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Configuring Space in a Valdivia Town: Social Precepts, Cosmological Mandates, and Emergent Hierarchy in Early Formative Ecuador

Author(s): James Zeidler

Year: 2016

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Summary

This paper revisits interpretations of the built environment at the Early Formative Valdivia town site of Real Alto in coastal Guayas province, Ecuador, from the broader comparative perspective of contemporary Formative Period sites throughout the Americas. Special emphasis is placed on the Middle Valdivia town configuration encompassing individual households, residential neighborhoods, open plazas, and central ceremonial space, but consideration is also given to Late Valdivia transformations both at Real Alto and at other sites in the coastal Ecuadorian lowlands. These nested spatial scales are briefly examined in terms of likely social and cosmological principles for organizing space and time in the Valdivia community and from which emergent social complexity appeared. Finally, these social transformations in Valdivia culture are examined through the lens of Isbell’s (2000) re-conceptualized imaginary communities following the work of Anderson (1986, 2006) and the concept is then explored for cross-cultural analyses of Formative Period settlements in the Americas more generally.


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Configuring Space in a Valdivia Town: Social Precepts, Cosmological Mandates, and Emergent Hierarchy in Early Formative Ecuador. James Zeidler. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 402950)


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min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

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