Pre-Columbian Society of Washington DC

The Pre-Columbian Society of Washington, D.C. (PCSWDC), is an educational organization dedicated to furthering knowledge and understanding of the peoples of the Americas before the time of Columbus. Founded in 1993, the Society provides a forum for the exchange of information regarding these pre-Columbian cultures between academic professionals and interested members of the public.

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Perpetual Consumption: Central Mexican-Maya Relations in the Mesoamerican Longue Durée, Trent Barnes, PhD candidate, Harvard University

This meeting will be held at the Charles Sumner School, 17th & M Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.

NOTE: Photo ID may be required to enter the building.

The meeting will start with refreshments at 6:45 pm and the lecture will begin at 7:15 pm.

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While scholars acknowledge that Maya cultures exhibit a strong degree of continuity across a timespan of more than a millennium, the coherence of ancestry between central Mexican cultures has yet to gain broad acceptance.  Many scholars still object to claims that the Post-Classic Mexica Aztec civilization (ca. 1325 – 1521 CE) bears any substantive relationship to the proceeding regional cultures of the Toltec (ca. 800 – 1100 CE) or Teotihuacan (ca. 50 BCE – 600 CE).  This paper traces patterns of cultural interaction between these central Mexican cultures and the Maya of modern-day Yucatan, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize over the longue durée of the Mesoamerican Classic and Post-Classic periods.  This examination of central Mexican-Maya foreign relations will demonstrate that central Mexicans displayed consistent patterns of hostility towards and tribute extraction from the Maya.  The prolonged consistency of this pattern lends credence to the notion that central Mexican civilizations exhibited a degree of cultural continuity similar in time depth to that found among their counterparts to the east.

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Trent Barnes is the William R. Tyler Fellow in Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks from 2018–2020.  He holds a BA from Columbia University, an MA from Harvard University, and remains a PhD Candidate in the History of Art and Architecture at the latter institution.  His research concerns the art and architectural history of the Pre-Columbian Americas.  His dissertation, “Walking the Space of Time: Void and Body in the Architecture of Teotihuacan, Mexico,” will comprise the first monographic architectural history of the largest pre-Hispanic urban development of the New World.  From 2017 – 2018 he was the Sylvan C. Coleman and Pam Coleman Memorial Fund Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he assisted in the exhibition run of Golden Kingdoms

Earlier Event: April 5
Later Event: June 7

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