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The fourth of five general cultural stages proposed by G. Willey and P. Phillips in 1958 as a framework for the study of ancient communities in the Americas. The Classic embraced communities with urban settlements and is thus confined in its application to Mesoamerica and the central and northern west coast of South America, where such societies were present in the period from about ad 250 through to about ad 900 depending on region. The Classic was therefore a time of high populations and elaborate social organization, the peak of social, artistic, and religious endeavour in Pre‐Contact society, a succession of connected complex societies or states. The succeeding stage is known as the Post‐Classic.

Subjects: Archaeology.

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