Mesoamerican Archaeology

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Mesoamerican Archaeology. Olmec Maya Teotihuacan Toltec Aztec. Olmec. 1939 Matthew Stirling was sent by the Smithsonian and National Geographic to investigate giant stone carvings. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of Mesoamerican Archaeology

  • Mesoamerican ArchaeologyOlmecMayaTeotihuacanToltecAztec

  • Olmec

    1939 Matthew Stirling was sent by the Smithsonian and National Geographic to investigate giant stone carvings. Olmec means dweller in the land of rubber, refers to people who lived along Gulf of Mexico, southern Veracruz, and western Tabasco.Olmec lived in this area between 1500 B.C. and 100 A.D.

  • Olmec Area

  • Characteristic Traits

    Building of clay pyramids and temple moundsParticular sculptural styleweeping or snarling jaguar/human infantwere-jaguarcolossal headsbasalt monumentsFine jade carvingBasic Mesoamerican civilizationArtifacts with Olmec traits found in preclassic horizons throughout Mesoamerica.Cult of the Jaguar considered a basic Olmec trait.

  • Were-Jaguar

  • Colossal Heads

  • Important sitesTres ZapotesCerro de las MesasSan Lorenzo, VeracruzOldest Olmec siteOccupied by 1500 B.C.Pottery found from earliest periodLa Venta, TabascoContemporaneous to later phases of San LorenzoOriented on a n-s axis on an island in the Rio TonalaIncludes mounds, plazas, tombs, basalt slab enclosures, and pyramid.Buried stone offeringsjade and serpentine celts

  • Basalt Altars-La Venta

  • Maya Slow, gradual change.Did not develop overnight.Due to several factors resource concentration, population growth, beginnings of cultural variability, development of ideologies, migration of ideas from other culturesSmall Kingdoms, No centralized state.succession of regional centersnot really dominant over neighbors

  • RegionsPacific Coastal PlainIzapa-elaborate stone carvingsMonte Alto-collosal heads (contact with Olmec), also pot belly boulders.Southeast PeripheryCopan-evidence of interaction with western areas of MesoAm during the preclassic (700-500 B.C.).Southeastern HighlandsChalcuapa-one of the important highland centers,important for trade in pottery.Tikal investigations in the 1950s, national park around the site, 300 B.C. to 300 A.D. developed into a huge city.Uaxactun basic chronological sequence of pottery for area.Yucatan Peninsula and BelizeCerros-exploited marine resources, adopted kingship by 50B.C.

  • Mayan Regions

  • Palenque

  • Uaxactun

  • Uxmal

  • Tikal

  • Mayan WritingMaya codicesmost elaborate of writing medium, must have existed in the thousands, but only a few left.made out of bark paper, or deer skin.prepared from the inner bark of trees, fibers soaked in lime and then beaten smooth.once dry it was white-washed with a thin coat of limestoneor gypsum paste.StelaeStone carvingsMost common today

  • Mayan Hieroglyphs

  • Calendar SystemCalender Roundbasic unit was a day, not broken down further.two recurring cycles of time 260-day and 365-day ran simultaneously making up a period of 52 years.260-day cycle (Maya:Tzokin, Aztec:Tonalpohualli)primarily religious and divinatoryguidance of daily affairs20 named days, combined with numbers 1-13, in which the exact combination of name and number would recur every 260 days.not based on natural phenomenon.365-day cycle (Maya:Haab, Aztec:Xihuitl)18 named months of 20 days each, plus 5 additional days of apprehension and bad luck at the end of the year.Days numbered from 0-19, and to return to any given date, 52 years would have to pass.Prophesy that this world will end in 2012.

  • Converting the Mayan Calendar

  • Agriculture Patterns

    Localized intensive agriculturegardening took place in zones of good moisture.Expansive Cultivation (900 B.C.)shifting cultivationcorn farming with swidden or slash/burn, family of five needs 3,000 pounds of corn per year.Wetland cultivation (Extensive-Intensive)being increasingly pressed by population.Chinampas-swamps were being drained and drainage canals built., located with radar imagery.the largest cities are located on the edges of these swamps.

  • Floating Gardens

  • Settlement Patterns and Population Sizes

    No direct evidence for census material, so use indirect means.Counting house moundsVolumetric assessments of the masses of formal architecture in the civic centers.House Structuressmall platforms of clay, earth and stone.Thatched roofs, wattle and daub.Lowlands areas seem that peak population was Late Classic (A.D. 1000)

  • The Mesoamerican BallgameCalled tlachtli by the Aztecs, game played with hard rubber ball.Spanish document stone rings as goals, but those dating before 700 A.D. do not have them.Typically i-shaped courts, balls weighing up to 5 pounds.ball had to be kept in motioncould not be hit with hands or feetassociated with fertility, death, militarism and sacrifice.sacrifice of defeated team members docmented in late accounts.

  • Ballcourt

  • Watch a Ballgame

  • Basin of Mexico-TeotihuacanTeotihuacanInvestigated archaeologically first in 1800s, but disastrous results-desturction of monuments.In 1960s began the Teotihuacan Project.explore and reconstruct ceremonial centers.also Basin of Mexico survey project.Founding of the CityValley settled as early as 900 B.C., but no large settlement until 300 B.C.Populated by people from mountains to the east (Tlaxcala).Several reasons for population move:caves which are related to religion and mythology.humans, sun and moon came from center of the earth.entrance to the of caves and tunnels under the Pyramids of the sun and the moon.close obsidian resources.nearby springs for irrigation.

  • TeotihuacanSize and ConstructionAt its height, around 125,000 people and covering 22 sq kilometers.More ceremonial centers than any other prehispanic site.Planned and laid out along a rectilinear network of roads and paths.Avenue of the Dead-major north to south axis.East and West Avenues divided the city into quadrants.The citadel was at their center.In front of this was the great compound.

  • Temples and Pyramids

    Constructed with Talud-tablero architecturecut stone facingFramed panels (tablero)sloping basal elements (talud)5000 known structures.Pyramid of the Sun212 ft high, 700 ft wide, 35,000,000 cu ft of fill (equivalent to 10 modern oil tankers). cave located underneath with sacred objects in it.Pyramid of the Moonlocated at the north end of the avenue of the dead.Temple of the Feathered Serpent (at the Citadel)Residential structuresapartment compounds

  • Pyramid of the Sun

  • Temple of Quetzalcoatl

  • Avenue of the Dead

  • Decline of Teotihuacan

    During the period from 600-900 A.D.Site not abandoned, but population decreased.Some buildings burned between 600-700 A.D.may be symbolic as in the case of the Olmec destroying heads, associated with the loss of power.

  • Tula and the ToltecsA.D. 900-1200Development of city north of Teotihuacan after its collapse in 900 A.D.located on the Tula river and near the Lerma rivers for easy communication with others.this new capital was closer to the northern limits of agriculture.Toltec history embellished by Aztecs, Spaniards and others after their collapse in 1200 A.D.

  • Tula GrandeWas occupied during the prime phase of Tula 950-1150 A.D.13 km in area, with a population of 30-60,000 residents.craftspeople, tradespeople, religious leaders, but not farmers.workshops included manos and metates makers. laid out on n-s axis.

  • Tula

  • Atlantids

  • Rise of the Aztec

    From A.D. 1200 to A.D. 1370 the Basin of Mexico was occupied by various central Mexican peoples.Chichimec people settled in the area from the North and gradually overcame the people living there at that time.primarily due to Xolotl, who ruled a somewhat barbaric horde.Technically squatted in the area of Tenochtitlan and were know as the Mixeca but today Aztecs is more common.

  • Basin of Mexico

  • Tenochtitlan

  • Tenochtitlan Reconstruction

  • Moctezuma II

  • Human Sacrifice

  • Skull Rack

  • Spanish Arrival: CortesSpanish arrive in A.D. 1519 at Vera Cruz.March inland to TenochtitlanReceived by Moctezuma II, who was then held captive by Cortes and his men.Moctezuma II dies, replaced by nephew (dies almost immediately from small pox), replaced by another nephew: Cuahtemoc.

  • Mexico RevoltsThe siege began on May 21, 1521 and lasted for 85 days.Finally ended when the Spanish captured the northeast section of the city and eventually conquered the remaining Aztecs.Cuauhtemoc sets our from the city and surrenders to Cortes sometime around August 14, 1521.