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Teotihuacan: The World beyond the City

Dumbarton Oaks Music Room
October 6  –  7, 2017
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October 6–7, 2017 | Pre-Columbian Studies Symposium, Barbara Arroyo, Kenneth Hirth, and David Carballo, Symposiarchs

Teotihuacan was a city of major importance in the Pre-Columbian Americas. It was one of only two cities in the New World ever to have a resident population of over one hundred thousand people, and it grew in size to cover an area similar to its Old World contemporary, imperial Rome. As a result, it has been the subject of various symposia and publications on the origin of state systems, urbanism, religion, art, and long-distance relations. One of the most significant aspects of Teotihuacan is the distance over which its influence extended.

In this symposium, we wish to move beyond the boundaries of the city to synthesize current thinking about relationships with areas both close to the city and at much greater distances. Teotihuacan appears to have influenced social, political, and economic relationships from central Mexico to as far away as the Maya lowlands. Until the Aztecs, no other center in Mesoamerican prehistory had the amount of measurable influence over other societies as did Teotihuacan.

What did it mean to be Teotihuacano within the context of a cosmopolitan city and expansionistic state? How can we best evaluate archaeological and iconographic data to understand the nature of Teotihuacan’s contacts with other regions of Classic-period Mesoamerica and their changes through time? This symposium will be the first attempt to evaluate models of Teotihuacan’s internal organization and external interactions in light of recent data. The goal of the symposium is to develop a platform for conceptualizing regional interactions in Classic-period Mesoamerica that can guide the development of future research questions at Teotihuacan and elsewhere.

The symposium is organized by Barbara Arroyo (Instituto de Antropología e Historia de Guatemala), Kenneth Hirth (Pennsylvania State University), and David Carballo (Boston University). Symposium contributors include Marcello Canuto, Barbara Fash, William Fash, Claudia Garcia de Lauriers, Gary Feinman, Diana Magaloni, Deborah Nichols, Megan O’Neil, Patricia Plunket, Matthew Robb, Michael Smith, Wes Stoner, Nawa Sugiyama, Maria Teresa Uriarte, Gabriela Uruñuela, and Marc Zender.