Aztec Flashcards Preview

Anthropological Archaeology 284 > Aztec > Flashcards

Flashcards in Aztec Deck (75)
Loading flashcards...

What was the environment of Central Mexico like during the Archaic Period?

Arid steppe, grassy, not a lot of trees


What were the Archaic people of Central Mexico eating?

Jackrabbit, deer, occasionally mastodon. They also began domesticating plants, including gourds, squash, tomatoes, avocados, beans, and teosinte


What was the role of teosinte in the origins of agriculture in Mexico?

Teosinte was in the process of being domesticated into what we know as modern-day corn. The Central Mexican people deliberately selected the best corn fruit to replant in order to produce better crop


When did the Archaic Period occur?

8000-2000 BC


What other agricultural crops had wild ancestors gathered during the Archaic Period?

They gathered agave, mesquite, prickly pear, and piñon nuts. They grew gourd, squash, beans, tomatoes, avocados, chili peppers


What was life like during the dry season in the Archaic Period?

People broke up into micro bands, with 4-8 people, usually family members. They lived nomadically


What was life like during the wet season in the Archaic Period?

People lived in macro bands, which consisted of 2-4 micro bands. The wet season was optimal for hunting and gathering. During this time together trading, marriages of people from different micro bands and rituals occurred.


What activities did the earliest rituals in Mexico involve?

Early rituals consisted of dances or games. They also consisted of human sacrifice, either hoping for a successful crop or thanking the gods for a previous successful crop


Why did Archaic people move across great distances over the course of the year?

They spent times in micro band and macro band camps throughout the year. During the dry season, it made more sense to live in small groups, as food was harder to come by, and providing for a small group was easier. During the wet season, they came together in macro bands, which consisted of 2-4 micro bands. In these large groups, they could better hold group hunts and perform rituals. They could also trade and marry.


When did the formative period occur?

Between 1600 and 850 BC


How does the domestication of corn relate to life in villages?

People could depend on corn to provide them food throughout the year, which allowed the nomadic people to settle and form permanent villages


What technology do people develop for the first time during the Early Formative?

During the Early Formative, the first homes were built as people adjusted from a nomadic lifestyle to a more permanent living site. As well as pottery


What are the associated changes in ritual activity in the Early Formative?

Ritual buildings could now be built. Rituals became more elaborate, as people could have ritual artifacts because they didn't have to carry them far distances


Clans - what are they and how did they serve as mechanism to organize society?

Clans were groups of people who claimed to have a common descent. These groups created an us versus them mentality in society, which lead to raiding. If someone was killed by someone from another clan, the clan of the person who had died would kill 1-2 people from the clan of the killer. This was seen as a way to exact revenge. These raids would sometimes consist of burning each other villages, included houses and men's houses. There is evidence of stockades built to defend from raids.


How is prestige acquired in an egalitarian society?

Any prestige was achieved by people during their life. Prestige was earned, not inherited


Are villages autonomous in an Egalitarian society? Why or why not?

Yes, villages are autonomous. Every village was separate politically, which goes along with the egalitarian view that everyone is born equal


What are the archaeological indicators of inter-village conflict?

Burn marks on artifacts can be found. For example, burn marks and remains of carbon from stockade walls in evidence of conflicts and raids


How is prestige acquired in a rank society?

Prestige was based on your family, people are born into prestige?


Are villages autonomous in a ranked society? Why or why not?

No, villages are not autonomous. We have evidence of this because there were ruins of villages that had builds made of stone that could only be found on the land of a smaller nearby village. Archaeologists also found figures of people in positions of authority and obedience. This suggests that some villages were considered better than others. Also, they found children buried with more sumptuary goods then they could have earned in their short lifetime. This gives the indication that these children were born into prestige.


What are sumptuary goods and how do they relate to rank? What are the specific sumptuary goods in Formative Mexico?

Sumptuary goods are valuable or rare goods that only elite people could afford or use. They directly relate to rank. Some sumptuary goods included jade, polished mirror or marine shells


What do women's ritual activities consist of and where do they take place during the Formative period?

Women's activities took place in the home. They would use figures to act out scenes, representing deceased relatives. These rituals consisted of the women asking their deceased ancestors to act upon their request?


What do men's ritual activities consist of and where do they take place during the Formative period?

Men's activities took place in specially made men's houses. These houses were painted a white color using lye, and have a pit of limestone in the center of them. Archaeologists found lyme and tobacco mixed in the pit. This was used ritualistically and had a slightly hallucinogenic effect. Men used the men's houses for initiations, to plan raids or to talk about plans for their villages made a white color and had a pit of limestone in them


Which two deities are represented on pottery in the Formative period?

The two deities represented on pottery were on the deities of the sky and earth. They were often represented as the sky serpent and earthquake man.


What time period was the Early Formative?

1150-850 BC


What time period was the Middle Formative?

850-500 BC


What is a chiefdom?

A chiefdom is the territory controlled by a hereditary chief


How is the position of chief normally passed on?

The position of chief was typically passed on within a family, who claimed to have supernatural descent


What are administrative tiers in a chiefdom? How many are there?

There are typically 2-3 levels of the hierarchy. There was a village where the chief lived, surrounded by several satellite villages. These secondary villages were run by relatives of the chief. There was then sometimes a tier of tertiary villages


How are chiefly alliances created?

The village of the chief received raw materials for building from satellite villages, in return the chief arranged marriage between one of his female relatives and an important male in the satellite village. They also strengthened alliances by holding feasts for the satellite villages also.


How are chiefdoms internally unstable?

When a chief died, there was not always a clear cut decision on who should become the next chief?