‘Mezoamerican civilization’ and ‘From village to empire in South America’

“…the really significant development in the evolution of any civilization is the increase of societal size and internal heterogeneity, that is, the emergence of class and occupational divisions; and this is a process, not an invention to be diffused from place to place” (Sanders 1972, 152)”

The title of the post is a combination of the titles of chapters 16 and 17 in THP, and the quote above is from the first page of chapter 16 (no, it doesn’t mean that e.g. technological diffusion doesn’t matter – the importance of diffusion was underlined immediately before this quote in the text, and I omitted one word from the quote, the word ‘But’ which was right in front of it). Anyway, I’ve almost finished the book now (one chapter to go), and so this may be my last post about the book – unless I can’t find anything else to write about in the next days, in which case I’ll probably add a post about ‘Complex Societies in North America’ or some other similarly silly subject. I read Métraux a while back so not all of the stuff covered in chapter 17 was new to me – but a lot of it was. Even so, it’s nice to have some context – it makes it easier to remember stuff and to arrange things in the right order. It’s hard to get the big picture from wikipedia articles like the ones below alone, but they’re also rather meant to just spark interest; there’s a huge amount of interesting stuff covered in the book, and if you wanted to I’m sure you could spend years reading about all these things (without even paying much for it, unlike a lot of the people who choose to do just that at universities around the world).

Some articles about stuff covered to some degree in the two chapters:

i. Mesoamerican chronology (also have links to many of the articles below).
ii. Teotihuacan. (this doesn’t have a ‘good article’ rank, but it is a good article)
iii. Olmec.
iv. Lost-wax casting.
v. Maya civilization.
vi. Tikal (‘good article’).
vii. Aztec.
viii. Human sacrifice in Aztec culture.

And from the chapter about South America:
ix. Cultural periods of Peru (not good, but the tables are better than nothing. Only the later preceramic periods are covered in this chapter; a previous chapter dealt with the earlier periods mentioned. The article contains links to some of the articles below).
x. Tiwanaku.
xi. Moche.
xii. Nazca Lines.
xiii. Sican (/Lambayeque) culture.
xiv. Chan Chan.
xv. Inca empire.
xvi. Swidden agriculture.
xvii. Terra preta.

July 24, 2012 - Posted by | anthropology, archaeology, books, history

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