Friday, January 4, 2019

Discovering a new world with the Aztecs and Mike Ruggeri

The recent arrival of a  so-called caravan of  thousands of self-identified immigrants (with a threat of future caravans) has identified an area on the U. S. /Mexican frontier that has been a region of settlement and trade for centuries.

The northwest corner of Mexico includes that nation’s largest state, Chihuahua and its principal city, Ciudad Chihuahua.
Diorama of  Paquime archaeological site

Within the state is the important archaeological site of Casas Grandes (AKA Paquime). There are as well several communities of Americans who have settled in   Chihuahua but maintain their US Citizenship.

The state of Sonora, west of Chihuahua, was a gateway to San Diego for several centuries.

Archaeological exploration has found definitive evidence in the American southwest of Mexican contact between the pre-American cultures and ancient Mexican cultures, e.g. chocolate and Macaw remains. 

In ancient times within the social order of the Aztecs (and possibly other cultures) there arose a group of traveling entrepreneurs who have been identified as pochteca. In the fragmented history of the pochteca that has come down to us by way of archaeology, history and literature, we meet face to face with traveling adventurers wearing the masque of Marco Polo or even Jonathan Swift’s Lemuel Gulliver!

Archaeological exploration spanning the farthest reaches of the New World reveal a diversity of trade goods.

Within the range of the Aztecs the pochteca must have contributed to the diversity of ancient life.

Readers may have made first-contact with the Aztec and a pochteca, by name Chicóme-Xochitl Tliléctic Mixtli (translates to Seven-Flower Dark Cloud), via Gary Jennings’s mammoth novel Aztec.

Trading control over much of northern Europe was a monopoly of the Hanseatic League that spanned the 13th and 15th centuries.
Mike Ruggeri, Professor of Mesoamerican Studies, will speak at our January lecture on the importance of long distance trade   networks between Mesoamerica and the Ancient Southwest.
As of late, what once was of signal importance e.g. economic history such as the Hanseatic League, has given way to trivia and nonsense. Perhaps Mike can turn our attention to how much trading impacts have influenced all cultures. He will help answer questions on these aspects of the history of the ancient trade routes;

1)  When and how did this ancient trade networks expand into the   Ancient Southwest from Mesoamerica?

2) Where did items of trade reach the Ancient Southwest and how far did Mesoamerican trade items reach into ancient North America.

3) What were the trade items that reached the Ancient Southwest from Mesoamerica, and what did the Mesoamericans receive in return.

4) How did trader items reach their destinations across vast desert territories into Ancient North America?

These are only a few of the sparkling facets of a compelling history that places before us the story of the pochteca and the routes they took to reach into the Ancient Southwest.

You don’t want to miss this meeting. Bring a friends and join the fun at our post-meeting casual dinner at the Prairie Moon.

For more open: 
A pochteca as displayed on the Florentine Codex.

No comments:

Post a Comment