Article

The Development of Complex Societies in Formative-Period Pacific Guatemala and Chiapas

Michael Love

in The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390933
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195390933.013.0014

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The Development of Complex Societies in Formative-Period Pacific Guatemala and Chiapas

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This article discusses the development of complex societies during the Formative period in the Pacific coastal plain, stretching from Chiapas, Mexico, to El Salvador. Data shows that a trend of increasing complexity began soon at the end of the Archaic period and climaxed with the emergence of urbanism and early state societies during the Late Formative period. The long-term trajectory of increasing social complexity was not seamless, however, and there were significant disjunctions that suggest episodes of political cycling at various points within the sequence, manifested in the movement of political centers, economic reorganization, and changes in the ideological justifications of political power.

Keywords: Mexico; El Salvador; Formative period; Mesoamerica; coastal plain; complex society

Article.  5005 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology by Region

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