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H 290 x W 205 mm

280 pages

263 figues, 20 tables (colour throughout)

Published Aug 2022

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781789699111

Digital: 9781789699128

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Mesoamerica; aquatic lifeways; agriculture; Tarascan; Aztec; Maya; ethnoarchaeology; ethnohistory

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Archaeopress Pre-Columbian Archaeology 15

Aquatic Adaptations in Mesoamerica

Subsistence Activities in Ethnoarchaeological Perspective

By Eduardo Williams

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This book explores the subsistence strategies that ancient Mesoamericans implemented to survive and thrive in their environments. It discusses the natural settings, production sites, techniques, artifacts, cultural landscapes, traditional knowledge, and other features linked to human subsistence in aquatic environments.



Preface ;

Chapter I: Introduction ;
The Mesoamerican Aquatic Lifeway ;
Ethnoarchaeology ;
Ethnohistory ;
Aquatic Adaptations in Mesoamerica ;
Archaeological Implications ;
Content and Structure of this Book ;

Chapter II: The Aquatic Lifeway in Michoacán: Natural Resources and Subsistence Activities ;
Ethnohistorical Information on Aquatic Subsistence in Michoacán ;
Ethnographic Analysis and Archaeological Interpretation ;
The Natural Environment of the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin ;
Ethnographic Information on Subsistence Activities in the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin ;
Subsistence Activities in Aquatic Contexts: Archaeological Markers ;
Final remarks ;

Chapter III: Salt Production in Mesoamerica: Tool Assemblages and Cultural Landscapes ;
Nutrition ;
Food Preservation ;
Salt Production in Mesoamerica ;
The Basin of Mexico ;
The Salt-Making Tool Assemblage ;
The Salt-Making Landscape ;
Final Remarks ;

Chapter IV: Aquatic Subsistence in Central Mexico ;
The Basin of Mexico ;
The Alto Lerma Basin ;
Final Remarks ;

Chapter V: Aquatic Subsistence in the Maya Area ;
The Maya Highlands ;
The Maya Lowlands ;
Pre-Hispanic Cities and Agriculture in the Maya Area ;
Maya Cities of the Classic Period ;
Intensive Agriculture among the Ancient Maya ;
Final Remarks ;

Chapter VI: Discussion and Conclusions ;
Challenges for Future Research ;


About the Author

Eduardo Williams obtained his Ph.D. from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, in 1989. He joined the faculty of the Colegio de Michoacán (Zamora, Mexico) in 1990, where he holds the post of Professor in the Center for Archaeological Research. He has published several books, including La sal de la tierra (2003, winner of the Alfonso Caso Prize awarded by the Mexican Institute of Anthropology and History), and Ancient West Mexico in the Mesoamerican Ecumene (Archaeopress, 2020). Professor Williams has been a member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences since 2002.


'This is a monumental contribution… This pioneering work will stand and endure as a landmark publication, an inspiration for future studies of this sort in Mexico and in other parts of the world...' - Jeffrey R. Parsons, University of Michigan

I am convinced this book will become an instant classic on the subject and it will be referenced in future articles in this journal. The style is informative for students of anthropology, geography, and related disciplines like sustainable engineering. Followers of Lo-TEK (Traditional Environmental Knowledge) will find here excellent source material and ideas to further recover and adapt traditional ways.’ – Ramón Folch González (2023): Ethnoarchaeology, DOI: 10.1080/19442890.2023.2184909