a1 Department of Anthropology and Institute for Integrated Research in Materials, Environments, and Societies, California State University Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90840
An ongoing debate about Early Formative cultural elaboration in Mesoamerica is based largely on claims about where innovations originated and when different regions influenced each other. One view is that Gulf lowland populations called “Olmec” by archaeologists made a number of key innovations and that their influence on contemporary societies stimulated the rise of Mesoamerican civilization. Another view is that multiple regions participated equally and all made innovations that became the legacy of later Mesoamerican societies. Additional empirical work will help resolve some of the issues raised by this debate, as Cheetham and Blomster (2010) have recently suggested in this journal. Explicit theory can also help move the discussion forward.
(Online publication October 05 2011)