Sweitz, Samuel Randles (2006-10). On the periphery of the periphery: household archaeology at Hacienda Tabi, Yucatan, Mexico. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • The archaeological remains at Hacienda Tabi provide an opportunity to study the effects of large-scale societal changes on the lives of the Maya who worked on the hacienda. The households, represented by the ruins of the workerAcA?A?s village surrounding the main hacienda grounds, were at the core of late colonial/independence era Maya life. These households were subject to the forces of acculturation that accompanied the rise and supremacy of the hacienda system during the late eighteenth century. Archaeological excavations at Hacienda Tabi have revealed a re-orientation of social organization during this period. Prior to the formation of the hacienda system, domestic and social organization focused on kinship and extended family subsistence organization. Social status, wealth, and power in pre-hacienda communities were predicated on issues of age, sex, and familial rank within both the extended family and community. The hacienda system brought about fundamental changes in the organization and relations of production. These changes, e.g. the separation of producer from the means of production and commodity based production versus subsistence based production, changed the basis and therefore the form of Yucatecan social organization. Under the new system, the nuclear family rather than the extended family or community became the prime unit of social organization. In the hacienda community status was based on occupation and oneAcA?A?s place within the newly established labor hierarchy. The changing realities of social organization found under the hacienda system are reflected in the settlement patterns and material remains of the workersAcA?A? village at Hacienda Tabi. The material culture and types of housing excavated and recorded at Tabi underscore the inequalities engendered within the hacienda system of production. The research conducted at Hacienda Tabi has illuminated the changes associated with YucatanAcA?A?s articulation into the greater world system.

publication date

  • October 2006