JCSET | Sigma Xi Poster Competition

Title

Understanding Settlement Shifts and Collapse in the Context of Matacanela, Veracruz, Mexico

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Archaeology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Marcie Venter

Presentation Format

Event

Abstract/Description

A recurring discourse in archaeological studies is particularly one of collapse and reorganization. Theoretical studies often fail to fully encompass the mechanisms of collapse, and there is no true universality to these mechanisms that can be applied across every instance. However, work done in regard to the Classic Period Collapse around AD 900 in Mesoamerican is more sizable than many other regions, given its impact in the Americas. Still, how settlements were reorganized during and following this phase of collapse is little understood, especially in the context of the Tuxtlas in Mexico. This study aims to correct this by conducting spatial analyses on data recovered from the Matacanela Archaeological Project (MAP). Matacanela is a Early Classic to Postclassic site located 5 kilometers south of Lake Catemaco. Because of its long occupation and abundance of systematic survey data, this area is perfect for analyzing the dynamics of decline and collapse in the context of the Classic to Postclassic transitions. Chronologically diagnostic data were utilized as a primary source of point density across the survey area to determine when more activity was present at which location. Following this, spatial comparisons were made across these chronological stages and patterns of chronological shifts to further demonstrate trends of settlement distribution across the local landscape. This study finds a clear, steady decline as the Classic Period drew to a close, but complete abandonment like many other sites in Mesoamerica did not occur there.

Spring Scholars Week 2022 Event

Sigma Xi Poster Competition

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Understanding Settlement Shifts and Collapse in the Context of Matacanela, Veracruz, Mexico

A recurring discourse in archaeological studies is particularly one of collapse and reorganization. Theoretical studies often fail to fully encompass the mechanisms of collapse, and there is no true universality to these mechanisms that can be applied across every instance. However, work done in regard to the Classic Period Collapse around AD 900 in Mesoamerican is more sizable than many other regions, given its impact in the Americas. Still, how settlements were reorganized during and following this phase of collapse is little understood, especially in the context of the Tuxtlas in Mexico. This study aims to correct this by conducting spatial analyses on data recovered from the Matacanela Archaeological Project (MAP). Matacanela is a Early Classic to Postclassic site located 5 kilometers south of Lake Catemaco. Because of its long occupation and abundance of systematic survey data, this area is perfect for analyzing the dynamics of decline and collapse in the context of the Classic to Postclassic transitions. Chronologically diagnostic data were utilized as a primary source of point density across the survey area to determine when more activity was present at which location. Following this, spatial comparisons were made across these chronological stages and patterns of chronological shifts to further demonstrate trends of settlement distribution across the local landscape. This study finds a clear, steady decline as the Classic Period drew to a close, but complete abandonment like many other sites in Mesoamerica did not occur there.