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The Transition to Home Living in Middle America

Author(s): John Clark

Year: 2015

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Summary

In Middle America the transition from the Archaic to Early Formative period (ca. 2000-1400 BC) was marked by the first use of pottery and the construction of durable dwelling clustered in small hamlets or villages. These markers of year-round dwelling in one place represent a major transition in Early Formative times to neolithic lifeways and presumably lifeworlds. I review the evidence of the earliest houses known from highland and lowland regions of Middle America, with an emphasis on the Pacific coastal lowlands of Chiapas, Mexico. The evidence of Late Archaic dwellings is extremely sparse for all of Middle America, so the full nature of the transition in domestic architecture and structures cannot be reconstructed. One is left mostly to conjecture based on the earliest structures built in the Early Formative period. I review the evidence of early domestic structures known for proto-Mesoamerica here and speculate on how the transition from living in caves or ephemeral shelters to durable houses may have been experienced. At a minimum, the transition must have involved a shift from living in sheltered areas to dwelling in one’s own home.

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The Transition to Home Living in Middle America. John Clark. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395489)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica


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