LAS 381 • MESOAMERICAN PRECLASSIC PERIOD
12:00 PM-3:00 PM
This seminar will focus on the Preclassic, or Formative, period in ancient Mesoamerica. This time period, which spans from 1500 BC to 250 AD, witnessed the development of the first great civilizations in Mesoamerica. We will begin with the Olmec, or ìmother cultureî of Mesoamerica, which flourished during the Early and Middle Preclassic periods (1500-300 BC). We will explore a number of their contributions, focusing particularly on how rulership was manifested and structured within the architectural environment of Olmec sites. We will also spend substantial time considering the cultures that flourished along the Pacific Coastal slope, in the Guatemalan Highlands, and in the Maya heartland during the ensuing Late Preclassic (300 BC -250 AD) period. The focus of the course will be on the structure of sacred/politically-charged space during the Preclassic period: how was it manifested sculpturally? Architecturally? How were ritual and narrative made manifest? How did Preclassic Mesoamericans structure a dialogue between sculpture, space, and performer within site centers? How can we go about reconstructing these performances? How do these change through time and across space?