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This list relates to the academic year Academic Year 2014/15 which ended on 01/07/2015
This list has been archived
  1. General introduction 1 item
    1. Course co-ordinator: Dr Elizabeth Graham (e.graham@ucl.ac.uk)

      • Undergraduate: Year 2/3: Option: 0.5 units 
      • One term 

      Course overview

      • You will see value in learning from Mesoamerican cultural traditions and historical experience.
      • You will learn to be critical about the ways in which archaeologists, other academics, film makers, popular writers and the media in general synthesize and make sense of information about the civilizations of Mesoamerica.

      Course information

      • For information about teaching methods, workloads, methods of assessment, examinations, coursework, communication, attendance and any special arrangements, see the course handbook

  2. Lectures listing 1 item
    1. Lecture 1 Introduction to the course

       

      Lecture 2 Mesoamerican archaeology, culture areas and cultural ecology

       

      Lecture 3 Early Mesoamerica

       

      Lecture 4 The Olmec

       

      Lecture 5 The Olmecs and the end of the Formative

       

      Lecture 6  Reading Week

       

      Lecture 7 The rise of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico

       

      Lecture 8  The Classic Maya

       

      Lecture 9 The fall of Teotihuacan, the Terminal Classic Maya and the rise of Tula

       

      Lecture 10 The Aztecs

       

      Lecture 11 The conquest and its aftermath. Final review

       

  3. Introductory readings and online references 1 item
    1. Ancient Mexico and Central America: archaeology and culture history - Evans, Susan Toby 2013

      Book 

  4. Lectures: Autumn Term 104 items
    1. Lecture 1: Introduction to the course (Elizabeth Graham) 1 item
      1. Required reading 1 item
    2. Lecture 2: Mesoamerican archaeology, culture areas and cultural ecology (Elizabeth Graham) 2 items
      You will need to consult study sheet 1
      1. Required reading 2 items
        1. Ecology and culture: Mesoamerican beginnings - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

    3. Lecture 3: Early Mesoamerica (Elizabeth Graham) 5 items
      You will need to consult study sheet 2
      1. Required reading 2 items
        1. Archaic foragers, collectors and farmers (8000-2000BC) - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

        2. The Initial Formative - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

      2. Recommended reading 3 items
        These readings focus on the course of agriculture and domestication.
        1. Traditional Maize Processing Techniques in the New World - Katz, S. H. et al. 1974

          Article Recommended

    4. Lecture 4: The Olmec (Elizabeth Graham) 4 items
      You will need to consult study sheet 3
      1. Required reading 2 items
        1. The Olmecs: Early Formative (c. 1200-900/800 BC) - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

        2. The Olmecs: Middle Formative (c. 900 - 600 BC) - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

      2. Recommended reading 2 items
        Although not about the Olmecs, this reading focuses on the problems in excavating non-masonry architecture, which is a feature of Olmec sites. It also reflects a cultural ecological approach, which might help with one of the essay questions.
        1. Olmec beginnings - Christopher A. Pool

          Chapter Recommended

    5. Lecture 5: The Olmecs and the end of the Formative (Elizabeth Graham) 9 items
      You will need to consult study sheet 4
      1. Required reading 3 items
        1. Middle to Late Formative cultures (c. 600/500 - 300 BC) - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

        2. The emergence of states in the Late Formative (300 BC - AD 1) - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

        3. The Terminal Formative (AD 1 - 300) - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

      2. Recommended reading 6 items
        The first two readings focus on the growth of civilization in the Valley of Oaxaca. Blanton et al 1994 provide an example of a cultural evolutionary approach. Flannery et al describe growth through interacting systems. Hayden & Gargett and Zeitlin provide other perspectives on the growth of the state and civilization; Zeitlin reviews two books on Oaxaca, each of which takes a different approach to the rise of civilization. Marcus provides an introduction to Zapotec writing.
        1. The Valley of Oaxaca - Richard E. Blanton et al.

          Chapter Recommended

        2. In the land of the Olmec - Coe, Michael D., Diehl, Richard A. 1980

          Book Recommended

        3. Farming Systems and Political Growth in Ancient Oaxaca - Flannery, Kent V. et al. 1967

          Article Recommended

        4. Big Man, Big Heart? A Mesoamerican View of the Emergence of Complex Society - Hayden, Brian, Gargett, Rob 03/1990

          Article Recommended

        5. Zapotec Writing - Marcus, Joyce 1980-2

          Article Recommended

    6. Week 6: 3rd – 7th NOVEMBER: NO LECTURES: READING WEEK

    7. Lecture 7 and 8: The great city of Teotihuacan (Elizabeth Baquedano and Patrice Bonnafoux) 10 items
      You will need to consult study sheet 5
      1. Required reading 2 items
        1. The Terminal Formative (AD 1-300) - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

        2. Teotihuacan and its international influence (AD 250/300 - 600) - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

      2. Recommended reading 8 items
        Check out the series of settlement maps in Blanton et all 1993: figs 4.1 - 4.6, 4.8, 4.10, 4.12, 4.14, 4.15. These maps show the locations of the various sites in the Valley of Mexico and you can get an idea of how settlement in the valley has changed through time. Cowgill provides a readable review of the research carried out at Teotihuacan prior to the recent excavations by Saburo Sugiyama. White et al. 2002 provide a groundbreaking example of oxygen isotope analysis of skeletal remains - in this case 'sacrifices' from the Feathered Serpent Pyramid - which reveals information on whether individuals were locals or foreigners. Langley's work on notation at Teotihuacan is still widely used. Manzanilla's article talks about mortuary patterns; because Teotihuacan was a cosmopolitan city, the ethnic identity of individuals can sometimes be known through the way they were buried.
        1. The Valley of Mexico - Richard E. Blanton et al.

          Chapter Recommended Digitised reading

        2. State and Society at Teotihuacan, Mexico - George L. Cowgill 1997

          Article Recommended

        3. The Forms and Usage of Notation at Teotihuacan - Langley, James C. 09/1991

          Article Recommended

        4. The Temple of Quetzalcoatl at Teotihuacan: Its Possible Ideological Significance - Austin, Alfredo López, Luján, Leonardo López, Sugiyama, Saburo 03/1991

          Article Recommended

        5. Strategies of Organization in Teotihuacan Art - Pasztory, Esther 09/1991

          Article Recommended

    8. Lecture 9: The Classic Maya (Elizabeth Graham) 7 items
      You will need to consult study sheet 6
      1. Required reading 2 items
        1. The Maya in the Early Classic (AD 250-600) - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

        2. The lowland Maya: apogee and collapse - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

      2. Recommended reading 5 items
        Some of the essay questions will require you to compare culture areas; the articles by Marcus on Zapotec and Maya religion is a good example of how comparison affords us insights that would not be evidence from studying one area or culture alone. The article also gives the reader a good introduction to Maya religion. Martin and Grube is a prime source for all Maya researchers on Maya dynastic history as expressed in the hieroglyphic inscriptions; this reading provides an introduction to glyphic research. My article, through a discussion of the idea of 'ethnicity', offers a new perspective on the causes of 'collapse' and how the Postclassic world represented growth in opportunity. There are also some ideas here that could be developed into a third year dissertation.
        1. An ethnicity to know - Graham, E.

          Chapter Recommended Available in Institute of Archaeology Teaching Collection (INST ARCH 3762)

        2. The classic Maya - Houston, Stephen D., Inomata, Takeshi 2009

          Book Recommended

        3. Preface: discovering the Maya past - Simon Martin, Nikolai Grube

          Chapter Recommended

        4. Introduction: Maya history - the major periods - Simon Martin, Nikolai Grube

          Chapter Recommended

    9. Lecture 10: The fall of Teotihuacan, the Terminal Classic Maya and the rise of Tula (Elizabeth Graham) 8 items
      You will need to consult study sheet 7
      1. Required reading 3 items
        1. The Late Classic and Epiclassic in the west (AD 600 - 1000/1100) - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

        2. The Maya in the Terminal Classic and Early Postclassic - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

        3. The rise of Tula and other Epiclassic transformations - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

      2. Recommended reading 5 items
        Millon's article is important if you are interested in Teotihuacan and it illustrates the problems we have - not just at Teotihuacan, but also at other sites - in discovering how and why cities decline. Lamanai is one of the few sites anywhere in the Maya lowlands at which the late periods have been investigated. Pendergast's 1985 chapter, although it mentions the historic period, focuses largely on the Postclassic. His 1982 article is in Spanish, but even if you do not read Spanish, it is fillled with excellent illustration of Postclassic pottery which are worth a quick look.
        1. The last years of Teotihuacan dominance - R. Millon

          Chapter Recommended Digitised reading

        2. The postclassic Mesoamerican world - Berdan, Frances, Smith, Michael Ernest c2003

          Book Recommended

    10. Lecture 11: The Aztecs (Elizabeth Graham) 3 items
      You will need to consult study sheet 8
      1. Required reading 3 items
        1. The Middle Postclassic (1200s - 1430) - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

        2. The Aztecs: an Empire is born (1325-1440) - Susan Toby Evans

          Chapter Essential

        3. The Aztecs - E. Graham

          Chapter Essential Digitised reading

    11. Themes and readings for essays 54 items
        • For domestication
        • Comparative discussion of the growth of cities 
        • For Teotihuacan's influence 
        • For the Olmec and the 'Olmec' style 
        • For the Zapotecs and the Mixtecs of the Valley of Oaxaca
        • Writing
        • Archaeological theories - overviews
        • Archaeological theories - examples
        • Cultural evolution and state formation
        • Early Mesoamerica
        • Alternative ideas on the growth of civilization and complex societies
        • More on cultural ecology
        • Collapse

      1. For domestication 2 items
        See also class recommended readings, week 3
        1. Growing plants and raising animals - T. Ingold

          Chapter Recommended Digitised reading: THIS LOOKS AT AGRICULTURE FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF RELATIONSHIPS AMONG PEOPLE, PLANTS AND ANIMALS.

        2. Introduction - Elinor G. K. Melville

          Chapter Recommended Digitised reading: DISCUSSES WHY GRAZING ANIMALS HAD SUCH DEVASTATING IMPACT IN THE AMERICAS.

      2. For a comparative discussion of the growth of cities 1 item
        1. The making of civilization: history discovered through archaeology - Whitehouse, Ruth, Wilkins, John 1986

          Book Recommended

      3. For Teotihuacan's influence 2 items
        1. The Maya and Teotihuacan: reinterpreting early classic interaction - Braswell, Geoffrey E. c2003

          Book Recommended

        2. Mesoamerica's classic heritage: from Teotihuacan to the Aztecs - Sessions, Scott, Jones, Lindsay, Carrasco, David c2000

          Book Recommended

      4. For the Olmecs and the 'Olmec' style 5 items
        1. Olmec art of ancient Mexico - Benson, Elizabeth P., Castro Leal, Marcia, Fuente, Beatriz de la, National Gallery of Art (U.S.) 1996

          Book Recommended

        2. Olmec art and archaeology in Mesoamerica - Clark, John E., Pye, Mary E., National Gallery of Art (U.S.), Olmec art and archaeology in Mesoamerica: social complexity in the formative period c2000

          Book Recommended

        3. The Olmec world: ritual and rulership - Coe, Michael D., Princeton University, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston c1995

          Book Recommended

        4. Olmec to Aztec: settlement patterns in the ancient Gulf lowlands - Stark, Barbara L., Arnold, Philip J. c1997

          Book Recommended

      5. For the Zapotecs and the Mixtecs of the Valley of Oaxaca 6 items
        See also 'cultural evolution and state formation' below
        1. The Cloud people: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations - Marcus, Joyce, Flannery, Kent V., School of American Research (Santa Fe, N.M.) 1983

          Book Recommended

        2. Zapotec writing - Caso, A.

          Chapter Recommended

        3. Zapotec Writing - Marcus, Joyce 1980-2

          Article Recommended

        4. Ancient Oaxaca: the Monte Albán state - Blanton, Richard E. 1999

          Book Recommended

      6. Writing 3 items
        1. The Forms and Usage of Notation at Teotihuacan - Langley, James C. 09/1991

          Article Recommended

      7. Archaeological theories - overviews 3 items
        1. Archaeological theory: an introduction - Johnson, Matthew 2010

          Book Recommended

        2. The political landscape: constellations of authority in early complex polities - Smith, Adam T. c2003

          Book Recommended

        3. A history of archaeological thought - Trigger, Bruce G. 2006

          Book Recommended

      8. Archaeological theories - examples 8 items
        1. Introduction - Childe, V. Gordon

          Chapter Recommended

        2. Reading the past: current approaches to interpretation in archaeology - Hodder, Ian, Hutson, Scott 2003

          Book Recommended

        3. The Temporality of the Landscape - Ingold, Tim 1993

          Article Recommended

        4. Social evolution and societal change - Michael Shanks, Christopher Y. Tilley

          Chapter Recommended Digitised reading

        5. Culture as an evolutionary system - Stephen Shennan

          Chapter Recommended Digitised reading

      9. Cultural evolution and state formation 12 items
        1. Ancient Oaxaca: the Monte Albán state - Blanton, Richard E. 1999

          Book Recommended

        2. Process and Agency in Early State Formation - Flannery, Kent V. 04/1999

          Article Recommended

        3. Cultural evolution: contemporary viewpoints - Manzanilla, Linda, Feinman, Gary M. 2000

          Book Recommended

        4. Archaic states - Marcus, Joyce, Feinman, Gary M. c1998

          Book Recommended ONE OR MORE CHAPTERS HERE MIGHT BE HELPFUL; IT HAS WORLD-WIDE COVERAGE

        5. The Cultural Evolution of Civilizations - Flannery, Kent V. 1972

          Article Recommended THIS IS THE ULTIMATE ECOSYSTEMS APPROACH. ALTHOUGH FLANNERY USES THE TERM 'CULTURAL EVOLUTION', THIS WORK SEEMS TO ME TO EXPLAIN CHANGE OF ALMOST ANY KIND IN SOCIAL SYSTEMS.

        6. Farming Systems and Political Growth in Ancient Oaxaca - Flannery, Kent V. et al. 1967

          Article Recommended RELATES THE GROWTH OF FARMING SYSTEMS TO EVOLUTION.

        7. The Evolution of Complexity in the Valley of Oaxaca - Kowalewski, Stephen A. 1990

          Article Recommended THE AUTHOR IS THE DOMINANT VOICE IN THE TEXT 'ANCIENT MESAMERICA' WHEN IT COMES TO EVOLUTION IN OAXACA, SO YOU MAY WANT TO LOOK AT THIS.

        8. Zapotec civilization: how urban society evolved in Mexico's Oaxaca Valley - Marcus, Joyce, Flannery, Kent V. 1996

          Book Recommended FOR INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER, TEACHING COLLECTION SCIENCE 4818.

        9. The Mesoamerican Urban Tradition - Sanders, William T. and Webster, David 1988

          Article Recommended

        10. The collapse of complex societies - Tainter, Joseph A. c1988

          Book Recommended

        11. The evolution of civilizations - H. T. Wright

          Chapter Recommended Digitised reading: WRIGHT IS ONE OF THE FOUNDATION THEORISTS ON THE EVOLUTION OF CIVILIZATION IN ARCHAEOLOGY

      10. Early Mesoamerica 1 item
        1. The early Mesoamerican village - Flannery, Kent V. c2009

          Book Recommended SELECTED CHAPTERS AND COMMENTS TO HELP ILLUMINATE APPROACHES TO CULTURAL EVOLUTION

      11. Alternative ideas on the growth of civilization and complex societies 4 items
        1. Big Man, Big Heart? A Mesoamerican View of the Emergence of Complex Society - Hayden, Brian, Gargett, Rob 03/1990

          Article Recommended AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW POINT; HAYDEN ALWAYS HAS GOOD IDEAS

        2. Stone cities, green cities - E. Graham

          Chapter Recommended A CRITIQUE OF CULTURAL EVOLUTIONARY APPROACHES. Available in Institute of Archaeology Teaching Collection (INST ARCH 3763)

        3. Farming the built environment - E. Graham

          Chapter Recommended Digitised reading

      12. More on cultural ecology 2 items
      13. Collapse 4 items
        1. Ancient Maya: the rise and fall of a rainforest civilisation - Demarest, Arthur Andrew 2004

          Book Recommended

        2. The terminal classic in the Maya lowlands: collapse, transition, and transformation - Rice, Don Stephen, Rice, Prudence M., Demarest, Arthur Andrew c2004

          Book Recommended

        3. Human Biology in the Classic Maya Collapse: Evidence from Paleopathology and Paleodiet - Wright, Lori E. and White, Christine D. 1996

          Article Recommended

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