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Spanish colonial archaeology has undergone a fundamental shift since the Columbian Quincentenary due to the adoption of a bottom-up understanding of colonialism that emphasizes the analysis of local phenomena in a global context and the active ways in which people negotiated the processes set in motion by the conquest. This review examines five key research foci: culture change and identity, missionization, bioarchaeology, economics, and investigations of the colonial core. It ends with a consideration of ongoing challenges posed by the archaeology of colonialism, particularly the relationship of the individual to broader social processes and the emerging role of comparison.
Excavation of an agave-roasting site in southern Arizona disclosed an unexpectedly large collection of sherds. Sherd aggregation and use-alteration analyses were undertaken to determine the role of the ceramics in agave processing. Results indicate that sherds and not vessels were brought to the site, and that sherds may have been used as scoops and possibly as nonflammable covers or receptacles during agave processing. These findings underscore the point that analyses of assemblages of sherds that are not refitted may disregard important information about the nature and organization of prehistoric processing technologies.
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