chapter  Chapter Thirty-Eight
21 Pages

Classic and Postclassic peoples of the Pacific coast

WithOswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos

In contrast to their Preclassic predecessors (generally considered as contributors to the origins of Maya civilization), Classic and Postclassic peoples of the Pacific coast are often regarded as neighboring, peripheral, and “non-Maya.” This chapter questions that view, which is based on an essentialized definition of what is or is not “Maya.” A brief history of research provides a point of departure for discussions of Classic developments at Izapa, Tak’alik Ab’aj, Balberta, Montana, and Cotzumalhuapa, and Postclassic cities in Escuintla, addressing questions related with production and exchange systems, political interaction, migration, language, and environmental change, and highlighting the gaps and pending questions in the archaeological study of the Pacific coast.