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Ornamental Nationalism

Archaeology and Antiquities in Mexico, 1876-1911

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Seonaid Valiant

In Ornamental Nationalism: Archaeology and Antiquities in Mexico, 1876-1911, Seonaid Valiant examines the Porfirian government’s reworking of indigenous, particularly Aztec, images to create national symbols. She focuses in particular on the career of Mexico's first national archaeologist, Inspector General Leopoldo Batres. He was a controversial figure who was accused of selling artifacts and damaging sites through professional incompetence by his enemies, but who also played a crucial role in establishing Mexican control over the nation's archaeological heritage.
Exploring debates between Batres and his rivals such as the anthropologists Zelia Nuttall and Marshall Saville, Valiant reveals how Porfirian politicians reinscribed the political meaning of artifacts while social scientists, both domestic and international, struggled to establish standards for Mexican archaeology that would undermine such endeavors.

Painted Pottery of Honduras

Object Lives and Itineraries

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Rosemary A Joyce

In Painted Pottery of Honduras Rosemary Joyce describes the development of the Ulua Polychrome tradition in Honduras from the fifth to sixteenth centuries AD, and critically examines archaeological research on these objects that began in the nineteenth century. Previously treated as a marginal product of Classic Maya society, this study shows that Ulua Polychromes are products of the ritual and social life of indigenous societies composed of wealthy farmers engaged in long-distance relationships extending from Costa Rica to Mexico.

Drawing on concepts of agency, practice, and intention, Rosemary Joyce takes a potter's perspective and develops a generational workshop model for innovation by communities of practice who made and used painted pottery in serving meals and locally meaningful ritual practices.