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Figurines, Households, and Social Identities at La Blanca during the Middle Preclassic Period

Author(s): Karleen Ronsairo

Year: 2016

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The development of social complexity in Ancient Mesoamerica during the Preclassic period is marked by ideological change, economic intensification, and increasing political and social inequality. Performing household rituals allowed the people of Ancient Mesoamerica to negotiate their social identities and to contest or conform to dominant public ideologies that emerged with increasing social complexity. In Pacific Guatemala, La Blanca was one of two major regional centers during the Middle Preclassic period (900-600 B.C.). State-household relations and social differentiation can be investigated by considering differential distribution of highly valued goods across households. Stylistic analysis, visual paste analysis, and distributional analysis of figurines from La Blanca demonstrate figurine production likely occurred in all households, indicating figurine consumption was not restricted to elite households. However, distributional analysis show more figurines are observed in elite households than in commoner households. This makes figurines a reliable indicator of household differentiation and the negotiation of social identities at La Blanca during the Middle Preclassic period. By investigating household differentiation and social identities at La Blanca, the results of these figurine analyses inform us of the different ways in which people responded to increasing social and political inequality in Ancient Mesoamerica during the Preclassic period.

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Figurines, Households, and Social Identities at La Blanca during the Middle Preclassic Period. Karleen Ronsairo. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405142)


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