Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant: Neighborhood Dynamics at Calixtlhuaca Mexico student: Juliana Novic

Project: Research project

Description

07/13/2012 HB: This dissertation research examines neighborhood organization at Calixtlahuaca, a Postclassic (1100- 1520 AD) urban center in highland Mesoamerica. Neighborhoods are small spatial units where residents interact at a face to face level in the process of daily activities. Through this interaction, neighborhood governance and community formation takes place. How were Calixtlahuaca's neighborhoods organized socially and economically? Were they homogenous or did each neighborhood contain a mixture of different social and economic groups? Calixtlahuaca was a large Aztec-period city-state with a unique civic core layout. Calixtlahuaca is located in the frontier region between the Tarascan and Triple Alliance empires. As the capital of the Maltazinco polity, administrative, ritual, and economic activities were located here. Four languages, Matlazinca, Mazahua, Otomi, and Nahua, were spoken by the city's inhabitants. The combination of political geography and an unusual urban center provides an opportunity for examining complex neighborhood dynamics in a Mesoamerican setting. This research will employ artifact collections recovered during the Calixtlahuaca Archaeological Project surface survey. The Co-PI was the crew chief and GIS manager for the project. The Co-PI will use data on consumption practices and domestic ritual objects to access social groups. The Co-PI will record attribute data on the survey artifacts., which will be analyzed using a combination of multivariate and geo-spatial statistical methods. These methods will be used to identify clusters of artifacts that are likely indicators of production source, social class, domestic ritual, and shared material culture. The Co-PI will assess, using statistical measures, whether neighborhoods are dominated by a specific social group. Intellectual Merit The project contributes to the sparse literature on preindustrial urban neighborhoods. Research into social segregation or social clustering in modern cities is plentiful, but few studies examine the patterns of social clustering in the past. This research examines social clustering in the past by using methods that emphasize artifacts over architecture. This provides a method for examining neighborhoods at sites where residential architecture is not visible on the surface. Most research in Mesoamerica focuses on the clustering of social class. This research design will also focus on forms of clustering that emphasize neighborhood interactive potential and shared ritual practices. Calixtlahuaca is a multiethnic, multilingiustic city in a frontier region of Central Mexico. The Postclassic was a period of commercialization and political upheaval caused by the growth of the Triple Alliance empire. Calixtlahuaca provides us with an opportunity to further extend our knowledge of Mesoamerican neighborhoods being impacted by the unique political and economic environment. Broader Impacts Mexican nationals, particularly woman, are an integral part of the data collection process. These women benefit by receiving job training and intimate experience with their community and national history that is otherwise not available. The Co-PI, as a Hispanic woman in archaeology, will increase diversity in the academic community.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date11/15/1110/31/13

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $14,709.00

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earning a doctorate
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Mexico
student
religious behavior
artifact
social class
community
economics
commercialization
statistical method
social research
layout
segregation
inhabitant
research planning
archaeology
Geographical Information System
manager
resident