Mesoamerica, archaeology, sociopolitical organization


Ample research has documented the long-term interaction between Mesoamerica and the U.S. Southwest/Northwest Mexico (SW/NW). Nelson (2006:345) has used the phrase ''Mesoamerican interaction markers" as a way to describe evidence of the is contact in the SW /NW. He further defines these as "a variety of archaeological patterns that are reminiscent of Mesoamerican counterparts" including "objects, practices, and styles." Some of the interaction markers that have been studied at length are trade goods such as copper bells, macaws, shell, and iron pyrite mirrors (Bayman 2002; Bradley 1993; Ericson and Baugh 1993; Kelley 1966, 1995; Mathien 1993; McGuire 1993p; Nelson 2000; Riley 2005). Ideological aspects of Mesoamerican culture also have been identified in the form of ceremonial architecture such as ball cou1ts (Harmon 2005, 2006; Nelson 1995, 2000; Scarborough and Wilcox 1991; Wilcox 1985, 1991; Wilkerson 1991 ). New discoveries like chile seeds at site 315 in the Casas Grandes Valley (Minnis and Whalen 2010) and the use of cacao at Chaco Canyon (Crown and Hurst 2009) provide further evidence that Mesoamerican interaction was significant and wide-spread throughout the SW/NW.

Original Publication Citation

Searcy, Michael T. 2014 Cultural and Contextual Differentiation of Mesoamerican Iconography in the U.S. Southwest/Northwest Mexico. In Building Transnational Archaeologies: 11th Southwest Symposium, edited by Elisa Villalpando and Randal H. McGuire, pp. 53-73. Arizona State Museum, Tucson.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Arizona State Museum




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor