Conquering Aztecs and Resisting Tlaxcaltecas: The Body as a Site of Creating and Challenging State Narratives
Author(s): Keitlyn Alcantara
Narratives of Aztec grandeur dominate portrayals of Late Postclassic (AD 1325-1519) Mesoamerica. While imperial influence spread rapidly and thoroughly throughout the central valleys, Tlaxcallan appears as a rift in imperial control, resisting the encircling empire. Aztec narratives relegate Tlaxcallan to the peripheries, downplaying Tlaxcaltecas as one-dimensional barbaric enemies, unconquered by choice. In contrast, ethnohistoric accounts from within Tlaxcallan emphasize a state that intentionally separated itself from the Aztecs in ideology, social organization, and political and economic alliances, actively challenging the encroaching empire. For both groups, rising political tensions at the end of the Postclassic served as a catalyst for specific constructions of identity, demonstrating the political value of an image of cohesion. While these identities are often portrayed as fixed, this presentation will analyze human skeletal remains excavated from the urban center of Tepeticpac, Tlaxcallan to explore how the body serves both as a point of state defined identity, while also capturing lived experiences that depart from controlled social and political categories.
Cite this Record
Conquering Aztecs and Resisting Tlaxcaltecas: The Body as a Site of Creating and Challenging State Narratives. Keitlyn Alcantara. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444528)
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min long: -107.271; min lat: 18.48 ; max long: -94.087; max lat: 23.161 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21366