The Neighborhood as a Social and Spatial Unit in Mesoamerican Cities

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M. Charlotte Arnauld, Linda R. Manzanilla, Michael E. Smith
University of Arizona Press, Dec 1, 2012 - Social Science - 352 pages
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Recent realizations that prehispanic cities in Mesoamerica were fundamentally different from western cities of the same period have led to increasing examination of the neighborhood as an intermediate unit at the heart of prehispanic urbanization. This book addresses the subject of neighborhoods in archaeology as analytical units between households and whole settlements.

The contributions gathered here provide fieldwork data to document the existence of sociopolitically distinct neighborhoods within ancient Mesoamerican settlements, building upon recent advances in multi-scale archaeological studies of these communities. Chapters illustrate the cultural variation across Mesoamerica, including data and interpretations on several different cities with a thematic focus on regional contrasts. This topic is relatively new and complex, and this book is a strong contribution for three interwoven reasons. First, the long history of research on the “Teotihuacan barrios” is scrutinized and withstands the test of new evidence and comparison with other Mesoamerican cities. Second, Maya studies of dense settlement patterns are now mature enough to provide substantial case studies. Third, theoretical investigation of ancient urbanization all over the world is now more complex and open than it was before, giving relevance to Mesoamerican perspectives on ancient and modern societies in time and space.

This volume will be of interest not only to scholars and student specialists of the Mesoamerican past but also to social scientists and urbanists looking to contrast ancient cultures worldwide.
 

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About the author (2012)

M. Charlotte Arnauld is an archaeologist and research director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Archéologie des Amériques in France. Linda R. Manzanilla is a professor and researcher at the Institute for Anthropological Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Michael E. Smith is a professor of anthropology in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University.

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