added by archaeologs Conceived as the period of florescence of the great civilizations of Mesoamerica, initially defined by the earliest and most recent long count dates found on Maya stelae, ad 300-900. As more sites came to light, it became increasingly clear that many well-developed cultures did not fit comfortably into this dating scheme (e.g. Olmec, Monte Alban). While the period largely applies to those civilizations which arose in central and southern Mesoamerica, the notion of an area-wide florescence is now untenable. A division between Early and Late Classic was arbitrarily set at ad 600, but since in some areas, e.g. Teotihuacan, great civilizations had already collapsed, some scholars regard this date as marking the end of the The term is also adopted in other areas of the New World, but it is in Mesoamerica that it is most widely used. See Table 9, page 552.
The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983