Recent Changes

Monday, December 14

  1. page JamesMcW- Highland Mexico edited ... Sluyter, A. (1994) Intensive Wetland Agriculture in Mesoamerica: Space, Time, and Form. Annals…
    ...
    Sluyter, A. (1994) Intensive Wetland Agriculture in Mesoamerica: Space, Time, and Form. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 84, No. 4, pp. 557-584.
    Townsend, R. F. (2000). The Aztecs. London: Thames & Hudson. pp. 174-180.
    ...
    the Conquest.
    Annals

    Annals
    of the
    ...
    pp. 407-409.
    WIKI MODULES:
    The Origins of Maize
    ...
    Trigger, B. (1976) Kerma: The Rise of an African Civilization. The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1. , pg. 1.
    Module 9:
    ...
    New World
    Author(s):

    Author(s):
    Ray T.
    ...
    L. Gurr
    Source:

    Source:
    Annual Review
    ...
    pp. 79-103
    Published

    Published
    by: __Annual Reviews__
    Stable URL: __http://www.jstor.org/stable/2155641__
    Module 10:
    ...
    Popper, V. (2000). Investigating Chinampa Farming. Backdirt, fall/winter 00.
    __http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/ioa/backdirt/Fallwinter00/farming.htm__
    Module 12:
    __http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid=8818d0cba84229dbb0799e308e971aff&prevstart=12__
    teotihuacan-

    __http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid=8818d0cba84229dbb0799e308e971aff&prevstart=12__
    teotihuacan-
    This 3-D
    ...
    and complexity.
    __http://ucfant3145f09-06.wikispaces.com/file/view/Mayas+in+Campeche..kmz__

    __http://ucfant3145f09-06.wikispaces.com/file/view/Mayas+in+Campeche..kmz__

    maya in campeche
    Module 13:
    ...
    407-409. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2563353
    In this article Whitmore provides a very detailed account of pre-hispanic agricultural practices in various areas throughout coastal and highland Mexico. “…Agriculture formed the basis of subsistence and commerce among city states and was central to the tribute extracted by the Aztec.” (Whitmore 407) The article is composed eloquently and is a very pleasant read while still providing substantial amounts of useful information. Whitmore provides detailed accounts of Chinampa and terrace agriculture and the crops that were planted on them at the time of Spanish conquest. “By the 16th century, Chinampas were part of a state-designed and controlled hydraulic system that included dikes and sluice gates controlling water level and quality in the southern parts of the lacustrine network.” (Whitmore 409) The majority of the terraced agricultural systems in highland Mexico existed to the east of the Aztec city of Teotihuacan in an area known as the Mesa Central. “The Mesa Central is composed of broad, flat floored basins ringed by imposing volcanoes and broad slopes, many of which offered fertile soils for agriculture. Most of this area is above 1800m in elevation.” (Whitmore) The lack of precipitation at higher elevations combined with the frequent frosts limited crop production in these areas. “The upper Sierras remained in a forest, a source of wood and regulator of water. Below the forest line, rainfed terraced and semi-terraced cultivation dominated. Various forms of floodwater irrigation were pursued within ephemeral water courses and along lands adjacent to them, including edges of the basin’s floor into which the drainage emptied. (Whitmore 408)
    Module 14:
    Sluyter,

    Sluyter,
    A. (1994)
    ...
    557-584. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2564144
    In

    In
    this article
    ...
    (Sluyter 558)
    (view changes)
    9:17 am
  2. page JamesMcW- Highland Mexico edited ... Knowledge of horticulture was not only beneficial for subsistence; the Aztec also cultivated g…
    ...
    Knowledge of horticulture was not only beneficial for subsistence; the Aztec also cultivated gardens consisting of many varieties of plants, both for pleasure and experimentation. One such garden was documented in an account by Cortes when he was being held there: “Within the Orchard is a great square pool of fresh water, very well constructed, with sides of handsome masonry, around which runs a walk with a well-laid pavement of tiles, so wide that four persons can walk abreast on it… On the other side of the promenade toward the wall of the garden are hedges of lattice work made of cane, behind which are all sorts of plantations of trees and aromatic herbs. The pool contains many fish and different kinds of waterfowl.”(Townsend 180) There are several other Spanish accounts of the Aztec gardens. The Spanish descriptions provide invaluable insight into the horticultural lives of a lost people. One tremendous addition to modern knowledge of the Aztec’s agricultural and horticultural is The Badianus Manuscript; a manuscript herbal of the sixteenth century, written by an Aztec physician, and edited by Dr. Emily Walcott Emmart. The interpretation of the Badianus manuscript has provided great insight into the lives of the Aztec. “It had long been known that, by the period of the Spanish conquest, gardening and medicinal botany in Mexico had reached a high degree of elaboration. The fact that the language of the Nahuas included several different names for different types of gardens shows that horticulture played a considerable part in their lives. Montezuma possessed gardens for flowers and medicinal herbs, in which, according to the chronicler, Cervantes de Salazar, he "did not allow any vegetables or fruit to be grown, saying that it was not kingly to cultivate plants for utility or profit in his pleasance.” (Arber 82)
    Agriculture in highland Mexico was both unique and effective. The societies of highland Mexico were very advanced for their time and the types of agriculture they created and used reflect their complexity. The various agricultural forms that have been discussed are evidence of the persistence and adaptability of the peoples inhabiting highland Mexico. Agriculture in highland Mexico aided in the domestication of many species, most significantly maize, and led to many other developments in the Meso-Americas such as extensive irrigation networks for terraced farming. The Aztec perfected the intensive-wetland agriculture technique known as Chinampas farming, a predecessor to modern hydroponics, and used this method to create the majority of the food-crops consumed by the empire. The rulers of highland Mexico had experimental gardens with many varieties of plants that were used both for utility and for pleasure. Agriculture was more than just a means for subsistence for the peoples of highland Mexico; it was something they were passionate about.
    Work Cited:
    Arber, A. (1940). An Aztec Herbal. Nature, Volume 146, Issue 3690, pp. 81-83
    Popper, V. (2000). Investigating Chinampa Farming. Backdirt, fall/winter.
    Sluyter, A. (1994) Intensive Wetland Agriculture in Mesoamerica: Space, Time, and Form. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 84, No. 4, pp. 557-584.
    Townsend, R. F. (2000). The Aztecs. London: Thames & Hudson. pp. 174-180.
    Whitmore, T. (1992) Landscapes of Cultivation in Mesoamerica on the Eve of the Conquest.
    Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 82, No. 3, pp. 407-409.
    WIKI MODULES:

    The Origins of Maize
    There is substantial evidence that the domestication of maize occurred in central highland mexico at about 9,188 B.P. (95% confidence limits of 5,689–13,093 B.P.)(Matsuoka) Prior to these findings there was a belief that multiple domestications of the wild plant Teosinte formed the modern Maize plant we have today. After further research sources point to a single domestication of Maize around 5-13,000 B.P which coincides directly with the earliest known archaeological maize dated at 5400 b.p.(Piperno)
    ...
    Journal of Historical Geography: Volume 32, Issue 4, October 2006, Pages 689-711
    Townsend, R. F. (2000). The Aztecs. London: Thames & Hudson.
    Module 2:
    Interest Paragraph:
    I am interested in the unique characteristics that compose each individual culture and the peoples within them. I enjoy learning about anthropology because it is humbling. It reminds me that no culture is more important or more significant than any other and although some may make larger contributions to the society of the world they are still just one of many cultures that exist. Anthropology allows me to learn about different lifestyles and helps me to realize the faults and strengths in my own. Anthropology also allows me to remove myself from my own culture and see what aspects I appreciate and the ones I do not. Cultural Anthropology is my favorite of the subfields of anthropology however recently I have become interested in a specific area of cultural anthropology known as ethnobotany. I am fascinated by the way cultures use various plants and how they are viewed and accepted within each culture.
    Module 8:
    "The floodplains along the Nile constitute an important but as yet little utilized series of laboratories for the comparative study of the origins
    and interaction of ancient civilizations."
    Source:
    Trigger, B. (1976) Kerma: The Rise of an African Civilization. The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1. , pg. 1.
    Module 9:
    Variation in Prehistoric Agricultural Systems of the New World
    Author(s): Ray T. Matheny and Deanne L. Gurr
    Source: Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 12, (1983), pp. 79-103
    Published by: __Annual Reviews__
    Stable URL: __http://www.jstor.org/stable/2155641__
    Module 10:
    __http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/ioa/backdirt/Fallwinter00/farming.html__
    Type of Highland Mexico Agriculture: Chinampas Farming
    One of the most famous forms of agriculture developed in Highland Mexico was Chinampas farming. The Aztec inhabited the city of Tenochtitlan, a massive civilization that was built on a lake, and used what others would consider an extreme roadblock to their advantage. With very ittle farmable land available and an increasing population, “by the middle of the 15th century the city of Tenochtitlan s upported a population between 150,000 and 200,000”, the Aztec did the only thing possible to inc rease the carrying capacity of the surrounding area. (Townsend 174) Small plots of land known as Chinampas were formed out of the lake onto which crops were planted. “Plots were constructed by taking out a long, narrow, rectangular enclosure approximately 30m in length by 2.5 m wide, into the swampy lakebed… Another plot was then constructed parallel to the first, leaving a narrow canal in between for the passage of canoes.”(Townsend) Willow trees were planted along the borders of the plots to stabilize them. As the dense root systems of the willows developed they became the outside walls of the Chinampa. The word Chinampa comes from the Nahuatl word chināmitl, meaning "square made of canes".The inside of the plot was filled with mud and decaying vegetation. This provided an excellent base soil that was augmented with human excrement as a fertilizer. (Townsend)
    Sources:
    Townsend, R. F. (2000). The Aztecs. London: Thames & Hudson.
    Module 11:
    One of the most famous forms of agriculture developed in Highland Mexico was Chinampas farming. The Aztec inhabited the city of Tenochtitlan, a massive civilization that was built on a lake, and used what others would consider an extreme roadblock to their advantage. With very ittle farmable land available and an increasing population, “by the middle of the 15th century the city of Tenochtitlan s upported a population between 150,000 and 200,000”, the Aztec did the only thing possible to inc rease the carrying capacity of the surrounding area. (Townsend 174) Small plots of land known as Chinampas were formed out of the lake onto which crops were planted. “Plots were constructed by taking out a long, narrow, rectangular enclosure approximately 30m in length by 2.5 m wide, into the swampy lakebed… Another plot was then constructed parallel to the first, leaving a narrow canal in between for the passage of canoes.”(Townsend) Willow trees were planted along the borders of the plots to stabilize them. As the dense root systems of the willows developed they became the outside walls of the Chinampa. The word Chinampa comes from the Nahuatl word chināmitl, meaning "square made of canes".The inside of the plot was filled with mud and decaying vegetation. This provided an excellent base soil that was augmented with human excrement as a fertilizer. (Townsend) Virginia Popper of UCLA has been excavating a Chinampa site in central highland mexico Ch-Az-195 which "is a small mound that lies approximately 1 km southeast of Xico Island and 1.8 km from the eastern shore of Lake Chalco." Popper documented her findings from Ch-Az-195 in her article Investigating Chinampa Farming: "My research uses plant remains excavated from an Early Aztec site (Ch-Az-195) to address the issue of the development of Chinampa agriculture and, more specifically, to address questions about the economy and land use..." (Popper) The Aztec were avid agriculturalists and grew many different types of plants: "Food plants include the major cultigens (maize, beans, squash, and chile),all of which are recorded as growing in Chinampas. The Chinampas were a very productive means of agriculutre that "Jeffrey Parsons of the Univ__l__ersity of Michigan suggests provided one-half to two-thirds of the food consumed in Tenochtitlan." (Popper)
    Source:
    Popper, V. (2000). Investigating Chinampa Farming. Backdirt, fall/winter 00.
    __http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/ioa/backdirt/Fallwinter00/farming.htm__
    Module 12:
    __http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/details?mid=8818d0cba84229dbb0799e308e971aff&prevstart=12__
    teotihuacan- This 3-D model of the ancient Aztec city of Teotihuacan is a marvelous example depicting the city's extravagance and complexity.
    __http://ucfant3145f09-06.wikispaces.com/file/view/Mayas+in+Campeche..kmz__
    maya in campeche
    Module 13:
    Whitmore, T. (1992) Landscapes of Cultivation in Mesoamerica on the Eve of the Conquest. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 82, No. 3, pp. 407-409. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2563353
    In this article Whitmore provides a very detailed account of pre-hispanic agricultural practices in various areas throughout coastal and highland Mexico. “…Agriculture formed the basis of subsistence and commerce among city states and was central to the tribute extracted by the Aztec.” (Whitmore 407) The article is composed eloquently and is a very pleasant read while still providing substantial amounts of useful information. Whitmore provides detailed accounts of Chinampa and terrace agriculture and the crops that were planted on them at the time of Spanish conquest. “By the 16th century, Chinampas were part of a state-designed and controlled hydraulic system that included dikes and sluice gates controlling water level and quality in the southern parts of the lacustrine network.” (Whitmore 409) The majority of the terraced agricultural systems in highland Mexico existed to the east of the Aztec city of Teotihuacan in an area known as the Mesa Central. “The Mesa Central is composed of broad, flat floored basins ringed by imposing volcanoes and broad slopes, many of which offered fertile soils for agriculture. Most of this area is above 1800m in elevation.” (Whitmore) The lack of precipitation at higher elevations combined with the frequent frosts limited crop production in these areas. “The upper Sierras remained in a forest, a source of wood and regulator of water. Below the forest line, rainfed terraced and semi-terraced cultivation dominated. Various forms of floodwater irrigation were pursued within ephemeral water courses and along lands adjacent to them, including edges of the basin’s floor into which the drainage emptied. (Whitmore 408)
    Module 14:
    Sluyter, A. (1994) Intensive Wetland Agriculture in Mesoamerica: Space, Time, and Form. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Vol. 84, No. 4, pp. 557-584. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2564144
    In this article Sluyter describes the Aztecs and the management of one of their most famous forms of agriculture: Chinampas. "In a succession of Prehispanic periods, the Olmec, Zapotec, Teotihuacan, Maya, Toltec, and Aztec peoples dominated various subregions of Mesoamerica. These peoples built cities, wrote books, and practiced astronomy, but above all they were farmers- distinguished by their development of intensive wetland agriculture, canal irrigation, and terracing." (Sluyter 557) “Intensive wetland agriculture" goes by various names: raised fields, ridged fields, ditched fields, camellones, platform fields, Chinampas, island fields, island beds, drained fields, ditched/drained fields, channelized fields, and mounded fields (Denevan 1980b; Denevan and Turner 1974; Jacob 1992; Mathewson 1985; Vasey 1983). Whatever the name, this form of agriculture occurs in various contexts: along streams, in lake basins, and at springs. It likewise reflects various construction techniques: ditching into the natural surface, mounding above the natural surface, or both. But in all cases, and despite varying circumstances, its purpose seems to have been the same-to regulate soil moisture in the root zone and to maintain a nutrient sump in the canals which farmers periodically might apply to their field surfaces.”(Sluyter 557) Sluyter mentions the various means farmers used to maintain the proper moisture around the roots of the plants. During the wet season the decaying vegetation in the canals also added nutrients to the water providing a very effective means of hydroponically delivering nutrients to the crops growing on the Chinampas. “…farmers took advantage of wetlands by adjusting the relative elevations of the root zone and the water table to maintain the degree of soil moisture most advantageous for crop growth.” (Sluyter 558)

    (view changes)
    9:16 am
  3. page JamesMcW- Highland Mexico edited Agriculture in Highland Mexico: ... gardens.”(Townsend 174-180). The The majority of ..…

    Agriculture in Highland Mexico:
    ...
    gardens.”(Townsend 174-180).
    The

    The
    majority of
    ...
    (Whitmore 408)
    The

    The
    Aztec inhabited
    ...
    Mesa Central, {http://sidewalksprouts.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/lake_texcoco_c_1519_.jpg?w=378&h=509} Location of Chinampas in the Axtec Empire and used
    ...
    and enjoyment.
    Knowledge of horticulture was not only beneficial for subsistence; the Aztec also cultivated gardens consisting of many varieties of plants, both for pleasure and experimentation. One such garden was documented in an account by Cortes when he was being held there: “Within the Orchard is a great square pool of fresh water, very well constructed, with sides of handsome masonry, around which runs a walk with a well-laid pavement of tiles, so wide that four persons can walk abreast on it… On the other side of the promenade toward the wall of the garden are hedges of lattice work made of cane, behind which are all sorts of plantations of trees and aromatic herbs. The pool contains many fish and different kinds of waterfowl.”(Townsend 180) There are several other Spanish accounts of the Aztec gardens. The Spanish descriptions provide invaluable insight into the horticultural lives of a lost people. One tremendous addition to modern knowledge of the Aztec’s agricultural and horticultural is The Badianus Manuscript; a manuscript herbal of the sixteenth century, written by an Aztec physician, and edited by Dr. Emily Walcott Emmart. The interpretation of the Badianus manuscript has provided great insight into the lives of the Aztec. “It had long been known that, by the period of the Spanish conquest, gardening and medicinal botany in Mexico had reached a high degree of elaboration. The fact that the language of the Nahuas included several different names for different types of gardens shows that horticulture played a considerable part in their lives. Montezuma possessed gardens for flowers and medicinal herbs, in which, according to the chronicler, Cervantes de Salazar, he "did not allow any vegetables or fruit to be grown, saying that it was not kingly to cultivate plants for utility or profit in his pleasance.” (Arber 82)
    ...
    passionate about.
    The Origins of Maize
    There is substantial evidence that the domestication of maize occurred in central highland mexico at about 9,188 B.P. (95% confidence limits of 5,689–13,093 B.P.)(Matsuoka) Prior to these findings there was a belief that multiple domestications of the wild plant Teosinte formed the modern Maize plant we have today. After further research sources point to a single domestication of Maize around 5-13,000 B.P which coincides directly with the earliest known archaeological maize dated at 5400 b.p.(Piperno)
    Aztec Agriculture
    Agriculture is crucial to the survival of the human race and has been since the earliest complex societies. Farming is one of the most effective ways to increase the amount of resources available to a civilization after the carrying capacity of the land has been breached. The roots of agriculture are tied in with the earliest developed civilizations and the Aztec of central highland Mexico are no exception. Many would consider trying to build a city on a lake an extreme hindrance however, the Aztec found new ways to capitalize on the wetland environment which surrounded them. The Aztec were famous for their agriculture and had three main types of agriculture: “Chinampas, terraces and experimental gardens.”(Townsend)
    {http://sidewalksprouts.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/lake_texcoco_c_1519_.jpg?w=378&h=509} Location of Chinampas in the Axtec Empire {Aztecempirelocation.png}{Aztecempirelocation.png} Span of
    {earliest_maize.jpg} This is a photo of the "The two oldest maize cobs in the New World from Guilá Naquitz Cave." (Piperno). These early maize cobs provide valuable information in determining the progression of domesticated maize and eventually corn in the Americas.http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=29388 (Click image to access source)
    This is a video narrated in spanish that shows many images of Chinampas and how they are formed.
    (view changes)
    9:11 am
  4. page JamesMcW- Highland Mexico edited Agriculture in Highland Mexico: Agriculture is crucial to the survival of the modern human race…

    Agriculture in Highland Mexico:
    Agriculture is crucial to the survival of the modern human race and has been since the advent of the earliest complex societies. Farming is one of the most effective ways to increase the amount of resources available to a civilization after exceeding the carrying capacity of the land. "In a succession of Prehispanic periods, the Olmec, Zapotec, Teotihuacan, Maya, Toltec, and Aztec peoples dominated various subregions of Mesoamerica. These peoples built cities, wrote books, and practiced astronomy, but above all they were farmers- distinguished by their development of intensive wetland agriculture, canal irrigation, and terracing." (Sluyter 557) The roots of agriculture are tied in with the earliest developed civilizations and the Aztec of central highland Mexico are no exception. “…Agriculture formed the basis of subsistence and commerce among city states and was central to the tribute extracted by the Aztec.” (Whitmore 407) The Aztec found new ways to capitalize on the varying types of farmable environment which surrounded them. The Aztec were famous for their agriculture and had three main types of agriculture: “Terraces, Chinampas and experimental gardens.”(Townsend 174-180).
    The majority of the terraced agricultural systems in highland Mexico existed to the east of the Aztec city of Teotihuacan in an area known as the Mesa Central. “The Mesa Central is composed of broad, flat floored basins ringed by imposing volcanoes and broad slopes, many of which offered fertile soils for agriculture. Most of this area is above 1800m in elevation.” (Whitmore) The lack of precipitation at higher elevations combined with the frequent frosts limited crop production in these areas. “The upper Sierras remained in a forest, a source of wood and regulator of water. Below the forest line, rainfed terraced and semi-terraced cultivation dominated. Various forms of floodwater irrigation were pursued within ephemeral water courses and along lands adjacent to them, including edges of the basin’s floor into which the drainage emptied.”(Whitmore 408) The Aztec used many of the pre-existing aqueducts and terrace systems that were created by the Toltec ruler Netzahualcoyotl. “Netzahualcoyotl encouraged the construction of an extensive system of aqueducts to bring water from mountain springs to the towns and agricultural terraces.” (Townsend 176) Although the aqueducts aided somewhat to the agricultural process during the wet season they were fairly useless during the dry season, leaving the terraced farmland largely dependent on seasonal rain. Various systems of hydraulic engineering were used to supply water to terrace agriculture at other sites. Diversions of major rivers and small check dams in streams were common ways of flooding terraced farmland. “Large-scale irrigation projects were built. In the Northwest Valley of Mexico, the Cuauhtitlan River was diverted, and its channel was enlarged, widened and straightened with graded embankments. Water was then conducted through diversionary channels to flood a broad area of open fields.” (Townsend 178) Such serious means of diversion were not always necessary to achieve proper levels of moisture in agricultural terraces. “Michael Smith and his associates at village sites in the Valley of Morelos have yielded new evidence of agricultural terracing, with small-scale check dams built across stream-beds where the action of water would gradually level and widen a field suitable for farming.” (Townsend 178) Although the agricultural terraces were an effective means of crop production in on the many slopes and hillsides “On the basin’s floor proper, where poor drainage was common, various forms of wetland cultivation were adapted to the perihumid conditions.” (Whitmore 408)
    The Aztec inhabited the city of Tenochtitlan, a massive civilization that was built on a lake in the basin of Mexico, just west of the Mesa Central, and used what others would consider an extreme roadblock to their advantage. With very little farmable land available and an increasing population, “by the middle of the 15th century the city of Tenochtitlan supported a population between 150,000 and 200,000”, the Aztec did the only thing possible to increase the carrying capacity of the surrounding area. (Townsend 174) Small plots of land known as Chinampas were formed out of the lake onto which crops were planted. The word Chinampa comes from the Nahuatl word chināmitl, meaning "square made of canes". “Plots were constructed by taking out a long, narrow, rectangular enclosure approximately 30m in length by 2.5 m wide, into the swampy lakebed… Another plot was then constructed parallel to the first, leaving a narrow canal in between for the passage of canoes.”(Townsend 175) Willow trees were planted along the borders of the plots to stabilize them. As the dense root systems of the willows developed they became the outside walls of the Chinampa. The inside of the plot was filled with mud and decaying vegetation. This provided an excellent base soil that was augmented with human excrement as a fertilizer. (Townsend 175) The Chinampas were a very productive means of agriculture that "Jeffrey Parsons of the University of Michigan suggests provided one-half to two-thirds of the food consumed in Tenochtitlan." (Popper) “By the 16th century, Chinampas were part of a state-designed and controlled hydraulic system that included dikes and sluice gates controlling water level and quality in the southern parts of the lacustrine network.” (Whitmore 409) This method of agriculture was very advanced for the time. Hydroponic agriculture is only recently being incorporated into modern day technology and yet the Aztec were using a similar method thousands of years earlier. “Intensive wetland agriculture" goes by various names: raised fields, ridged fields, ditched fields, camellones, platform fields, Chinampas, island fields, island beds, drained fields, ditched/drained fields, channelized fields, and mounded fields (Denevan 1980b; Denevan and Turner 1974; Jacob 1992; Mathewson 1985; Vasey 1983). Whatever the name, this form of agriculture occurs in various contexts: along streams, in lake basins, and at springs. It likewise reflects various construction techniques: ditching into the natural surface, mounding above the natural surface, or both. But in all cases, and despite varying circumstances, its purpose seems to have been the same-to regulate soil moisture in the root zone and to maintain a nutrient sump in the canals which farmers periodically might apply to their field surfaces.”(Sluyter 557) Sluyter mentions the various means farmers used to maintain the proper moisture around the roots of the plants. The decaying vegetation in the canals also added nutrients to the water providing a very effective means of hydroponically delivering nutrients to the crops growing on the Chinampas. “…farmers took advantage of wetlands by adjusting the relative elevations of the root zone and the water table to maintain the degree of soil moisture most advantageous for crop growth.” (Sluyter 558)
    The Aztec grew several main crops on Chinampas and the terraces in the surrounding landscape. The horticultural and agricultural knowledge of the Highland Mexico peoples aided significantly in the domestication of Maize. Virginia Popper of UCLA has been excavating a Chinampa site in central highland Mexico Ch-Az-195 which "is a small mound that lies approximately 1 km southeast of Xico Island and 1.8 km from the eastern shore of Lake Chalco." Popper documented her findings from Ch-Az-195 in her article Investigating Chinampa Farming: "My research uses plant remains excavated from an Early Aztec site (Ch-Az-195) to address the issue of the development of Chinampa agriculture and, more specifically, to address questions about the economy and land use..." (Popper) The Aztec were avid agriculturalists and grew many different types of plants: "Food plants include the major cultigens (maize, beans, squash, and chile), all of which are recorded as growing in Chinampas. Fruit trees are represented by the hard pits of Mexican cherry, Mexican hawthorn, and prickly pear. These generally grow on the Piedmont slopes ringing the lakes, although some may have grown on Xico Island."(Popper) There is substantial evidence that suggests the Aztec were very proficient horticulturalists; relying on plants not only for food, but also for medicine and enjoyment.
    Knowledge of horticulture was not only beneficial for subsistence; the Aztec also cultivated gardens consisting of many varieties of plants, both for pleasure and experimentation. One such garden was documented in an account by Cortes when he was being held there: “Within the Orchard is a great square pool of fresh water, very well constructed, with sides of handsome masonry, around which runs a walk with a well-laid pavement of tiles, so wide that four persons can walk abreast on it… On the other side of the promenade toward the wall of the garden are hedges of lattice work made of cane, behind which are all sorts of plantations of trees and aromatic herbs. The pool contains many fish and different kinds of waterfowl.”(Townsend 180) There are several other Spanish accounts of the Aztec gardens. The Spanish descriptions provide invaluable insight into the horticultural lives of a lost people. One tremendous addition to modern knowledge of the Aztec’s agricultural and horticultural is The Badianus Manuscript; a manuscript herbal of the sixteenth century, written by an Aztec physician, and edited by Dr. Emily Walcott Emmart. The interpretation of the Badianus manuscript has provided great insight into the lives of the Aztec. “It had long been known that, by the period of the Spanish conquest, gardening and medicinal botany in Mexico had reached a high degree of elaboration. The fact that the language of the Nahuas included several different names for different types of gardens shows that horticulture played a considerable part in their lives. Montezuma possessed gardens for flowers and medicinal herbs, in which, according to the chronicler, Cervantes de Salazar, he "did not allow any vegetables or fruit to be grown, saying that it was not kingly to cultivate plants for utility or profit in his pleasance.” (Arber 82)
    Agriculture in highland Mexico was both unique and effective. The societies of highland Mexico were very advanced for their time and the types of agriculture they created and used reflect their complexity. The various agricultural forms that have been discussed are evidence of the persistence and adaptability of the peoples inhabiting highland Mexico. Agriculture in highland Mexico aided in the domestication of many species, most significantly maize, and led to many other developments in the Meso-Americas such as extensive irrigation networks for terraced farming. The Aztec perfected the intensive-wetland agriculture technique known as Chinampas farming, a predecessor to modern hydroponics, and used this method to create the majority of the food-crops consumed by the empire. The rulers of highland Mexico had experimental gardens with many varieties of plants that were used both for utility and for pleasure. Agriculture was more than just a means for subsistence for the peoples of highland Mexico; it was something they were passionate about.

    The Origins of Maize
    There is substantial evidence that the domestication of maize occurred in central highland mexico at about 9,188 B.P. (95% confidence limits of 5,689–13,093 B.P.)(Matsuoka) Prior to these findings there was a belief that multiple domestications of the wild plant Teosinte formed the modern Maize plant we have today. After further research sources point to a single domestication of Maize around 5-13,000 B.P which coincides directly with the earliest known archaeological maize dated at 5400 b.p.(Piperno)
    ...
    The trees added at the end are Willows which develop roots and support the outside boundaries of the plot.
    Chinampas
    ...
    of waterfowl.”(Townsend)
    {http://www.wikispaces.com/i/mime/32/application/x-zip.png} Mayas in Campeche..kmz
    This link shows a list of all the Mayan civilizations in the state of Campeche.
    (view changes)
    9:07 am

Wednesday, December 9

  1. page Natalie's Wiki edited ... According to Harner’s analysis, there is still some evidence for the theory in the difference …
    ...
    According to Harner’s analysis, there is still some evidence for the theory in the difference of the correlation between the amount of sacrificial victims and of domesticated animals in the Inca and Aztec societies. His information shows that the Incas had a significant source of domesticated animals and a low annual count of human sacrifice, “in the hundreds.” He does not specify how many victims were annually sacrificed in Aztec society, mainly because there are multiple historical and archaeological accounts that differ greatly with no conclusive number. It seems that anywhere between 15,000 and 80,000 victims were sacrificed annually, with the most common estimate at 20,000, though some accounts claim that at least that many were sacrificed in one ceremony. In any case, the numbers of annual victims were far greater than in the Incan culture while the numbers of domesticated animals available for food were far less. He does explain that the most likely is the estimate of Woodrow Borah at 250,000 victims, roughly one percent of the total Aztec population (Harner 1977).
    The next set of evidence Harner provides is what happened to the victims’ bodies upon sacrifice. Before describing this information, he makes note that the main, and sometimes only, objective of the Aztec wars, such as the flowery wars, were to obtain persons for sacrifice. He then states that in most cases, after sacrifice, at least three of the victims limbs belonged to the victim’s captor, who would host a feast at his home mainly comprised of a stew of tomatoes, peppers and the victim’s limbs. The remaining torso would be fed to the animals in the “royal zoo” (Harner 1977: 120).
    ...
    was to flyflay their enemies'
    Further contemplation of the theory rouses questions concerning practices that have been described in Aztec documents, including the wearing of the victim’s skin by their captor. This practice is purely symbolic and does not have any nutritional basis, nor does the very common practice of blood-letting. There are also accounts of rituals that required the victims to have very specific physical appearances, such as gender, age, attractiveness, etc. The specificity of the appearance of the victims does not correspond to nutrition theories. In fact, lean men and small children, who were required in many ceremonies according to historical accounts, would not be optimal choices nutritionally. Also described in Aztec documents are certain ceremonies in which the victims would be well cared for before their demise. In the case of the ceremony to honor the god Titlacuacan, the annual chosen victim would be treated like a king for the year, which would not be efficient in any means if their main purpose was to be eaten (Leon-Portilla and Shorris 2001). Sacrificing a single person would not be logical in order to feed an entire population, either.
    All theories proposed have at least reasonable evidence to suggest that they may be a factor in the answer to why the Aztec society practiced human sacrifice and cannibalism. Whether the conjectures have ample or limited support, none can be definitively proven or disproven. However, the disparity between theories in evidence available suggests that some of them are more likely than others. The religion based hypothesis has undeniable, abundant evidence to suggest that it could have been the main, if not sole reason for human sacrifice. The psychosocial theory also has convincing evidence supported by other fields of social science and little evidence against it, suggesting that it may be a large factor in why this perplexing aspect of the Aztec religion came to be. Despite Michael Harner’s efforts to prove the ecological theory and the numerous attempts to find an economical cause, both seem to be short of concrete substantiation, therefore rendering them less plausible. The nutrition-based hypothesis is a gruesomely interesting one, and learning about it is much like reading a good horror novel, but despite it’s fascinating theories, there is more convincing evidence that suggests that cannibalism was a symptom rather than a cause of the practice of human sacrifice in this culture. Though it is possible that religion was the sole factor, it is unlikely, since phenomena such as this rarely have only one explanation. Also worthy of acknowledgement is that many practices, in all cultures, fulfill more than one need. So it would seem that it is not unreasonable to consider that all of the stated theories would have fulfilled a various need in the Aztec society by practicing human sacrifice. It then seems reasonable to assume that multiple or all theories may have been factors, with some theories having more prominent roles in the Aztec Society.
    (view changes)
    2:33 pm
  2. page Natalie's Wiki edited ... 1977 The Ecological Basis for Aztec Sacrifice. American Ethnologist 4: 117-135. Leon-Portilla…
    ...
    1977 The Ecological Basis for Aztec Sacrifice. American Ethnologist 4: 117-135.
    Leon-Portilla, Miguel and Earl Shorris
    ...
    New York.
    Pettifor, Eric
    1996 An Offer You Can’t Refuse: Human Sacrifice and the Aztec State. Electronic Document, http://www.wynja.com/arch/aztec.html, accessed November 25, 2009.
    Winkelman, Michael
    1998 Aztec Human Sacrifice: Cross-Cultural Assessments of the Ecological Hypothesis. Ethnology 37: 285-298.
    {Nate-_face.JPG} Your final vew before being sacrificed.
    {Nate-_bw_comic.gif} {Nate-_dino_comic.png}
    MODULES
    (view changes)
    2:06 pm
  3. file Nate-_face.JPG uploaded
    2:05 pm
  4. page Highland Mexico-Monte Alban site edited ... 1977. A Guide to Ancient Mexican Ruins. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman. Modules Modul…
    ...
    1977. A Guide to Ancient Mexican Ruins. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman.
    Modules
    Module 14: MonteWikispaces Assignment
    Monte
    Alban
    Residential Patterns at Monte Alban, Oaxaca, Mexico
    Author(s): Marcus C. Winter
    ...
    <summary>
    The site of Monte Alban is situated at the highest mountain mass in the center valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. Archeological research suggests the site was still under development when it began to decline as a major urban center. Structural patterns throughout the site lends the interpretation social organization was essential to the society. Households tend to reflect as well as manifest the social, political, and economic situation in a society; if so information from the 1972 to 1973 excavations at Monte Alban, together with the discovery in 1966 indicate there were multiple levels of status and hierarcal society(Winter, M. p984). The best example of status is the variation in burials found at the Period 1 building. Individuals are buried in simple graves with a single vessel to others. There are several individuals that were found with vessels, beads, ornaments, and shells. I assume that the variation in Period 1 burial treatments and in size implies status differentiation throughout the complex society.
    Module 13: MonteWikispaces Assignment
    Monte
    Alban site
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xx-WYH7IPS4
    <video highlighting lifestyle at Monte Alban>
    ...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu9wA18sBfU
    <video highlighting a guided tour of Monte Alban>
    Module 12: MonteWikispaces Assignment
    Monte
    Alban site
    {Monte_Alban_site.jpg} {Monte_Alban_II.jpg}
    Module 11: MonteWikispaces Assignment
    Monte
    Alban
    Through architecture structures at the site of Monte Alban, you can reconstruct patterns of social organization and possible social stratification in Monte Alban, the capital of the ancient Zapotec state in what is today the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Based on the research you argue that Monte Alban was an empire; social stratification has been defined as the division of a society into categories of individuals organized into hierarchal segments based on access to strategic resources, and once the state arises as a form of government, this inequality is then institutionalized and social strata or social classes are formed. Analyzing why the elite and rulers controlled the population by access to certain resources and buildings can bring clarity to the social organization and purpose of the Monte Alban site.
    Module 10: Wikispaces Assignment
    (view changes)
    2:03 pm

More