Western Mexico: Opening Act of the Mesoamerican Epiclassic

Author(s): Christopher Beekman

Year: 2015


The Epiclassic has been described as a major watershed in Mesoamerican prehistory, but in different or even contradictory ways. The period has been claimed to usher in a shift from prestige to mercantile economies, religious to military political systems, territorial states to city-states, parochial to international art styles, and in the case of western Mexico, from non-Mesoamerican to Mesoamerican society. These metanarratives have privileged formal characteristics, which are in any case found empirically wanting, at the expense of understanding the causes, processes, or complexity of the disruptions characterizing this era. In western Mexico, the Teuchitlán culture was replaced by new settlements of Bajío origin ca. A.D. 500, a century earlier than is typically recognized as Epiclassic. Even so, the processes in motion are the same noted elsewhere in many areas of Mesoamerica – namely climate change, warfare and population dislocation, the disruption of polities dependent upon a relatively sedentary and docile population, new demands on the prestige economy, and major changes in iconography. These were epic processes in the sense proposed by the organizers, and they can only be clarified by moving beyond the simple dichotomies used to define the Epiclassic.

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Cite this Record

Western Mexico: Opening Act of the Mesoamerican Epiclassic. Christopher Beekman. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396181)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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