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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 tremendously expands wisdom of the distribution, quantity, and structural nature of those pre-Columbian chiefdoms.

In addition, Helms delves extra deeply into decide on facets of historic Panamanian political structures, together with the connection among elite pageant and mainly prestige, using sumptuary items within the expression of elite strength, 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 financial alternate in constructing long-distance touch between chiefdoms.

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

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