Commensal Politics, Intersectional Politics: Serving Ceramics at Early Colonial Achiutla, Oaxaca, Mexico
Author(s): Jamie Forde
In this paper I present findings from recent excavations of a high-status indigenous residence at the site of San Miguel Achiutla, Oaxaca, Mexico. The data show that, contrary to typical expectations, frequencies of elaborate indigenous Mixtec polychrome serving wares rise considerably from the Postclassic to the Early Colonial period, rather than these ceramics being replaced by European style ceramics. Nevertheless, residents of Achiutla did indeed have access to European glazed wares, and used tin-enameled majolicas with considerable frequency, in particular. I attribute this pattern to indigenous nobles having served as primary interlocutors between Spanish authorities and their broader native constituencies following the social upheaval of the Conquest. As such, they would have negotiated with and attempted to appease the demands of both of these different groups simultaneously. I suggest that the ceramic patterning indicates they did so in part through commensal politics, entertaining these various groups at feasting events. I contextualize the archaeological data with ethnohistorical evidence to illustrate how this made for a rather delicate balancing act for colonial indigenous elites.
Cite this Record
Commensal Politics, Intersectional Politics: Serving Ceramics at Early Colonial Achiutla, Oaxaca, Mexico. Jamie Forde. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442640)
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min long: -98.679; min lat: 15.496 ; max long: -94.724; max lat: 18.271 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21129