By Bradley E. Ensor
By contextualizing sessions and their kinship habit in the total political economic climate, Crafting Prehispanic Maya Kinship offers an instance of the way archaeology may help to give an explanation for the formation of disparate periods and kinship styles inside of an historic state-level society.
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Extra resources for Crafting Prehispanic Maya Kinship
As illustrated by the dashed boxes in Figure 1, most of the data behind the non-unilineal interpretations were published prior to the 1950s, whereas most of the patrilineal interpretations were based on new data published periodically through out the century. The history of research on ancient Maya kinship demonstrates an impressive inclusive use of ethnographical, ethnohistorical, and archaeologi cal data (Figure 1). Practically all of the major models combine at least two of these sources of data for mutual support.
We now know that the Kariera system is purely patrilineal, that the “moieties” are a conceptual tool for the anthropologists trying to make sense of it, and that the Kariera did not practice cross-cousin marriage. But at the time, Lounsbury’s interpretation led Coe (1965) to reexamine Roy’s data, resulting in the interpretation of double descent, and, by extension, the interpretation of both Ancient Maya Kinship Studies / 17 patrilineal and matrilineal descent groups. Furthermore, Coe brought forth the observation that some 16th-century Yucatec towns and precolumbian Maya centers have a quadripartite spatial division.
The following does not attempt to describe the different kinship models—the subject of Chapter 2—but instead is intended to provide a better understanding of the history of thought on this subject. In the following historical outline, different periods are distinguished by the introduction of new perspectives and interpretations and by their relationships with broader trends in anthropological theory. As the reader will observe, during any given “period” of interpretation there were multiple, competing models and debates.
Crafting Prehispanic Maya Kinship by Bradley E. Ensor