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In Memorium: William T. Sanders (1926-2008) William T. Sanders, one of the leading Mesoamericanist archaeologists of his generation, passed away on July 2, 2008. Formal obituaries will be appearing in archaeology journals and newsletters. Sanders received just about every honor that an archaeologist can receive, including the Alfred Kidder Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Mesoamerican Archaeology (1980) and membership in the U.S. National Academy of Science (1985). This post outlines briefly Sanders's work on urban history and urbanization. Starting with his senior honors thesis at Harvard University (Sanders 1949), ancient urbanization and its comparative study was a major theme in the intellectual work of William Sanders. He introduced Louis Wirth's sociological definition of urbanism (Wirth 1938) into archaeology (cities are permanent settlement with large populations, dense populations, and social heterogeneity), initially in his senior thesis and then for a broader audience in his influential textbook, Mesoamerica: The Evolution of a Civilization (Sanders and Price 1968). Sanders worked to devise archaeological measures of Wirth's four features and other measures of urbanism. Although William Sanders conducted archaeological fieldwork at a number of urban sites in Mesoamerica (e.g., Teotihuacan, Copan, and Kaminaljuyu), his greatest methodological and theoretical contributions stemmed from his regional perspective on urbanism that involved fieldwork in rural hinterlands. He helped pioneer the use of systematic surface survey in archaeology. By documenting the entire range of settlements in a region, Sanders enabled archaeologists to trace the regional impact and context of urban growth and decline. Sanders' first influential fieldwork was in the Teotihuacan Valley, northeast of Mexico City, where his survey established the regional context of the rise and fall of the great Classic period metropolis of Teotihuacan. This survey has been published in a series of more than fifteen technical volumes. He joined with Jeffrey Parsons and other colleagues to extend survey coverage to the entire Basin of Mexico. The Basin of Mexico Archaeological Survey Project was one of the largest-scale and most influential projects in Mesoamerican archaeology (Sanders et al. 1979). Sanders also directed a major project at the site of Kaminaljuyu, a Maya city with Teotihuacan connections located in modern Guatemala City (Sanders and Michels 1977). In the 1980s, Sanders co-directed (with David Webster) a major survey of the Copan Valley of Honduras, home of the major Classic city of Copan. This project helped establish the regional context for Copan and provided an important complement to the dominant approach in Mayan studies that emphasizes hieroglyphic inscriptions. Two aspects of William Sanders's approach to ancient urbanism stand out. First, he situated urbanization within the context of the natural environment. Sanders was a major exponent of the "cultural ecology" approach in archaeology (Sanders and Price 1968). In order to understand cities (and all human settlements), archaeologists need to study the agricultural history of a region (Sanders 1976a, 1979) and they need a good understanding of regional demography. Sanders made methodological advances in both archaeological demography (estimating populations from settlement patterns and the results of regional survey) and historical demography (estimating central Mexican population on the eve of Spanish conquest); see Sanders (1976b). A second notable component of Sanders's approach to ancient urbanism was his insistence on comparative analysis. He published many studies comparing cities within Mesoamerica and between Mesoamerica and other areas of ancient urbanism (Sanders and Santley 1983; Sanders and Webster 1988). Late in his career he spearheaded a series of international comparative conferences on Mesoamerican urbanism that brought together specialists on individual cities and scholars of urbanization from other parts of the world. The first conference volume was published in 2003 (Sanders et al. 2003), and illustrates Sanders's close ties to Mexican scholarship with its inclusion of many Mexican participants and bilingual publication in English and Spanish. At least one additional volume in this series is currently in production. One final note about the scholarship of William Sanders is his commitment to fully publishing his data. For archaeologists, it is difficult and time-consuming to assemble excavation and survey results for publication, and far too many fail to publish their basic data. Sanders was exemplary in this respect, and his list of data reports is even more impressive as his list of methodological and theoretical papers. Michael E. Smith, Professor School of Human Evolution & Social Change Arizona State University H-Urban: http://www.h-net.org/~urban/ (including logs & posting guidelines) Posting Address: email@example.com / mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org (Click)