Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 01 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Production systems have long been an important subject of archaeological research in Mesoamerica. Studying how and why people formed particular groups and how those groups allocated labor and resources helps us to identify the social, economic, cultural, political, and even cosmological constraints and pressures that motivate people to make things. Driven, in part, by object-hungry museum directors in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, early excavations in Mesoamerica often focused almost exclusively on recovering and analyzing only the most exquisite and intricately fashioned goods—“luxury items” or “prestige goods.” But by the mid-twentieth century, the zeal to acquire and study luxury items was matched by comparable efforts to collect and consider quotidian or utilitarian materials, which revealed a great deal of detail about the daily lives of ancient Mesoamericans. Recent work on both kinds of goods has made important contributions to understanding how production is organized and for what ends. This article provides a selective and critical review of this literature, summarizing important findings and suggesting future directions.

Keywords: production systems, archaeological research, luxury items, prestige goods, artifacts, Mesoamerican archaeology

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.