Home Region:  Mexico (North America)

Late Formative Basin of Mexico

D G SC WF EQ 2020  mx_basin_of_mexico_5 / MxFormL

Preceding:
Add one more here.

Succeeding:
Add one more here.

The Basin or Valley of Mexico is a highlands plateau in central Mexico roughly corresponding to modern-day Mexico City. Here, we are interested in the phase of its prehistory known as the Late Formative period (c. 400-101 BCE). In this period, polities throughout Mesoamerica experienced increases in wealth, influence, and hierarchical complexity. [1] In the Basin of Mexico, Cuicuilco, Tlapacoya, and Cholula all became major regional centers with monumental architecture. [2]
No estimates could be found for the population of the average autonomous political unit at the time. The largest known settlement, Cuicuilco, may have had a population of at least 20,000 acrross 400 ha. [3]
Political power was inherently theocratic; [4] [5] [6] beyond that, the exact administrative mechanisms prevalent at the time remain unclear.

[1]: (Evans 2012: 120) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/AN5IUQ7X.

[2]: (Sugiyama 2012: 216) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/ZJWB86UI.

[3]: (Cowgill 2015: 42) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/JRFZPUXU.

[4]: Barba de Piña Chán, Beatriz. (1980). Tlapacoya: Los Principios de la Teocracia en la Cuenca de Mexico. Biblioteca Enciclopedica del Estado de Mexico, p.13-42, 95-142.

[5]: Plunket, Patricia and Gabriela Uruñuela. (2012). "Where East Meets West: The Formative in Mexico’s Central Highlands." Journal of Archaeological 20(1): 1-51

[6]: Carballo, David M. (2016). Urbanization and Religion in Ancient Central Mexico. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.73-215.

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
14 Q  
Original Name:
Late Formative Basin of Mexico  
Alternative Name:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI  
Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
200 BCE  
Duration:
[400 BCE ➜ 101 BCE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
unknown [---]  
Supracultural Entity:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI  
Succeeding Entity:
MxFormT  
Scale of Supracultural Interaction:
40,000 km2  
Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity  
Preceding Entity:
Preceding:   Middle Formative Basin of Mexico (mx_basin_of_mexico_4)    [continuity]  
Succeeding: Terminal Formative Basin of Mexico (mx_basin_of_mexico_6)    [continuity]  
Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity  
Language
Linguistic Family:
Otomanguean  
Mixe-Zoquean  
Language Genus:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI  
Language:
suspected unknown  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
20,000 people  
Polity Territory:
-  
Polity Population:
-  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[3 to 4]  
Religious Level:
2  
Military Level:
-  
Administrative Level:
-  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
unknown  
Professional Priesthood:
inferred present  
Professional Military Officer:
unknown  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
inferred present  
Merit Promotion:
unknown  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
unknown  
Examination System:
unknown  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent  
Judge:
unknown  
Formal Legal Code:
inferred absent  
Court:
absent  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
unknown  
Irrigation System:
present  
Food Storage Site:
inferred absent  
Drinking Water Supply System:
inferred present  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
unknown  
Port:
inferred absent  
Canal:
inferred absent  
Bridge:
unknown  
Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
present  
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
absent  
Script:
absent  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent  
Nonwritten Record:
present  
Mnemonic Device:
present  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
absent  
Sacred Text:
absent  
Religious Literature:
absent  
Practical Literature:
absent  
Philosophy:
absent  
Lists Tables and Classification:
absent  
History:
absent  
Fiction:
absent  
Calendar:
absent  
Information / Money
Token:
unknown  
Precious Metal:
absent  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent  
Foreign Coin:
absent  
Article:
present  
Information / Postal System
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
unknown  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
unknown  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
present  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present  
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Moat:
unknown  
  Fortified Camp:
inferred absent  
  Earth Rampart:
unknown  
  Ditch:
unknown  
  Complex Fortification:
absent  
  Long Wall:
absent  
Military use of Metals
  Steel:
absent  
  Iron:
absent  
  Copper:
absent  
  Bronze:
absent  
Projectiles
  Tension Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling:
present  
  Self Bow:
absent  
  Javelin:
inferred absent  
  Handheld Firearm:
absent  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent  
  Crossbow:
absent  
  Composite Bow:
absent  
  Atlatl:
inferred present  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
present  
  Sword:
inferred absent  
  Spear:
present  
  Polearm:
inferred absent  
  Dagger:
present  
  Battle Axe:
inferred absent  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
absent  
  Elephant:
absent  
  Donkey:
absent  
  Dog:
absent  
  Camel:
absent  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
unknown  
  Shield:
present  
  Scaled Armor:
absent  
  Plate Armor:
absent  
  Limb Protection:
inferred absent  
  Leather Cloth:
inferred absent  
  Laminar Armor:
absent  
  Helmet:
inferred absent  
  Chainmail:
absent  
  Breastplate:
inferred absent  
Naval technology
  Specialized Military Vessel:
absent  
  Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
present  
absent  
  Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
absent  
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Late Formative Basin of Mexico (mx_basin_of_mexico_5) was in:
 (400 BCE 101 BCE)   Basin of Mexico
Home NGA: Basin of Mexico

General Variables
Identity and Location

Original Name:
Late Formative Basin of Mexico

Alternative Name:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI

This archaeological quasi-polity might be referred to by the names of excavated sites within its bounds, the name of particular Basin of Mexico ceramic phases, or the name of Basin of Mexico subregions within its bounds during the Late and Terminal Formative (also known as First Intermediate Periods 2 and 3 in the alternative Basin of Mexico Project chronology).


Temporal Bounds
Peak Years:
200 BCE

This peak date c. 200 BCE was chosen because it corresponds to the end of the Late Formative period (alternatively called "First Intermediate Period 2"), when most sub-regional clusters in the MxFormL quasi-polity reach their demographic maximum -- and are still thought to have been mostly politically independent. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

[1]: Steponaitis, V. P. (1981). "Settlement hierarchies and political complexity in nonmarket societies: the Formative Period of the Valley of Mexico." American Anthropologist, 83(2), 320-363.

[2]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 98-105.

[3]: Charlton, Thomas H., & Deborah L. Nichols. (1997). "Diachronic studies of city-states: Permutations on a theme—Central Mexico from 1700 BC to AD 1600." In Charlton and Nichols, eds. The Archaeology of City-States: Cross-Cultural Approaches. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp.169-207.

[4]: Santley, Robert S. (1977). "Intra-site settlement patterns at Loma Torremote, and their relationship to formative prehistory in the Cuautitlan Region, State of Mexico." Ph.D. Dissertation, Depatartment of Anthropology, The Pennsylvania State University, pp. 365-425.

[5]: Earle, Timothy K., (1976). "A nearest-neighbor analysis of two formative settlement systems." In Flannery, Kent V. (Ed.), The Early Mesoamerican Village. San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 196-223.

[6]: Brumfiel, Elizabeth. (1976). "Regional growth in the Eastern Valley of Mexico: A test of the “Population Pressure” hypothesis." In Flannery, Kent V. (Ed.), The Early Mesoamerican Village. San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 234-249.


Duration:
[400 BCE ➜ 101 BCE]

[1] The following refers to a previous periodization. The start date 650 BC for the MxFormL quasi-polity is the beginning of the Late Formative period (c.650-200 BC) in the Basin of Mexico (alternatively called "First Intermediate Period 2"). [2] [3] [4] The end date is fuzzy and problematic because it is unclear exactly when in the Terminal Formative period (c.200-1 BC; alternatively called "First Intermediate Period 3") the entire MxFormL quasi-polity was conquered by its aggressive neighbors Cuicuilco (EXTERNAL_INLINE_LINK: /browser/index.php?title=Basin_of_Mexico-Cui&action=edit&redlink=1 ) and Teotihuacan (EXTERNAL_INLINE_LINK: /browser/index.php?title=Basin_of_Mexico-Teo&action=edit&redlink=1 ). Since the MxFormL quasi-polity is made up of multiple, discrete, independent settlement clusters, the timing of their conquest by Cuicuilco and Teotihuacan was most likely different for different areas. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] This quasi-polity ceased to exist during the subsequent Tzacualli ceramic phase (c.1 BCE - 100 CE) because the Plinian eruption of Popocatepetl led to the abandonment of most of the quasi-polity’, while the rest of the quasi-polity was taken over by Teotihuacan and Cuicuilco. [11] [12] [13] The date ranges for the eruption/abandonment are c. 100 BCE - 50 CE, and the start date for the Tzacualli ceramic transition is centered around 1 BCE, so I use the date of 1 BCE to designate both events.

[1]: (David Carballo, pers. comm. to G. Nazzaro and E. Cioni, 2019)

[2]: Nichols, Deborah L. (2016). "Teotihuacan." Journal of Archaeological Research 24:1-74.

[3]: Cowgill, George L. (2015). Ancient Teotihuacan: Early Urbanism in Central Mexico. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.7-11.

[4]: Kolb, C. C. (1996). "Analyses of Archaeological Ceramics From Classic Period Teotihuacan, Mexico, AD 150-750." In MRS Proceedings (Vol. 462, p. 247). Cambridge University Press.

[5]: Steponaitis, V. P. (1981). "Settlement hierarchies and political complexity in nonmarket societies: the Formative Period of the Valley of Mexico." American Anthropologist, 83(2), 320-363.

[6]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 98-105.

[7]: Charlton, Thomas H., & Deborah L. Nichols. (1997). "Diachronic studies of city-states: Permutations on a theme—Central Mexico from 1700 BC to AD 1600." In Charlton and Nichols, eds. The Archaeology of City-States: Cross-Cultural Approaches. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp.169-207.

[8]: Santley, Robert S. (1977). "Intra-site settlement patterns at Loma Torremote, and their relationship to formative prehistory in the Cuautitlan Region, State of Mexico." Ph.D. Dissertation, Depatartment of Anthropology, The Pennsylvania State University, pp. 365-425.

[9]: Earle, Timothy K., (1976). "A nearest-neighbor analysis of two formative settlement systems." In Flannery, Kent V. (Ed.), The Early Mesoamerican Village. San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 196-223.

[10]: Brumfiel, Elizabeth. (1976). "Regional growth in the Eastern Valley of Mexico: A test of the “Population Pressure” hypothesis." In Flannery, Kent V. (Ed.), The Early Mesoamerican Village. San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 234-249.

[11]: Plunket, Patricia, and Gabriela Uruñuela. (2006). "Social and cultural consequences of a late Holocene eruption of Popocatépetl in central Mexico." Quaternary International 151.1: 19-28.

[12]: Plunket, Patricia, and Gabriela Uruñuela. "Mountain of sustenance, mountain of destruction: The prehispanic experience with Popocatépetl Volcano." Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 170.1 (2008): 111-120.

[13]: Siebe, C. (2000). "Age and archaeological implications of Xitle volcano, southwestern Basin of Mexico City." Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 104, 45-64.


Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
unknown [---]

The settlement clusters of the MxFormL quasi-polity are thought to have been relatively independent and autonomous chiefdom-level polities during the Late Formative, but then gradually came under the control of neighboring Cuicuilco and Teotihuacan during the Terminal Formative c.200-1 BCE. While some have hypothesized that Cuicuilco headed some kind of Supra-polity political system during the Late Formative, [1] [2] [3] [4] the characteristics of such a Supra-polity political system are unknown to archaeologists.

[1]: Steponaitis, V. P. (1981). "Settlement hierarchies and political complexity in nonmarket societies: the Formative Period of the Valley of Mexico." American Anthropologist, 83(2), 320-363.

[2]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 98-105.

[3]: Charlton, Thomas H., & Deborah L. Nichols. (1997). "Diachronic studies of city-states: Permutations on a theme—Central Mexico from 1700 BC to AD 1600." In Charlton and Nichols, eds. The Archaeology of City-States: Cross-Cultural Approaches. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp.169-207.

[4]: Earle, Timothy K., (1976). "A nearest-neighbor analysis of two formative settlement systems." In Flannery, Kent V. (Ed.), The Early Mesoamerican Village. San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 196-223.


Supracultural Entity:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI

Central Highland Mesoamerican Late-Terminal Formative. Including the rest of the Basin of Mexico, the Puebla-Tlaxcalla Valley, Morelos, the Toluca Valley, and parts of Southern Puebla.



Scale of Supracultural Interaction:
40,000 km2

km squared.


Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity

Continuity in material culture, symbolic culture, settlement occupation, and subsistence practices


Preceding Entity:
MxFormM [mx_basin_of_mexico_4] ---> Late Formative Basin of Mexico [mx_basin_of_mexico_5]

Continuity in material culture, symbolic culture, settlement occupation, and subsistence practices

Preceding Entity:
MxFormL [mx_basin_of_mexico_5] ---> Terminal Formative Basin of Mexico [mx_basin_of_mexico_6]

Continuity in material culture, symbolic culture, settlement occupation, and subsistence practices.


Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity

Language
Linguistic Family:
Otomanguean
Linguistic Family:
Mixe-Zoquean

Language Genus:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI


Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
20,000 people

Inhabitants. "At its height (400 to 100 BCE), Cuilcuilco covered at least 400 ha [...] with a population that Sanders et al. (1979; 99,193) estimate to have been at least 20,000". [1] The following refers to earlier candidates. The largest Late Formative site in the MxFormL quasi-polity is in the Chalco region (CH-LF-5), with an estimated population of 5200 people. Within the same settlement cluster, 2 km away (separated only by the current course of the Tlalmanalco River and the modern settlements of San Lorenzo Tlamimilopa and San Mateo Tezoquipan), is CH-LF-6 with an estimated 3400 people. [2] Given their close proximity within a single settlement cluster, and their separation by urban development and thousands of years of alluviation, it is likely that these two sites are a single settlement. [3] As such, I present the range with and without their combination for the date c.200 BCE (the end/culmination of the Late Formative period). The same two sites are the largest during the Terminal Formative period, re-designated CH-TF-14 and CH-TF-16, with population of 4000 and 2200, respectively. [4] As such, I present the range with and without their combination for the date c.100 BCE -- which is intended to represent the date of their independent zenith before being taken over by Cuicuilco. [5] [6] [7] [8]

[1]: (Cowgill 2015: 42) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/JRFZPUXU.

[2]: Parsons, Jeffrey R., Elizabeth Brumfiel, Mary R. Parsons, and David J Wilson. (1982) Prehispanic Settlement Patterns in the Southern Valley of Mexico: The Chalco-Xohimilco Region. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology University of Michigan No. 14. Ann Arbor, pg. 106-110.

[3]: Frederick, Charles D. 1996. Landscape Change and Human Settlement in the Southeastern Basin of Mexico. Report submitted to the University of Houston, Clear Lake, TX.

[4]: Parsons, Jeffrey R., Elizabeth Brumfiel, Mary R. Parsons, and David J Wilson. (1982) Prehispanic Settlement Patterns in the Southern Valley of Mexico: The Chalco-Xohimilco Region. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology University of Michigan No. 14. Ann Arbor, pg. 118-120.

[5]: Steponaitis, V. P. (1981). "Settlement hierarchies and political complexity in nonmarket societies: the Formative Period of the Valley of Mexico." American Anthropologist, 83(2), 320-363.

[6]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 98-105.

[7]: Charlton, Thomas H., & Deborah L. Nichols. (1997). "Diachronic studies of city-states: Permutations on a theme—Central Mexico from 1700 BC to AD 1600." In Charlton and Nichols, eds. The Archaeology of City-States: Cross-Cultural Approaches. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp.169-207.

[8]: Earle, Timothy K., (1976). "A nearest-neighbor analysis of two formative settlement systems." In Flannery, Kent V. (Ed.), The Early Mesoamerican Village. San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 196-223.


Polity Territory:
-

in squared kilometers. During the Late Formative (c. 650-200 BC), MxFormL includes the regions of Cuauhtitlan, Teotihuacan, Texcoco, Ixtapalapa, and its center of gravity in the Chalco region. The area of the Cuicuilco polity in the southwest Basin of Mexico (Tacuba and Xochimilco) and the uninhabited northern regions (Zumpango and Temascalapa) are the only parts of the Late Formative Basin of Mexico NGA not included in the MxFormL quasi-polity. Although these are discrete settlement clusters with spatial buffer zones between them, the entire 2250 km2 area outlined in red in the Terminal Formative Map was designated the maximal area of the MxFormL quasi-polity. The date range c.650-400 BC was chosen for this maximal territory because it safely precedes the suggested period of Cuicuilco’s territorial expansion c.400-1 BCE. The chronology and characteristics of Cuicuilco’s expansion (c.400-1 BCE) and Teotihuacan’s expansion (c.200-1 BCE) are very poorly understood beyond the general scholarly consensus that the Basin of Mexico was entirely divided between Cuicuilco and Teotihuacan by sometime in the Terminal Formative. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

[1]: Cowgill, George L. (2015). Ancient Teotihuacan: Early Urbanism in Central Mexico. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.41-60.

[2]: Steponaitis, V. P. (1981). "Settlement hierarchies and political complexity in nonmarket societies: the Formative Period of the Valley of Mexico." American Anthropologist, 83(2), 320-363.

[3]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 98-105.

[4]: Charlton, Thomas H., & Deborah L. Nichols. (1997). "Diachronic studies of city-states: Permutations on a theme—Central Mexico from 1700 BC to AD 1600." In Charlton and Nichols, eds. The Archaeology of City-States: Cross-Cultural Approaches. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp.169-207.

[5]: Earle, Timothy K., (1976). "A nearest-neighbor analysis of two formative settlement systems." In Flannery, Kent V. (Ed.), The Early Mesoamerican Village. San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 196-223.

[6]: Brumfiel, Elizabeth. (1976). "Regional growth in the Eastern Valley of Mexico: A test of the “Population Pressure” hypothesis." In Flannery, Kent V. (Ed.), The Early Mesoamerican Village. San Diego: Academic Press, pp. 234-249.

[7]: Spencer, Charles S., & Redmond, Elsa M. (2004). "Primary state formation in Mesoamerica." Annual Review of Anthropology, 33, 173-199.

[8]: González de la Vara, Fernán. (1999). El valle de Toluca hasta la caída de Teotihuacan. México, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, pp.72-74,109-122, 147-189.

[9]: Plunket, P., & Uruñuela, G. (2012). Where east meets west: the Formative in Mexico’s central highlands. Journal of Archaeological Research, 20(1), 1-51.

[10]: Santley, Robert S. (1977). "Intra-site settlement patterns at Loma Torremote, and their relationship to formative prehistory in the Cuautitlan Region, State of Mexico." Ph.D. Dissertation, Depatartment of Anthropology, The Pennsylvania State University, pp. 365-425.


Polity Population:
-

people.


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[3 to 4]

levels. "A minimum of three size grades is therefore observable in housing during the later Formative: palatial candidates at the largest cities, elite residencies at midtier towns, and common residencies across the settlement spectrum". [1] Some settlement clusters have a 3-tier settlement hierarchy, while others have a 4-tier settlement hierarchy. [2] [3] [4]
Late Formative
(1) Regional Center -- 3,000-10,000 inhabitants(2) Large Village -- 1,000-3,000 inhabitants(3) Small Village -- 100-1,000 inhabitants(4) Hamlet -- 10-100 inhabitants

[1]: (Carballo 2016: 150) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/7B7A8KA6.

[2]: Steponaitis, V. P. (1981). "Settlement hierarchies and political complexity in nonmarket societies: the Formative Period of the Valley of Mexico." American Anthropologist, 83(2), 320-363.

[3]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 98-105.

[4]: Charlton, Thomas H., & Deborah L. Nichols. (1997). "Diachronic studies of city-states: Permutations on a theme—Central Mexico from 1700 BC to AD 1600." In Charlton and Nichols, eds. The Archaeology of City-States: Cross-Cultural Approaches. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp.169-207.


Religious Level:
2

levels. Political and religious institutions are thought to be essentially identical for the Central Mexican Highlands Late/Terminal Formative, such that political power was inherently theocratic. [1] [2] [3] At least 3 hierarchical levels of religious institutions can be discerned for Cuicuilco. First, formal religious ritual at the household/house-group level (i.e. local corporate/Kin groups, the the basal units of exchange and production) is ubiquitous for the Central Mexican Highlands Late/Terminal Formative, and these are thought to have organized the basal level of the political economy. This has been inferred from the ubiquitous household/house-group shrines and ritual offerings, which are associated with senior lineage houses in house compounds. Compared to junior lineage houses, senior lineage houses also have higher quantities of prestige goods, food storage, obsidian/lithic production, burials, larger houses/rooms, greater architectural quality and ornamentation, and greater occupational time depth. Given that these same ritual tropes are replicated at higher hierarchical levels, it has been inferred that senior lineage religious-ritual authority in access to ancestors was the basis of political-economic authority at the basal house-group (kin/corporate group) level. [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [3] [11] [2] Second, formal settlement- or community-level religious rituals (i.e. wider groupings of hierarchically-ordered kin/corporate-groups) were associated with feasting sponsored by religious/political elites, ritual labor service (production/construction), and sacrificial offerings. Evidence for these religious institutions are centered on settlements’ ceremonial precincts (temples and plazas), which directly associate them with the priestly elite and the political economy. [2] [3] [12] [13] [14] [9] [10] [15] [1]
(1) Community- or settlement-wide (possibly polity-wide) religious institutions at ceremonial center(2) House group, corporate/kin-group religious institutions at senior lineage shrine

[1]: Barba de Piña Chán, Beatriz. (1980). Tlapacoya: Los Principios de la Teocracia en la Cuenca de Mexico. Biblioteca Enciclopedica del Estado de Mexico, p.13-42, 95-142.

[2]: Plunket, Patricia and Gabriela Uruñuela. (2012). "Where East Meets West: The Formative in Mexico’s Central Highlands." Journal of Archaeological 20(1): 1-51

[3]: Carballo, David M. (2016). Urbanization and Religion in Ancient Central Mexico. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.73-215.

[4]: Santley, Robert S. (1993). "Late Formative Period Society at Loma Torremote: A Consideration of the Redistribution vs. Great Provider Models as a Basis for the Emergence of Complexity in the Basin of Mexico." In Prehispanic Domestic Units in Western Mesoamerica: Studies of Household, Compound, and Residence, edited by Robert S. Santley and Kenneth G. Hirth, pp. 67-86. CRC Press, Boca Raton.

[5]: Sanders, William T., Michael West, Charles Fletcher, and Joseph Marino. (1975). The Formative Period Occupation of the Valley, Parts 1 and 2. Occasional Papers in Anthropology, No. 10. Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park.

[6]: Manzanilla, Linda. (1985). "El sito de Cuanalan en el marco de las comunidades pre-urbanas del Valle de Teotihuacan." In Mesoamérica y el entro de México, México, edited by J. Monjarás-Ruiz, E. Pérez Rocha and Roas Brambila, pp. 133-178. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico City.

[7]: Nichols, Deborah L., Charles D. Frederick, Luis Morrett Alatirrem, and Fernando Sanchez Martínez. (2006). "Water Management and Political Economy in Formative Period central Mexico." In Precolumbian Water Management: Ideology, Ritual, and Power, edited by Lisa J. Lucero and Barbara W. Fash, pp. 51-66. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

[8]: Plunket, Patricia, and Gabriela Uruñuela. (1998). Preclassic Household Patterns Preserved Under Volcanic Ash at Tetimpa, Puebla, Mexico. Latin American Antiquity 9:287-309.

[9]: Plunket, Patricia, and Gabriela Uruñuela. (2002). "Shrines, ancestors, and the volcanic landscape at Tetimpa, Puebla." In Domestic Ritual in Ancient Mesoamerica, edited by Patricia Plunket, pp. 31-42. Monograph 46, Cotsen Institute of Archaeology. University of California, Los Angeles.

[10]: Plunket, Patricia, and Gabriela Uruñuela. (2005). "Recent Research in Puebla Prehistory." Journal of Archaeological Research 13:89-128.

[11]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 305-34.

[12]: Carballo, David M. (2013). "Labor Collectives and Group Cooperation in Pre-Hispanic Central Mexico." In David Carballo (Ed.) Cooperation and Collective Action: Archaeological Perspectives. Boulder: University of Colorado Press, pp.243-274.

[13]: Carballo, D. M., Roscoe, P., & Feinman, G. M. (2014). "Cooperation and collective action in the cultural evolution of complex societies." Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory, 21(1), 98-133.

[14]: Carballo, David M., et al. (2014). "Suprahousehold consumption and community ritual at La Laguna, Mexico." Antiquity 88.339 (2014): 141-159.

[15]: Uruñuela Ladrón de Guevara, Gabriela, and Patricia Plunket Nagoda. (2001). "¿“De peidra ha de ser la cama …”? Las tumbas en el Formativo de Puebla-Tlaxcala y la Cuenca de México a partir de la evidencia de Tetimpa, Puebla." Arqueología 25:3-22.



Administrative Level:
-

levels. Political and religious institutions are thought to be essentially identical for the Central Mexican Highlands Late/Terminal Formative, such that political power was inherently theocratic. [1] [2] [3] Beyond indirect, theoretical proxies like hierarchical levels of socioeconomic stratification, irrigation systems, monumental construction, and settlement patterns, there is no direct evidence for sociopolitical administrative levels.

[1]: Barba de Piña Chán, Beatriz. (1980). Tlapacoya: Los Principios de la Teocracia en la Cuenca de Mexico. Biblioteca Enciclopedica del Estado de Mexico, p.13-42, 95-142.

[2]: Plunket, Patricia and Gabriela Uruñuela. (2012). "Where East Meets West: The Formative in Mexico’s Central Highlands." Journal of Archaeological 20(1): 1-51

[3]: Carballo, David M. (2016). Urbanization and Religion in Ancient Central Mexico. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.73-215.


Professions
Professional Soldier:
unknown

[1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Professional Priesthood:
present

Likely to have existed from the Middle Formative period onward. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Professional Military Officer:
unknown

[1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
present

Likely to have existed from the Middle Formative period onward (council houses). [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Merit Promotion:
unknown

Likely present in Teotihuacan, unknown before. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Full Time Bureaucrat:
unknown

Likely present in Teotihuacan, unknown before. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Examination System:
unknown

Possible in the Aztec period, unknown before. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent

[1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Present in the Aztec period, unsure earlier. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Formal Legal Code:
absent

Unlikely in this period. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


[1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
unknown

The presence or absence of markets and market exchange is debated for the Late/Terminal Formative due to the ambiguity of the archaeological evidence. [1] or Classic Period. [2] [3] [4] The archaeological location of physical "marketplaces" at large sites in the Late and Terminal Formative Basin of Mexico is difficult because they constitute open areas that are equifinal with plazas (or other open spaces).

[1]: Castanzo, Ronald A. and Kenneth G. Hirth. (2008) "El asentamiento del periodo Formativo en la cuenca central de Puebla-Tlaxcala, Mexico. In Ann Cyphers and Kenneth G. Hirth (eds.) Ideologia politica y sociedad en el periodo Formativo:Ensayos en homenaje al doctor David C. Grove. IIA/UNAM, Mexico City, pp.203-231.

[2]: Carballo, David M. (2013) "The Social Organization of Craft Production and Interregional Exchange at Teotihuacan." In Kenneth H. Hirth and Joanne Pillsbury (eds.) Merchants, Markets, and Exchange in the Pre-Columbian World. Washington D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, pg. 113-140.

[3]: Kenneth H. Hirth. (2013) "The Merchant’s World: Commercial Diversity and the Economics of Interregional Exchange in Highland Mesoamerica." In Kenneth H. Hirth and Joanne Pillsbury (eds.) Merchants, Markets, and Exchange in the Pre-Columbian World. Washington D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, pg. 85-112.

[4]: Kenneth H. Hirth. (2013) "Economic Consumption and Domestic Economy in Cholula’s Rural Hinterland, Mexico." Latin American Antiquity 24(2): 123-148.


Irrigation System:
present

Irrigation systems were present in the Cuautitlan region, as well as at early Teotihuacan, Cuicuilco, and numerous other sites across the Basin of Mexico. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

[1]: Plunket, P., & Uruñuela, G. (2012). Where east meets west: the Formative in Mexico’s central highlands. Journal of Archaeological Research, 20(1), 1-51.

[2]: Carballo, David M. (2016). Urbanization and Religion in Ancient Central Mexico. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.73-84, 125-134.

[3]: Nichols, Deborah L. (1987). "Risk and Agricultural Intensification during the Formative Period in the Northern Basin of Mexico." American Anthropologist 89(3): 596-616.

[4]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 96-7.

[5]: Nichols, Deborah L. (2015). "Intensive Agriculture and Early Complex Societies of the Basin of Mexico: The Formative Period." Ancient Mesoamerica 26(2): 407-21.


Food Storage Site:
absent

The only known storage features were private bell-shaped storage pits and raised granary structures (cuexcomates). [1] [2]

[1]: Plunket, P., & Uruñuela, G. (2012). Where east meets west: the Formative in Mexico’s central highlands. Journal of Archaeological Research, 20(1), 1-51.

[2]: Carballo, David M. (2016). Urbanization and Religion in Ancient Central Mexico. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.154-6.


Drinking Water Supply System:
present

The reservoir at Cuicuilco suggests that these may have been present elsewhere [1]

[1]: Carballo, David M. (2016). Urbanization and Religion in Ancient Central Mexico. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.73-84, 125-134.


Transport Infrastructure

Regional and long-distance trade was common, [1] [2] and a system of foot paths existed during the Postclassic, [3] but no evidence of roads exist in the limited archaeological record of the Formative.

[1]: Grove, David C. (2000) "The Preclassic Societies of the Central Highlands of Mesoamerica." In Richard Adams and Murdo MacLeod (eds.), The Cambridge History of The Native Peoples of the Americas, Volume II: Mesoamerica, Part I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pg.122-151.

[2]: Plunket, P., & Uruñuela, G. (2012). Where east meets west: the Formative in Mexico’s central highlands. Journal of Archaeological Research, 20(1), 1-51.

[3]: Hassig, Ross. (1985) Trade, tribute, and transportation: The sixteenth-century political economy of the Valley of Mexico. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, pg.28-39.


Lacustrine ports would not be developed until the later Postclassic at Tenochtitlan when they were needed to logistically unload goods onto the urban island; otherwise beaches were used to land canoes. [1]

[1]: Hassig, Ross. (1985) Trade, tribute, and transportation: The sixteenth-century political economy of the Valley of Mexico. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, pg.56-66.


Canals for transportation purposes would not be developed until the later Postclassic around Tenochtitlan, when they were needed to logistically transport goods through chinampas, dyke systems, and the city itself. [1]

[1]: Hassig, Ross. (1985) Trade, tribute, and transportation: The sixteenth-century political economy of the Valley of Mexico. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, pg.56-66.


Bridge:
unknown

Regional and long-distance trade (crossing rivers) was common, [1] [2] but no evidence of bridges exists in the limited archaeological record of the Formative

[1]: Grove, David C. (2000) "The Preclassic Societies of the Central Highlands of Mesoamerica." In Richard Adams and Murdo MacLeod (eds.), The Cambridge History of The Native Peoples of the Americas, Volume II: Mesoamerica, Part I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pg.122-151.

[2]: Plunket, P., & Uruñuela, G. (2012). Where east meets west: the Formative in Mexico’s central highlands. Journal of Archaeological Research, 20(1), 1-51.


Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
present

In addition to a Terminal Formative quarry located in the Teo Valley (TE-TF-264), [1] abundant stone and obsidian craft production indicates that raw materials were mined away from settlements. [2] [3] [4]

[1]: Sanders, William T., Michael West, Charles Fletcher, and Joseph Marino. (1975). The Teotihuacan Valley Project Final Report, Volume 2: The Formative Period Occupation of the Valley, Part 1 -- Texts and Tables. The Pennsylvania State University Department of Anthropology, Occasional Papers in Anthropology.

[2]: Piña Chan, Román. (1971). "Preclassic or Formative Pottery and Minor Arts of the Valley of Mexico." In The Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, ed. G. F. Ekholm, and I. Bernal. Austin: University of Texas Press, pp.157-178.

[3]: Charlton, Thomas H. (1984). "Production and Exchange: Variables in the Evolution of a Civilization." In Kenneth G. Hirth (Ed.) Trade and Exchange in Early Mesoamerica. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, pp.17-42.

[4]: Biskowski, Martin. (2008) "Maize-Grinding Tools in Prehispanic Central Mexico." In New Approaches to Old Stones: Recent Studies of Ground Stone Artifacts, edited by Yorke M. Rowan and Jennie R. Ebeling. London: Equinox Publishing, pp. 144-155.


Information / Writing System
Written Record:
absent

"Absent in the Basin, present in lowland Mesoamerica c. 100 BCE-900CE." [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


First evidence in Teotihuacan c. 200 CE. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent

[1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Nonwritten Record:
present

First evidence in the Early Formative period (1500-1000 BCE). [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Mnemonic Device:
present

Present since the Archaic Period c. 10 ka. [1]

[1]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
absent

"Astronomical almanacs inferred for Classic period, c. 200-900, preserved from c. 1300 onwards." [1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Sacred Text:
absent

Present in Classic Maya 200-900 CE. Possibly present in Teotihuacan. Present in the Basin by c. 1300 CE. [1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Religious Literature:
absent

[1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Practical Literature:
absent

[1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Philosophy:
absent

"Known for the colonial period, maybe oral philosophy earlier." [1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Lists Tables and Classification:
absent

[1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


History:
absent

Present in Classic Maya 200-900 CE. Only records in the Basin are conquest records by the Aztec (1450-1519 CE). [1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Fiction:
absent

[1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Calendar:
absent

First evidence in Mesoamerica c. 500 BCE. Present at Teotihuacan c. 200 CE onwards. [1]

[1]: Carballo, David. Personal Communication to Jill Levine and Peter Turchin. Email. April 23, 2020)


Information / Money

Precious Metal:
absent

The first evidence for the introduction of indigenously produced (copper-based) metallurgy in Mesoamerica is c.600 CE for ornamental valuables, [1] and the system closest to coinage ever practiced in Mesoamerica was the widespread use of cacao beans and copper axes as media of exchange during the Postclassic. [2]

[1]: Shugar, Aaron N. and Scott E. Simmons. (2013) Archaeometallurgy in Mesoamerica: Current Approaches and New Perspectives. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, pg. 1-4.

[2]: Berdan, Frances F., Marilyn A. Masson, Janine Gasco, and Michael E. Smith. (2003) "An International Economy." In Michael E. Smith and Frances F. Berdan (eds.) The Postclassic Mesoamerican World. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, pg. 102.


Paper Currency:
absent

Raw or manufatured prestige goods -- ceramics, precious stone, feathers, textiles, jewelry, ornaments, etc. (both "articles" like jade and feathers, and "tokens" like shells) -- likely functioned as "primitive money" or "social currency." [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

[1]: Piña Chan, Román. (1971). "Preclassic or Formative Pottery and Minor Arts of the Valley of Mexico." In The Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, ed. G. F. Ekholm, and I. Bernal. Austin: University of Texas Press, pp.157-178.

[2]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 331-3.

[3]: Stoner, Wesley D., Deborah L. Nichols, Bridget A. Alex, and Destiny L. Crider. (2015)"The emergence of Early-Middle Formative exchange patterns in Mesoamerica: A view from Altica in the Teotihuacan Valley." Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 39: 19-35.

[4]: Charlton, Thomas H. (1984). "Production and Exchange: Variables in the Evolution of a Civilization." In Kenneth G. Hirth (Ed.) Trade and Exchange in Early Mesoamerica. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, pp.17-42.

[5]: Hirth, Kenneth G. (1984). "Early Exchange in Mesoamerica: An Introduction." In Kenneth G. Hirth (Ed.) Trade and Exchange in Early Mesoamerica. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, pp.1-16.


Indigenous Coin:
absent

Raw or manufatured prestige goods -- ceramics, precious stone, feathers, textiles, jewelry, ornaments, etc. (both "articles" like jade and feathers, and "tokens" like shells) -- likely functioned as "primitive money" or "social currency." [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

[1]: Piña Chan, Román. (1971). "Preclassic or Formative Pottery and Minor Arts of the Valley of Mexico." In The Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, ed. G. F. Ekholm, and I. Bernal. Austin: University of Texas Press, pp.157-178.

[2]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 331-3.

[3]: Stoner, Wesley D., Deborah L. Nichols, Bridget A. Alex, and Destiny L. Crider. (2015)"The emergence of Early-Middle Formative exchange patterns in Mesoamerica: A view from Altica in the Teotihuacan Valley." Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 39: 19-35.

[4]: Charlton, Thomas H. (1984). "Production and Exchange: Variables in the Evolution of a Civilization." In Kenneth G. Hirth (Ed.) Trade and Exchange in Early Mesoamerica. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, pp.17-42.

[5]: Hirth, Kenneth G. (1984). "Early Exchange in Mesoamerica: An Introduction." In Kenneth G. Hirth (Ed.) Trade and Exchange in Early Mesoamerica. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, pp.1-16.


Foreign Coin:
absent

Raw or manufatured prestige goods -- ceramics, precious stone, feathers, textiles, jewelry, ornaments, etc. (both "articles" like jade and feathers, and "tokens" like shells) -- likely functioned as "primitive money" or "social currency." [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

[1]: Piña Chan, Román. (1971). "Preclassic or Formative Pottery and Minor Arts of the Valley of Mexico." In The Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, ed. G. F. Ekholm, and I. Bernal. Austin: University of Texas Press, pp.157-178.

[2]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 331-3.

[3]: Stoner, Wesley D., Deborah L. Nichols, Bridget A. Alex, and Destiny L. Crider. (2015)"The emergence of Early-Middle Formative exchange patterns in Mesoamerica: A view from Altica in the Teotihuacan Valley." Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 39: 19-35.

[4]: Charlton, Thomas H. (1984). "Production and Exchange: Variables in the Evolution of a Civilization." In Kenneth G. Hirth (Ed.) Trade and Exchange in Early Mesoamerica. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, pp.17-42.

[5]: Hirth, Kenneth G. (1984). "Early Exchange in Mesoamerica: An Introduction." In Kenneth G. Hirth (Ed.) Trade and Exchange in Early Mesoamerica. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, pp.1-16.


Article:
present

Raw or manufatured prestige goods -- ceramics, precious stone, feathers, textiles, jewelry, ornaments, etc. (both "articles" like jade and feathers, and "tokens" like shells) -- likely functioned as "primitive money" or "social currency." [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

[1]: Piña Chan, Román. (1971). "Preclassic or Formative Pottery and Minor Arts of the Valley of Mexico." In The Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, ed. G. F. Ekholm, and I. Bernal. Austin: University of Texas Press, pp.157-178.

[2]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 331-3.

[3]: Stoner, Wesley D., Deborah L. Nichols, Bridget A. Alex, and Destiny L. Crider. (2015)"The emergence of Early-Middle Formative exchange patterns in Mesoamerica: A view from Altica in the Teotihuacan Valley." Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 39: 19-35.

[4]: Charlton, Thomas H. (1984). "Production and Exchange: Variables in the Evolution of a Civilization." In Kenneth G. Hirth (Ed.) Trade and Exchange in Early Mesoamerica. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, pp.17-42.

[5]: Hirth, Kenneth G. (1984). "Early Exchange in Mesoamerica: An Introduction." In Kenneth G. Hirth (Ed.) Trade and Exchange in Early Mesoamerica. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, pp.1-16.


Information / Postal System
Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
Wooden Palisade:
unknown

Would not survive archaeologically, only detectable via excavation.


Stone Walls Non Mortared:
unknown

May not survive archaeologically, only detectable via excavation.


Stone Walls Mortared:
present

[1]

[1]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 103.


Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present

hHilltop sites, island sites, hill-slope nucleated sites. [1]

[1]: Sanders, William T., Jeffrey R. Parsons, and Robert S. Santley. (1979) The Basin of Mexico: Ecological Processes in the Evolution of a Civilization. Academic Press, New York, pg. 97-105.


Modern Fortification:
absent

Gunpowder not yet invented or introduced.


May not survive archaeologically, only detectable via excavation.


Fortified Camp:
absent

Probably unnecessary given probable scale and distances of military action.


Earth Rampart:
unknown

May not survive archaeologically, only detectable via excavation.


May not survive archaeologically, only detectable via excavation.


Complex Fortification:
absent

None have been found, and fortifications themselves are scarce.



Military use of Metals

The first evidence for the introduction of indigenously produced (copper-based) metallurgy in Mesoamerica is c.600 CE for ornamental valuables, [1] and the system closest to coinage ever practiced in Mesoamerica was the widespread use of cacao beans and copper axes as media of exchange during the Postclassic. [2]

[1]: Shugar, Aaron N. and Scott E. Simmons. (2013) Archaeometallurgy in Mesoamerica: Current Approaches and New Perspectives. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, pg. 1-4.

[2]: Berdan, Frances F., Marilyn A. Masson, Janine Gasco, and Michael E. Smith. (2003) "An International Economy." In Michael E. Smith and Frances F. Berdan (eds.) The Postclassic Mesoamerican World. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, pg. 102.


The first evidence for the introduction of indigenously produced (copper-based) metallurgy in Mesoamerica is c.600 CE for ornamental valuables, [1] and the system closest to coinage ever practiced in Mesoamerica was the widespread use of cacao beans and copper axes as media of exchange during the Postclassic. [2]

[1]: Shugar, Aaron N. and Scott E. Simmons. (2013) Archaeometallurgy in Mesoamerica: Current Approaches and New Perspectives. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, pg. 1-4.

[2]: Berdan, Frances F., Marilyn A. Masson, Janine Gasco, and Michael E. Smith. (2003) "An International Economy." In Michael E. Smith and Frances F. Berdan (eds.) The Postclassic Mesoamerican World. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, pg. 102.


The first evidence for the introduction of indigenously produced (copper-based) metallurgy in Mesoamerica is c.600 CE for ornamental valuables, [1] and the system closest to coinage ever practiced in Mesoamerica was the widespread use of cacao beans and copper axes as media of exchange during the Postclassic. [2]

[1]: Shugar, Aaron N. and Scott E. Simmons. (2013) Archaeometallurgy in Mesoamerica: Current Approaches and New Perspectives. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, pg. 1-4.

[2]: Berdan, Frances F., Marilyn A. Masson, Janine Gasco, and Michael E. Smith. (2003) "An International Economy." In Michael E. Smith and Frances F. Berdan (eds.) The Postclassic Mesoamerican World. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, pg. 102.


The first evidence for the introduction of indigenously produced (copper-based) metallurgy in Mesoamerica is c.600 CE for ornamental valuables, [1] and the system closest to coinage ever practiced in Mesoamerica was the widespread use of cacao beans and copper axes as media of exchange during the Postclassic. [2]

[1]: Shugar, Aaron N. and Scott E. Simmons. (2013) Archaeometallurgy in Mesoamerica: Current Approaches and New Perspectives. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, pg. 1-4.

[2]: Berdan, Frances F., Marilyn A. Masson, Janine Gasco, and Michael E. Smith. (2003) "An International Economy." In Michael E. Smith and Frances F. Berdan (eds.) The Postclassic Mesoamerican World. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, pg. 102.


Projectiles


the small, round stone balls excavated from Late/Terminal Formative sites in the Basin of Mexico and across Mesoamerica as sling stones. [1] [2] increased frequency of groundstone balls (3-10cm) found in Late/terminal Formative; these represent either slings or bolas [2]

[1]: Hassig, Ross. (1992). "War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica." Berkeley: University of California Press, p.28-9.

[2]: Tolstoy, Paul (1971). "Utilitarian Artifacts of Central Mexico." In The Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, ed. G. F. Ekholm, and I. Bernal. Austin: University of Texas Press, 270-296.


"There is no substantial evidence of bows and arrows at this time [Middle and Late Formative]". [1] First introduced into Central Mexico during the Middle Postclassic by Chichimec invaders from Northern Mesoamerica. [2] [3]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 197) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.

[2]: Hassig, Ross. (1992). "War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica." Berkeley: University of California Press, p.47, 119-20.

[3]: Tolstoy, Paul (1971). "Utilitarian Artifacts of Central Mexico." In The Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, ed. G. F. Ekholm, and I. Bernal. Austin: University of Texas Press, 270-296.


Not included in the following: "Thrusting spears became the primary combat weapons [in the Late Formative situation] as they spread throughout Mesoamerica. Clubs persisted, but declined [...] maces also declined. [...] The distribution of slingstones throughout Mesoamerica indicates the continued use". [1] diverse array of projectile points in archaeological record, and there is evidence for their use in Formative Mesoamerican art. [2] [3] [4]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 31) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.

[2]: Hassig, Ross. (1992). "War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica." Berkeley: University of California Press, p.13.

[3]: Voorhies, Barbara (1996). Archaic Period in Mesoamerica." The Oxford Companion to Archaeology, ed. B. Fagan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 442-444.

[4]: Tolstoy, Paul (1971). "Utilitarian Artifacts of Central Mexico." In The Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, ed. G. F. Ekholm, and I. Bernal. Austin: University of Texas Press, 270-296.


Handheld Firearm:
absent

Gunpowder not yet invented or introduced.


Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent

Gunpowder not yet invented or introduced.


"There is no substantial evidence of bows and arrows at this time [Middle and Late Formative]". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 197) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Composite Bow:
absent

"There is no substantial evidence of bows and arrows at this time [Middle and Late Formative]". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 197) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


technology present in the wider region from c.4000 BCE, diverse array of projectile points in archaeological record, and there is evidence for their use in Formative Mesoamerican art. [1] [2] [3]

[1]: Hassig, Ross. (1992). "War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica." Berkeley: University of California Press, p.13.

[2]: Voorhies, Barbara (1996). Archaic Period in Mesoamerica." The Oxford Companion to Archaeology, ed. B. Fagan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 442-444.

[3]: Tolstoy, Paul (1971). "Utilitarian Artifacts of Central Mexico." In The Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, ed. G. F. Ekholm, and I. Bernal. Austin: University of Texas Press, 270-296.


Handheld weapons

"Thrusting spears became the primary combat weapons [in the Late Formative situation] as they spread throughout Mesoamerica. Clubs persisted, but declined [...] maces also declined. [...] The distribution of slingstones throughout Mesoamerica indicates the continued use". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 31) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Not included in the following: "Thrusting spears became the primary combat weapons [in the Late Formative situation] as they spread throughout Mesoamerica. Clubs persisted, but declined [...] maces also declined. [...] The distribution of slingstones throughout Mesoamerica indicates the continued use". [1] unknown from the archaeological record, and no direct evidence in Central Mexico before the early postclassic. [2]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 31) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.

[2]: Hassig, Ross. (1992). "War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica." Berkeley: University of California Press, p.112.


"Thrusting spears became the primary combat weapons [in the Late Formative situation] as they spread throughout Mesoamerica. Clubs persisted, but declined [...] maces also declined. [...] The distribution of slingstones throughout Mesoamerica indicates the continued use". [1] obsidian and stone spearpoints have been found archaeologically, and there is evidence for their militaristic use in both Formative Mesoamerican and Classic Teotihuacano art. [2] [3] [4]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 31) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.

[2]: Hassig, Ross. (1992). "War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica." Berkeley: University of California Press, p.13, 30-1, 47-8.

[3]: Voorhies, Barbara (1996). Archaic Period in Mesoamerica." The Oxford Companion to Archaeology, ed. B. Fagan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 442-444.

[4]: Tolstoy, Paul (1971). "Utilitarian Artifacts of Central Mexico." In The Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, ed. G. F. Ekholm, and I. Bernal. Austin: University of Texas Press, 270-296.


Not included in the following: "Thrusting spears became the primary combat weapons [in the Late Formative situation] as they spread throughout Mesoamerica. Clubs persisted, but declined [...] maces also declined. [...] The distribution of slingstones throughout Mesoamerica indicates the continued use". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 31) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Obsidian knives [1] [2]

[1]: Tolstoy, Paul (1971). "Utilitarian Artifacts of Central Mexico." In The Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, ed. G. F. Ekholm, and I. Bernal. Austin: University of Texas Press, 270-296.

[2]: Hassig, Ross. (1992). "War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica." Berkeley: University of California Press, p.31.


Battle Axe:
absent

Not included in the following: "Thrusting spears became the primary combat weapons [in the Late Formative situation] as they spread throughout Mesoamerica. Clubs persisted, but declined [...] maces also declined. [...] The distribution of slingstones throughout Mesoamerica indicates the continued use". [1] unknown from the archaeological record, as the known lithic axes seem crude for military weapons, and were probably used as tools [2] [3]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 31) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.

[2]: Hassig, Ross. (1992). "War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica." Berkeley: University of California Press, p.122.

[3]: Tolstoy, Paul (1971). "Utilitarian Artifacts of Central Mexico." In The Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, ed. G. F. Ekholm, and I. Bernal. Austin: University of Texas Press, 270-296.


Animals used in warfare

Not native to region.


Not native to region.


Not native to region.


Hassig lists war dogs among the new military "technologies" the Spanish introduced to the region in the sixteenth century [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992, 143) Hassig, Robert. 1992. War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica. London; Berkeley: University of California Press. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/collectionKey/F76EVNU3/itemKey/E9VHCKDG


Not native to region.


Armor

"In reaction to slings, shields were widely adopted in the Late Formative, especially rectangular ones that protected most of the body [...] The protection afforded the trunk and the limbs". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 31) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Scaled Armor:
absent

The first evidence for the introduction of indigenously produced (copper-based) metallurgy in Mesoamerica is c.600 CE for ornamental valuables, [1] and the system closest to coinage ever practiced in Mesoamerica was the widespread use of cacao beans and copper axes as media of exchange during the Postclassic. [2]

[1]: Shugar, Aaron N. and Scott E. Simmons. (2013) Archaeometallurgy in Mesoamerica: Current Approaches and New Perspectives. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, pg. 1-4.

[2]: Berdan, Frances F., Marilyn A. Masson, Janine Gasco, and Michael E. Smith. (2003) "An International Economy." In Michael E. Smith and Frances F. Berdan (eds.) The Postclassic Mesoamerican World. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, pg. 102.


Plate Armor:
absent

The first evidence for the introduction of indigenously produced (copper-based) metallurgy in Mesoamerica is c.600 CE for ornamental valuables, [1] and the system closest to coinage ever practiced in Mesoamerica was the widespread use of cacao beans and copper axes as media of exchange during the Postclassic. [2]

[1]: Shugar, Aaron N. and Scott E. Simmons. (2013) Archaeometallurgy in Mesoamerica: Current Approaches and New Perspectives. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, pg. 1-4.

[2]: Berdan, Frances F., Marilyn A. Masson, Janine Gasco, and Michael E. Smith. (2003) "An International Economy." In Michael E. Smith and Frances F. Berdan (eds.) The Postclassic Mesoamerican World. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, pg. 102.


Limb Protection:
absent

The following implies that shields were the only form of armor: "In reaction to slings, shields were widely adopted in the Late Formative, especially rectangular ones that protected most of the body [...] The protection afforded the trunk and the limbs". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 31) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Leather Cloth:
absent

Not depicted in period art, and generally unknown before the Classic Period in Central Mexico. [1]

[1]: Hassig, Ross. (1992) War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica. Berkeley: University of California Press, pg.16, 48, 73, 84.


Laminar Armor:
absent

The first evidence for the introduction of indigenously produced (copper-based) metallurgy in Mesoamerica is c.600 CE for ornamental valuables, [1] and the system closest to coinage ever practiced in Mesoamerica was the widespread use of cacao beans and copper axes as media of exchange during the Postclassic. [2]

[1]: Shugar, Aaron N. and Scott E. Simmons. (2013) Archaeometallurgy in Mesoamerica: Current Approaches and New Perspectives. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, pg. 1-4.

[2]: Berdan, Frances F., Marilyn A. Masson, Janine Gasco, and Michael E. Smith. (2003) "An International Economy." In Michael E. Smith and Frances F. Berdan (eds.) The Postclassic Mesoamerican World. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, pg. 102.


The following implies that shields were the only form of armor: "In reaction to slings, shields were widely adopted in the Late Formative, especially rectangular ones that protected most of the body [...] The protection afforded the trunk and the limbs". [1] known form artwork and figurines, but they may have been purely decorative (i.e. for status). [2] [3]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 31) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.

[2]: Hassig, Ross. (1992) War and Society in Ancient Mesoamerica. Berkeley: University of California Press, pg.31.

[3]: Piña Chán, Román. (1971). "Preclassic or Formative Pottery and Minor Arts of the Valley of Mexico." In The Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, ed. G. F. Ekholm and I. Bernal. Austin: University of Texas Press, 157-178.


The first evidence for the introduction of indigenously produced (copper-based) metallurgy in Mesoamerica is c.600 CE for ornamental valuables, [1] and the system closest to coinage ever practiced in Mesoamerica was the widespread use of cacao beans and copper axes as media of exchange during the Postclassic. [2]

[1]: Shugar, Aaron N. and Scott E. Simmons. (2013) Archaeometallurgy in Mesoamerica: Current Approaches and New Perspectives. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, pg. 1-4.

[2]: Berdan, Frances F., Marilyn A. Masson, Janine Gasco, and Michael E. Smith. (2003) "An International Economy." In Michael E. Smith and Frances F. Berdan (eds.) The Postclassic Mesoamerican World. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, pg. 102.


Breastplate:
absent

The following implies that shields were the only form of armor: "In reaction to slings, shields were widely adopted in the Late Formative, especially rectangular ones that protected most of the body [...] The protection afforded the trunk and the limbs". [1] breastplates are known from figurines, but they may have been purely decorative (i.e. for status). [2] [3] [4]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 31) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.

[2]: Niederberger, Christine. (1996). "The Basin of Mexico: Multimillenial Development toward Cultural Complexity." In Olmec Art of Ancient Mexico, edited by Emily P. Benson and Beatriz de la Fuente. Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, pp. 83-93.

[3]: Niederberger, Christine. (2000) "Ranked Societies, Iconographic Complexity, and Economic Wealth in the Basin of Mexico Toward 1200 BC." In Olmec Art and Archaeology in Mesoamerica, edited by John E. Clark and Mary E. Pye. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 169-192.

[4]: Piña Chán, Román. (1971). "Preclassic or Formative Pottery and Minor Arts of the Valley of Mexico." In The Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 10, ed. G. F. Ekholm and I. Bernal. Austin: University of Texas Press, 157-178.


Naval technology
Specialized Military Vessel:
absent

Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
present

Lakeshore/island residency, woodcarving expertise, and extensive exploitation of lacustrine resources all suggest that canoes similar to those known from the Late Postclassic were probably used, [1] and the prehisoric use of canoes has often been suggested, [2] [3] [4] [2] and archaeologists believe that warfare was widespread in the Basin of Mexico among polities that shared lakes, but there is no direct evidence of canoes (made of wood) or canoe warfare in the archaeological record.

[1]: Niederberger, Christine. (1979) "Early Sedentary Economy in the Basin of Mexico" Science 203(4376):131-142.

[2]: Drennan, R. D. (1984). Long‐distance transport costs in pre‐Hispanic Mesoamerica. American Anthropologist, 86(1), 105-112.

[3]: Parsons, Jeffrey R. (2006) The Last “Pescadores” of Chimalhuacán, Mexico: An Archaeological Ethnography. Anthropological Papers, No. 96. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

[4]: Hassig, Ross. (1985) Trade, tribute, and transportation: The sixteenth-century political economy of the Valley of Mexico. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, pg.56-66.

Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
absent

Lakeshore/island residency, woodcarving expertise, and extensive exploitation of lacustrine resources all suggest that canoes similar to those known from the Late Postclassic were probably used, [1] and the prehisoric use of canoes has often been suggested, [2] [3] [4] [2] and archaeologists believe that warfare was widespread in the Basin of Mexico among polities that shared lakes, but there is no direct evidence of canoes (made of wood) or canoe warfare in the archaeological record.

[1]: Niederberger, Christine. (1979) "Early Sedentary Economy in the Basin of Mexico" Science 203(4376):131-142.

[2]: Drennan, R. D. (1984). Long‐distance transport costs in pre‐Hispanic Mesoamerica. American Anthropologist, 86(1), 105-112.

[3]: Parsons, Jeffrey R. (2006) The Last “Pescadores” of Chimalhuacán, Mexico: An Archaeological Ethnography. Anthropological Papers, No. 96. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

[4]: Hassig, Ross. (1985) Trade, tribute, and transportation: The sixteenth-century political economy of the Valley of Mexico. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, pg.56-66.


Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
absent


Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
- Nothing coded yet.
- Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions
- Nothing coded yet.