Elizabeth M. Brumfiel

in The Oxford Handbook of Archaeology

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780199271016
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology


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  • Classical Studies
  • Archaeology by Region


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This article examines the history of Mesoamerica based on archaeological evidence. The archaeology of the colonial period reveals a mosaic of adaptations and adjustments, in both native and Spanish populations, with individuals and communities pursuing a variety of subsistence and social strategies according to the conditions of local environments and markets, the efficacy of coercive force, and the possibilities of alliance-building through intermarriage and reciprocal feasting. Through processes of adaptation and culture change, native communities have survived into the contemporary world, where they continue to struggle for cultural self-determination.

Keywords: Mesoamerica; colonial period; subsistence; social strategies; adaptation; adjustments; native populations; Spanish populations; self-determination; intermarriage

Article.  14438 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Archaeology by Region

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