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The Southwest-mesoamerican Connection

            For many years there has been much speculation of a connection between Mesoamerica and the Southwestern United States. Although connections have been repeatedly postulated and discussed, there has been no consensus on the nature of the relationship. In fact, many perceived of the Southwest as an "island", culturally and economically isolated from the peoples to the South. However, I believe that idea to be incorrect because the evidence suggests that the two areas are undeniably and inextricably linked. The mechanisms for interaction and cultural exchange are clearly present in the scientific and archeological research that been conducted on the matter. It is quite obvious that the two are linked, but whether it was through military pressure or through friendly trade is still debatable. Nonetheless, there was in fact a network of trade between the two areas. It was based on the mining and manufacture of Southwestern turquoise for export to Mesoamerica. It became highly structured over time and served as a catalyst to growth for both the Southwest (Anasazi) and Mesoamerica (Tolteca). The channels of communication that were opened served as a kind of "vehicle of diffusion" that spread religious and economic values. Specifically, a maleliquidfertility philosophy with economic overtones. These ideas were expressed visually in the realm of petroglyphs, mostly in the form of stylized Tlaloc paintings and symbols.
             Linked with the Earth, clouds, and rain, the Tlaloc complex is one of the oldest identifiable in the iconography of ancient Mexico. The Tlaloc complex is dedicated to bringing rain for crops and probably predates the late preclassic period (800-300 B.C.). Tlaloc is the Nahuatl name for this malerain deity. He embodies fundamental aspects of prehispanic cosmovision that includes mountains, mists, rain, a watery underworld, a fertility notion of ancestors, and themes of reciprocity and renewal.

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