In relation to your thesis abstract, I like the way you broke it down in simple terms that anyone can understand. You're a good writer. I do have a question though. In the context of Mesoamerica, what is corvee labor?
Thanks for the feedback! I think it is important that abstracts be easy to read, but still include all the pertinent information of the paper.
Corvée is simply unpaid or forced labor. That doesn’t mean that corvée labor is necessarily slavery. Typically, corvée labor manifests in the form of a labor tax. An elite in a position of power and authority demands a certain amount of labor as a tax. This tax could be yearly (i.e. work for a month in the dry season every year) or less frequently like every ten years (a male from a household (father, brother, uncle, etc) has to work several months during the dry season but then the household won’t contribute for another ten years).
Abrams (1989, 1994) and Lucero (2007) have argued for some sort of labor tax for the Classic Maya. Carballo (2012), in his model of a labor collective, argued that the calpolli based form of labor organization, called a tequitl, was easy to extract tribute in the form of labor by Aztec nobility.
For my thesis, I argue that the ruling lineages of the Teuchitlan culture made use of corvée labor by leveraging their positions as mediators with the supernatural (cultural/symbolic capital) or leveraging their ties to their extensive family, friends, or those that may be indebted to them (social capital). It’s hard to say for certain right now with so few houses excavated, but that may change in the future. There are also questions as to whether every guachimonton at Los Guachimontones was constructed like Circle 2 or if Circle 2 is unique. I hope to answer those questions in my dissertation by expanding my analysis to the other guachimontones at the site.
Abrams, Elliot M.
1989 Architecture and Energy: An Evolutionary Perspective. Archaeological Method and Theory 1: 47-87.
1994 How the Maya Built Their World: Energetics and Ancient Architecture. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.
Carballo, David M.
2012 Labor Collectives and Group Cooperation in Pre-Hispanic Central Mexico. In Cooperation and Collective Action: Archaeological Perspectives edited by David M. Carballo, pp. 243-274. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.
Lucero, Lisa J.
2007 Classic Maya temples, politics, and the voice of the people. Latin American Antiquity 18(4): 407-427.