Recognizing Religion in Mesoamerican Archaeology

Rosemary A. Joyce

in The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199232444
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

Recognizing Religion in Mesoamerican Archaeology

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  • Historical Archaeology



Mesoamerica is a culture-area construct recognizing shared practices among pre-Hispanic societies and traditional peoples descended from them in an area extending from Mexico to Honduras and El Salvador. Mesoamerican features cross pre-Hispanic political, social, and linguistic boundaries. They can be understood as products of historical relationships among neighboring villages and towns. Among the defining features of Mesoamerica are ritual practices and beliefs. This article discusses the archeology of religion and ritual in Mesoamerica, covering Mesoamerican beliefs, Mesoamerican ritual practices, religion and the living person, treatment of the dead, ritualization of buildings and settlements, and state and regional-scale religion.

Keywords: Mesoamerica; rituals; beliefs; dead; ritualization; buildings settlements

Article.  7027 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Historical Archaeology

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