Interregional Interaction in the SE Maya Periphery: the Santa Barbara Archaeological Project 1983-1984 Seasons

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Archaeological study of the SE Maya Periphery has lagged considerably behind research in other portions of Meseoamerica, resulting in a dearth of time-space systematics for this extensive zone. In addition, the examination of prehistoric interaction networks encompassing state and non-state level societies and their mutual effects has not received much scholarly attention. These join practical and theoretical concerns have been addressed by the 1983-1984 research efforts of the Santa Barbara Archaeological Project working within a 135 sq km region in the middle of Rio Ulua drainage, west-central Honduras. Work completed to date within two of the largest subregions of the zone has revealed a culture history ranging from the Late Preclassic (ca. 400 B.C.) through the Spanish Conquest (ca. A.C. 1536), during which time ranked political systems developed and maintained extensive interregional ties. Data in hand suggest that different portions of the region followed divergent developmental trajectories in response to varying regional and interregional stresses. The major Maya polity of Copan to the west is seen as having played a large role in the history of the entire zone. The 1983-1984 seasons of the Santa Barbara Archaeological Project provided new data on the culture history of the SE Maya Periphery and suggest a novel way of modeling the relationships among regional and interregional factors in accounting for the development of social complexity within non-state societies interacting with indigenous states.


Journal of Field Archaeology





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