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EPICLASSIC POLITICAL ORGANIZATION IN SOUTHERN VERACRUZ, MEXICO: Segmentary versus centralized integration

  • Joshua A. Borstein (a1)

Abstract

Archaeological investigations in southern Veracruz, Mexico, have traditionally focused on the impressive achievements of the Early Formative Olmec, one of Mesoamerica's earliest complex societies. Fewer studies have investigated post-Olmec cultural developments. Research in parts of the middle San Juan and lower Coatzacoalcos drainages of southern Veracruz provides new data on the Epiclassic period, when population levels exceeded the Olmec period. This paper examines settlement patterns and architectural complexes to interpret the political organization extant during the Epiclassic. Two largely polarized political models are examined, one segmentary and the other centralized. Perhaps not surprisingly, the data are consistent with aspects of both models. Finally, data are compared to other nearby regions to place the study area in a larger regional context. Traditionally conceived as a monolithic region, the southern Gulf lowlands are better characterized by cultural variation, population discontinuities, and intra- and interregional interaction.

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E-mail correspondence to: jaborstein@yahoo.com

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