6 Monumentality, Territoriality, and Networks during the Middle Preclassic in Northwest Honduras



We propose that relations among hierarchy, political centralization, monumentality, and territoriality are mediated through the actions of people organized in social networks. The ways in which conceptual and tangible assets are continually mobilized within these overlapping webs shape and challenge political formations operating on multiple spatial scales. This network approach to the study of political form and change is used to disentangle the complex relations among power and place that characterized political relations in two adjoining portions of northwest Honduras during the Middle Preclassic (1200–200 B.C.E.). Attention is particularly directed to the variable success enjoyed by would-be magnates as they sought to mobilize local assets in the form of arable land, perennial water sources, labor, and material styles to fashion hierarchically structured webs focused on specific monumental centers. The implications of this study for understanding ancient political geography are reviewed. [social networks, power contests, Mesoamerica, Middle Preclassic, monumental architecture]