Mesitas Community, Cacicazgo de San Agustin cover
Memoirs in Latin American Archaeology, No. 18
University of Pittsburgh Latin American Archaeology Publications, Universidad de los Andes, and Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia (ICANH, Bogotá)
2007. 134 pp. ISBN: 978-1-877812-84-2

Prehispanic Change in the Mesitas Community: Documenting the Development of A Chiefdom's Central Place in San Agustín, Huila, Colombia

Cambio Prehispánico en la Comunidad de Mesitas: Documentando el Desarrollo de la Comunidad Central en un Cacigazco de San Agustín, Huila, Colombia

by / por Víctor González Fernández

An investigation of the development of the Mesitas community from 1000 B.C. to 900 A.D. Mesitas was the largest and most elaborate chiefly community of Colombia's Alto Magdalena region. This research focuses on the domestic assemblages of some 80 households that made up the Mesitas community--the central part of the community that built and used the most spectacular complex of funerary and ceremonial architecture and sculpture in the Alto Magdalena. Samples of artifacts from all these households were collected through the excavation of over 5,000 shovel probes spread across the nearly 3 square kilometers that the central Mesitas community covers. González concludes that religion and ritual were the central basis of power for emerging elites early on, but that an economic basis for power, involving craft specialization, grew gradually over the course of time as well, possibly resulting in eventually complementary or even rival elites. Complete text in English and Spanish.

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