Mesoamerican Worlds Series
"Books like Schortman and Urban's study of Naco Valley sites show that archaeologists have read and can utilize social/cultural perspectives and that cultural anthropologists can benefit from archaeological analysis. . . . This is an accomplishment that cultural anthropologists can surely celebrate and use."
—Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review Database
"The authors have published a valuable record of poorly documented occupation of the Naco Valley in the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries."
—Julia A. Hendon, Bulletin of American Research
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Little is known about how Late Postclassic populations in southeast Mesoamerica organized their political relations. Networks of Power fills gaps in the knowledge of this little-studied area, reconstructing the course of political history in the Naco Valley from the fourteenth through early sixteenth centuries.
Describing the material and behavioral patterns pertaining to the Late Postclassic period using components of three settlements in the Naco Valley of northwestern Honduras, the book focuses on how contests for power shaped political structures. Power-seeking individuals, including but not restricted to ruling elites, depended on networks of allies to support their political objectives. Ongoing and partially successful competitions waged within networks led to the incorporation of exotic ideas and imported items into the daily practices of all Naco Valley occupants. The result was a fragile hierarchical structure forever vulnerable to the initiatives of agents operating on local and distant stages.
Networks of Power describes who was involved in these competitions and in which networks they participated; what resources were mustered within these webs; which projects were fueled by these assets; and how, and to what extent, they contributed to the achievement of political aims.