Merchants, Markets, and Exchange in the Pre-Columbian World is a collection of essays by archaeologists of Mesoamerica and the Andes. It derives from a conference at Dumbarton Oaks that asked participants to present research that challenged accepted economic models for understanding “ancient” economies in the New World (typically characterized by economists as less complex than those in the Old World). The resulting chapters offer a revisionist perspective by demonstrating that certain societies in the Americas had extensive trade networks and large regional markets, two of the markers used by economists to identify complexity (conceived as positive and equated with development). The existence of complex economies in North and South America prior to European contact is unlikely to surprise ethnohistorians, but the conversation among archaeologists is nonetheless salient for historians interested in identifying disciplinary differences and questioning conventional social science periodizations that characterize...

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