Archaeology ends and history begins on the Yucatan peninsula with the arrival of the Spanish. The Conquest stands as a boundary marker for the dominions of historiography and archaeological analysis of material remains. Like all boundaries, this one is subject to some questioning. Mayanist archaeologists and historians alike have generally championed the reality of a continuum bridging the pre-Columbian and Christian eras.1 Indeed, much archaelogical interpretation in the areas rests on the validity of "specific historical analogy".2 Yet students of these related disciplines have maintained, until quite recently, a respectful distance from an area in which they might have engaged in serious collaboration: the Contact, or epi-historical, period of the sixteenth century.3 A critical examination of archaeological data in light of coeval texts (and vice versa) is still in its infancy. Until historians and archaeologists meet at the boundary, judgments concerning the state of affairs at Contact and the dynamics of acculturation that ensued might best be regarded as hypotheses not yet corroborated by independent data.
The problem of mistaking hypotheses for conclusions in the Contact period has ramifications both forward and backward in time. If one looks backward, the major ramification is the application of imperfect analogy. As the examples outlined in this paper indicate, analogical models based on tests alone are inherently vulnerable. First, even in those cases in which early observations refer to specific incidents, practices, or material ambience, sifting the significant from the incidental facts must be guided by a self-limiting historiographic conception of general context in the absence of archaeological information. Second, the violent confrontation of alien worlds dictated an initial unconscious selection by observers for