Date of Award

7-1993

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology

Supervisor

Laura M. Finsten

Language

English

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to examine changes in the motifs and styles of the urns and figurines from the Early Classic (A.D.200-400) to the Early Postclassic (A.D.650-850) times. Historically, the anthropomorphic figures displayed on urns and figurines were thought to depict Zapotec gods, an interpretation based primarily on contact period Spanish accounts of Mesoamerican religious systems. More recently, they have been interpreted as venerated ancestors of elite lineages. An evaluation of a collection of urns and figurines from two occupational phases of the site of Jalieza, Mexico, suggests that these ritual items were not just the domain of the elite, but that all Jalieza residents participated in this ritual activity. The data also suggests that Jalieza residents regardless of higher or lower socioeconomic status appear to be members of segments of the community defined by the usage of certain symbols.

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