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Journal of Archaeological Research

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 1–47 | Cite as

Middle Preclassic Interregional Interaction and the Maya Lowlands

  • Prudence M. Rice
Article

Abstract

The lowland Mayas are seldom mentioned in discussions of early Mesoamerican interactions, which commonly focus on the Gulf coast Olmecs. But such connections are evidenced by the occurrence of anthropomorphic fired-clay figurines and other artifacts (including obsidian, greenstone, bark beaters, and shell), reviewed herein. Figurines co-occur with a distinctive architectural complex in the southern lowlands but are absent in the north; other artifacts are variably present north–south and east–west. These goods relate to the development of societal complexity and cosmopolitical power, and helped support the roles of nascent elites, particularly in linkages with ancestors. Their variable distributions suggest that the lowland Mayas participated, but selectively, in early interaction spheres.

Keywords

Maya lowlands Middle Preclassic Anthropomorphic figurines Emerging complexity 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Fieldwork at Ixlú and Nixtun–Ch’ich’ funded by the National Science Foundation in 1995–1996, and in 2007 at Nixtun–Ch’ich’ by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Heinz Foundation, was undertaken with the cooperation of the Instituto de Antropología e Historia, and I gratefully acknowledge these institutions for their support. Special thanks go to American and Guatemalan project members. This paper has benefited from the comments and critiques of colleagues who kindly read various iterations, particularly Will and Tony Andrews, Bill Duncan, Christina Halperin, Norman Hammond, Laura Kosakowsky, Joyce Marcus, Nate Meissner, and Katie South. Three anonymous reviewers, editor Gary Feinman, and especially David Cheetham and Robert Rosenswig were exceptionally generous with detailed and thoughtful commentary. Any errors of fact and interpretation that remain, however, are solely my responsibility. As always, I am grateful to Don Rice for preparing the final figures.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anthropology (Emerita)Southern Illinois University CarbondaleCarbondaleUSA

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