Ancient Mesoamerica

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Ancient Mesoamerica (2009), 20:221-231 Cambridge University Press
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Research Article


Terrence Kaufmana1 c1 and John Justesona2

a1 Department of Anthropology and Linguistics, 3302 WWPH, University of Pittsburgh, 230 South Bouquet Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
a2 Department of Anthropology, University at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York 12222, USA
Article author query
kaufman t [Google Scholar]
justeson j [Google Scholar]


This article presents some of the authors' perspectives on the past 20 years of work that applies the results of research in historical linguistics to the understanding of the histories and cultural practices of pre-Columbian Mesoamericans. It focuses on major cultural transformations to which both historical linguistic and archaeological data can contribute, such as the spread of agriculture, and migrations in Mesoamerican prehistory. It also addresses major culture-historical studies on narrower topics: on Nawa and its place in the prehistory of Mexico, in particular confirming standard views that Nawas were immigrants into Mesoamerica; on Archaic and Formative period interactions involving Oto-Mangeans, which is work that is largely still to be done; on the prospects for work on long-distance contacts between Mesoamerica and North America; on the contributions of historical linguistics in Mesoamerican epigraphy; and on the value and prospects of updating the methodology of glottochronology.


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