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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Fall 2008


Unique Days Time Location Instructor
40945 MWF
2:00 PM-3:00 PM
UTC 3.110

Course Description

This course is an introduction to ancient Mesoamerica, the area roughly covering Mexico and the northern half of Central America, from the time of emerging social inequality among the Formative Period Olmec until the Spanish conquest of Mexico in the sixteenth century. By studying archaeological evidence from several sites in this region we will address a few important theoretical issues in archaeology. These issues include: 1) the relationship between social organization, culture and the environment, 2) the role of sex, gender, and sexuality in the construction of social inequality, and 3) the use of material culture in the transformation of relationships of power. During the course of the semester we will examine varied lines of evidence, including archaeological artifacts (especially pottery, obsidian, and ceramic figurines), human remains, architecture, murals, sculpture, and historical evidence (esp. codices and colonial accounts) to assess the role of evidence and theory in the formation of how we conceptualize the past in Mesoamerica. Thus, the course will not only serve as an introduction to Mesoamerican prehistory and the early colonial period, but it will also be a critical evaluation of the role of evidence and theory in the formation of knowledge about the past.

Grading Policy

Grading will be based on three exams and attendance and participation.


Hendon, Julia A. and Rosemary A. Joyce 2004 Mesoamerican Archaeology. Blackwell Pulishing, Malden. REQUIRED Adams, Richard E.W. 1996. Prehistoric Mesoamerica. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. OPTIONAL. Course packet. REQUIRED.


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