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Title: Panama Viejo : an analysis of the construction of archaeological time in eastern Panama
Author: Archibold, T. E. M.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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The purpose of this dissertation is to demonstrate how different methods for ceramic classification can produce different chronologies, ultimately creating different historical interpretations or histories. To this end the most widespread methods for building chronology in the Americas, the "taxonomical" and the "modal" methods shall be compared using the recently excavated ceramic sample from Precolumbian Panama Viejo, one of the largest archaeological sites in Panama. It is also intended to review different conceptions of history and time because they are the theoretical background from which chronologies are built and thus have a direct impact on these archaeological histories. The site of Panama Viejo and the Eastern Region of Panama, where it is located lack a Precolumbian ceramic sequence. Building a chronology for Panama Viejo affords a good opportunity to address the problem of both the local and the regional chronologies, and also to compare both methods in every step of the chronology building process, underlining the assumptions and consequences, and the strengths and weaknesses of each method. Ultimately, it is hoped this thesis could show that both methods can be used complementarily to solve different problems, fostering a more comprehensive synchronic characterisation and a finer chronological division of ceramic assemblages. The two classifications revealed a homogeneous ceramic assemblage where continuity rather than change is the norm. It also yielded two chronologies for the site, one taxonomical with one cultural phase, and one modal with two cultural phases. These in turn gave rise to different historical accounts about the kind of behaviour that produced the pottery deposit in Panama Viejo, accounts where the difference is mostly of chronological resolution. The new ceramic data coupled with that from burial contexts helped rewrite the history of Panama Viejo, emphasising the longevity of occupation at the site by a possibly stable socio-cultural group from the mid-first millennium AD until the European Conquest.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available