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Events 2021-2022

2021–2022 Lecture Series

October:  Dr. Edgar Carpio Rezzio Lecture:  Friday, October 15, 2021  

The Lithics of Salina de los Nueve Cerros:  Flint and Obsidian

Residents of Salinas de los Nueve Cerros, a large riverine city in the southern Maya lowlands, imported and used a surprising quantity of obsidian to create specialized tools that reflect the unique local industries found there.  As has been discussed in other Maya Society of Minnesota talks, Nueve Cerros was the only non-coastal salt source in the Maya lowlands, with a likely annual output of well over 10,000 tons a year throughout the Classic period (A.D. 250-900).  The obsidian and, to a lesser extent, chert tools indicate that the city excelled at many additional related industries.  Special scrapers would have been used to descale fish before salting and preserving them, and other scrapers could have been involved in the production of leather and other goods.  In this presentation, Edgar Carpio will examine the economic life of the ancient residents of this important city over its 2,000 year history, providing insights into how the city adapted to changing markets and trends. 

Workshop:  Saturday, October 16, 2021, 9:00am CDT

Location:  Zoomed to the comfort of your home.  

Obsidian as a Highly Valued Resource in the Maya Area

Obsidian–naturally-occurring volcanic glass–is found in multiple pockets of the Guatemalan and Mexican highlands.  As the majority of the history of Maya civilization occurred before the introduction of metallurgical techniques that allowed for the creation of metal blades, obsidian blades were the cutting tool par excellence until well after the Classic collapse that occurred in the eighth through tenth centuries.  Obsidian’s ubiquity, combined with the unique chemical signatures of each known source, has proven to be one of the principal means archaeologists can examine and reconstruct ancient trade routes and regional economic relations.  In this workshop, Edgar Carpio will examine the importance of obsidian for both the ancient Maya and contemporary archaeologists, explaining the ways this material was used as an essential part of both of their toolkits.


September 24, 2021:  Sofía Pacheco-Forés, Ph.D.  

Otherness, Migration, and Ritual Violence in Epiclassic Central Mexico: A Bioarchaeological Perspective

Abstract: The Epiclassic period (600-900 CE) in central Mexico is often described as a time of dramatic socio-political reorganization characterized by increased migration into the region and elevated levels of violence. Because of the relative paucity of human skeletal remains dating to this time period, however, there was limited bioarchaeological evidence of these phenomena. Here, I discuss my research examining direct evidence of migration and violence in the central Mexican Epiclassic period. I analyze the human skeletal remains from the shrine site of Non-Grid 4, located in the northeastern Basin of Mexico, where approximately 180 individuals were ritually sacrificed and interred. I combine social identity theory, the ethnohistoric record, traditional bioarchaeological analysis, and isotope biogeochemistry to understand who was targeted for ritual violence in Epiclassic central Mexico and why.

Workshop:  Saturday, September 25, 2021

Isotope Biogeo-what??? Archaeological Chemistry and What It Can Teach Us about Ancient Migration

Description: In the last 30 years, we have seen an explosion of research using isotope biogeochemistry to answer questions about past peoples’ lives. What did they eat? Where did they live? How did they move around? In this workshop, you will (1) learn about the fundamental principles underlying isotope biogeochemical analyses of ancient migration, (2) understand what to look for/how to evaluate these analyses, and (3) apply the principles of isotope biogeochemical analyses of migration to yourself and your own residential history.