6800 - The Formative-Classic Transition on the Western Tuxtlas Frontier: Continuities and Disjunctures

Archaeological investigations conducted over the past 30 years have shown the Protoclassic period (ca. A.D. 1-300) to be one of critical transitions in the political landscape of the western Tuxtla Mountains and Eastern Lower Papoloapan Basin of southern Veracruz. Key developments included the appearance and expansion of regional centers, a diversification of formal architectural plans, changing modes of sculptural expression (including the inscription of written historical narratives) and the development of new ceramic technologies. These changes played out against a background of the declining regional dominance of Tres Zapotes, increased volcanic activity, and, at the end of the Protoclassic, a localized incursion of Teotihuacanos or their agents. This paper draws on data from surveys and excavations conducted in the last decade to clarify the artifactual signatures of the Tuxtlas Protoclassic and to trace subregional variation in population trends, administrative hierarchies, and the ways in which political authority was expressed. On the Western Tuxtlas frontier Classic Veracruz civilization arose as local actors vied in a politically fragmented landscape, drawing to varying degrees on traditional and innovative modes of material expression.

Keywords: Veracruz, Protoclassic, chronology, settlement patterns, political authority

Author: Pool, Christopher (University of Kentucky, Ud States of Am / USA)


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