Welcome to the new Aztlan at FAMSI mailing list. To post to this list, send your email to:
General information about the mailing list is at: Aztlan List Information
You can also make such adjustments via email by sending a message to: with the word `help' in the subject or body (don't include the quotes), and you will get back a message with instructions.
AZTLAN is open to all persons interested in Pre-Columbian cultures, whether amateurs or professionals. You are encouraged to participate in all discussion areas of your interest, in a manner consistent with your level of knowledge. Good ideas may come equally from any and all participants, even those in fields where they are not specialists.
Please be considerate of others in all ways. Always think of the interests of the READERS as primary, more so than the interests of the authors of messages. Aztlan is here to open doors to interested people of all kinds to learn and exchange ideas and factual information. It is not for totally wild speculation or soapbox oratory or those with axes to grind. With such wide range of interests and areas of special knowledge under one roof, we must constantly balance interests to get the best results for everyone.
The principle rules on AZTLAN are: 1) Participants must be gracious and polite to each other at all times (no insults or 'flame wars'); and 2) they must not deluge AZTLAN with irrelevant or 'off topic' materials.
All Pre-Columbian subjects are appropriate, but please try very hard to avoid unnecessary messages -- to keep the 'noise' level down -- so the messages with lots of facts and good analysis will not get lost in an enormous volume of less well-considered words. You can learn a great deal about how professionals reason in various fields of research by simply listening in. You are encouraged to get to know other members of Aztlan by corresponding privately with them, what is called 'off-list'.
Some discussions may be asked to move 'off-list' if they continue to fill everyone's inbox on a daily basis, even if they are directly relevant to Pre-Columbian studies. In such a case, the authors are encouraged to save their private correspondences and post a single summary email of their conversation to the list.
Topics that are completely 'off topic' (i.e., not in any way related to Pre-Columbian America) will be rejected by the moderators.
Topics that are questionable (often considered to be 'fringe' theories, such as hyper-diffusionism) will be given the benefit of the doubt and passed along to the list for only a very short period of time. Extended conversations on questionable topics will be asked to move 'off-list'.
No one will be banned from AZTLAN due to their background or beliefs. Only aggressive attacks (either personal or computer-related) or obvious spam (advertisements for mortgage rates, etc.) will warrant being banned from the list.
If asking a question to the list that you do not believe would be of interest to everyone, rather than having all individual replies posted to the list, please ask respondents to reply to you (the author) directly. For instance: 'Can someone recommend any books or articles concerning the late Postclassic salt trade? Please respond to my email address directly, not to the list, any responses will later be posted in summary form.'
Please choose message titles (a.k.a., subject lines / subject headings) carefully. Avoid duplication of lengthy text in the body of your message, and generally be as brief as possible with all messages. There are some simple but very important guidelines for this.
We are no longer using the older topic headings (MA = Maya, IC = Iconography, etc.) for their sorting function. However, you can feel free to include these abbreviations to add specificity to your message title (see below).
Instead, we simply ask that everyone choose their subject headings carefully.
Do not simply 'reply' using a previous subject heading when your message is no longer on the same topic. By carefully choosing your title, you will signal readers how you may be shifting an ongoing discussion to a new focus. Be careful, however, of discussions which go off on tangents (these are best discussed off-list, then posted in summary form), or which should no longer be on the Aztlan list at all. Additionally, do not change the subject title of an ongoing discussion if there has been little or no change in focus.
In the body of your post, do not quote back entire messages. Your message title, if you choose it very carefully, should be enough for readers to know the connection or your message to a previous discussion. When you must quote from a preceding message to make the connection obvious, quote only the smallest portion which will do that.
Accept help from others and give help when you can.
We encourage all members to help each other, both to be more effective and to be more gracious on Aztlan. It is up to all of us to encourage this; not only the moderators. Make suggestions to other members privately, so as not to embarrass them unnecessarily. An easy way is simply to point them to the relevant part of this Welcome message. Any member who privately suggests that you could improve your listserv etiquette is doing you a big favor. THANK them, because it will enable you to be more courteous to others.
Another kind of help can be given to anyone new to a field, helping them ask questions or make statements which will be more likely to get favorable attention from specialists in that field. Be as generous with your help as you can. It builds a stronger community for all of us.
Be tolerant of newcomers. We were all new to this once.
The term 'flames' refers to attacks and more generally to language which is less tactful than the same persons would use in personal face-to-face conversation. This is always to be avoided, since the original message may have been misunderstood and the reply almost certainly will be. We are all in this together, doing the best we can. None of us have absolutely certain knowledge about anything. Remember: there is a real person on the other end, and in addition to being careful with their feelings, it is a downer for the rest of the audience to have to listen to angry words. You are responsible for what you write. If you have doubts about how your message will be received, it likely needs to be revised. Moderators may reject any post with inflammatory language, but the author is welcome to revise their post and re-submit. Repeated personal attacks are one of the few grounds for being banned from Aztlan.
While the FAMSI server for AZTLAN will not be sorting emails using the old topic abbreviations, we have included this list below for general reference. Posts to AZTLAN should easily fall under one of the following categories. If it does not fit a topic in this list, the message may be considered 'off-topic'.
Culture areas:
AZ: Aztec (including other Postclassic Central Mexico)
MA: Maya
OA: Oaxaca (Zapotec, Mixtec, etc.)
ME: Mesoamerica*
AN: Andes (Chavin, Chimu, Inka, Moche, Paracas, etc.)**
NO: North America***
*Mesoamerica (ME) is roughly defined as the region between upper-west Mexico and the southeastern Maya periphery.
**The Topic AN may also include the so-called 'Intermediate Area' of the Chibchan peoples, from Venezuela and Colombia to Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua. Amazonia can also go here, or in AR or PO if they fit better (see below).
***NO can include all culture areas of North America (north of Mesoamerica), including the Southeast, the Northwest Coast, the Great Plains, etc., and can also include interactions between North America and Mesoamerica.
Fields of study:
AR: Archaeology, field work, sites, travel to sites
AS: Astronomy, calendrics
EP: Epigraphy, glyphs, linguistics
IC: Iconography, art
PO: Population (DNA studies, Epidemiology, Sociology)
Again, these abbreviations are no longer necessary to include in a subject line, but all authors should feel free to use them. Topic abbreviations allow readers to quickly scan their inbox for items of particular interest. Examples would be:
Subject: ME: Transportation of basalt for Olmec monuments
Subject: MA, IC: Ancestral figures on Pacal's sarcophagus
Finally, below are the contact emails for the current Aztlan administrators. Moderators will be taking one week rotating shifts. They have been tasked with checking and forwarding appropriate emails at least two or three times per day (although all three moderators spend a good amount of their work days in front of a computer, and emails will likely be forwarded much more often than that minimum requirement). If a moderator leaves town, or otherwise cannot fulfill their duties on a particular day or week, the responsibility will shift to one of the other two moderators - leaving no major gaps in the dissemination of emails.
If the on-duty moderator cannot help you with a specific technical issue, you may wish to contact our FAMSI representative.
David Hixson:
Mike Ruggeri:
John 'Fritz' Schwaller:

FAMSI Server Administrator:
Server Administrator: