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Clues to the System of Power in the City of Oxkintok

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Emergence and Change in Early Urban Societies

Part of the book series: Fundamental Issues in Archaeology ((FIAR))

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Power, systems of power, and the capacity and practices of power have, through the course of history, left their symbolic imprints to posterity in a number of ways: in language and the written text, in dress and food habits, in the conventions of protocol, and in the extravagances of the elite. On this occasion, our objective is to show the importance of architectural symbols in the investigation of power relations; that is, of the relative positions of rank and dominance, and their ideological justifications. The place chosen for these speculations is the pre-Hispanic city of Oxkintok, in the north of the Yucatan peninsula. In this ensemble of ruins (Figure 1), which is at a distance of around 50 kilometers from Mérida, the present-day capital of Yucatan, and at some 30 kilometers from the well-known city of Uxmal—a model of settlements in the mountainous region (the Puuc) during the Terminal Classic Period (ca. 850–1000 AD)—excavations have been carried out in recent years, unearthing new information which I shall use in this chapter (and part of which has already been published by the Spanish Ministry of Culture, in a series called OXKINTOK).

Translated from Spanish by Niall Binns.

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© 1997 Springer Science+Business Media New York

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Dorado, M.R. (1997). Clues to the System of Power in the City of Oxkintok. In: Manzanilla, L. (eds) Emergence and Change in Early Urban Societies. Fundamental Issues in Archaeology. Springer, Boston, MA.

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