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Chipped Tool Production and Exchange in Late Postclassic Tlaxcallan: Integrating Specialized Production with the Political Economy of a Collective State

Author(s): Marc Marino ; Lane Fargher ; Richard Blanton ; Verenice Heredia Espinoza ; John Millhauser

Year: 2017

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Summary

Archaeological and ethnohistoric research has demonstrated that political-economic strategies in Late Postclassic (AD 1250 – 1521) Tlaxcallan were highly collective. At the same time, recent cross-cultural research indicates that collective political structures are strongly correlated with internal revenue sources, or taxes and corvée paid by free citizens. Thus, we hypothesize that Tlaxcaltecan political architects established internal revenue strategies to fund state activities. If this were the case, we would expect that goods were distributed through either large-scale redistribution or through open and competitive markets (as commodities). In this paper, we test this hypothesis by drawing on a dataset of roughly 5,700 obsidian artifacts yielded by excavations in two Late Postclassic residential terraces located within the city of Tlaxcallan. These data demonstrate that imported obsidian was widely used as a bulk economic resource. Thus, although obsidian was difficult to acquire due to Tlaxcallan’s antagonistic relationship with the Aztec, the distribution of obsidian was not controlled for political gain (e.g., distributed as gifts through embedded exchange systems). Thus, this paper contributes to broader studies of economy in Central Mexico by illustrating alternative paths to production and exchange available to consumers.


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Chipped Tool Production and Exchange in Late Postclassic Tlaxcallan: Integrating Specialized Production with the Political Economy of a Collective State. Marc Marino, Lane Fargher, Richard Blanton, Verenice Heredia Espinoza, John Millhauser. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431144)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15634

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