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Classic Period Agricultural Intensification and Domestic Life at el Palmillo, Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico

  • Gary M. Feinman
  • Linda M. Nicholas
  • Helen R. Haines
Part of the Studies in Human Ecology and Adaptation book series (STHE, volume 3)

Abstract

The historical relationship between population and agricultural resources is at the core of many key and long-standing anthropological debates (e.g., Boserup 1965; Brookfield 1972; Brown and Podolefsky 1976; Cohen 1977; Grigg 1979; Johnson and Earle 1987; Morrison 1996, with CA comments; Netting 1993; Turner et al. 1977; Turner et al. 1993). In Mesoamerica, the arguments have focused on the distribution and relative importance of land and water as a basis for understanding and accounting for ancient population distributions and sociopolitical developments (e.g., Sanders 1972:112–113; Sanders and Price 1968). These debates have been especially lively in the Valley of Oaxaca, a key demographic and political region situated in the Southern Highlands of Mesoamerica (Palerm and Wolf 1957) (Figure 1). William Sanders and his colleagues, drawing on their investigations in the Basin of Mexico, have asserted that land quality and water resources are the most important factors for explaining prehispanic population distributions (Sanders et al. 1979; Santley 1980:137–138). They apply their model more broadly, arguing the same factors were at play elsewhere, including the Valley of Oaxaca (Sanders and Nichols 1988). In contrast, archaeologists working in the Valley of Oaxaca regard this explanation for settlement distributions, and ultimately social change, as overly narrow. Other factors (politics, economics, ideology) are stressed as equally or, at times, more important in determining settlement size and location (Blanton 1978; Blanton et al. 1982, 1993; Feinman et al. 1985; Kowalewski et al. 1989; Nicholas et al. 1986).

Keywords

Economic Botany Classic Period Edible Fruit Lower Terrace Archaic Period 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary M. Feinman
    • 1
  • Linda M. Nicholas
    • 1
  • Helen R. Haines
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyThe Field MuseumChicago
  2. 2.Archaeological Research CentreTrent UniversityPeterboroughCanada

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