Developmental Cycles in the Gulf Lowlands

Annick Daneels

in The Oxford Handbook of Mesoamerican Archaeology

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195390933
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Developmental Cycles in the Gulf Lowlands

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  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology by Region
  • Historical Archaeology


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This article reviews the archaeological evidence of Classic and Postclassic Gulf Coast cultures, focusing on developments during the first and early second millennium ad . The Classic period civilizations seem to have risen progressively from a Preclassic background, a product of mainly isthmian interaction, but ceramics and lithics show a development up to some point parallel to the central plateau, a possible result of the highlands' interest in coastal resources and styles. The Gulf Coast way of life, as represented in settlement patterns and architecture is clearly a tropical lowland adaptation, with a dispersed population subsisting on a combination of agriculture, horticulture, forest husbandry, and extensive exploitation of sylvan and aquatic resources. In contrast, the Postclassic era witnesses major changes, as in most of Mesoamerica. The new cultures, while respecting the boundaries of the Classic period areas, appear to be the result of major foreign migrations.

Keywords: Mesoamerica; Classic period; Postclassic period; migration; Gulf Coast culture

Article.  9662 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Archaeology by Region ; Historical Archaeology

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