Twenty-three of the most influential essays by leading scholars are brought together in this Reader, revealing the rich variety of cultures and societies that existed in ancient Mesoamerica. Expert editorial introductions explain the context and significance of the contributions, and extensive bibliographies facilitate further research. This illustrated volume includes the results of the most up-to-date research on a wide range of social practices, cultures, and time periods. Among the subjects addressed are social, ecomic, and political organization, as well as religion and ideology. The readings are arranged thematically rather than by region in order to compare the main characteristics of Mesoamerican city and rural life, and to bring out both the unity and diversity of these ancient peoples.
Michael E. Smith is Professor of Anthropology, State University of New York at Albany. He is an archaeologist specializing in the study of the Aztecs of central Mexico, and has directed fieldwork projects at Aztec sites in the Mexican state of Morelos. He is the author of The Aztecs (Blackwell, 1996); co-author and co-editor of Aztec Imperial Strategies (with Frances Berdan et al., 1996) and co-editor of Economies and Polities in the Aztec Realm (with Mary G. Hodge, 1994). Marilyn A. Masson is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the State University of New York at Albany. She is a Mesoamerican archaeologist currently focusing on the Postclassic period of the Maya lowlands under the auspices of the Belize Postclassic Project, formed in 1996. She is co-editor of The Belize Postclassic Project 1998: Investigations at Progresso Lagoon (1999).