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Mesoamerica. This concept was developed by Paul Kirchhoff in 1943, based on ideas discussed earlier by Clark Wissler and Eduard Seler. The main characteristics of Mesoamerica peoples highlighted by Kirchhoff are: 1) the use of a planting stick called coa. 2) cultivation of maize and its use in nixtamal prepared with lime, and then in dough. 3) the production of paper, aguamiel (sweet agave juice). 4) autosacrifice (?autoflagelación) and human sacrifice for religious purposes. 5) cacao cultivation. 6) the construction of stepped pyramids. 7) the ritual ballgame. 8) stone-edged weapons.
Mesoamerica is comprised of five geographical zones: the MAYA AREA, which occupies Central America and the Southeast of Mexico; the OAXACAN ZONE, which encompasses the state of the same name until the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the southern part of Puebla; the GULF ZONE, corresponding to Veracruz and Tabasco; WEST MEXICO, which includes Guerrero, Michoacán, Jalisco, Colima, Nayarit and parts of Zacatecas, and the CENTRAL HIGHLANDS, which covers the states of Mexico, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Morelos and Querétaro, as well as the northern portion of Puebla, and the Federal District (Mexico City).
Last Modified: January 14, 1998.
Museo del Templo Mayor, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e História, México.
Seminario #8, Centro Histórico. Cuauhtémoc, México, D.F. 06060
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