Metal Trade and Interregional Dynamics of the Mesoamerican Late Postclassic Period

Author(s): Blanca Maldonado; Niklas Schulze

Year: 2015


The way people were placed in relation to each other was fundamental to the distinctive character of Mesoamerica, as a historically linked series of socially stratified, economically differentiated, complex societies. Long-distance exchange, one of the practices through which intensive interaction between different peoples was fostered, was centrally concerned with obtaining materials used for marking distinctions between commoners and nobles. Costume was a major means of marking distinctions between different kinds of people in Mesoamerica, and for signaling their position in society. Feathers, polished mirrors, and carved greenstone ornaments were all important components of costumes, indicating special status and rank. The Mesoamerican world as a social system was thus formed by its elite prestige system. Sometime during the Epiclassic/Postclassic Period, a new kind of prestige good emerged and was introduced into the trade system: metal. Copper, silver and gold came to be extensively used in the manufacture of a considerable array of adornments and artifacts for elite use and exchange. This paper explores the role of the production and distribution of metal goods in the sociopolitical structure of Mesoamerican societies during the Late Postclassic Period.

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Cite this Record

Metal Trade and Interregional Dynamics of the Mesoamerican Late Postclassic Period. Blanca Maldonado, Niklas Schulze. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396370)

Spatial Coverage

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