The Southern Cities: Urban Archaeology in Pacific Guatemala and Eastern Soconusco, Mexico

Abstract

Recent research is shedding light on the long and precocious urban tradition of the Pacific coastal rim of southeastern Mesoamerica, from eastern Soconusco, Mexico, to Escuintla, Guatemala. The available data provide a basis to discuss variations in urban shape and functions, and to a lesser extent, urban life and meaning at Formative and Classic cities, plus brief mention of Late Postclassic cities. Pacific coastal cities are larger and earlier than previously thought, and their investigation is relevant for comparative studies that aim to understand the variability of ancient urban societies in Mesoamerica and beyond.

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Acknowledgments

For their pointed observations to an earlier version of this article, and for their collaboration with data and illustrations, I thank Scott Hutson, Jonathan Kaplan, Michael Love, Federico Paredes Umaña, Robert Rosenswig, Christa Schieber de Lavarreda, Matilde Ivic, and five anonymous reviewers. My special thanks to Gary Feinman and Linda Nicholas for their careful editorial work. I take full responsibility for the contents of this article.

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Chinchilla Mazariegos, O. The Southern Cities: Urban Archaeology in Pacific Guatemala and Eastern Soconusco, Mexico. J Archaeol Res 29, 47–91 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10814-020-09145-x

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Keywords

  • Mesoamerica
  • Cities
  • Urbanism
  • Guatemala
  • Mexico
  • Pacific Coast