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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the development of complex societies during the Formative period in the Pacific coastal plain, stretching from Chiapas, Mexico, to El Salvador. Data shows that a trend of increasing complexity began soon at the end of the Archaic period and climaxed with the emergence of urbanism and early state societies during the Late Formative period. The long-term trajectory of increasing social complexity was not seamless, however, and there were significant disjunctions that suggest episodes of political cycling at various points within the sequence, manifested in the movement of political centers, economic reorganization, and changes in the ideological justifications of political power.

Keywords: Mexico, El Salvador, Formative period, Mesoamerica, coastal plain, complex society

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