Rural Agrarian Diversity in the Late Classic (600-950 A.D.) Naco Valley, Northwest Honduras

John Douglass

PhD Thesis. 1999

The rural sector of agrarian societies has often been viewed as composed of simple agrarian households primarily interested in self-sufficiency in staple production, and relatively undifferentiated from one another. In more recent times, households have been seen as much more diverse than previously thought, but are still poorly understood. This dissertation investigates four models of household wealth and production in the Late Classic (600-950 A.D.) Naco Valley, Northwest Honduras to better understand this variability.

Analysis of household size/composition, wealth, and range and relative intensity of craft production indicates that rural households in the Late Classic Naco Valley were highly differentiated from one another. The basis of these distinctions, overall, does not appear to correlate well with the degree of soil fertility directly accessible to households. Analysis presented here evaluates the relative importance and basis of rural household diversity as they relate to the basis of social complexity, rural/urban interactions and access to other natural resources.