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Izapa and the Soconusco Region, Mexico, in the First Millennium A.D.

  • Robert M. Rosenswig (a1) and Rebecca R. Mendelsohn (a1)

Abstract

We present new regional settlement pattern data from the eastern Soconusco region, Chiapas, Mexico, including a detailed reconstruction of the first millennium A.D. occupation of the site of Izapa. Results from an initial campaign of light detection and ranging (lidar) data acquisition and analysis of systematically collected surface remains document the full extent of the Classic-period occupation of Izapa. These lidar and pedestrian survey data also illustrate how people were distributed across the landscape from 100 B.C. to A.D. 1000 (Hato to Remanso phases). Survey results indicate significant population increase during the Terminal Formative (A.D. 100–300) and initial Early Classic (A.D. 300–400) periods, followed by a virtual abandonment of both piedmont and low-hills survey zones from A.D. 400 to A.D. 700. The population increased in both survey zones during the Late and Terminal Classic periods (A.D. 700–1000) coinciding with the presence of a large regional center in the low-hills zone and 46 secondary centers recorded within the 400-km2 area covered by the lidar survey. These secondary centers consist of numerous small mounds around circular or square plazas. Together, the results of the lidar study and systematic pedestrian survey offer the first glimpse of population dynamics and political organization in the area around Izapa during the first millennium A.D.

Resumen

En este artículo se presentan nuevos datos acerca del patrón de asentamiento regional del este de la región de Soconusco, Chiapas, México. Se incluye una reconstrucción detallada de la ocupación del sitio Izapa durante el primer milenio d.C. Se documenta la extensión completa de la ocupación del período Clásico de Izapa, sobre la base de restos superficiales de recolecciones sistemáticas y por medio del uso de los resultados de una campaña inicial de adquisición de datos lidar (light detection and ranging). Los datos de esta prospección pedestre y de lidar también permitieron documentar cómo estuvieron distribuidos los poblados en el paisaje durante ocho fases cerámicas (Hato a Remanso), que se extienden desde el 100 a.C. al 1000 d.C. Los resultados del reconocimiento indican un poblamiento significativo durante la fase Itstapa (100–300 d.C.) del Formativo Terminal (también conocido como Protoclásico) y la fase Jarritas (300–400 d.C.) del Clásico Temprano inicial, seguido por un virtual abandono de las zonas de reconocimiento en el piedemonte y las colinas bajas durante la fase tardía del Clásico Temprano y el Clásico Medio (400–700 d.C.). Luego se documenta un aumento significativo de toda la población en ambas zonas de reconocimiento durante los periodos Clásico Tardío y Terminal (700–1000 d.C.), momento en el que se registra un gran centro regional en la zona de las colinas bajas, cerca de la actual Frontera Hidalgo, con 46 centros secundarios identificados dentro de los 400 km2 de la cobertura del. Estos centros secundarios del Clásico Tardío y Terminal estuvieron formados por numerosos montículos pequeños que definen plazas, ya sea circulares o cuadradas. En conjunto, los resultados del estudio de lidar y del reconocimiento sistemático de la zona representan la primera aproximación registrada sistemáticamente de la organización política y demográfica en el área de alrededor de Izapa durante el primer milenio d.C.

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References

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Izapa and the Soconusco Region, Mexico, in the First Millennium A.D.

  • Robert M. Rosenswig (a1) and Rebecca R. Mendelsohn (a1)

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