Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Anthropology

Content Description

1 online resource (lxi, 1238 pages) : illustrations (some color), map.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Marilyn A Masson

Committee Members

Robert M Rosenswig, John S Justeson, Michael E Smith


Archaeology, Chiapas, Households, Maya, Mesoamerica, Political economy, Mayas

Subject Categories

History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology


This study investigates the economic organization of the small hilltop sites of Moxviquil and Huitepec, in the Jovel Valley of highland Chiapas, Mexico. In this study, I examine degree to which households at these sites had the autonomy to independently produce, consume or trade the fruits of their labor, and to what degree was their production controlled and/or consumed by more powerful sociopolitical forces. In particular, I focus on the growth and prosperity of these sites during the transition from the Late Classic period (A.D. 700-1000) to the Early Postclassic period (A.D. 1000-1250), a period when the political systems, economies, and social structures of many powerful Southern Lowland Maya Late Classic polities had collapsed. In this dawning era of expanding interregional networks and new centers of power, many former periphery areas discovered expanding economic opportunities. While Moxviquil and Huitepec survived and thrived in a changing political and economic landscape, their prosperity can best be understood by the relatively high degree of producer autonomy of local households. Households at these sites were neither isolated from, nor dependent on long-distance exchange networks; instead, the bulk of local production was organized around commercial exchange at the local level and non-specialist production for internal household consumption.