The Preclassic Maya period extends in time from 3800 to 2100 BP. It was characterized by permanent year-round horticultural settlements found in the lowland regions of Yucatan, Belize, the Pacific and Gulf coasts of Mexico, and the highlands of the Sierra Madre Mountains of southern Chiapas, Guatemala and Honduras. Settlements varied in size from hamlets of a dozen or so people to small cities of 1000. The larger sites show functional specialization later in the period. Although largely an egalitarian society, there are indications that at some sites social division between elites and commoners had begun. There is evidence of trade between settlements and with other regions of Middle America.
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Middle America and the Caribbean --Maya Area
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