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Early Societies in the Americas and Oceania
Early Societies in the Americas and Oceania

Early Societies in the Americas and Oceania

Early Mesoamerican Societies, 1200 B.C.E.-1100 C.E.

Early Mesoamerican Societies,

1200 B.C.E.-1100 C.E.

Early Mesoamerican Societies, 1200 B.C.E.-1100 C.E.
Origins of Mesoamerican Societies  Migration across Bering land bridge?  Probably 13,000 B.C.E., perhaps

Origins of Mesoamerican Societies

Origins of Mesoamerican Societies  Migration across Bering land bridge?  Probably 13,000 B.C.E., perhaps earlier

Migration across Bering land bridge?

Probably 13,000 B.C.E., perhaps earlier

By sea from Asia?

By 9500 B.C.E. reached southernmost part of

South America

Hunter/gatherer societies

B.C.E. reached southernmost part of South America  Hunter/gatherer societies  Evolve into agricultural societies

Evolve into agricultural societies

Olmecs

Olmecs  1200-100 B.C.E.  The “rubber people”  Ceremonial centers  San Lorenzo, La Venta,

1200-100 B.C.E.

The “rubber people”

Ceremonial centers

San Lorenzo, La Venta, Tres Zapotes

Olmec heads

Up to 10 ft. tall, 20 tons

Transported by dragging, rolling on logs

1000 workers per head

Agriculture and Herding  Staple: maize  Herding: turkeys, barkless dogs  Both food 

Agriculture and Herding

Agriculture and Herding  Staple: maize  Herding: turkeys, barkless dogs  Both food  No
Agriculture and Herding  Staple: maize  Herding: turkeys, barkless dogs  Both food  No

Staple: maize

Herding: turkeys, barkless dogs

Both food

No draft animals

No development of wheeled vehicles

Olmec Society  Probably authoritarian in nature  Large class of conscripted laborers to construct

Olmec Society

Probably authoritarian in nature

Large class of conscripted laborers to construct

ceremonial sites

Also tombs for rulers, temples, pyramids, drainage systems

of conscripted laborers to construct ceremonial sites  Also tombs for rulers, temples, pyramids, drainage systems
Mysterious Decline of Olmecs  Ceremonial centers destroyed  No evidence of warfare  Revolution?

Mysterious Decline of Olmecs

Ceremonial centers destroyed

No evidence of warfare

Revolution?

Civil war?

Maya  Huge cities discovered in nineteenth century  300 B.C.E.-900 C.E.  Terrace farming
Maya  Huge cities discovered in nineteenth century  300 B.C.E.-900 C.E.  Terrace farming

Maya

Huge cities discovered in nineteenth century

300 B.C.E.-900 C.E. Terrace farming

century  300 B.C.E.-900 C.E.  Terrace farming  Maize  Cotton  Cacao beans 

Maize

Cotton

Cacao beans

Chocolate

Currency

Major ceremonial center at Tikal

Maya Warfare  Warfare for purposes of capturing enemy soldiers  Ritual sacrifice of enemies
Maya Warfare  Warfare for purposes of capturing enemy soldiers  Ritual sacrifice of enemies

Maya Warfare

Warfare for purposes of capturing enemy soldiers

Ritual sacrifice of enemies

Enslavement Small kingdoms engage in constant conflict until Chichén Itzá begins to absorb captives

Some nevertheless choose death

Center of empire develops

conflict until Chichén Itzá begins to absorb captives  Some nevertheless choose death  Center of
conflict until Chichén Itzá begins to absorb captives  Some nevertheless choose death  Center of
Maya Ritual Calendar  Complex math  Invention of “zero”  Calendar of 365.242 days
Maya Ritual Calendar  Complex math  Invention of “zero”  Calendar of 365.242 days

Maya Ritual Calendar

Complex math

Invention of “zero”

Calendar of 365.242 days (17 seconds off)

Solar calendar of 365 days

Ritual calendar of 260 days

Management of calendar lends authority to priesthood

Timing of auspicious moments for agriculture

Maya Language and Religion  Ideographs and a syllable alphabet  Most writings destroyed by

Maya Language and Religion

Ideographs and a syllable alphabet

Most writings destroyed by Spanish conquerors Deciphering work began in 1960s

Popol Vuh: Maya creation myth

Agricultural cycle maintained in exchange for

honors and sacrifices

Bloodletting rituals

Human sacrifices follow after removal of fingers, piercing to allow blood flow

The Maya Ball Game  Ritual game  High-ranking captives, prisoners of war contestants 
The Maya Ball Game  Ritual game  High-ranking captives, prisoners of war contestants 

The Maya Ball Game

Ritual game

High-ranking captives, prisoners of war

contestants

Execution of losers immediately follows the

match

Bloodletting ritual for the gods

prisoners of war contestants  Execution of losers immediately follows the match  Bloodletting ritual for
City of Teotihuacan  Highlands of Mexico Lakes in area of high elevation  Village
City of Teotihuacan  Highlands of Mexico Lakes in area of high elevation  Village

City of Teotihuacan

Highlands of Mexico

Lakes in area of high elevation Village of Teotihuacan, 500 B.C.E., expands to large agricultural city

Important ceremonial center

Extensive trade network, influenced surrounding areas

Begins to decline ca. 650 C.E., sacked in middle

of eighth century, burned city

network, influenced surrounding areas  Begins to decline ca. 650 C.E., sacked in middle of eighth

Andean Societies

Andean Societies  Migration into South America ca. 12,000 B.C.E.  Climate improves ca. 8000 B.C.E.

Migration into South America ca. 12,000

B.C.E.

Climate improves ca. 8000 B.C.E.

Largely independent from

Mesoamerica

Highly individualized due

to geography

Chavín Cult

New religion in central Andes, 900-300 B.C.E.

Little known about particulars of religion

Intricate stone carvings

Cult may have arisen when maize became an

important crop

During this era Andean society became increasingly complex

Cult may have arisen when maize became an important crop  During this era Andean society

The Mochica State

Valley of the Moche River

Dominated northern Peru, 300-700 C.E.

Painting survives

One of many states in region, none able to

consolidate into empire

Early Societies of Oceania, 1500 B.C.E.- 700 C.E.

Early Societies of Oceania, 1500 B.C.E.-

700 C.E.

Early Societies of Oceania, 1500 B.C.E.- 700 C.E.

Oceania

Prehistoric land bridges, lower seas permit migration

Outrigger canoes for open-sea travel

Early hunter-gatherer societies in Australia

Early agriculture in New Guinea

Lapita Peoples  Found throughout Pacific islands  Agriculture, animal herding  Political organization based
Lapita Peoples  Found throughout Pacific islands  Agriculture, animal herding  Political organization based

Lapita Peoples

Found throughout Pacific islands

Agriculture, animal herding

Political organization based on chiefdoms

Trade over open ocean declines 500 B.C.E.

Greater independence of settlements