Mesoamerica has become one of the world's most important areas for research into the emergence of complex human societies. Between 10,000 years ago and the arrival of the Spanish in 1521, some of the most significant changes in the evolution of human societies occurred. These included the emergence of agriculture and sedentary villages, the growth of centralized governments (chiefdoms and states), and the rise of market systems, cities, and highly stratified social systems. In the 1970s and 1980s a number of ambitious research efforts produced exciting data on culture change in Mesoamerica. In this revised and updated 1993 edition of a book first published in 1981, the authors present a synthesis of Mesoamerican prehistory, focusing on three of its most intensively studied regions, the Valleys of Oaxaca and Mexico and the Maya lowlands. An original framework of ideas is developed to explain long-term change in complex societies.
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