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Among the most sumptuous buildings of antiquity were royal palaces. As in the Old World, kings and nobles of ancient Mexico and Peru had luxurious administrative quarters in cities, and exquisite pleasure palaces in the countryside. This volume explores the great houses of the ancient New World, from palaces of the Aztecs and Incas, looted by the Spanish conquistadors, to those lost high in the Andes and deep in the jungle. This volume, the first scholarly compendium of elite residences of the high cultures of the New World, presents definitive descriptions and interpretations by leading scholars in the field. Authoritative yet accessible, this extensively illustrated book will serve as an important resource for anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians of art, architecture, and related disciplines.
Lightning has evoked a numinous response as well as powerful timeless references and symbols among ancient religions throughout the world. Thunder and lightning have also taken on various symbolic manifestations, some representing primary deities, as in the case of Zeus and Jupiter in the Greco/Roman tradition, and Thor in Norse myth. Similarly, lightning veneration played an important role to the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica and Andean South America. Lightning veneration and the religious cults and their associated rituals represent to varying degrees a worship of nature and the forces that shape the natural world. The inter-relatedness of the cultural and natural environment is related to what may be called a widespread cultural perception of the natural world as sacred, a kind of mythic landscape. Comparative analysis of the Andes and Mesoamerica has been a recurring theme recently in part because two of the areas of "high civilization" in the Americas have much in common despite substantial ecological differences, and in part because there is some evidence, of varying quality, that some people had migrated from one area to the other. Lightning in the Andes and Mesoamerica is the first ever study to explore the symbolic elements surrounding lightning in their associated Pre-Columbian religious ideologies. Moreover, it extends its examination to contemporary culture to reveal how cultural perceptions of the sacred, their symbolic representations and ritual practices, and architectural representations in the landscape were conjoined in the ancient past. Ethnographic accounts and ethnohistoric documents provide insights through first-hand accounts that broaden our understanding of levels of syncretism since the European contact. The interdisciplinary research presented herein also provides a basis for tracing back Pre-Columbian manifestations of lightning its associated religious beliefs and ritual practices, as well as its mythological, symbolic, iconographic, and architectural representations to earlier civilizations. This unique study will be of great interest to scholars of Pre-Columbian South and Mesoamerica, and will stimulate future comparative studies by archaeologists and anthropologists.
This is the first comprehensive, one-volume encyclopedia in English devoted to pre-Columbian archaeology of the Mesoamerican culture area. In more than 500 articles by the major experts in the field, this work brings the most recent scholarship to an examination of regional environments and their cultural evolution. Entries range from the familiar and world-renowned archaeological discoveries of Maya and Aztec sites to more recent excavations such as the Sayil archaeological zone in the Yucatan and Teopantecuanitlan in Guerrero. A rich historical and cultural resource on one of the world's six cradles of civilization, this reference is ideal for students, scholars, and prospective travellers.
This volume investigates how the structure and use of space developed and changed in cities, and examines the role of different societal groups in shaping urbanism. Culturally and chronologically diverse case studies provide a basis to examine recent theoretical and methodological shifts in the archaeology of ancient cities. The book's primary goal is to examine how ancient cities were made by the people who lived in them. The authors argue that there is a mutually constituting relationship between urban form and the actions and interactions of a plurality of individuals, groups, and institutions, each with their own motivations and identities. Space is therefore socially produced as these agents operate in multiple spheres.
Ancient American palaces still captivate those who stand before them. Even in their fallen and ruined condition, the palaces project such power that, according to the editors of this new collection, it must have been deliberately drawn into their formal designs, spatial layouts, and choice of locations. Such messages separated palaces from other elite architecture and reinforced the power and privilege of those residing in them. Indeed, as Christie and Sarro write, "the relation between political power and architecture is a pervasive and intriguing theme in the Americas." Given the variety of cultures, time periods, and geographical locations examined within, the editors of this book have grouped the articles into four sections. The first looks at palaces in cultures where they have not previously been identified, including the Huaca of Moche Site, the Wari of Peru, and Chaco Canyon in the U.S. Southwest. The second section discusses palaces as "stage sets" that express power, such as those found among the Maya, among the Coast Salish of the Pacific Northwest, and at El Tajín on the Mexican Gulf Coast. The third part of the volume presents cases in which differences in elite residences imply differences in social status, with examples from Pasado de la Amada, the Valley of Oaxaca, Teotihuacan, and the Aztecs. The final section compares architectural strategies between cultures; the models here are Farfán, Peru, under both the Chimú and the Inka, and the separate states of the Maya and the Inka. Such scope, and the quality of the scholarship, make Palaces and Power in the Americas a must-have work on the subject.
Translated into English in 1887, this survey of the ancient cities of Mexico and Central America remains valuable to modern archaeologists.
The Oxford Handbook of the Aztecs, the first of its kind, provides a current overview of recent research on the Aztec empire, the best documented prehispanic society in the Americas. Chapters span from the establishment of Aztec city-states to the encounter with the Spanish empire and the Colonial period that shaped the modern world. Articles in the Handbook take up new research trends and methodologies and current debates. The Handbook articles are divided into seven parts. Part I, Archaeology of the Aztecs, introduces the Aztecs, as well as Aztec studies today, including the recent practice of archaeology, ethnohistory, museum studies, and conservation. The articles in Part II, Historical Change, provide a long-term view of the Aztecs starting with important predecessors, the development of Aztec city-states and imperialism, and ending with a discussion of the encounter of the Aztec and Spanish empires. Articles also discuss Aztec notions of history, writing, and time. Part III, Landscapes and Places, describes the Aztec world in terms of its geography, ecology, and demography at varying scales from households to cities. Part IV, Economic and Social Relations in the Aztec Empire, discusses the ethnic complexity of the Aztec world and social and economic relations that have been a major focus of archaeology. Articles in Part V, Aztec Provinces, Friends, and Foes, focuses on the Aztec's dynamic relations with distant provinces, and empires and groups that resisted conquest, and even allied with the Spanish to overthrow the Aztec king. This is followed by Part VI, Ritual, Belief, and Religion, which examines the different beliefs and rituals that formed Aztec religion and their worldview, as well as the material culture of religious practice. The final section of the volume, Aztecs after the Conquest, carries the Aztecs through the post-conquest period, an increasingly important area of archaeological work, and considers the place of the Aztecs in the modern world.

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