Pastwatch: The Roots of Historical Capitalism in the New World

Author(s): Craig A. Hanson

Year: 2014


Historical archaeology may be defined as the Latin-script-aided archaeology of the past 500 years. The direct historical approach of New World archaeologists has its analogical sources in this period. Its beginning coincided with the emergence of a capitalist political economy, the Renaissance and European New World colonization. Wallerstein modeled the process by which a capitalist world-system incorporated indigenous cultural geographies and Frank hypothesized a precocious world-systems model explaining capitalist development in post-fifteenth-century Latin American history. The ‘question that counts’ in this historical context asks: was a capitalist political economy present in the Early Latin American Village of the sixteenth-century? The question has significant implications for method, theory, and Old and New World history. Yucatecan Mayan- and Spanish-language documents and archaeological investigation of the sixteenth-century Mayan settlement at Ek Balam, Yucatan, provide evidence vis-à vis capitalist incorporation in the periphery, ca 1550-1600 CE.

Cite this Record

Pastwatch: The Roots of Historical Capitalism in the New World. Craig A. Hanson. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436855)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-33,04