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Pre-Columbian Society of New York Lecture Series: Kim Richter
The year 2021 began with surprising archaeological news—a welcome distraction from the doom and gloom of the pandemic: a spectacular Huastec sculpture had been found in the community of Hidalgo Amajac, in the municipality of Álamo Temapache, Veracruz on New Year’s Day. In their field, local farmers unearthed a stone sculpture of a woman with a towering headdress. The find quickly became a news sensation around the world, according to the INAH Veracruz archaeologist, Dr. María Eugenia Maldonado Vite, who was in charge of investigating and reporting the discovery to the INAH authorities in Mexico City. The official INAH Bulletin’s headline described the sculpture as “La primera escultura femenina prehispánica en su tipo es hallada en la Huasteca veracruzana” (The first female Pre-Hispanic sculpture of its kind is found in the Huasteca veracruzana)—a somewhat more sensational title over what Dr. Maldonado Vite had chosen for her factual report. Alejandra Frausto Guerrero, Mexico’s Secretary of Culture, furthermore hailed the sculpture as proof that women actively participated in governance of the Huasteca. This acceptance of interpreting this Huastec female sculpture as a ruler is a significant reversal of how such works have been interpreted until recently: as the goddess Tlazolteotl. It reflects the impact of recent research on the Huasteca. In this lecture, I assess the reception and interpretation of this monument by placing it in the context of the larger corpus of Huastec sculptures and argue that it indeed should be interpreted as representing the Huastec governing elite class.

Oct 12, 2021 06:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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