University of Minnesota Duluth block M and wordmark

  A    B    C    D    E    F    G    H    I    J    K    L    M    N    O    P    Q    R    S    T    U    V    W    X    Y    Z
~ Google advanced
~ Google scholar
~ Google books
~ Google images
~ Google Translate
~ Google URL Shortener
~ Blenco Search
The World Fact Book -- CIA
UMD Library Main Catalog

Anthropology in the News

  TR HomePage    TR Courses
  Home f2024

Ancient Middle America

Spring 2019 Calendar

 map: topographic
  map: Mesoamerica and Its Cultural Areas
 Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica

OWL logo, Online Writing Lab, Purdue University.
class slides on-line
(free PowerPoint Viewer 2010)

Ancient Middle America Course Information

Search the troufs Site
(all TR courses and web pages)

Tuesday, 18-Jun-2024 08:25:17 GMT


to top of page / A/Z index   to top of page / A-Z index

Out of the Past:

"Artisans and Traders"

(60 min., 1993, UM DULUTH Library Multimedia CC165 .O97 1993b DVD Disc 2)
watch online

Also in the Out of the Past series:

"New Worlds"
(60 min., 1993, UM DULUTH Library Multimedia CC165 .O97 1993b DVD Disc 1)
watch online

"The Collapse"
(60 min., 1993, UM DULUTH Library Multimedia CC165 .O97 1993b DVD Disc 4)
watch online



Abstract Terms / Concepts Notes
Cultures Sites Individuals Bibliography
/ Resources

view on-line at
(registration required, but is free)

to top of page / A/Z index   to top of page / A-Z index


Copan Jade

Copán Jade

"Artisans and Traders explores the link between economic and cultural evolution. Hunter-gatherers and early agriculturists had simple divisions of labor, but today people make a living in many ways. The proliferation of occupations and the extreme economic interdependence of today are the result of increasing job specialization, causing society to continually undergo restructuring."

"The program investigates the processes that promote specialization and trade, and how these relate to social and political organization."

to top of page / A/Z index   to top of page / A-Z index

Terms / Concepts:

  • economic anthropology

  • methods

  • comparative methods

  • ethnographic analogy

  • body decoration

    • dental inlays
    • head deformation

  • elite craft items

    • jade
    • rare sea shells
to top of page / A/Z index   to top of page / A-Z index
  • "Pompeii effect"

    • captured and preserved archaeological sites and parts of archaeological sites as they were used in daily life

  • obsidian

  • star gordet

    • probably the most spectacular find at Copán

    • is a symbol of Bacabs (Pauahtún)

      • Mayan gods who held up the earth and the sky

      • also are the patron of scribes

  • under-the-floor tombs

  • midden

  • mano / metate

    • metate quarrying rhyolite

  • societies . . .
continuum model . . .

SIMPLE -------------------------------- COMPLEX
Tribal Village
Peasant Village
Chan Kom
Robert Redfield, Folk Culture of Yucatan
(Univ of Chicago Press, 1941)
  • increasing social complexity involved

    • economic specialization

      • production

      • distribution

        • porters carried approximately 50 lbs. each on long-distance routes

        • weekly markets (tiangus)

      • consumption

    • specialization is a measure of society's overall complexity

    • social stratification

    • agricultural surplus is at the base of a stratified system

      • priest class

      • nobility / elite

      • artisans (specialists)

        • tailors
        • potters
        • wood workers
        • lime makers
        • featherworkers
        • mano and metate makers
        • figurine makers (Teotihuacán)

to top of page / A/Z index   to top of page / A-Z index
    • population size and density exert an important influence on the character of a city

      • high population densities, for example promote big urban markets, and big urban markets promote a high degree of specialization

  • ethnographic analogy

    • metateros (Mexico)

      • part-time farmers, part-time metateros

    • tanning / leather specialists (Fez, Morocco)

      • developed guilds

        • set standards
        • controlled prices
        • represented its members

  • Copán, Honduras

    • in A.D. 400 - 800 was one of the major Mesoamerican centers

    • 27,000 people at its height

    • [The largest city in the U.S. at the time, Philidelphia, in 1776, had about 30,000.]

    • Petapilla

      • river, and quarry site, and archaeological site name near Copán

to top of page / A/Z index   to top of page / A-Z index
  • Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico

    • "golden green" and green obsidian

    • most obsidian is black or gray

    • related to the development of Teotihuacán

    • studied ancient mining techniques

    • "cores" were transported by humans to Teotihuacán

  • Teotihuacán, Mexico

    • at A.D. 600 had at least 125,000

    • largest city in the New World

    • one of the largest cities in the pre-industrialized world

    • had almost 2000 nearly-identical house compounds

      • each house had 30 - 100 people

    • their irrigation system freed 30,000 - 40,000 to specialize

      • but still it took 70% of the population to feed the city

    • specializations included making figurines

      • between A.D. 250 - 350 the mold was introduced into figurine making at Teotihuacán

      • judging from the fingerprints (males have wider ridges, females have narrower ridges) it appears that early handmade figurines were made by females, but with the development of the apartment compound this changed to a male specialization

      • "host" and "guest" figurines

    • Pachuca "golden green" obsidian was important

to top of page / A/Z index   to top of page / A-Z index
  • Tlacolula
  • Rome, Italy

    • about A.D. 200 the population approached 500,000

      • at this time it was the center of the Western World

    • was able to tap into the economy of other areas by using ships

    • Ostia was their port city

      • "everyone" here was a specialist

  • Fez, Morocco

    • 120,000 in the old city

    • high population density, which didn't change much since the 10th century

    • tanning specialists

      • their specializations go back "a thousand years"

    • as in ancient Ostia in Italy, almost everyone in Fez is a full-time specialist operating in an economy which allowed social mobility

to top of page / A/Z index   to top of page / A-Z index


  • Eloisa Aguilar
  • Warren T. D. Barbour
  • Amanda Claridge
  • Ross Hassig (transportation specialist)
  • C. Rudy Larios
  • William Sanders (archaeologist)
  • Rebecca Storey (physical anthropologist)
  • David Webster (archaeologist)
  • Rudolph Widmer

to top of page / A/Z index   to top of page / A-Z index

Out of the Past Series -- Annenberg / CPB Exhibits

Use this humanistic approach to archaeology and anthropology to make connections between past civilizations and modern societies, including how societies function and change. This series helps bring cultural ecology to light using physical evidence and scientific detective work. On-site filming at the spectacular Classic Maya center of Copán, Honduras, shows archaeologists reconstructing this ancient society. In addition, past and present cultures in Central and North America, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East are explored. Produced by Pennsylvania State University and WQED/Pittsburgh. 1993.

top of page /\ A-Z index


© 1998 - 2023 Timothy G. Roufs — All rights reserved     Envelope: E-mail
Page URL: http:// /cla/faculty/troufs/anth3618/video/Artisans.html
Last Modified Friday, 18-Nov-2011 19:27:55 CST
Site Information / Disclaimers ~ Main A-Z Index

View Stats