List of archaeological periods (Mesoamerica)

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The chronology of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica is usually divided into the following eras:

Five Stage Classification[edit]

One of the most enduring classifications of archaeological periods & cultures was established in Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips' 1958 book Method and Theory in American Archaeology. They divided the archaeological record in the Americas into 5 phases. These are:


Tabular list[edit]

Paleo-Indian
(10,000 BCE–3500 BCE)
Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, obsidian and pyrite points, Iztapan
Archaic
(3500 BCE–1800 BCE)
Agricultural settlements, Tehuacán
Preclassic (Formative)
(2000 BCE–250 CE)
The start of nation-states. The first large scale ceremonial architecture, development of cities.

(Unknown culture in La Blanca and Ujuxte, Monte Alto culture)

Early Preclassic Olmec area: San Lorenzo Tenochtitlan; Central Mexico: Chalcatzingo; Valley of Oaxaca: San José Mogote. The Maya area: Nakbe, Cerros 2000 BCE–1000 BCE
Middle Preclassic Olmec area: La Venta, Tres Zapotes; Maya area: El Mirador, Izapa, Lamanai, Xunantunich, Naj Tunich, Takalik Abaj, Kaminaljuyú, Uaxactun; Valley of Oaxaca: Monte Albán 1000 BCE–400 BCE
Late Preclassic Maya area: Uaxactun, Tikal, Edzná, Cival, San Bartolo, Altar de Sacrificios, Piedras Negras, Ceibal, Rio Azul; Central Mexico: Teotihuacan; Gulf Coast: Epi-Olmec culture 400 BCE–200 CE
Classic
(200 CE–900 CE)
Height of the nation-states.

(Classic Maya Centers, Teotihuacan, Zapote)

Early Classic Maya area: Calakmul, Caracol, Chunchucmil, Copán, Naranjo, Palenque, Quiriguá, Tikal, Uaxactun, Yaxha; Teotihuacan apogee; Zapotec apogee. 200 CE–600 CE
Late Classic Maya area: Uxmal, Toniná, Cobá, Waka', Pusilhá, Xultún, Dos Pilas, Cancuen, Aguateca; Central Mexico: Xochicalco, Cacaxtla, Cholula; Gulf Coast: El Tajín and Classic Veracruz culture 600 CE–900 CE
Terminal Classic Maya area: Puuc sites - Uxmal, Labna, Sayil, Kabah 800 CE–900/1000 CE
Postclassic
(900 CE–1519 CE)
Collapse of many of the great nations and cities of the Classic Era

(Aztec, Tarascans, Mixtec, Totonac, Pipil, Itzá, Ko'woj, K'iche', Kaqchikel, Poqomam, Mam)

Early Postclassic Tula, Mitla, Tulum, Topoxte, 900 CE–1200 CE
Late Postclassic Tenochtitlan, Cempoala, Tzintzuntzan, Mayapán, Ti'ho, Utatlán, Iximche, Mixco Viejo, Zaculeu 1200 CE–1519 CE
Post Conquest
(Until 1697 CE)
Central Peten: Tayasal, Zacpeten

References[edit]

  • Gordon R. Willey and Philip Phillips (1957). Method and Theory in American Archaeology. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-89888-1. 

See also[edit]