Wealth Inequality in the Late Classic Valley of Oaxaca: A Domestic Perspective

Author(s): Ronald Faulseit; Gary Feinman; Linda Nicholas

Year: 2016


The Late Classic period in the Valley of Oaxaca is marked by shared practices in residential organization, design, the layout of houses, and domestic artifact assemblages both within and between sites throughout the region. This degree of homogeneity allows for cross-site comparison of excavated residences to examine household wealth inequality on a systemic and regional scale. In this paper, we employ different indices to explore multiple lines of evidence (e.g., patio size and other architectural measures as well as access to portable goods) to quantitatively measure wealth disparity among 15 Late Classic residences spanning five sites in the Valley of Oaxaca. Individual axes of inequality are not entirely consistent, thereby illustrating that wealth may be constituted differently in distinct contexts. Despite challenges of sampling, the overall pattern reveals that the extent of wealth disparity among households (large and small, elaborate and basic) is less extensive than might be expected for an urban society or is found in other contemporaneous Mesoamerican cases.

Cite this Record

Wealth Inequality in the Late Classic Valley of Oaxaca: A Domestic Perspective. Ronald Faulseit, Gary Feinman, Linda Nicholas. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403397)

Spatial Coverage

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