Seats of Power: Functional Sectors in Mesoamerican Palaces

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Power in ancient societies may be displayed in different scales and settings. In some cases economic power involves the concentration of staples, the managing of craft production, or the control of trade routes. Social control may involve the concentration and management of labor for state purposes. Political power is evident in territorial control and state expansion. Symbolic power is often called upon when sanctioning the acts of rulers. Palace structures as seats of power are clear in exclusionary organizations where one dynasty rules a state, but not easy to detect in corporate organizations. Different types of palaces may have been present in ancient complex societies: residential palaces, administrative palaces, and multifunctional palaces. This symposium will explore how archaeologists detect functional sectors within a palatial complex or building in Mesoamerican archaeology.