This volume illuminates human lifeways in the northern Maya lowlands prior to the rise of Chichén Itzá. This period and area have been poorly understood on their own terms, obscured by scholarly focus on the central lowland Maya kingdoms. Before Kukulkán is anchored in three decades of interdisciplinary research at the Classic Maya capital of Yaxuná, located at a contentious crossroads of the northern Maya lowlands.
Using bioarchaeology, mortuary archaeology, and culturally sensitive mainstream archaeology, the authors create an in-depth regional understanding while also laying out broader ways of learning about the Maya past. Part 1 examines ancient lifeways among the Maya at Yaxuná, while part 2 explores different meanings of dying and cycling at the settlement and beyond: ancestral practices, royal entombment and desecration, and human sacrifice. The authors close with a discussion of the last years of occupation at Yaxuná and the role of Chichén Itzá in the abandonment of this urban center.
Before Kukulkán provides a cohesive synthesis of the evolving roles and collective identities of locals and foreigners at the settlement and their involvement in the region’s trajectory. Theoretically informed and contextualized discussions offer unique glimpses of everyday life and death in the socially fluid Maya city. These findings, in conjunction with other documented series of skeletal remains from this region, provide a nuanced picture of the social and biocultural dynamics that operated successfully for centuries before the arrival of the Itzá.
Prehistoric economic relationships are often presented as genderless, yet mounting research highlights the critical role gendered identities play in the division of work tasks and the development of specialized production in pre-modern economic systems. In Gendered Labor in Specialized Economies, contributors combine the study of gender in the archaeological record with the examination of intensified craft production in prehistory to reassess the connection between craft specialization and the types and amount of work that men and women performed in ancient communities.
Chapters are organized by four interrelated themes crucial for understanding the implications of gender in the organization of craft production: craft specialization and the political economy, combined effort in specialized production, the organization of female and male specialists, and flexibility and rigidity in the gendered division of labor. Contributors consider how changes to the gendered division of labor in craft manufacture altered other types of production or resulted from modifications in the organization of production elsewhere in the economic system.
Striking a balance between theoretical and methodological approaches and presenting case studies from sites around the world, Gendered Labor in Specialized Economies offers a guide to the major issues that will frame future research on how men’s and women’s work changes, predisposes, and structures the course of economic development in various societies.
Contributors: Alejandra Alonso Olvera, Traci Ardren, Michael G. Callaghan, Nigel Chang, Cathy Lynne Costin, Pilar Margarita Hernández Escontrías, A. Halliwell, Sue Harrington, James M. Heidke, Sophia E. Kelly, Brigitte Kovacevich, T. Kam Manahan, Ann Brower Stahl, Laura Swantek, Rita Wright, Andrea Yankowski
The first book to focus on children in ancient Mesoamerica, this vital reference offers a key methodological guide for archaeologists studying children and their roles not only in Mesoamerica, but also in ancient societies worldwide.
Contributors examine material evidence, historical records, and iconography, productively criticizing the claim that children are invisible in the archaeological record and elucidating an ancient childhood comprising multiple and complex identities. They explore the methodological and theoretical difficulties created when investigating childhood - a category defined by each culture - in the archaeological record.
Sure to appeal widely to New World and Old World archaeologists and anthropologists, The Social Experience of Childhood in Ancient Mesoamerica will open up new avenues of research into the lives of this previously overlooked yet remarkably large population.
Contributors include Traci Ardren, Ximena Chávez Balderas, Billie Follensbee, Byron Hamann, Scott R. Hutson, Rosemary A. Joyce, Stacie M. King, Jeanne Lopiparo, Patricia McAnany, Geoffrey G. McCafferty, Sharisse D. McCafferty, Juan Alberto Román Berrelleza, Rebecca Storey, Rissa M. Trachman, Fred Valdez Jr.