International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
DOI: 10.56734/ijahss
Place and Person at Pre-Hispanic Teotihuacan, Mexico


There are significant societal differences evident in the material remains of the Classic period (ca. AD 250-600) city of Teotihuacan in central Mexico compared to contemporary Maya kingdoms in southern Mexico and Guatemala, despite both being part of the larger Mesoamerican civilization, sharing many cultural features.  One proposed explanation for these differences derives from an analytical social science dichotomy that contrasts groups and individuals.  According to this approach, Maya art and architecture indicate a society centered on individuals, particularly the rivalrous semi-divine rulers. Teotihuacan’s depersonalized art, lack of royal tombs, and gridded city plan are believed to indicate a corporate ethos in which individuals were subsumed by the societal collective.  However, archaeological evidence for these interpretations is not compelling; moreover, the dichotomy itself is misleading.  The key to these differences may lie in conceptions of embodied versus emplaced personae.  The identity of Teotihuacanos was shaped by living within the city itself, and their concepts of personhood were entwined with their built environment in ways different from their Maya counterparts.