Research Grant for Graduate Student Ph.D. Research

Grants and Contracts Details


Archaeological research is proposed at the site of Tatocapan, near the modern community of Santiago Tuxtla, Veracruz, Mexico. The applicant believes there to be sufficient evidence to support the notion that this site represents the remains of the Postclassic period settlement where the ethnohistorically documented community of Toztlan (Tuxtla) resided. At this site, the applicant proposes to undergo an intensive, systematic program of architectural mapping, surface collection, excavation, and laboratory analysis, complemented by archival research, in order to better understand the nature of inter-polity interactions, in this case, between the local community at Tatocapan and the expansive Aztec Empire. The applicant suggests that the configuration of the Aztec Empire was more akin to the mosaic model applied to the Wari Empire (Schreiber 1992) than to the binary distinction made between tributary and strategic provinces, operating under a hegemonic form of imperialism (Berdan et al. 1996). Evidence for this pattern has been recently recovered from the Cotaxtla and MixtequiJIa regions of central Veracruz to the northwest. This suggestion can be tested through the application of Stark's (1990) model of interpolity/ inter-regional interaction, which, rather than assuming a core-dominated periphery, sees relations as mutual, variable, and not necessarily asymmetrical. This model bears likeness to the concept of "negotiated peripherality" as discussed by Kardulias (1999) and Morris (1999), which maintains that local communities, and their constituent parts, played important roles in the differential acceptance or rejection of expanding cores. This perspective, coupled with Stark's (1990) model, allows for broader processes of interactions to be meaningfully tested via the archaeological record. It also sees the consideration of local pre-existing conditions as an essential determining factor in the form imperial strategies took from region to region (cf. Smith and Montiel 2001). A secondary benefit of this proposed research is the refinement of the regional chronology for the Postclassic period on the southern Gulf Coast, which remains one of the most poorly studied regions/time periods in Mesoamerica. These refinements will be made through the excavation of relatively undisturbed contexts (Diehl 1998), as the site of Tatocapan (EI Picayo) has not been the victim of post-occupational destruction like many other archaeological sites on the Gulf Coast, especially during an age of oil exploration and suburban development. Furthermore, Mexican and U.S. scholars who participated in a recent Gulf Coast archaeology planning session (Diehl 1998) agreed that the site ofEI Picayo (Tatocapan) should be made the priority of problem-oriented research designs in the near future. The conclusions reached as an outcome of this research will guide the formulation of models for periphery Ifrontier strategies, particularly in the face of imperial expansion. Models that take into consideration the immense variability within the local contexts affected by expansion are badly needed and may [md numerous cross-cultural applications, as well as increase the opportunities for fuller explanation in the archaeologicalrecord.
Effective start/end date5/15/035/31/05


  • Lambda Alpha: $1,500.00


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