (171-184) Ce 1364 N4306 E4490 III 2 (171-184) Ce, Li, Bo 1365 N4306 E4490 III 3 (185-198) Ce, Bo, Fig 1366 N4306 E4490 III 4 (199-216) Ce, Li, Bo 1367 N4306 E4490 III 3 (185-198) Soil Sample 1371 N4306 E4490 II 3 (185-198) Ce, Li, Bo 1392 N4306 E4490 III 3&4 (185-216) Ce, Li, Bo, Fig
214 Table A-3. Pit feature 3 of H ouse 4: Burial 2 zone in the west side of the house covering the zone N4302 E4484. Ce=ceramics, Li =lithics, Bo=bones, Fig=figurines. Bag# Locus Capa Level Contents 1176 N4302 E4484 I 1 (120-133) Ce, Li, Bo 1204 N4302 E4484 II 2 (133-148) Ce, Li 1206 N4302 E4484 II 3 (148-165) Ce, Li, Shell 1209 N4302 E4484 II 3 (148-165) Ce, Li 1222 N4302 E4484 IV 4 (164-167) Ce, Li, Shell 1223 N4302 E4484 II 4 (164-174) Ce, Li 1224 N4302 E4484 II 4 (164-174) Carbon Sample 1248 N4302 E4484 IV 4 (63-179) Ce, Li, Bo, Shell 1299 N4302 E4484 I 1 (172-183) Ce, Li, Figurine 1300 N4302 E4484 I 2 (180-196) Ce, Li, Figurine 1301 N4302 E4484 I 3 (192-205) Ce, Li, Bo
215 Table A-4. Feature of House 4: Burial 1 in the east side of the house covering zones N4302 E4488 & 4490. Ce=ceramics, Li=lit hics, Bo=bones, Fig=figurines. First two bags come directly from Burial 1. Bag# Locus Capa Level Contents 1265 N4302 E4488 IV 4 (154-189) Burial 1303 N4302 E4490 NA (-214) Burial 1162 N4302 E4488 surface 107-125 Ce, Li 1185 N4302 E4488 I 1 (125-131) Ce, Li 1189 N4302 E4488 II 2 (132-138) Ce, Li 1203 N4302 E4488 IV 3 (132-154) Ce, Li, Bo 1067 N4302 E4490 surface 105-130 Ce, Li 1225 N4302 E4490 I 1 (130-139) Ce, Li 1230 N4302 E4490 II 2 (139-155) Ce, Li, Bo 1249 N4302 E4490 IV 3 (143-155) Ce, Li
216 Table A-5. Non-residential features: excava tion units of non-residential architecture (N4302 E4466) and mound structure (N4326 E4358). Ce=ceramics, Li=lithics, Bo=bones. Bag# Locus Capa Level Contents 1245 N4302 E4466 IV, IX, XI, XV 11 (127-136) Ce, Li 1290 N4302 E4466 XI 7 (121-130) Ce 1291 N4302 E4466 XIII 12 (116-136) Ce, Li 1292 N4302 E4466 X 12 (118-130) Ce 1309 N4302 E4466 XIII 13 (136-190) Ce, Li 1312 N4302 E4466 XIII 14 (190-230) Ce, Li 1319 N4302 E4466 XIII 15 (230-250) Ce 1320 N4302 E4466 XIII 16 (260-300) Ce 1322 N4302 E4466 XI 13 (136-160) Ce, Li 1325 N4302 E4466 XIII 17 (300-320) Ce 206 N4326 E4358 I 13-24 Ce, Li 215 N4326 E4358 II 28-50 Ce, Li 218 N4326 E4358 II 42-63 Ce, Li, Bo 228 N4326 E4358 II 73-91 Ce, Li, Bo
217 APPENDIX B CERAMIC ANALYSIS DATA B-1. Ceramic analysis details from the House 4 zone: N4300 E4486 Locus N4300 E4486 total (%) >30cm orifice bag#s 1166 1180 1181118711951229 olla/jar 0 12 5 0 0 0 17(26%) 3 18% tecomate 0 0 0 0 0 0 0(0%) 0 hemispherical bowls 0 0 0 0 0 0 0(0%) 0 cylindrical bowls 1 4 2 2 2 0 11(17%) 2 18% conical bowls 3 8 3 1 2 2 19(30%) 5 26% incense burners 0 1 0 0 0 0 1(2%) 0 plates 0 1 0 0 0 0 1(2%) 0 unidentified 8 5 1 1 0 0 15(23%) 0 others (handle etc) MNV (except others) 12 31 11 4 4 2 64(100%) 10 Base characteristics 6 conical bowl bases, 1 cylindrical bowl base, 1 plate base with wall, and 1 jar shoulder No bases have sooting and abrasions. A jar shoulder has abrasions inside. color characteristics Mostly tanwares, but relatively wide color variations. Gray and white cylinders and conical bowls. The black incense burner has holes on walls. size variation Miniature jar to 42cm jars, small tiny conical bowls to 40cm ones. One cylinder is 44cm. rim forms One unique rim form but it was not clearly identified. Relatively many flat rims (conical and cylindrical bowls). surface treatment Varied, but mainly the same. Careful treatment for conical and cylindrical bowls. The black incense burner has a smooth outside. wealth indicators Some huge vessels here suggest feasting, but no distinctive luxury wares.
218 B-2. Ceramic analysis details from the House 4 zone: N4300 E4488 Locus N4300 E4488 total (%) >30cm bag#s 1066 1174 11881201125113161317 olla/jar 2 2 1 2 0 1 0 8(26%) 1:13% tecomate 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1(3%) 1:100% hemispherical bowls 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1(3%) 0 cylindrical bowls 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 3(10%) 0 conical bowls 2 3 1 1 2 2 0 11(35%) 1:9% charcoal braziers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0(0%) 0 plates 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0(0%) 0 unidentified 2 4 0 0 0 1 0 7(23%) 0 others (handle etc) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 MNV (except others) 7 11 3 3 2 5 0 31(100%) 3 base characteristics 5 bases without sooting. 4 conical bowls and 1 cylinder. 2 conical bowls have shallow walls. color characteristics All tanwares except for 1 white and 1 gray conical bowls. size variation Difficult to discuss size variation because of smaller rims. Some big jars with thick walls. rim forms Some jars have thick rims and walls, but no distinctive ones. surface treatment Tecomate is smoothed both sides with a reddish paste on the rim, and fibers attached inside. Both white and gray conical bowls are smoothed well both sides. Shallow walls. wealth indicators White and gray shallow conical bowls are relatively unique, but no luxurious vessels.
219 B-3. Ceramic analysis details from the House 4 zone: N4302 E4486 Locus N4302 E4486 total (%) >30cm orifice bag#s 1065 1138 1145 1151 1172 olla/jar 0 4 2 1 0 7 (10%) 1 14% tecomate 0 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 hemispherical bowls 1 4 0 0 1 6 (8%) 4 67% cylindrical bowls 2 8 1 1 0 12 (17%) 1 8% conical bowls 0 17 5 1 3 26 (37%) 7 27% charcoal braziers 0 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 plates 1 2 0 0 0 3 (4%) 0 unidentified 1 15 1 0 0 17 (24%) 0 others (handle etc) 0 0 1 0 0 MNV 5 50 9 3 4 71(100%) 13 base' characteristics 11 conical bowl bases, 3 cylinder bases, and 2 plates with walls. No bases have sooting. color characteristics Mostly tanwares, but some gray cylinders and conical bowls. size variation From 4cm tray and 8 cm cylinder to 40-44cm cylinders and conical bowls. Great variation. rim forms There is no distinctive rim form in this group, but one tray and one plate have short walls with rounded rims. surface treatment Most conical bowls are smoother or well-burnished, but some of them have rough outside. Cylinders always have good surface treatments. wealth indicators There is no clear wealth indicator, but large vessels are suitable for feasting activities. It may indicate certain level of wealth, but there is no luxury ware in this group.
220 B-4. Ceramic analysis details from the House 4 zone: N4302 E4488 Locus N4302 E4488 total (%) >30cm orifice bag#s 1162 1185 1189 1203 olla/jar 1 1 0 0 2 (6%) 0 tecomate 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 hemispherical bowls 0 0 0 1 1 (3%) 0 cylindrical bowls 1 0 0 0 1 (3%) 0 conical bowls 5 0 5 7 17 (52%) 2 12% charcoal braziers 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 plates 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 unidentified 6 1 1 4 12 (36%) 0 others (handle etc) 0 0 0 0 MNV (except others) 13 2 6 12 33(100%) 2 base' characteristics 6 bases and 1 unique one without sooting. color characteristics Most vessels are tanwares, but there are some white and gray conical bowls. One possible cylinder has a earth-monster type inscription outside. size variation Unique size variation. Some conical bowls are small and one jar has just 14cm orifice. Relatively smaller conical bowls. rim forms There is no distinctive rim form in this group. surface treatment All conical bowls are smoother or well-burnished. A white cylinder (highly possible but without a rim part) has very smoothed sides. wealth indicators The cylinder (I put it unidentified) and other white and gray conical bowls are well made, but only the cylinder is a luxury vessel.
221 B-5. Ceramic analysis details from the House 4 zone: N4302 E4490 Locus N4302 E4490 total (%) >30cm orifice bag#s 1067 1225 1230 1249 olla/jar 3 1 0 1 5 (15%) 0 tecomate 0 0 0 1 1 (3%) 0 hemispherical bowls 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 cylindrical bowls 0 1 0 1 2 (6%) 0 conical bowls 6 3 2 3 14 (43%)3 21% charcoal braziers 0 0 0 1 1 (3%) 0 plates 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 unidentified 6 1 2 1 10 (30%)0 others (handle etc) 0 0 0 0 MNV (except others) 15 6 4 8 33(100%)3 base' characteristics 3 conical bowl bases (2 bases with walls) without sooting, and one piece of charcoal brazier. color characteristics All tanwares except for 1 white large conical bowl. size variation 10cm and 14 cm miniature jars, great size variation among conical bowls (from 16cm to 40cm). rim forms There is no distinctive rim form in this group. surface treatment Miniature jars have rough inside. All conical bowls are smoothed or wellburnished. wealth indicators One large white conical bowl has unique inscriptions on outside rim, and this is the only luxury vessel. The presence of a charcoal brazier suggests some ritual practices.
222 B-6. Ceramic analysis details from the House 4 zone: N4304 E4484 Locus N4304 E4484 total (%) >30cm orifice bag#s 11591182 11901226 1248 1304 olla/jar 2 3 0 1 1 1 8 (19%) 1 13% tecomate 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 hemispherical bowls 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 (2%) 1 100% cylindrical bowls 0 2 0 1 0 0 3 (7%) 0 conical bowls 5 8 2 1 2 3 21 (50%) 4 19% charcoal braziers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 plates 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 unidentified 0 5 0 1 2 1 9 (22%) 0 others (handle etc) 0 2 0 0 0 0 MNV (except others) 8 18 2 4 5 5 42(100%) 6 base' characteristics 9 bases and 3 shoulders with no sooting. 4 jars, 2 cylindrical bowls, and 6 conical bowls color characteristics All tanwares (light, dark, reddish) except for 4 serving vessels. 2 white, 1 gray, and 1 brownish white. size variation Good size variations from 12 cm to 40cm. Large conical bowls are all tanwares except for 1 white bowl. rim forms There is no distinctive rim form in this group. surface treatment Serving vessels are mostly well smoothed, and large jars are roughly made with scratches. wealth indicators Some very smoothed white bowls are distinctive.
223 B-7. Ceramic analysis details from the House 4 zone: N4304 E4486 Locus N4304 E4486 total (%) >30cm orifice bag#s 1160 1183 1191 1208 1227 olla/jar 2 2 0 0 0 4 (13%) 0 tecomate 0 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 hemispherical bowls 1 0 0 0 0 1 (3%) 0 cylindrical bowls 2 3 0 0 0 5 (17%) 0 conical bowls 5 5 0 0 0 10 (33%) 2 20% charcoal braziers 0 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 plates 1 0 0 0 0 1 (3%) 0 unidentified 7 2 0 0 0 9 (30%) 0 others (handle etc) 1 0 0 0 0 MNV (except others) 18 12 0 0 0 30(100%) 2 base' characteristics 5 bases without sooting. 2 conical, 1 plate (base and wall), and 1 cylinder. color characteristics All tanwares, but some white cylinders. One cylinder was almost pink (brownish). size variation Most pottery types are more than 20cm, and 3 conical bowls are more than 25cm. rim forms Unique very thick jar rim. One pink cylinder has 4 lines inside the rim. surface treatment Conical and cylindrical bowls are some burnished but most smoothed. One hemispherical bowl has rough sides with abrasions inside. wealth indicators Some cylinders are clearly well made ones, but all conical bowls are normal tanwares. These bags came from a little outside of the house wall.
224 B-8. Ceramic analysis details from the House 4 zone: N4304 E4488 Locus N4304 E4488 total (%) >30cm orifice bag#s 1161 1184 1193 1207 1228 olla/jar 0 1 1 0 0 2 (22%) 0 tecomate 0 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 hemispherical bowls 0 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 cylindrical bowls 1 0 0 0 0 1 (11%) 0 conical bowls 2 0 1 1 0 4 (45%) 1 25% charcoal braziers 0 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 plates 0 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 unidentified 1 1 0 0 0 2 (22%) 0 others (handle etc) 2 0 0 0 0 MNV (except others) 4 2 2 1 0 9(100%) 1 base' characteristics Two conical bowl bases without sooting. color characteristics All tanwares, but there is a white handle or a part of figurine. size variation Smallest conical bowl (12cm) to a large conical bowl (34cm). Many samples are too small for discussing the size variations. rim forms There is no distinctive rim form in this group. surface treatment Two conical bowls have rough outside. One of the jars (28cm) has clear scratches and abrasions. wealth indicators There is no wealth indicator.
225 B-9. Ceramic analysis details from the H ouse 4 zone: N4306 E4486 & 4488 (outside the midden feature) Locus N4306 E4486 E4488 total (%) >30cm orifice bag#s 1332 1333 1358 1361 olla/jar 0 1 0 0 1 (9%) 0 tecomate 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 hemispherical bowls 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 cylindrical bowls 0 1 0 0 1 (9%) 0 conical bowls 1 2 1 1 5 (46%) 0 charcoal braziers 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 plates 0 0 0 0 0 (0%) 0 unidentified 2 1 1 0 4 (36%) 0 others (handle etc) 0 0 0 0 MNV (except others) 3 5 2 1 11(100%) 0 Base characteristics Only 1 base without sooting, smoothed inside. color characteristics All tanwares. size variation Most of them are tiny sherds and thus it is inappropriate to discuss size variations. rim forms There is no distinctive rim form in this group. surface treatment All tiny, so it is hard to describe surface treatments. wealth indicators There is no wealth indicator. These bags came from the uppermost parts of the midden locus and these bags do not represent midden outside of the household.
226 B-10. Ceramic analysis details from the H ouse 4 zone: N4306 E4490 (outside feature) Locus N4306 E4490 total (%) >30cm orifice bag#s 1363 olla/jar 0 0 (0%) 0 tecomate 0 0 (0%) 0 hemispherical bowls 0 0 (0%) 0 cylindrical bowls 2 2(100%) 0 conical bowls 0 0 (0%) 0 charcoal braziers 0 0 (0%) 0 plates 0 0 (0%) 0 unidentified 0 0 (0%) 0 others (handle etc) 0 MNV (except others) 2 2(100%) 0 base' characteristics No base or shoulder. All sherd samples are tiny. color characteristics One conical bowl is brownish white, but it should not be classified as white. size variation Very few samples to discuss. rim forms There is no distinctive rim form in this group. surface treatment Both sherds have smoothed sides, but samples are too small for discussing overall treatments. wealth indicators Both serving vessels are well made, but not luxurious. This bag came from the uppermost part of the midden2 (storage pit). This bag does not belong to the feature of this locus.
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257 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Chikaomi Takahashi was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1976. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Waseda University in Japan in 1999, majoring in anthropology. Chikaomi earned his Master of Arts degree in anthropology from the Un iversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has field research experiences in Japan and Mexico, and completed his dissertation research in Oaxaca, Mexico.