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Journal of Archaeological Research

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 287–333 | Cite as

A History of Cacao in West Mexico: Implications for Mesoamerica and U.S. Southwest Connections

  • Michael D. MathiowetzEmail author
Article

Abstract

Cacao economies in far western Mexico developed between AD 850/900 and 1350+ along with the adoption of a political–religious complex centered on the solar deity Xochipilli as the Aztatlán culture became integrated into expanding political, economic, and information networks of highland and southern Mesoamerica. The Xochipilli complex significantly transformed societies in the Aztatlán core zone of coastal Nayarit and Sinaloa and parts of Jalisco, Durango, Zacatecas, and Michoacán. West Mexican cacao was acquired in the U.S. Southwest by Chaco Canyon elites in New Mexico through macroregional prestige goods economies as Ancestral Pueblo societies became integrated into the Postclassic Mesoamerican world.

Keywords

Cacao Mesoamerica West Mexico Aztatlán U.S. Southwest Chaco Canyon 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was partly funded by a UC MEXUS Doctoral Dissertation Research Grant, a UC MEXUS/CONACYT Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, and an Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society Research Grant. All photos are by author unless otherwise noted. All illustrated vessels and sherds at UCLA are courtesy of the Fowler Museum at UCLA Archaeological Collections Facility and Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. At various points over the years, a number of colleagues offered assistance, support, and/or comments that improved the research and resultant paper, including Patricia Ancona, Wendy Ashmore, Bret Blosser, John Carpenter, Mauricio Garduño Ambriz, Alfonso Grave, Lucia Gudiel, Stephen Lekson, Joseph Mountjoy, Ben Nelson, John M. D. Pohl, Karl Taube, Wendy Teeter, and Phil Weigand. Gary Feinman, Linda Nicholas, and anonymous reviewers provided keen editorial advice. Aaron Wright and Taryn Rampley assisted with early image layouts. Daniel Pierce composed Table 1 and drew Figures 1 and 2. John M. D. Pohl contributed drawings and final layout of Figures 35, 7 and 8. William Jeffrey Hurst of Hershey’s conducted the organic residue analyses. Jami Brown and Estrella Romero without fail graciously provided the often rare work environment that was at once professional, collegial, honest, and supportive. Finally, extra special thanks to my friends and INAH Nayarit colleagues Mauricio Garduño Ambriz and José Carlos Beltrán Medina for a great collaborative relationship and to Juan Jorge Morales Monroy for the same, including good conversation and a welcoming place to refine the manuscript in his office in Puerto Vallarta.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RiversideUSA

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