Historical archaeology of indigenous culture change in Mesoamerica

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26 Scopus citations


This essay outlines recent archaeological research on post-Columbian (c. A.D. 1500-1925) indigenous sites in Mexico and Central America. Historical archaeology is a growing field in Mesoamerica, and over the last 20 years investigations of native culture change have increased, especially in rural areas. Contemporary research contributes new insights on indigenous responses to Spanish colonization over a long period. This work also is reassessing chronologies and examining the diversity of indigenous behavior from late preconquest to historic times. Indigenous adaptations to culture contact and social change are characterized by three general stages: conquest, colonization, and independence. Although I do draw on other regions, the focus of the article is the Maya area and Central America, where more investigations have taken place.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-346
Number of pages50
JournalJournal of Archaeological Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Culture change
  • Historical archaeology
  • Indigenous societies
  • Interaction
  • Material culture
  • Mesoamerica
  • Postconquest
  • Rural settlements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • General Arts and Humanities


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