Monumental Architecture and Social Complexity in the Intermediate Area

R. Jeffrey Frost and Jeffrey Quilter

in Early New World Monumentality

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780813038087
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813043128 | DOI:
Monumental Architecture and Social Complexity in the Intermediate Area

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The region from eastern El Salvador and Honduras through Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia is well known for its goldwork and as a center of highly developed chiefdom societies. But it should be equally renowned for its extensive and impressive large-scale constructions. For those not familiar with the region this may come as surprise. But throughout the Intermediate Area, pre-Hispanic peoples erected impressive structures and extensively modified landscapes, creating extensive built environments of monumental proportions. Considerable variability is present in these constructions, but there are many similarities, an internal consistency in patterns, and commonalities with other New World architectural traditions. In this chapter we offer a review of the salient features of monumental architecture and social complexity in the Intermediate Area. We will begin by briefly reviewing the natural and cultural landscape of the region and the pre-Hispanic chronology. This will be followed by some general remarks on the issue of monumental architecture.

Keywords: Intermediate area; New World architectural traditions; monumental architecture

Chapter.  7389 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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