Download Ancient Panama: Chiefs in Search of Power by Mary W. Helms PDF

By Mary W. Helms

Ancient Panama provides intensity to our knowing of the political and non secular elite ruling in Panama on the time of the ecu conquest. Mary W. Helms's study significantly expands wisdom of the distribution, quantity, and structural nature of those pre-Columbian chiefdoms.

In addition, Helms delves extra deeply into decide on elements of historical Panamanian political structures, together with the connection among elite pageant and mainly prestige, using sumptuary items within the expression of elite strength, and the function of elites in local and long-distance trade networks. In an important departure from conventional pondering, she proposes that the hunt for esoteric wisdom was once extra very important than fiscal exchange in constructing long-distance touch between chiefdoms.

The basic facts for the examine are derived from sixteenth-century Spanish documents via Oviedo y Valdés, Andagoya, Balboa, and others. the writer additionally turns to ethnographic information from modern local humans of Panama, Colombia, tropical the US, and Polynesia for analogy and comparability. the result's a hugely leading edge learn which illuminates not just pre-Columbian Panamanian elites but in addition the character of chiefdoms as a particular cultural type.

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Genetic changes occurred as people selected seeds that kept well in storage or those that produced more food when planted. This gradually led to the domestication of a variety of species and to a greater reliance on agriculture. Agriculture developed further as people learned more about the reproductive cycles of plants, when and where to plant their seeds, and how to protect and nourish them as they grew. Species that responded well to this manipulation include maize (corn), chili peppers, squash, beans, and a few other plants in highland Mesoamerica and manioc, potatoes, and a several other crops in South America.

However, its consequences—especially in the consolidation of settlement 32 Daily Life in Maya Civilization and authority—were essential to the development of more complex societies among the Maya and throughout Mesoamerica. Population growth produced only more competition and warfare. Populations expanded rapidly in some coastal settlements once maize cultivation was added to an abundant wild-food inventory. This created needs for new products and spurred the production of new commodities. By the beginning of the Early Preclassic period (ca.

In the highlands, with far fewer concentrations of wild food resources, settled life was possible only when agriculture became productive enough to support a group of people all year in one place. 1 Pottery often signals permanent settlements. The earliest evidence for the beginnings of settled villages from the Maya homeland dates to the end of the Archaic. This evidence comes from the Pacific coast, where people used a kind of pottery that dates to ca. e. Pottery is one of the best markers for permanent village life, because people who move from place to place seldom make and use fragile clay containers.

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