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A Spectral Haunting of Society: Longue Duree Archaeologies of Capitalism and Antimarkets in Colonial Guatemala

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A Spectral Haunting of Society: Longue Duree Archaeologies of Capitalism and Antimarkets in Colonial Guatemala
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  C. Gnecco 344 'Id Chicago· University of Chicago T . M (1987) Shamanism colonialism and the w1 ,nan. . auss1g, . · ' Press. . . /' · ,I recognition. Princeton: Princeton T I C ( 1994). Multiculturalism. Exam1111ng the po ii/cs o; ay or, . University Press. , . 1 . blema de/ otro Mexico: Siglo XXI. Todorov, T. (1989). La conquista de Amenca. E pA,~hropology and. the modern world. New York: Troui\lot, M. R. (2003). Global transformatwns. n Palgrave Macmillan. h 1 and the method of controlled uquivoca-Yiveiros de Castro, E. (2004). Perspectival ant ropo ~gy of 1 ow/and South /lm e rictJ , 2 (1 ), 3-22. tion. Ttpiti: Journal of he So~iety for .the Anthr~{o :S~ociales en America Latina. Tabula Rasa, Wade, P. (2006). Etnicidad, mult1culturahsmo Y po I ,c 4 59-81. . . . . " . ,, 1 M Bovin, A. Rosato, & V. Arribas (Eds.), Wright, S. (2007). La pohtizacion ?e lad cu~t~t: la :ntr~pologia social y cultural (pp. 128-141). Constructores de otredad. Una intro uccwn Buenos Aires: Antropofagia. Chapter 15 A Spectral Haunting o Society: Longue Duree Archaeologies o Capitalism and Antimarkets in Colonial Guatemala Guido Pezzarossi Introduction The archaeology of capitalism, as a subtopic in historical archaeology, has cemented its position as a cornerstone of historical archaeology writ large. This positioning Is due in no small patt to the clear modem relevance of such projects as they inform on the specific historical trajectory that led to the development of the modern world and its manifold problems. Among the "haunts" of historical archaeology (Orser 1996), capitalism and its mutually constitutive entanglements with Western European early modern colonialism, have emerged as central analytical objects in historical archaeology. Indeed, in many ways these concepts, analytical objects, processes, or formations of capitalism and colonialism have become central lenses through which archaeological assemblages from a post-I 492 date have been interpreted across the globe (Croucher and Weiss 2011; Leone 1999; Mrozowski et al. 2000; Mrozowski 2006; Orser 1996). Despite the importance of tracing the development and effects of global capitalism-and thus modernity -archaeologi cally across the globe, definitions of what exactly capitalism is/was have remained murky. When capitalism is defined, it is in such a way as to privilege the uniquely nineteenth century global North conceptualization and manifestation of practices and processes attributed to the onset of capitalism (but see papers in Croucher and Weiss 2011 ). In effect, these definitions drive two problematic avenues of analyses of capitalism in historical archaeology: (l) archaeologies of global capitalism (and its effects) remain focused predominantly on the articulations of capitalism in North American and Western European contexts (wherein the Latin American contexts and others remain on the "peripheries" of the emerging modem world system as founts of cheap labor and/or raw materials) and (2) capitalism remains undertheorized and overly applied, in essence modeled as a ubiquitous monolith, a taken-forgranted, that is responsible for changes and practices observed archaeologically. G. Pezzarossi (181) Depaitment of Anthropology, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA e-mail: gpezzaro@maxwell.syr.edu © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015 345 M. P Leone, J.E. Knauf(cds.) Nistoric al Archaeologies of Capitalism, Contributions To Global His toric11l Archaeology, DOI 10 .1007/978-3-319-12760-6_ 15  346 G. Pezzarossi This chapter emerges from my confrontation with these issues. Recent research in colonial period Maya communities in Guatemala quickly brought to light the incompatibility of archaeologies of "global" capitalism with the historical archaeology of capitalist colonial contexts in Latin America. In patticular, the context of Mesoamerica provides an intriguing case study thal punctures notions of the uniqueness of capitalism, or rather the uniqueness of capitalist processes, practices and their associated effects. In particular while deliniti ns of capitaLism and arguments for the specific traits that delineate capitalist from noncapitalist vary wildly the definition that has come to have the most enduring traction and wide-ranging folk acceptance has been the notion of free markets and competition as the engine driving 'true capitalism. As a result, competitive free market-based exchange and thu market engagement and even dependence are among the core trait and/ or technologies that ha e come to define the modern global capitalist economy. However, the Mesoamerican region and Maya region in particular have yielded archaeological and documentary evidence of the presence and importance of market-based exchange and interdependence since at least the Classic Period (200-900 CE), with some evidence for market-based exchange even earlier in the Late Preclassic ( 400 BCE-200 CE) (Hirth and Pillsbury 2013, pp. 10-11; Masson and Freidel 2012) continuing and indeed intensifying in the Postclassic (1000-1500 CE) (Braswell 201 Oa) right up until and through the Spanish colonization of the region starting in 1521 CE. My recent research at the multicomponent Kaqchikel Maya site of San Pedro Aguacatepeque, located in the Pacific Piedmont region of Guatemala (Fig. 15. l ), has provided evidence of long-te1m market engagement, and even dependence, for ceramic vessels from the Late Classic to the Late Colonial (1800 CE) in conjunction with specialization in cash and tribute crop cultivation, in particular cacao and later sugarcane in the Colonial period (Pezzarossi 2014a). What are we to make of this observation? Clearly, there are parallels between these pre-Hispanic and colonial practices and those argued to be iconic of capitalism. However, precolonial Maya contexts are argued to be clearly different from capitalist contexts. Moreover, Spanish colonial contexts writ large are frequently excluded from analysis of global capitalism on the basis of their more "feudal" relations of production (see Pezzarossi 2014a). In essence, the "feudal" relations of Spanish colonial contexts or the "precapitalist" Maya contexts are categorizations that are used to separate out modern from premodern on the basis of the central role of unequal power and coercion and/or political manipulation in structuring the exchange and labor practices of "premodern" contexts. This argument is made explicitly in archaeologies focu ed on precolonial highland Maya exchange practices, a competitive free market-based exchange is positioned at top of he hierarchy of Maya exchange relations, only achieved in the late stages of Maya precolonial history (Braswe ll and Glascock 2002; Braswell 2010b). These free market exchange relationships are marked as the most 'modern" form of exchange due to its alleged similarity to modern day global capitalist exchange. ln turn, modern forms of free exchange are cow1terpoi ed to manipulated fo1ms of premodern (or precapitalist) '' primitive' exc hange wherein unequal power is used to control or structure the terms of exchange for the benefit of se lect individuals or groups. Thus, Spanish 15 A Spectral Haun ling of Society 347 Fig. 15 1 Map oflocations in Southern Guatemala mentioned in text colonial and precolonial Maya market-based exchanges, despite numerous simil~rities to true capitalist contexts, are differentiated on the basis of the ove~ c~erci.o~ structuring them and the "unfree" nature of their exchange. This discussion . s c. r1t1- cal, as it exposes a pervasive and pernicious myth in the discour~e of capit~ltsm,: namely that it is in modern practice a system defined by the operation of the free market and self-disciplined by its invisible hand. . Rather than delving into an analysis of capitalism defined on ~he basis of one. or another trait, this chapter takes a rather experimental turn in the mtere~t of movmg beyond the baggage-laden concept of capitalism all together and ~urn mg analyses of capitalism in colonial contexts on their head" \see Wallerstem 1991). As ~e Landa (1997, p. 48) argues: the conceptual confusion engendered by .all the different uses of the world "capitalism" (as "free enterprise" or as "industnal mod~ of production" ... as "world-economy") is so entrenched that it ... has reached the limits of its usefulness." Instead, I draw on the materialist historical framework of Fernand Braudel and its recent interpretation by Manuel De Landa to approach capitalism not as a system defined by free markets, but rather as the social and material consequences and effects of the operation ofunfree "antimarkets." Antimarkets in this perspective are defined as power/violence-manipulated 1~a'.·ket-based .commerce and exchanges, counter to the free markets of Adam Smiths a~d neolibe.ral notions of capitalism that have percolated into popular knowledge. This alternative  348 G. Pezzarossi approach does not attempt to redefine capitalism in a new way, but rather is an attempt to identify the effects of the operation of one of the central mechanisms of the emergence of the early modern and modern global economy (i.e., the coerced unequal exchanges of antimarkets). . Re?rienting towards antimarkets and their effects holds great promise for dealing with the broader issues of defining and identifying capitalism in non-Western or non.classic capit~list contexts (Pezzarossi 20 l 4a; Stern 199 3) by moving away from static, monohth1c abstractions of capitalism that are always already insufficient 110 matter the temporal or spatial context. Finally, I argue that looking for antimarkets (rather than capitalism) better situates our analyses to account for the contours of power that structured exchange in the past and present. From this perspective, the nebulous concept of capitalism is dissipated, exposing the historically constituted develop~ent, operation and effects of the mechanisms and processes that scholars ha~e attributed to the fetishized notion of capitalism since its emergence as an analytical concept/object in the nineteenth century (see Chiapello 2007). The broader conceptual goal of this chapter is to highlight the unfree nature of supposedly "free" markets of modern global capitalism and bring the role of unequal power in affording capitalist relations-and their effects-into relief. In turn, I hope to bring to light the indissoluble entanglements of the modern capitalist world economy with the violence and inequality of the Western colonial projects that afforded_ it. My p~rticul~r regionally sa lient goa ls are to contextua li ze the pr sence ofSpams~ colom_al ant1markets in Guatemala within the lon ger-term history of t~1 e Meso~mencan regtoo that saw such parallel processes emerge prior to coloniza t~on. Tracing _Parall el antimarkets deeper in time than the early modern period high lr ght~ the a t1ve rol e that ex pli cit ly Mesoamerican and Maya formations played in s_bapm g the form of panish colonial markets and antimarkets. In addition, the ant1market approach provides the added benefit of deconstructing notions of capital'ist processes .an d effects as unique manifestations of modernity and opens new spaces for analyzmg how parallel processes operated similarly and differently in the deeper Maya past. 111e archaeological and archival assemblage from the community of Aguacatepeque speak to the theoretical issues discussed above which indicate the community's sustained and intensive entanglements with markets and antimarkets through its l?n~ occupation. ~ather than fixate on whether Aguacatepeque was or was not cap1tahst, my analysis explores how markets and antimarkets created the conditions for the emergence of what have been labeled capitalist relations in both pre-and posthispanic contexts. Despite the similarities, however, the outco:Ues and effects differ dramatically as colonial antimarkets and their effects Jed to the intens fied di~possession of Maya time and labor (Pezzarossi 20 I 4a). This disposses s10n of time _afforded n_ew dependencies on currency, cash crops wage labor and market-acqmred ceramics th.at transformed community practice at Aguacatepeque. Howe~er, these transformations also fostered new self-organized "infom1al and ~nmampulated markets that facilitated Aguacatepeque's survival and integration mto the Guatemalan Spanish colonial world. 15 A Spectral Haunting of Society Rethinking Capitalism: Grounding the Abstracted Capitalist Solidity and Questioning the Uniqueness o Capitalism and Its Effects 349 Embarking on the archaeology of capitalism, one is quickly confronted with the thorny issue of defining what exactly is or is not capitalism and when/where (and if) it "appears." Across disciplines, capitalism has been defined in a variety of ways, all of which are rooted in the identification of a set of traits and practices seen as iconic of and potentially unique to the capitalist system, its relations of production and its ideology. Yet it is critical to point out that what is termed capitalism (emerging from the nineteenth century scholarship as a concept; Chiapello 2007) is not a single thing, but rather an elastic term used to describe entire economic systems and totalities as well as specific relations of production that may exist within a broader "noncapitalist" context (see Johnson 1996, p. 7). In a previous publication, I have dealt with this issue as it relates to scholars' attempts at arguing for Spanish colonial contexts as capitalist or noncapitalist (Pezzarossi 2014a), an endeavor that Stern argues leads to "conceptual traps and sterile circular debati;:s" (Stern I 988, p. 84 I). Historical evidence lays bare the clear entanglements of colonialism and capitalism in Western colonial projects of the fifteenth through sixteenth centuries (Harvey 2010, p. 298; Marx 1990, p. 918), and thus can be considered an a priori justification for examining how capitalist relations and processes influenced life in Spanish colonial contexts and vice versa. However despite this, Stern's warning is frequently overlooked and studies remain locked in the unproductive task of identifying a single practice or some unique combination of a variety of practices and set of relations argued to be iconic of and unique to capitalism (e.g., industrialized "free" wage labor (Harvey 2010, p. 296; Marx I 990), market dependence (Wood 2002, p. 50, 54 ), com modification, capital accumulation, ideological shifts, etc.). In response to the deficiencies of these approaches, Stern I 988, I 993) has argued for the need to develop models that better account for uniquely Spanish colonial hybrid articulations of capitalism and modernity as constituted by a "shifting combination of heterogeneous relations of production in a pragmatic package" (Stem 1993, p. 53). Stern's approach provides an interesting perspective for the main thrust of this chapter, as he argues that within the heterogeneous package of relations of production in the Spanish colonies, one finds components of a capitalist economy, from "approximations of wage labor, complicated tenancy, share and debt-credit arrangements, and forced labor drafts and slavery." This diversity emerges from the "dominance of commercial capital over production" that established variegated modes of production in the interest of extracting surplus and profits in the most efficient manner possible across contexts (Stern I 993, pp. 54-55). Stern's contribution is critical, in large part due to their ability to account for the diversity of on-the-ground articulations of colonial and capitalist relations of production in disparate contexts within the "world system" (Wallerstein 1974) of the early modern world.  350 G. Pezzarossi Such approaches remain flexible in terms of the diversity of forms, by depending on a conception of capitalism as the outcome of the spread and impact of an ideology of greed (the "hobgoblin of capitalism"; Rollert 2014) emerging from Europe. This ideological approach is elegantly and powerfully articulated in historical archaeology by Mrozowski (2006) and Mrozowski et al. (2000). Mrozowski situates the rise of capitalism in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries as a result of the emerging "cupidity of the merchants class(es), their fixation on accumulation, and their activities in money lending .. [that] have all the essential earmarks of capitalism" (Mrozowski et al. 2000, p. xv). The argument is made that the development of modern capitalism was contingent on this change in ideology that made greed, as an individualized "fixation on accumulation" of wealth both acceptable and laudable (Mrozowski 2006, p. 11). Specifically, Mrozowski argues through Lester Thurow ( 1996, p. 11) that this ideology of cupidity necessitated the acceptance of the merchant as "pleasing to God," wherein the "individual needed to believe that he or she had not just the right, but the duty, to make as much money as possible" (see also Aho 2006). lnterestingly, Marx provides parallel and delightfully colorful commentary on this ideological process by arguing that global commerce and profiteering (and presumably the colonial appendages tied to it) were enabled by the emergence of an ideology that resembled: A strange God who perched himself side by side with the old divinities in Europe on the altar, and one fine day threw them all overboard with a shove and a kick. It proclaimed the making of profits as the ultimate and sole purpose of mankind. I 990, p. 918). At the heart of ideological approaches to capitalism is the notion of greed, conceived of as a drive to acquire and possesses more than necessary for basic needs, comforts, and luxuries (Oka and Kuijt 2014, p. 5). Debates about the importance and acceptance of greed within a capitalist system continue to rage in various medias and literature situationally, with its condemnation frequently arising in times of crisis such as that spurred by the Great Recession in 2007-2009 (Oka and Kuijt 2014). In other situations (i.e., when times are "good"), greed is seen as a positive force of "beneficial accumulation" that can drive prosperity and that stands as the end result of individual motivation and action (Oka and Kuijt 2014, p. 6). In addition, greed has been justified as an end in its own right (ala Ayn Rand) as well as morally acceptable and laudable for its own sake as the manifestation of efficient evolutionary processes (Gordon Gekko's "Greed is Good"). In the latter instance, greed loses some of its specific meaning and can be conflated with the "natural" human desire and will to survive and thrive, cutting close to Spinozian notions of the "conatus" that drives human action in the interest of self-preservation. In sum, excessive accumulation is taken as the outcome of"natural" human desires allowed to run free/unchecked. Human history then is one "haunted" by the inevitable effects of the dialectics of"challenge and riposte" (in the spirit ofBourdieu 1977, p. 15) of attempts at excessive accumulation and measures taken to mitigate or compete with them. This process parallels the dynamics ofmeshwork and stratification De Landa sees throughout human and geologic histories (see discussion of this as it relates to antimarkets below). 15 A Spectral Haunting of Society 351 Despite the ability of these ideological models to account for the diversity of forms of capitalism on the ground, 1 argue that capitalism remains modeled as a "thing" in such approaches. In this case, capitalism's essence becomes a taken-forgranted ideology that exerts a dominant influence on the unfolding of history via human conduits who thoughtlessly reflect this ideology of cupidity in their actions. Moreover, practices, people, and ideologies remain divided into the conceptually rigid, yet practically fuzzy and porous dichotomy of capitalist and noncapitalist. This ontological division fuels the reification of capitalism as solidity and bleeds into problematic Western/non-Western binaries. As Mitchell argues: "every attempt to describe the capitalist economy inevitably attempts to capture what distinguishes [the capitalist from the noncapitalist] ... The distinction gives capitalism its identity" (Mitchell 2002, p. 245 emphasis added). This distinction is based on the idea of a characteristic that is essential and unique to capitalism that is not present in a "local" noncapitalist context. Such discourse in effect defines capitalism through the foil of the non-Western and thus noncapitalist, a process parallel to the definition of the West via the foil of the Orient in colonial discourse (Said 1979). Materialist historians and theorists have provided an alternative approach that seeks to avoid this continued reification of capitalism as coherent entity, while providing tools for the analyses of the development and effects of power, processes, and practices historically ascribed to capitalism yet present in pre-Hispanic, colonial, and imperial contexts in Latin America. Markets, Antimarkets, and New) Materialist Archaeologies o Capitalism The above critique of the use of capitalism as a concept and interpretive model sets the stage for a reconfiguration of the archaeology of capitalism as the archaeology of changing relations of production and consumption, underwritten by emerging global disparities of power due in large part to how western colonial projects reconfigured the flows of people and things that constituted the connective tissue of the emerging "meshworks" (De Landa 1997; Ingold 2007) of the global economy or "capitalist world." These flows and the entangled unequal relations that maintained them are the "matter" upon which abstractions such as the "economy," "capitalism," and colonialism are constructed. As a result, analyses of capitalism require that attention be given to these tangled knots of human and nonhuman relations with the intention of racking how they developed and came together in specific contexts. As part of this, unequal power is an important element that influences (but does not determine) the way in which these tangles ofrelations come together. Reassembling the meshwork of associations that created the effects attributed to capitalism entails tracing power relations through the "contours" they create (Bennett 2010, p. 24 ). Braudel put forward a critique that metaphorically turns the tables on the analysis of capitalism by arguing that capitalism was/is the "system of the antimarket," rather than a system defined by free markets that afford the "free" exchange of  352 0. Pezzarossi commodities, labor, and capital (Wa ll erste in 19 9 J p. 354). In uude m1ini11 g Adam S mi th's definit io n of capi ta li sm as ba ed on th e invis ibl e hand of free' markets Braudel a nd later De La nd a situate capita li sm as the product and effects of un free' po wer-backed manipulations of market s. These effects take fo rm fr om th e rerout in g of urplus va lu e th ese un equal ex ch anges produce into the control of lb ose a bl. e to affect a id manipulation of markets with the inte ntion of accumulat in g wealth and power. In essence, the arg um ent is that what ha been dubbed capita li sm is in fact an 'e ffect' (see Coronil 2007; Pezzarossi 2 01 4a) of th e operation of antimarkets or monopolies [that] were the product of power, cunning and intellioence' that e~ ploited through ' u~ eq ual or for ce d exchange (Waller tein 19 9 l p. 356 empha-1s ~d ded). The question is thu posed shaking fr ee market models of capita li sm to their cor e: Wh en there was a. relationship of for ce of tltis ki nd , what exac tl y did the tenn upply a nd dema nd mean?' (Bra ud el 1979, p. 176· Wa ll erste in 1991 p. 356). For Br audel economic life a nd the market were zones of "horizont al communications be ~w e~ n the di fferent marke ts: here a degre of automatic coordination [ or se lf -organ 1zat 1on for D~ Landa] usua ll y links supply demand and price (Braudel l 979 p. 230· Wa ll erste in 1991 , p. 356). However, "alongside, or ra ther above this layer comes the zone of the ant im arket where the great predators roam a nd th e law of the jun gle operates. T hi   today a in the past, befor and after the industrial re vo l~1 tion- is the re al home of capitalism (Bra ud el 1979, p. 230). A crucial aspect of d11 s approach resides in its c on ception of capita li sm (and r ea ll y all economic system s ) as a m x of self-organized, decentralized markets, a nd market exchanges that ha~e been 111 some way manipulated to the un equal bene fi t of a eg me nt of th e population. The e un equal, manipulated markets are no longer se lf ,organized, and thu no longer marke ts whose terms of exchange are et by fluctuations in sup pl y ~ nd demand. Rath r they are antimarkets where in supply and dema nd can be marupulated through th e exercise and benefit of u.nequal power and acces which enable the tactical deployment of sca rcity to manufacture shortages and arti fi cial devaluations or valuations of good a nd se rvices to th e benefit of tho se with the means of enforcing their tactics. Moreover, Braudel makes the point that antima rk ets were never unique to the mode rn world. as s om e stage on an evolutionary latter. Rather he states: ·1 am tempted to agree wi th Deleuze and Gualtari that aft er a fashion, capitalism ha be en a spectre haunting eve,y form of society '-capitalism that is as / have defined ft (Braudel 19 79 p. 5 81 emphasis added). This per pective connects with the above deta il ed conception of greed a part/parcel of cona tu s of the human desire a nd d'. · iv e for se l f- p~ ·eserv at on a ~d. li fe. Indeed if aotimarkets are present througho ut ht to ry (yet at di fferent 111 te ns1   es and scales) it speaks to the a lw ays-present movement towa rd s hi erarchy in e qu ality, a nd st ra tification (a lb eit tempered by processes that tear at uch hierarchy) in hwnan society that may be conside r ed the outc om e ~f various fonns o f greed" or self-prese rv at ion allowed to run rampant. The point ts tl~ at ~reed (defined as l have here) and ant im arkets are n.ot unique to capitalism/ captta Li s.t .contexts, ~ut ~ at her are common aspects of human hi tory that have b e c o1~ e ~ nt1 cal to ettmg m mot ion th e ty pes of effects a nd processes we att ribute to capita li s m. 15 A Spectral Haunting of Society 353 De Landa concurs, and provides the added wrinkle of indicating that capitalism as we know/define it concurs to a degree, and is the result of a specific "bifurcation" or phase transition identifiable as the outcome of historical processes: "antimarkets could have arisen anywhere, not just Europe, the moment the flows of goods through markets reach a certain level of intensity, so that an organization bent on manipulating these flows can emerge" (De Landa 1996, p. 3). In fact, De Landa takes things even further by arguing that the general organization of markets and antimarkets in soci· ety and capitalism: self-organized "meshworks" and hierarchical/structured "strata," respectively, are in no way unique, human products (De Landa 1997, p. _62). Rather these basic forms-fluid meshwork and ossified strata (or smooth and striated spaces in Delueze and Guattari's parlance) with the possibility of one turning into or containing the other-are common forms present acr?ss biology, geology, and the broader human realm (De Landa 1997, p. 62; see Palm s 2007, p. 18). This chapter builds up from this point, as I seek to flesh out what a .new materialist influenced archaeology of capitalism, or antimarket effects, might look like in Spanish colonial Guatemala, where a deep history of market and ~ntimarket processes in the Maya world inherently complicate the commo~ n~rrat1ves of the uniqueness of the capitalism. The goal is not to carry out a trait list_ a~proach to "finding evidence" of capitalism, which is then assigned causal power m mterpretation of changes wrought by colonization and the colonial encounte'.·· As De Lan~a succinctly puts it: what we need here is a return to the actual details of economic history" (De Landa 1996, p. 3) rather than the continued adherence or refinement of monolithic abstractions and models of capitalism. Background to the Southern Maya Region Beginning in the mid-1800s with Stephens and Catherwood's exploration/docume~tation of Classic Period Maya ruins in the lowland rainforests of the Peten and m the Yucatan and expanding in the early twentieth century as a discrete subfield, the archaeolog; of the Maya has produced some of he more iconic.archaeological ~~ds of the modern era. The Maya area is loosely defined as the reg1on/cultural trad1t1on between the southernmost area of Mexico, including the Yucatan, and into western Honduras, fully encompassing the nations of Guatemala and Belize, as well.as parts of Honduras and El Salvador. The similarity observed across the Maya region (and Mesoameric~ as well) is better conceived of not as a single cultural entity, but rather as the outcome of Jong-term intensive interactions between disparate populations. Indeed, Mesoamerica as a whole (stretching from Northern Mexico beyond Honduras, previously been defined as a culture area delimited by a list of cultural/material traits (Kirchoff 1943), is better considered as a "world system"(Bla~ton and Feinman J 984· Carmack and Gonzalez 2006; Smith and Berdan 2003; Smith 2001; pace Wallerste,in 1974) or as a spatially expansive cultural tradition ?ased aro~nd a "basic structuring economy," shared worldviews, beliefs (and practices associated
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