Within the humanities and social sciences, there are many disciplines that, in theory, might fruitfully inform and dialogue with one another but that regularly struggle to do so. Archaeology and history both deal with the past, but by its nature the former observes the patterns that define epochs while the latter targets the particularities of individual generations and lives. Anthropology and art history, meanwhile, might investigate the same cultural traditions, yet methodological guidelines frequently restrict their complementarity. The diverse civilizations of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and their modern descendants, however, offer unique opportunities to marry these four disciplines to great scholarly effect. Mesoamerica has produced a vast wealth of archaeological and artistic treasures spanning millennia as well as a substantial—and mostly unrivaled in the Americas—corpus of ethnohistorical texts. It also maintains a strong and ongoing demographic and cultural presence today.

The Dumbarton Oaks Research...

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