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Interregional Trade and the Formation of Prehistoric Gateway Communities

Kenneth G. Hirth
American Antiquity
Vol. 43, No. 1 (Jan., 1978), pp. 35-45
DOI: 10.2307/279629
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/279629
Page Count: 11
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Interregional Trade and the Formation of Prehistoric Gateway Communities
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Abstract

Interregional exchange of commodities appears to have been important in the formation of complex societies. The transition from reciprocal to redistribution economies involved an institutionalization of long distance exchange. Large and important settlements called gateway communities emerged along natural trade routes at key locales for controlling the movement of commodities. A model is constructed that relates long distance trade and regional economics to the emergence of market centers in Formative Mesoamerica. The gateway community model depicts early interregional trade more efficiently than central place formulations. This model is examined in light of data collected from Chalcatzingo in Morelos, Mexico, a community that maintained an important position in both local and long distance trade during the first half of the Mesoamerican Formative.

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