Examining Webs of Social Relations: New Research in West Mexican Archaeology and West Mexico-U.S. Southwest Connections

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

In the history of research on prehispanic Mesoamerican cultures, far West Mexico has long been relegated to a position as a peripheral backwater on the northwestern fringes of the complex cultures of highland and southern Mesoamerica. However, the rich diversity of cultural traditions and social developments in West Mexico also have been recognized as being distinct from yet connected to other indigenous societies in Mesoamerica and the U.S. Southwest. A surge in archaeological research in the past decade has begun to draw renewed attention to this often-overlooked region and this recent work has begun to clarify our understanding of the prehispanic history of the coastal lowlands and interior highlands of West Mexico. This session is a platform for highlighting new archaeological research by junior and senior scholars in West Mexico with a sub-focus on examining how the webs of social relations in far West Mexico intersected with the social webs of Pueblo cultures of northwest Mexico and the U.S. Southwest.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-13 of 13)

  • Documents (13)

  • Copper Back Mirrors (Tezcacuitlapilli) as Objects of Political and Religious Authority in the Casas Grandes World (A.D. 1200-1450) (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michael Mathiowetz.

    The rise of the Casas Grandes culture (AD 1200-1450) in Chihuahua, Mexico and the adoption of a new religion centered upon the Mesoamerican solar deity Xochipilli prefigured many of the social transformations that occurred among Pueblo cultures across the American Southwest by the fourteenth century. The appearance of new architecture of clear Mesoamerican derivation (e.g., I-shaped ballcourts) and imported finished objects of shell and copper in the Casas Grandes world indicates heightened...

  • El sitio megalítico de Ahuacatlán, ejemplo de erupciones volcánicas y de cambio cultural (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only José Carlos Beltrán Medina. Katrin Sieron. Juan Jorge Morales.

    Al pié del volcán Ceboruco se encuentra el sitio prehispánico de Ahuacatlán con una amplia distribución en el paisaje, así como una larga secuencia cultural de más de mil años representada por materiales Capacha, Tumbas de Tiro y de la época Aztatlán, procedentes de su rico sementerio. Las excavaciones arqueológicas permitieron conocer el depósito estratigráfico del sitio, que muestra varias erupciones de baja intensidad y 2 eventos catastróficos que impactaron la región, una erupción pliniana...

  • Funerary Practices in Prehispanic Sinaloa: Assessing Aztatlán Mortuary Behavior (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Guadalupe Sanchez Miranda. John Philip Carpenter.

    Funerary traditions reflect social behaviors that contain important information about the integration of several social groups. Funerary practices seem to persist over time because they comprise an integral aspect of group identity. In this paper we discuss the funerary practices known for the identified late prehispanic Sinaloan archaeological traditions. Specific locations to bury the dead appear to be the usual practice for the Aztatlán and Huatabampo traditions. Funerary mounds with extended...

  • Materiality of Death at Cerro de Trincheras, Sonora: A Comparison of Ceramic Urn Funerary Practice in a Macro Regional Scale (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only César Villalobos. Elisa Villalpando.

    Funerary vessel urns represent a unique variety among other manners of treatment of the dead in the North American Southwest (SW) and Northwest Mexico (NW). The ritual practice of packing human remains in ceramic vessels is considered as a well-defined cultural accomplishment. Particularly, the urn funerary practice, although with local variation in time and space, represents a wider social action that reflects a particular worldview in the conception of death. Depositing human remains in...

  • Possible causes for mayor cultural change between Classic and Postclassic occupations in western Mexico (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jorge Morales. Jose Carlos Beltran. Katrin Sieron.

    Preclassic and Classic occupation on the West Mexico has been dominated by the shaft-tomb culture . In Nayarit there is evidence for shaft-tomb occupation from 300 BC to about 900 AD. Recent archaeological rescue projects related to the construction of the highway from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta have documented archaeology covered by extensive volcanic deposits belonging to a cataclysmic (VEI 6) Plinian eruption from nearby Ceboruco volcano. Postclassic Aztatlán culture buildings are...

  • Preliminary Results on Regional Postclassic Aztatlán Obsidian Usage Patterns (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Daniel Pierce.

    The usage and trade of obsidian from various sources is well established during the Postclassic in West Mexico. Different qualitatively similar obsidian sources were used in different ways within sites, which suggests preferences for certain sources over others for different types of reduction. No studies, however, have explored this differential usage regionally. Here, I have macroscopically and microscopically analyzed collections from three Aztatlán regional centers in Nayarit: Coamiles, San...

    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lourdes Gonzalez.

    El conocimiento arqueológico actual sobre la arqueología de la subprovincia de las sierras neovolcánicas nayaritas es bastante limitado, por lo que el proyecto de salvamento con motivo de la construcción de la carretera Jala-Vallarta planteó la posibilidad de efectuar estudios de tipo regional para caracterizar esferas de interacción socio-cultural. Se presenta la clasificación y organización jerárquica de los asentamientos localizados tomando en cuenta criterios como la extensión, número,...

  • Ring the bell: A spatial comparative analysis of copper bells between the Greater Southwest and Michoacán. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jose Luis Punzo. Lissandra Gonzalez.

    Recent studies about metal work in the Proyecto Arqueologia y Paisaje del Area Centro Sur de Michoacan gave us the possibility of analyze a wide sample of copper bells from different collections and in museums along this western state in Mexico. In this paper we will present a comparative analysis between our database of Michoacan’s copper bells with the ones found in the USA southwest and specially in Paquime, Chihuahua, focusing on the Period 2 (AD 1200-1300 to Spanish invasion) like the most...

  • Selective Influence of West Mexico Cultural Traditions in the Onavas Valley, Sonora, Mexico (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Danielle Phelps. Cristina Garcia-Moreno. James Watson.

    Recent archaeological work at El Cementerio, a burial mound located in southeast Sonora, Mexico dated between AD 897 and 1635, has identified a local cultural tradition exhibiting selective influence from contemporaneous traditions in west Mexico. The vast majority of material culture reflects local manufacture and evolution, however, the presence of shell (from the Pacific Ocean) jewelry and the incorporation of biocultural practices of cranial deformation and dental modification suggest a link...

  • Some Observations on Hohokam Figurines: Implictions for Early American Southwest Connections with West Mexico (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Polly Schaafsma.

    Hohokam anthropomorphic figurines differ in style, mode of manufacture, and meaning with most, if not all, other figurine traditions in the American Southwest which appear to be regional in their derivation. In contrast, clay Hohokam figurines have often been cited as evidence of early cultural relationships between southern Arizona and Nayarit and adjacent regions. Between the Formative/Pioneer Period and prior to ca. 800 CE, simple Hohokam figurines display distinctive stylistic norms that...

  • The sound of dancing in the desert Northwest/Southwest. Copper bells from Trincheras, and the Casas Grandes Connection. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elisa Villalpando.

    Since the 1963 Sprague and Signori’s tabulation on copper bells, to Vargas 1995 or Wilcox et al. 2008, there is no question that copper bells in the Southwest/Northwest were trade items produced in West Mexico. Different kinds of exchange networks were responsible for the distributional patterns of the very "rare" items (copper bells and macaws) as opposed to those exhibited by the more common shell and turquoise. Few central communities exchanged copper bells and macaws; being macaws (Ara...

  • Trading, Borrowing, Stealing, Fighting, Collaborating and Sharing: Comcáac Social Interactions with their Neighbors (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Natalia Martinez Taguena. Luz Alicia Torres Cubillas.

    The Comcáac (Seri) indigenous community provides a unique opportunity for community-based research in archaeological endeavors. Through a joint effort with several members from different families and of different age, the project constructed methodologies that integrate archaeological data with oral tradition and ethnographic information. In specific, we propose a distinct survey method with the recording of oral histories from landscape segments. This paper presents relevant results from this...

  • The Transition between Epiclassic to Early Postclassic in Western Mexico. Processes involved in the Sayula Basin (Jalisco). (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Susana Ramirez-Urrea De Swartz. Catherine Liot. Javier Reveles.

    The transition between Epiclassic and Postclassic period in Western Mexico it has been linked to the Aztatlan Tradition. The Sayula basin offer a great opportunity to explore the processes involved, the cultural assimilation and interaction between two contemporary major cultural components: one system with strongly local identity related to a major social structure part of the Epiclassics sites like Ixtepete, La Higuerita, Los Altos de Jalisco and furthermore like La Quemada (Zac). The other...