Monday, September 18, 2006

Another Chapter Finished

I turned in another 52 pages of the dissertation, this time Chapter 2. In it I discuss some of the more important approaches to the history, ethnohistory, and archaeology of the Spanish Empire in the Americas, European colonies in the Americas in general, and especially Mesoamerica and where possible closer to the invasion in the sixteenth century. This chapter basically presents various ideas and approaches that frame the analyses that follow in the other chapters. I will then return in Chapter 9, the conclusions, to some of these themes and models and how they relate to Ciudad Vieja, and vice-versa.

Things are nearly done. I am working on the last data Chapter, Chapter 8: Intrasite Variation. Basically looking at the distribution of pottery types and attributes not related to function or to the hybrid plates, across the site. One basic finding is that Spanish goods are not present in high quantities anywhere, a pattern found at at least one other Pacific side Spanish settlement. However, it is notable that the one structure with non-Spanish architecture also has no Spanish pottery (but lots of hybrid Spanish-style plates). The major type divisions, and their frequency, don't vary a great deal between households or on the surface grid. But several households and compounds do have evidence for very localized production and distribution of pottery, in one case possibly just for use in a single house compound. We can see this in minor variations on the basic theme of the pottery used throughout the site. One location has harder pottery (likely a different manner of firing perhaps with higher temperatures). Another has pottery that was much more heavily burnished, perhaps with a rock, than other pottery on the site. Furthermore, what limited stratigraphic evidence we have shows that these variants make up substantial portions of the individual assemblages in their lower depths, but closer to the surface, they decline or disappear. This does not appear to be due to erosion. So I believe that the more uniform pottery is a sign that households can rely more readily on markets and trade, rather than being self-sufficient. This is likely a result of the death and chaos of the invasion lessening as a new social order begins to emerge and the roads become somewhat safe to travel again.

So, once I turn what I just said into about forty pages with supporting data, graphs, and citations to similar studies in the literature, that will be the end of my analytical chapters. The intro and conclusions will soon follow, and then I'll be just in the editing process.