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Migration and DisruptionsToward a Unifying Theory of Ancient and Contemporary Migrations$
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Brenda J. Baker and Takeyuki Tsuda

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813060804

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813060804.001.0001

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The Debated Role of Migration in the Fall of Ancient Teotihuacan in Central Mexico

The Debated Role of Migration in the Fall of Ancient Teotihuacan in Central Mexico

(p.97) 5 The Debated Role of Migration in the Fall of Ancient Teotihuacan in Central Mexico
Migration and Disruptions

George L. Cowgill

University Press of Florida

The best evidence about ancient migrations will likely come from DNA and good skeletal and dental proxies for DNA. Stable isotopes of strontium and oxygen are less secure indicators. Local adoption of both decorative and technological styles of ceramics or other materials that resemble styles in a source region suggests migration; adoption of a foreign decorative style and persistence of local technological style suggests emulation rather than movement of people. Bayesian analysis of numerous 14C determinations is critical for dating migrations. Droughts and “population pressure” have too readily been proposed as causes of migration; more attention should be given to sociopolitical factors. Multiple lines of evidence bearing on the decline and fall of the ancient Mesoamerican state of Teotihuacan in central Mexico and possible invaders from western Mexico are evaluated. The evidence suggests a sizable migration and rapid loss of Teotihuacan ethnic identity.

Keywords:   Migration, Mesoamerica, West Mexico, Teotihuacan, Bayesian statistics, Sociopolitical collapse, Identity

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