After Monte Albán
Transformation and Negotiation in Oaxaca, Mexico
Publication Year: 2008
After Monte Albán reveals the richness and interregional relevance of Postclassic transformations in the area now known as Oaxaca, which lies between Central Mexico and the Maya area and, as contributors to this volume demonstrate, achieved cultural centrality in pan-Mesoamerican networks. Large nucleated states throughout Oaxaca collapsed after 700 C.E., including the great Zapotec state centered in the Valley of Oaxaca, Monte Albán. Elite culture changed in fundamental ways as small city-states proliferated in Oaxaca, each with a new ruling dynasty required to devise novel strategies of legitimization. The vast majority of the population, though, sustained continuity in lifestyle, religion, and cosmology. Contributors synthesize these regional transformations and continuities in the lower Rio Verde Valley, the Valley of Oaxaca, and the Mixteca Alta. They provide data from material culture, architecture, codices, ethnohistoric documents, and ceramics, including a revised ceramic chronology from the Late Classic to the end of the Postclassic that will be crucial to future investigations. After Monte Albán establishes Postclassic Oaxaca's central place in the study of Mesoamerican antiquity.
Published by: University Press of Colorado
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After Monte Albán: Transformation and Negotiation in Oaxaca, Mexico provides a welcome addition to the series Mesoamerican Worlds: From the Olmecs to the Danzantes. Indeed, After Monte Albán is a fresh contribution that extends some-what the boundaries implied by the series’ subtitle. The so-called Danzantes, famed carvings of human figures in an array of contorted poses, belong to the earliest era ...
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Upon their sixteenth-century arrival in the region now referred to as Oaxaca State, in southern Mexico, the Spanish invaders witnessed an amazing cultural florescence. Throughout Oaxaca, small city-states, or cacicazgos, each with its own sacred ruling dynasty, competed with each other. Alliances proved ephemeral, with marriages serving as a political strategy more frequently than military domination. Although ...
Part I. The Late Classic / Postclassic in Oaxaca—An Introduction
1. Changing Cloud Formations: The Sociopolitics of Oaxaca in Late Classic / Postclassic Mesoamerica
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The origin and collapse of sociopolitical organizations remain topics of fundamental importance to anthropological archaeology. Sometime after 700 CE, both processes unfolded in various parts of modern Oaxaca State, a region in the southern highlands of Mexico (Figure 1.1) encompassing a mosaic of cultures and landscapes (Figure 1.2). One of the first states in the New World emerged after 200 BCE in ...
Part II. Chronology, Continuity, and Disjunction: Etic and Emic Perspectives
2. Advances in Defining the Classic-Postclassic Portion of the Valley of Oaxaca Ceramic Chronology: Occurrence and Phyletic Seriation
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Few archaeologists would argue against the need for a well-defined chronology; without it, observations and inferences regarding the material record cannot be anchored in time. Yet, as Americanist archaeology broke free from an overwhelming concern with culture history in the 1960s to address what were seen as more stimulating issues, interest in chronology in Oaxaca generally lapsed. This is made ...
3. The Postclassic Period in the Valley of Oaxaca: The Archaeological and Ethnohistorical Records
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The correlation of archaeological and ethnohistorical information should be one of the key methods in the determination of historical processes and events in the Valley of Oaxaca during the Postclassic period. The mere existence of alphabetical and pictorial historical documentation in a region that has received extensive archaeological investigations over the last half a century creates possibilities that ...
4. Heirlooms and Ruins: High Culture, Mesoamerican Civilization, and the Postclassic Oaxacan Tradition
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On March 31, 2000, the name of Oaxacanist John Pohl was projected onto thou-sands of movie screens across the United States: he was listed as visual consultant in the credits to DreamWorks’ animated The Road to El Dorado. This film chronicled the adventures of Miguel and Tulio, two European castaways who stumble across the fabled Amerindian City of Gold. Although the story was set in the sixteenth ...
Part III. Continuity and Abandonment of Houses in the Valley of Oaxaca: Lambityeco and Macuilx�chitl
5. The Classic to Postclassic at Lambityeco
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Archaeologists specialize in the study of culture change (Plog 1974). Traditional archaeological approaches to the study of culture change involve the use of strati-graphic test pit excavations, block excavations, and surface or settlement pattern surveys. Long continuous archaeological sequences are broken up into discrete blocks of time or phases on the basis of observed changes in artifact types found ...
6. Ethnohistory, Oral History, and Archaeology at Macuilxóchitl: Perspectives on the Postclassic Period (800–1521 CE) in the Valley of Oaxaca
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The nature of community organization in the Valley of Oaxaca following the decline of Monte Albán at the end of the Classic period (800 CE) remains obscure, if not invisible, due to longstanding difficulties with the Early Postclassic (800–1200 CE) portion of the regional ceramic chronology (see Chapter 2). A case in point is the issue of how and precisely when the competitive, territorially compact kingdoms or ...
Part IV. Changing Power Relations and Interaction in the Lower R�o Verde Valley
7. Domination, Negotiation, and Collapse: A History of Centralized Authority on the Oaxaca Coast before the Late Postclassic
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The nature of sociopolitical change during the Classic to Postclassic transition in Mesoamerica has been a source of great research interest and debate. Throughout most of Mesoamerica this period, lasting from about 600 to 1000 CE, was characterized by the fragmentation or collapse of the complex polities that dominated the Classic period (250–800 CE) political landscape. Archaeological, iconographic, ...
8. Interregional Networks of the Oaxacan Early Postclassic: Connecting the Coast and the Highlands
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Rulers of successful highland Mesoamerican cities, such as Teotihuacan and Monte Alb�n, had good reason for establishing and maintaining ties with coastal Oaxacan communities during the prehispanic era. The climatological and ecological regime of coastal Oaxaca made it a highly valuable and politically important region throughout prehispanic and early Colonial Mesoamerica. The raw material for ...
Part V. Sacred History and Legitimization in the Mixteca Alta
9. Legitimization, Negotiation, and Appropriation in Postclassic Oaxaca: Mixtec Stone Codices
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Postclassic politics of the Mixteca Alta epitomize the sociopolitical transformations that characterize Oaxaca and other parts of Mesoamerica after the decline of large Late Classic states. Although it is ill-advised to associate a specific ethnic group with a geographic area, especially during the Late Classic through Postclassic periods (see Chapter 1), here I focus on Mixtec city-states, or cacicazgos, in the Valley ...
10. Tree Birth, the Solar Oracle, and Achiutla: Mixtec Sacred History and the Classic to Postclassic Transition
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The culture of the Mixtec people of Oaxaca, Mexico, during and after the transition between Classic and Postclassic periods in Mesoamerican history has engendered significant interest among archaeologists working in southern Mexico (see Spores 2001 for discussion). This work has been greatly aided by the complementary research of their allies in the ethnohistoric and epigraphic fields ( Jansen 1982, 1996, ...
Part VI. New Research Frontiers in Oaxaca and Eastern Guerrero
11. Classic and Postclassic Archaeological Features of the Mixteca- Tlapaneca-Nahua Region of Guerrero: Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me the Classic Period Was Over?
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This chapter focuses on archaeological data from eastern Guerrero, an area along the western border of Oaxaca in the so-called La Monta�a region and municipalities of the Costa Chica (Figure 11.1). Presented here are preliminary findings as related to settlement patterns, ceramic distributions, and sculpture. I argue that eastern Guerrero demonstrates a strong continuity of archaeological features from the Classic ...
12. Classic to Postclassic in Four Oaxaca Regions: The Mazateca, the Chinantla, the Mixe Region, and the Southern Isthmus
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In the early sixteenth century, at the time of the Spanish Conquest, an estimated 1.5 to 3 million people representing at least sixteen distinct ethnic and linguistic groups lived in what is now the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico (see Figure 1.2). Tracing the culture history of these groups has been a challenge to archaeologists. In theory, all sixteen groups and perhaps others, such as the now extinct Papabuco, are ...
List of Contributors
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Page Count: 456
Illustrations: 19 b/w photos, 83 line drawings, 11 maps, 16 tbls
Publication Year: 2008
Series Title: Mesoamerican Worlds Series
Series Editor Byline: DavÃd Carrasco, Harvard University, and Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, El Colegio Nacional, Mexico, Series General Editors