·      Please read the questions below and answer them using 300 to 500 words. This answer will serve as the basis for discussion in section this week. Submit it by pasting your answer into the text box below (or click “add submission”).

·      Your answer will be evaluated on whether or not it shows an understanding of the topic (as presented in lectures and readings) and whether or not it shows that you have taken some time to think about the question. Do not write more than 500 words.

·      In your answer, you should make use of the assigned readings and lectures, as well as other information to which you have access. You should show that you are using the readings by making reference to them in your answer. To do this, you can use “in-text citations.” That kind of citation looks like this:

o    Although many people think that archaeology is all about treasure-hunting, archaeologists don’t go looking for treasure, but for information (Ashmore and Sharer 2003: 11).

(Please don’t use footnotes or endnotes)

·      If you make reference to any work (book, article, website, etc.) that is not assigned for this class, please list it at the end of your answer in a “References Cited” section. Do not list the readings that are assigned for this class.

·      The words in the “References Cited” section do not count toward your 300-500 word assignment.

·      A note about quotations: do not use a quotation that is longer than five words in your essay. If you want to bring in an idea from something you have read, use your own words to explain it, and then put in a citation, so your TA knows where the idea came from.


This week you read about commoner Aztec life in the article by Michael E. Smith (2005). Use this article, and the readings and lectures from earlier in the course, to think about the difference between studying elites and commoners.

Instead of writing a traditional essay, this week I’d like you to write a letter to the UMASS Archaeological Fund (this doesn’t exist, by the way) proposing the archaeological excavation of commoner Aztec houses. Convince them to fund you, the archaeologist, by arguing that it will be valuable to excavate commoner houses instead of palaces and temples. Don’t worry too much about methodology—the important thing is to convince the funder of the great things that you will learn from household archaeology. Use the Smith (2005) article for facts and inspiration.

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