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Incorporation and Independence in the Preclassic Western Maya Lowlands: Integrating Local and Regional Traditions at Rancho Búfalo, Chiapas, Mexico

Author(s): Jeffrey Dobereiner

Year: 2015

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Summary

In this paper, I explore tensions between territorial integration and local resilience at Rancho Búfalo, Chiapas, a five hectare Preclassic center that was geographically intermediate to the cultural territories of the Olmec, Lowland Maya, and Pacific Coast. This site's residents' employed a localized approach to extra-local architectural packages, ceramic spheres and burial traditions, that complicates traditional narratives of ethnic and political incorporation in Preclassic Southern Mesoamerica. Their continuing access to imported goods such as marine shell and chemically fingerprinted obsidian indicates that this independence did not curtail their productive interaction with broader networks of Preclassic exchange. I contextualize their ability to balance local independence and broader territorial integration by drawing upon studies of the Classic Period and modern Usumacinta River Valley, and the unique geography that has led to its multi-millennia history as a contested space. By demonstrating heterogeneity in political and cultural territories that are traditionally construed as "well integrated," I interrogate the epistemological and geographic boundaries that have been imposed by researchers on the Maya area, and Mesoamerica more broadly.

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Incorporation and Independence in the Preclassic Western Maya Lowlands: Integrating Local and Regional Traditions at Rancho Búfalo, Chiapas, Mexico. Jeffrey Dobereiner. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395256)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;

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