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Izapa’s Hinterland: the use of Lidar mapping to examine the layout and spatial orientation of secondary centers in the Soconusco region, Chiapas, Mexico

Author(s): Robert M. Rosenswig ; Michael Blake ; Nicholas Waber

Year: 2015

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Summary

We analyze the settlement layout patterns and orientations of major buildings at eight Middle and Late Formative period sites that fall within Izapa’s hinterland. Our previous examination of Izapa’s layout, using high-resolution Lidar maps, confirmed the observations of earlier researchers that the site had a dual orientation: N-S aligned to the volcano Tacaná and E-W to winter solstice sunrise. This dual orientation led to an off-square (97degrees) layout of the site during the Late Formative period, and perhaps dates even earlier to the Middle Formative. New Lidar mapping of the Izapa’s hinterland provide accurate plans of individual mound orientations along with complete layout patterns for eight major sites. These new Lidar maps show that these secondary centers have layouts that are very similar to Izapa’s pattern, but they also reveal significant orientation adjustments to both the volcano Tacaná and to solstice sunrise locations on the distant horizon. These data show the pervasive significance of the duality of sacred mountains and solar movements in the cosmology of the ancient peoples of the Soconusco.

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Izapa’s Hinterland: the use of Lidar mapping to examine the layout and spatial orientation of secondary centers in the Soconusco region, Chiapas, Mexico. Michael Blake, Robert M. Rosenswig, Nicholas Waber. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395219)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America