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By Mary W. Helms

Ancient Panama provides intensity to our realizing of the political and non secular elite ruling in Panama on the time of the ecu conquest. Mary W. Helms's study drastically expands wisdom of the distribution, volume, and structural nature of those pre-Columbian chiefdoms.

In addition, Helms delves extra deeply into decide upon points of historical Panamanian political platforms, together with the connection among elite festival and mainly prestige, using sumptuary items within the expression of elite energy, and the function of elites in nearby and long-distance alternate networks. In an important departure from conventional pondering, she proposes that the hunt for esoteric wisdom was once extra vital than monetary exchange in constructing long-distance touch between chiefdoms.

The basic info for the examine are derived from sixteenth-century Spanish files via Oviedo y Valdés, Andagoya, Balboa, and others. the writer additionally turns to ethnographic facts from modern local humans of Panama, Colombia, tropical the US, and Polynesia for analogy and comparability. the result's a hugely leading edge research which illuminates not just pre-Columbian Panamanian elites but in addition the character of chiefdoms as a particular cultural type.

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