Home Region:  Mexico (North America)

Early Monte Alban I

EQ 2020  mx_monte_alban_1_early / MxAlb1E

The Monte Albán Early I phase runs from 500 to 300 BCE. The settlement at Monte Albán was founded at the beginning of this period and located in what was previously a ’buffer zone’ between the three competing chiefdoms in the Valley of Oaxaca during the Rosario phase. It was built on a hill 400 metres above the valley floor, [1] with limited access to farmland and water, [2] which suggests other reasons for the founding of the settlement. One suggestion is that the location was intentionally chosen in the ’neutral’ zone between the three competing chiefdoms as a political manoeuvre. [3]
Population and political organization
The establishment of a confederation (although not yet a state) at the beginning of this period is suggested by the simultaneous abandonment of settlements and founding of Monte Albán, which itself was internally divided into different groupings of people (as shown by distinct pottery assemblages). [3]
Although there is evidence for the presence of inherited social status and mortuary and residential elaboration during this period, the method of political organization is still unclear. [4] Archaeologist Arthur Joyce outlines possible power dynamics: ’The authority of the nobility may have been simultaneously couched in, but in dynamic tension with, traditional forms of authority that were more communal, egalitarian, and locally based.’ [4]
There is a large range of population estimates for the valley during this period, from roughly 8000 to 15,000. [5] [6] Monte Albán was the largest settlement in the Valley of Oaxaca during this period, although it was founded in a previously unoccupied location. The settlement began with around 2,000 people [5] and increased to over 5,000 towards the end of this period. [7] Much of the population of the valley moved to the newly founded settlement, which left sites such as San José Mogote abandoned. [8] Monte Albán became the largest settlement by far (324 ha in size towards the end of this period), but there were two other main settlements in the other arms of the valley (Yegüih and San Martin Tilcajete, the latter covering 52.8 ha by the end of the period). [8]

[1]: (Flannery and Marcus 1976, 375) Kent V. Flannery and Joyce Marcus. 1976. ’Formative Oaxaca and the Zapotec Cosmos’. American Scientist 64 (4): 374-83.

[2]: (Marcus and Flannery 1983, 81) Joyce Marcus and Kent V. Flannery. 1983. ’The Origins of the State in Oaxaca: Editors’ Introduction’, in The Cloud People: Divergent Evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec Civilizations, edited by Joyce Marcus and Kent V. Flannery, 79-83. New York: Academic Press.

[3]: (Blanton 1983, 84) Richard E. Blanton. 1983. ’The Founding of Monte Albán’, in The Cloud People: Divergent Evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec Civilizations, edited by Joyce Marcus and Kent V. Flannery, 83-87. New York: Academic Press.

[4]: (Joyce 2009, 141-42) Arthur A. Joyce. 2009. Mixtecs, Zapotecs, and Chatinos: Ancient Peoples of Southern Mexico. Malden, MA: Wiley‐Blackwell.

[5]: (Flannery and Marcus 2003, 11804) Kent V. Flannery and Joyce Marcus. 2003. ’The Origin of War: New C-14 Dates from Ancient Mexico’. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100 (20): 11801-05.

[6]: (Feinman et al. 1985, 346) Gary M. Feinman, Stephen A. Kowalewski, Laura Finsten, Richard E. Blanton and Linda Nicholas. 1985. ’Long-Term Demographic Change: A Perspective from the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico’. Journal of Field Archaeology 12 (3): 333-62.

[7]: (Marcus and Flannery 1996, 139) Joyce Marcus and Kent V. Flannery. 1996. Zapotec Civilization: How Urban Society Evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. London: Thames and Hudson.

[8]: (Spencer and Redmond 2004, 176) Charles S. Spencer and Elsa M. Redmond. 2004. ’Primary State Formation in Mesoamerica’. Annual Review of Anthropology 33: 173-99.

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
14 Q  
Original Name:
Early Monte Alban I  
Capital:
Monte Albán  
Alternative Name:
Middle Preclassic  
Middle Formative  
Monte Albán 1a (and 1b)  
Temporal Bounds
Duration:
[500 BCE ➜ 300 BCE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
uncoded [---]  
Succeeding Entity:
MxAlb1L  
Relationship to Preceding Entity:
population migration  
Preceding Entity:
MxRosar  
Degree of Centralization:
uncoded  
Language
Linguistic Family:
Otomanguean  
Language:
Zapotec  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
2,000 people 500 BCE
5,280 people 400 BCE 300 BCE
Polity Territory:
1,300 km2  
Polity Population:
[10,000 to 20,000] people  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[2 to 3]  
Religious Level:
1  
Military Level:
1  
Administrative Level:
-  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
absent  
Professional Priesthood:
absent  
Professional Military Officer:
absent  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
absent  
Merit Promotion:
absent  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
absent  
Examination System:
absent  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent  
Judge:
absent  
Formal Legal Code:
absent  
Court:
absent  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
inferred present  
Irrigation System:
absent  
Food Storage Site:
absent  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
absent  
Port:
absent  
Canal:
absent  
Bridge:
absent  
Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
absent  
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
present  
Script:
present  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent  
Nonwritten Record:
unknown  
Non Phonetic Writing:
present  
Mnemonic Device:
absent  
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:
present  
Information / Money
Token:
unknown  
Precious Metal:
absent  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent  
Foreign Coin:
absent  
Article:
unknown  
Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
absent  
General Postal Service:
absent  
Courier:
absent  
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
unknown  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
present  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
absent  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present  
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Moat:
inferred absent  
  Fortified Camp:
unknown  
  Earth Rampart:
present  
  Ditch:
inferred absent  
  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:
unknown  
  Self Bow:
unknown  
  Javelin:
unknown  
  Handheld Firearm:
absent  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent  
  Crossbow:
absent  
  Composite Bow:
unknown  
  Atlatl:
present  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
unknown  
  Sword:
present  
  Spear:
inferred present  
  Polearm:
unknown  
  Dagger:
present  
  Battle Axe:
unknown  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
absent  
  Elephant:
absent  
  Donkey:
absent  
  Dog:
absent  
  Camel:
absent  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
unknown  
  Shield:
unknown  
  Scaled Armor:
absent  
  Plate Armor:
absent  
  Limb Protection:
unknown  
  Leather Cloth:
unknown  
  Laminar Armor:
absent  
  Helmet:
unknown  
  Chainmail:
absent  
  Breastplate:
unknown  
Naval technology
  Specialized Military Vessel:
absent  
  Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
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 Early Monte Alban I (mx_monte_alban_1_early) was in:
 (500 BCE 301 BCE)   Valley of Oaxaca
Home NGA: Valley of Oaxaca

General Variables
Identity and Location


Capital:
Monte Albán

Monte Albán was the largest settlement in the Valley of Oaxaca at this time, and was founded at the beginning of this period with an estimated population of 5,000 people. [1] This settlement is taken to be the centre of the Zapotec polity, with populations originating from other settlements in the valley.

[1]: Balkansky, A. K. (1998). "Origin and collapse of complex societies in Oaxaca, Mexico: Evaluating the era from 1965 to the present." Journal of World Prehistory 12(4): 451-493, p460



Temporal Bounds
Duration:
[500 BCE ➜ 300 BCE]

The start of this period is marked by the founding of Monte Albán at the centre of the three valleys.
Start: 500 BCE
"Monte Alban, founded circa 500 BC at the nexus of the valley’s three branches, was one of highland Mesoamerica’s earliest cities, and it remained the most populous and architecturally monumental settlement in the Southern Highlands for more than a millennium (Blanton, 1978) [1]

[1]: (Feinman and Nicholas 2017, 1) Gary M Feinman. Linda M Nicholas. 2017. Settlement Patterns in the Albarradas Area of Highland Oaxaca, Mexico: Frontiers, Boundaries, and Interaction. Fieldiana Anthropology, 46(1):1-162. Publication 1572. Field Museum of Natural History. URL: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.3158/0071-4739-46.1.1


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

probably unknown. It has been suggested that Monte Alban became the new centre of a confederation of people from different settlements of the valley, but the exact relationship between Monte Alban and the remaining settlements of the valley is not known. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.



Relationship to Preceding Entity:
population migration

People migrated to occupy the new settlement, Monte Alban, during this period, although material culture (including ceramic and architectural styles) suggest cultural continuity from the previous period. [1] [2]

[1]: Spencer, C. S. and E. M. Redmond (2004). "Primary state formation in Mesoamerica." Annual Review of Anthropology: 173-199, p177

[2]: Marcus, J. and K. V. Flannery (1996). Zapotec civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley, Thames and Hudson London, p144


Preceding Entity:
MxRosar

The largest centre before Monte Alban was San Jose Mogote, and it has been hypothesised that much of the population of Monte Alban came from San Jose Mogote and its surrounding settlements in the Etla subvalley. [1]

[1]: Marcus, J. and K. V. Flannery (1996). Zapotec civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley, Thames and Hudson London.


Degree of Centralization:
uncoded

probably unknown. The establishment of a confederation (although not yet a state) at the beginning of this period is suggested by the simultaneous abandonment of settlements and founding of Monte Albán, which itself was internally divided into different groupings of people (as shown by distinct pottery assemblages). [1]

[1]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (1983). "The Cloud People." New York, p84


Language

Language:
Zapotec

“…the iconography and hieroglyphic writing of Monte Albán I suggest that we are dealing with people who spoke an early version of Zapotec and practiced an early form of Zapotec religion.” [1]

[1]: Marcus, J. and K. V. Flannery (1996). Zapotec civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley, Thames and Hudson London, p155


Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
2,000 people
500 BCE

Inhabitants. Monte Albán was the largest settlement in the Valley of Oaxaca during this period, although it was founded in a previously unoccupied location. The settlement began with around 2,000 people [1] , and increased to over 5,000 towards the end of this period. [2] 5,000: "From the area of the distribution of Early I sherds (and estimating a population of about 25-50 persons per hectare, less for the area of more scattered pottery), we estimate a population for Early I of 3,500-7,000 (Blanton 1978:33-35) and take the middle value of about 5,000 as the best estimate of population for the period. Population group continued into Late I, eventually reaching an estimated 17,000 (Blanton 1978:44)(fig. 3.4)." [3] Monte Alban’s population grew quickly to 5,000. [4] "Table 11.3. Population in the largest centers, by phase, in Oaxaca and Ejutla." [5] Valley of Oaxaca population (Largest center in Oaxaca): Early I: 14652 (5250). [5]

[1]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (2003). "The origin of war: New C-14 dates from ancient Mexico." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 100(20): 11801-11805, p11804

[2]: Marcus, J. and K. V. Flannery (1996). Zapotec civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley, Thames and Hudson London, p139

[3]: (Blanton, Feinman, Kowalewski, Nicholas 1999, 53) Blanton, Richard E. Feinman, Gary M. Kowalewski, Stephen A. Nicholas, Linda M. 1999. Ancient Oaxaca. The Monte Alban State. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.

[4]: (Feinman and Nicholas 2017, 31) Gary M Feinman. Linda M Nicholas. 2017. Settlement Patterns in the Albarradas Area of Highland Oaxaca, Mexico: Frontiers, Boundaries, and Interaction. Fieldiana Anthropology, 46(1):1-162. Publication 1572. Field Museum of Natural History. URL: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.3158/0071-4739-46.1.1

[5]: (Feinman and Nicholas 2013, 183) Gary M Feinman. Linda M Nicholas. 2013. Settlement Patterns of the Ejutla Valley, Oaxaca, Mexico: A Diachronic Macroscale Perspective. Fieldiana Anthropology, 43(1):1-330. 2013. Field Museum of Natural History. URL: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.3158/0071-4739-43.00.1

Population of the Largest Settlement:
5,280 people
400 BCE 300 BCE

Inhabitants. Monte Albán was the largest settlement in the Valley of Oaxaca during this period, although it was founded in a previously unoccupied location. The settlement began with around 2,000 people [1] , and increased to over 5,000 towards the end of this period. [2] 5,000: "From the area of the distribution of Early I sherds (and estimating a population of about 25-50 persons per hectare, less for the area of more scattered pottery), we estimate a population for Early I of 3,500-7,000 (Blanton 1978:33-35) and take the middle value of about 5,000 as the best estimate of population for the period. Population group continued into Late I, eventually reaching an estimated 17,000 (Blanton 1978:44)(fig. 3.4)." [3] Monte Alban’s population grew quickly to 5,000. [4] "Table 11.3. Population in the largest centers, by phase, in Oaxaca and Ejutla." [5] Valley of Oaxaca population (Largest center in Oaxaca): Early I: 14652 (5250). [5]

[1]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (2003). "The origin of war: New C-14 dates from ancient Mexico." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 100(20): 11801-11805, p11804

[2]: Marcus, J. and K. V. Flannery (1996). Zapotec civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley, Thames and Hudson London, p139

[3]: (Blanton, Feinman, Kowalewski, Nicholas 1999, 53) Blanton, Richard E. Feinman, Gary M. Kowalewski, Stephen A. Nicholas, Linda M. 1999. Ancient Oaxaca. The Monte Alban State. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.

[4]: (Feinman and Nicholas 2017, 31) Gary M Feinman. Linda M Nicholas. 2017. Settlement Patterns in the Albarradas Area of Highland Oaxaca, Mexico: Frontiers, Boundaries, and Interaction. Fieldiana Anthropology, 46(1):1-162. Publication 1572. Field Museum of Natural History. URL: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.3158/0071-4739-46.1.1

[5]: (Feinman and Nicholas 2013, 183) Gary M Feinman. Linda M Nicholas. 2013. Settlement Patterns of the Ejutla Valley, Oaxaca, Mexico: A Diachronic Macroscale Perspective. Fieldiana Anthropology, 43(1):1-330. 2013. Field Museum of Natural History. URL: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.3158/0071-4739-43.00.1


Polity Territory:
1,300 km2

squared kilometers, based on the map given by Spencer (2009) [1]

[1]: Spencer, C. S. (2009). Testing the Morphogenesist Model of Primary State Formation: The Zapotec Case. Macroevolution in Human Prehistory: Evolutionary Theory and Processual Archaeology. A. M. Prentiss, I. Kuijt and J. C. Chatters, Springer: 133-155., p143


Polity Population:
[10,000 to 20,000] people

People.
Estimate for the area in and around Montel Alban
8,000-10,000: Although it is unlikely that all the settlements of the valley were unified (based on the divisions between populations of the different arms of the valley seen in the Rosario phase), the area in and around Monte Albán was the most densely populated. In the absence of a more accurate polity population estimate, the lower population estimate of 8,000-10,000 people given by Flannery and Marcus [1] is used as a very rough proxy for the Monte Albán polity population. 8,000-15,000: There is a large range of population estimates for the valley during this period, from roughly 8,000 to 15,000. [1] [2]
Estimate for Monte Alban Early I sites in Valley of Oaxaca subareas
Table 3.5. Monte Alban Early I sites in Valley of Oaxaca subareas. Table lists sites in sub-areas and includes total population for each of them. [3] Etla: 3175; Central (contains Monte Alban): 6793; N Valle Grande: 1998; S Valle Grande: 526; W Tlacolula: 1814; E Tlacolula: 341; Ejutla: 259; Albarradas: 59; Sola: 12. [3]
Monte Alban’s population grew quickly to 5,000. [3]
Monte Alban’s population + population of this list of subareas = 19,977
"Table 11.3. Population in the largest centers, by phase, in Oaxaca and Ejutla." [4]
Valley of Oaxaca population (Largest center in Oaxaca): Tierras Largas: 327 (128); San Jose: 1942 (1384); Guadalupe: 1788 (774); Rosario: 1835 (564); Early I: 14652 (5250); Late I: 51339 (17242); Monte Alban II: 41927 (14492); Monte Alban IIIA: 120121 (16507); Monte Alban IIIB: 78930 (24189); Monte Alban IV: 77612 (16117); Monte Alban V: 166467 (13831). [4]

[1]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (2003). "The origin of war: New C-14 dates from ancient Mexico." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 100(20): 11801-11805, p11804

[2]: Feinman, G. M., et al. (1985). "Long-term demographic change: A perspective from the valley of Oaxaca, Mexico." Journal of Field Archaeology 12(3): 333-362, p346

[3]: (Feinman and Nicholas 2017, 31) Gary M Feinman. Linda M Nicholas. 2017. Settlement Patterns in the Albarradas Area of Highland Oaxaca, Mexico: Frontiers, Boundaries, and Interaction. Fieldiana Anthropology, 46(1):1-162. Publication 1572. Field Museum of Natural History. URL: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.3158/0071-4739-46.1.1

[4]: (Feinman and Nicholas 2013, 183) Gary M Feinman. Linda M Nicholas. 2013. Settlement Patterns of the Ejutla Valley, Oaxaca, Mexico: A Diachronic Macroscale Perspective. Fieldiana Anthropology, 43(1):1-330. 2013. Field Museum of Natural History. URL: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.3158/0071-4739-43.00.1


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
[2 to 3]

levels. There are different opinions as to how many levels of settlement hierarchy there were during this period. Much of the population of the valley moved to the newly founded settlement Monte Albán, which left sites such as San José Mogote abandoned. [1] Monte Albán became the largest settlement by far (324ha in size towards the end of this period), but there were two other main settlements in the other arms of the valley (Yegüih and San Martin Tilcajete, the latter covering 52.8ha by the end of this period) [1] . If these settlements are excluded (as they were the primary centres of different polities), then the remaining settlements in the Central and Etla valley areas may either form one or two levels, depending on the classification. [2] [3] Yegüih (in Tlacolula subregion) and San Mart´ın Tilcajete (in Ocotl´an-Zimatl´an subregion) were primary centres in the other arms of the valley, with two further levels of settlement hierarchy. [4] .
1. Monte Albán-primary centre, estimated at 324ha between 400-200 BCE, and with an 8km2 central complex. [5] (Yeguih in the Tlacolula subregion and San Mart´ın Tilcajete (52.8 ha) in the Ocotl´an-Zimatl´an subregion were also primary centres of different polities within the valley during this period.) [4]
2. villages-<2ha [6]
"Table 5.4. Monte Alban Early I population hierarchy in Oaxaca and Ejutla." [7]
Valley of Oaxaca: Level I: 5250; II: 578-1112; III: 210-301; IV: 107-179; No rank: 8-90. [7]

[1]: Spencer, C. S. and E. M. Redmond (2004). "Primary state formation in Mesoamerica." Annual Review of Anthropology: 173-199, p176

[2]: Marcus, J. and K. V. Flannery (1996). Zapotec civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley, Thames and Hudson London, p163

[3]: Spencer, C. S. and E. M. Redmond (2003). "Militarism, resistance, and early state development in Oaxaca, Mexico." Social Evolution & History 2: 25-70, p34

[4]: Spencer, C. S. and E. M. Redmond (2004). "Primary state formation in Mesoamerica." Annual Review of Anthropology: 173-199, p176-8

[5]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (1976). "Formative Oaxaca and Zapotec Cosmos." American Scientist 64(4): 374-383, p375

[6]: Blanton, R. E., et al. (1982). The Prehispanic Settlement Patterns of the Central and Southern Parts of the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, Regents of the University of Michigan, the Museum of Anthropology.

[7]: (Feinman and Nicholas 2013, 56) Gary M Feinman. Linda M Nicholas. 2013. Settlement Patterns of the Ejutla Valley, Oaxaca, Mexico: A Diachronic Macroscale Perspective. Fieldiana Anthropology, 43(1):1-330. 2013. Field Museum of Natural History. URL: http://www.bioone.org/doi/full/10.3158/0071-4739-43.00.1


Religious Level:
1

Temples were present at this time but the standardised two-room temples was not yet present at Monte Alban, and so a permanent state religion of more than one organisational level cannot be inferred. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. p161


Military Level:
1

level. Warriors were likely present during this period (based on the inter-polity conflict of this period and the preceding period) and so one level of military organisation is inferred, but sources do not suggest there is evidence for full-time professional military personnel. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Administrative Level:
-

[2-3] territorial levels but sources do not suggest there is evidence that they corresponded to administrative levels. Monte Albán was a primary center (given the size and central location of the settlement), with a series of regional second-order centres at the beginning of the Monte Albán I phase. There may also have been tertiary centres, if the smaller villages and hamlets are included. [1] The administrative levels have been coded as equivalent to the settlement hierarchy as there is little additional evidence for internal administration.
1. Monte Albán-primary centre, estimated at 324ha between 400-200 BCE, and with an 8km2 central complex. [2] (Yeguih in the Tlacolula subregion and San Mart´ın Tilcajete (52.8 ha) in the Ocotl´an-Zimatl´an subregion were also primary centres of different polities within the valley during this period.) [3]
2. villages-<2ha [4]

[1]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (1983). "The Cloud People." New York, p96

[2]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (1976). "Formative Oaxaca and Zapotec Cosmos." American Scientist 64(4): 374-383, p375

[3]: Spencer, C. S. and E. M. Redmond (2004). "Primary state formation in Mesoamerica." Annual Review of Anthropology: 173-199, p176-8

[4]: Blanton, R. E., et al. (1982). The Prehispanic Settlement Patterns of the Central and Southern Parts of the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, Regents of the University of Michigan, the Museum of Anthropology.


Professions
Professional Soldier:
absent

Sources do not suggest there is evidence for full-time professional military personnel. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Professional Priesthood:
absent

Temples were built and used, but sources do not suggest there is evidence for full-time priests until the MA II period when standardised temples were constructed. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Professional Military Officer:
absent

Sources do not suggest there is evidence for full-time professional military personnel. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
absent

Sources do not suggest there is evidence for full-time bureaucracy during this period. A degree of complex organisation is inferred to have existed, based on the construction of Monte Alban, but no written records or specialised administrative buildings have been identified. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Merit Promotion:
absent

Sources do not suggest there is evidence for full-time bureaucracy during this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Full Time Bureaucrat:
absent

Sources do not suggest there is evidence for full-time bureaucracy during this period. A degree of complex organisation is inferred to have existed, based on the construction of Monte Alban, but no written records or specialised administrative buildings have been identified. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Examination System:
absent

Sources do not suggest there is evidence for full-time bureaucracy during this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent

Sources do not suggest there is evidence for a formal legal system during this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Sources do not suggest there is evidence for a formal legal system during this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Formal Legal Code:
absent

Sources do not suggest there is evidence for a formal legal system during this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Sources do not suggest there is evidence for a formal legal system during this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
present

There is no direct evidence for a market system during this period (and no evidence for a market at the capital Monte Alban) [1] , but other, indirect, evidence suggests a form of production and trade in the valley at this time. This evidence includes the specialisation of ceramic production by different communities (such as those seen in different assemblages at Monte Albán) [2] , and the absence of evidence for state storage facilities, “a prominent byproduct of the redistributive economies, suggests the presence of a different mode of exchange.”. [3] We asked Gary Feinman [4] and he said: "Markets clearly have a long history in Mesoamerica before Aztec times. Back in the 1980s, I wrote a paper with Blanton and Kowalewski arguing that there were markets in Monte Albán I (ca. 500-200 BC). You can also find that argument in Ancient Mesoamerica and Ancient Oaxaca. While this may not yet be a consensual view yet, the literature on pre-Aztec markets across Mesoamerica is burgeoning."

[1]: Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York. p162

[2]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (1983). "The Cloud People." New York, p84

[3]: Blanton, R. E., et al. (1982). The Prehispanic Settlement Patterns of the Central and Southern Parts of the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, Regents of the University of Michigan, the Museum of Anthropology, p55

[4]: Gary Feinman, personal communication to Peter Turchin and Jenny Reddish, March 2020.


Irrigation System:
absent

The use of small scale canal irrigation systems is inferred from the presence of settlements in the piedmont area (which would require some water control), but direct evidence for irrigation is found in the later periods. Any irrigation that was present would have been very small in extent and therefore not centrally controlled. [1] [2] [3]

[1]: Kirkby (1973) The use of land and water resources in past and present Valley of Oaxaca. Muesum of Anthropology, Memoirs No.5. An Arbor, University of Michigan. p117

[2]: Nicholas, L. M (1989) Land use in prehispanic Oaxaca. In, Kowalewski, S. A., Feiman, G.M., Finsten, L., Blanton, R. E. and Nicholas, L. M. Monte Albán’s Hinterland, Part II: the prehispanic settlement patterns in Tlacoula, Etla and Ocotlán, the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Number 23. Ann Arbor: 449-505. p458

[3]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. p147


Food Storage Site:
absent

No evidence for centralised food storage has been found at Monte Alban. [1] [2]

[1]: Feinman, G. M. and Nicholas, L. M (2012) The Late Prehispanic economy of the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico: weaving threads from data, theory, and subsequent history. Political Economy, Neoliberalism, and the Prehistoric Economies of Latin America. Vol 32: 225-258. p235

[2]: Blanton, R. E., et al. (1982). The Prehispanic Settlement Patterns of the Central and Southern Parts of the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, Regents of the University of Michigan, the Museum of Anthropology, p55


Transport Infrastructure

Small roads were constructed through Monte Alban, but sources do not suggest there is evidence for a road network linking settlements. [1] We asked Gary Feinman about roads in Oaxacan polities and he said: "It depends on what you mean by roads. There are definite roads/accessways within sites. Blanton defines some at Monte Albán and Linda [Nicholas] and I defined some at El Palmillo. These likely were not paved, but they may have been banked and were cleared. Between sites there are known 16th century trails, which were likely used for a long, long time. Again, they likely were not paved, but there were no beasts of burden." [2] Coded absent: we do not count accessways within settlements or paths and trails not constructed deliberately as roads.

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.

[2]: Gary Feinman, personal communication to Peter Turchin and Jenny Reddish, March 2020.


The Valley of Oaxaca is landlocked.


Sources do not suggest there is evidence for the construction of canals during this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Sources do not suggest there is evidence for the construction of bridges during this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
absent

Sources only describe residential sites. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Information / Writing System
Written Record:
present

Roughly 350 inscribed stones have been found at Monte Albán (including 310 danzantes) assigned to MA I and II. [1] Mesoamerican civilizations, including the Maya, Aztec, Mixtec and Zapotec all possessed "a true form of writing: a series of hieroglyphs arranged in vertical columns and in many instances combined with numerals. The glyphs were at least indirectly related to a spoken language." Zapotec inscriptions are considered true writing, since the inscriptions had verbs. [2]

[1]: Spencer, C. S. and E. M. Redmond (2003). "Militarism, resistance, and early state development in Oaxaca, Mexico." Social Evolution & History 2: 25-70, p27

[2]: Joyce Marcus. February 1980. Zapotec Writing. Scientific American. Vol 242. No 2. Scientific American, Nature America, Inc. pp.50-67. URL: http://www.jstor.rg/stable/24966257


Script:
present

Evidence for carved glyphs (of names and calendar dates) has been found. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent

Glyphs dating to this period have been deciphered as either calendrical dates or the names of prisoners. Sources do not suggest that evidence for other types of writing has been found. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Nonwritten Record:
unknown

Roughly 350 inscribed stones have been found at Monte Albán (including 310 danzantes) assigned to MA I and II. [1] Mesoamerican civilizations, including the Maya, Aztec, Mixtec and Zapotec all possessed "a true form of writing: a series of hieroglyphs arranged in vertical columns and in many instances combined with numerals. The glyphs were at least indirectly related to a spoken language." Zapotec inscriptions are considered true writing, since the inscriptions had verbs. [2]

[1]: Spencer, C. S. and E. M. Redmond (2003). "Militarism, resistance, and early state development in Oaxaca, Mexico." Social Evolution & History 2: 25-70, p27

[2]: Joyce Marcus. February 1980. Zapotec Writing. Scientific American. Vol 242. No 2. Scientific American, Nature America, Inc. pp.50-67. URL: http://www.jstor.rg/stable/24966257


Non Phonetic Writing:
present

Glyphs dating to this period have been deciphered as either calendrical dates or the names of prisoners. Sources do not suggest that evidence for other types of writing has been found. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Mnemonic Device:
absent

Glyphs dating to this period have been deciphered as either calendrical dates or the names of prisoners. Sources do not suggest that evidence for other types of writing has been found. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
absent

Glyphs dating to this period have been deciphered as either calendrical dates or the names of prisoners. Sources do not suggest that evidence for other types of writing has been found. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Sacred Text:
absent

Glyphs dating to this period have been deciphered as either calendrical dates or the names of prisoners. Sources do not suggest that evidence for other types of writing has been found. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Religious Literature:
absent

Glyphs dating to this period have been deciphered as either calendrical dates or the names of prisoners. Sources do not suggest that evidence for other types of writing has been found. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Practical Literature:
absent

Glyphs dating to this period have been deciphered as either calendrical dates or the names of prisoners. Sources do not suggest that evidence for other types of writing has been found. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Philosophy:
absent

Glyphs dating to this period have been deciphered as either calendrical dates or the names of prisoners. Sources do not suggest that evidence for other types of writing has been found. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Lists Tables and Classification:
absent

Glyphs dating to this period have been deciphered as either calendrical dates or the names of prisoners. Sources do not suggest that evidence for other types of writing has been found. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


History:
absent

Glyphs dating to this period have been deciphered as either calendrical dates or the names of prisoners. Sources do not suggest that evidence for other types of writing has been found. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Fiction:
absent

Glyphs dating to this period have been deciphered as either calendrical dates or the names of prisoners. Sources do not suggest that evidence for other types of writing has been found. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Calendar:
present

Several glyphs carved on stones at Monte Albán have been interpreted as calendrical glyphs, based on analogy with later periods [1] [2] More specifically, the glyphs on Stele 12 and 13 at Monte Alban seem to refer to days on the 365 day calendar, or yza secular year as it was known in the historical periods. In addition to evidence for the ritual 260 day calendar (or piye calendar) at San Jose Mogote, this suggests that both the two calendars were being used from this time. [3]

[1]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (1983). "The Cloud People." New York.

[2]: Spencer, C. S. and E. M. Redmond (2004). "Primary state formation in Mesoamerica." Annual Review of Anthropology: 173-199, p179

[3]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. p159


Information / Money

Sources do not suggest that monetary items have been found dating to this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Precious Metal:
absent

Sources do not suggest that monetary items have been found dating to this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Paper Currency:
absent

Sources do not suggest that monetary items have been found dating to this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Indigenous Coin:
absent

Sources do not suggest that monetary items have been found dating to this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Foreign Coin:
absent

Sources do not suggest that monetary items have been found dating to this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Article:
unknown

Sources do not suggest that monetary items have been found dating to this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
absent

Sources do not suggest there is evidence for a postal system during this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


General Postal Service:
absent

Sources do not suggest there is evidence for a postal system during this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Courier:
absent

Sources do not suggest there is evidence for a postal system during this period. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
Wooden Palisade:
unknown

Monte Albán was built with a 3km defensive wall along the shallower slopes of the hill, and wooden palisades may have been present. [1]

[1]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (2003). "The origin of war: New C-14 dates from ancient Mexico." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 100(20): 11801-11805, p11804


Stone Walls Non Mortared:
present

The defensive wall around Monte Alban was made of earth and stone. [1] [2]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. p150

[2]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (2003). "The origin of war: New C-14 dates from ancient Mexico." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 100(20): 11801-11805, p11804


Stone Walls Mortared:
absent

The defensive wall around Monte Alban was made of earth and stone. [1] [2]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. p150

[2]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (2003). "The origin of war: New C-14 dates from ancient Mexico." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 100(20): 11801-11805, p11804


Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present

Monte Albán was built on a hill 400m above the valley floor and a number of other settlements were located on hilltops. [1] [2]

[1]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (1976). "Formative Oaxaca and Zapotec Cosmos." American Scientist 64(4): 374-383.

[2]: Kowalewski, S. A., Feiman, G.M., Finsten, L., Blanton, R. E. and Nicholas, L. M. Monte Albán’s Hinterland, Part II: the prehispanic settlement patterns in Tlacoula, Etla and Ocotlán, the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Number 23. Ann Arbor


Modern Fortification:
absent

Gunpowder not yet invented.


Monte Albán’s fortifications are relatively well understood, but no source mentions the existence of a moat. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.



Earth Rampart:
present

The defensive wall around Monte Alban was made of earth and stone. [1] [2]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. p150

[2]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (2003). "The origin of war: New C-14 dates from ancient Mexico." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 100(20): 11801-11805, p11804


Monte Albán’s fortifications are relatively well understood, but no source mentions the existence of a ditch. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Complex Fortification:
absent

Monte Albán was built with a 3km defensive wall along the shallower slopes of the hill. [1] Another wall was constructed along the northern boundary of Monte Albán, but not until the Late I or II periods. [2]

[1]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (2003). "The origin of war: New C-14 dates from ancient Mexico." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 100(20): 11801-11805, p11804

[2]: Marcus, J. and K. V. Flannery (1996). Zapotec civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley, Thames and Hudson London, p151



Military use of Metals

Metalworking was not widely used in Mesoamerica, with metal products consisting mainly of small beads and ornaments. [1] [2]

[1]: Coe, M. D., Koontz, R. (2013) Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs (7th ed.) Thames and Hudson, London, p157

[2]: Kowalewski, S. A., Feinman, G. M., Finten, L., Blanton, R. E., Nicholas, L. M. (1989) Monte Albán’s Hinterland, Part II: Prehispanic settlement patterns in Tlacolula, Etla, and Ocotlan, The Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, Volume II. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Number 23. Ann Arbor.


Metalworking was not widely used in Mesoamerica, with metal products consisting mainly of small beads and ornaments. [1] [2]

[1]: Coe, M. D., Koontz, R. (2013) Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs (7th ed.) Thames and Hudson, London, p157

[2]: Kowalewski, S. A., Feinman, G. M., Finten, L., Blanton, R. E., Nicholas, L. M. (1989) Monte Albán’s Hinterland, Part II: Prehispanic settlement patterns in Tlacolula, Etla, and Ocotlan, The Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, Volume II. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Number 23. Ann Arbor.


Metalworking was not widely used in Mesoamerica, with metal products consisting mainly of small beads and ornaments. [1] [2]

[1]: Coe, M. D., Koontz, R. (2013) Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs (7th ed.) Thames and Hudson, London, p157

[2]: Kowalewski, S. A., Feinman, G. M., Finten, L., Blanton, R. E., Nicholas, L. M. (1989) Monte Albán’s Hinterland, Part II: Prehispanic settlement patterns in Tlacolula, Etla, and Ocotlan, The Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, Volume II. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Number 23. Ann Arbor.


Metalworking was not widely used in Mesoamerica, with metal products consisting mainly of small beads and ornaments. [1] [2]

[1]: Coe, M. D., Koontz, R. (2013) Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs (7th ed.) Thames and Hudson, London, p157

[2]: Kowalewski, S. A., Feinman, G. M., Finten, L., Blanton, R. E., Nicholas, L. M. (1989) Monte Albán’s Hinterland, Part II: Prehispanic settlement patterns in Tlacolula, Etla, and Ocotlan, The Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, Volume II. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Number 23. Ann Arbor.


Projectiles


Sources [1] only mention very little archaeological evidence for weaponry for this period, and this does not include slings. However, weapons made from wood and cloth have been documented for the later periods, so their absence in the archaeological record may be due to preservation bias. Moreover, Spanish documents record the use of slings at the end of the Monte Alban V period. [2]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.

[2]: Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People. New York. p217-8


Self Bow:
unknown

Sources [1] only mention very little archaeological evidence for weaponry for this period, and this does not include bows of any kind. However, weapons made from wood and cloth have been documented for the later periods, so their absence in the archaeological record may be due to preservation bias. Moreover, Spanish documents record the use of bows and arrows at the end of the Monte Alban V period. [2]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.

[2]: Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People. New York. p217-8


Javelin:
unknown

Sources [1] only mention very little archaeological evidence for weaponry for this period, and this does not include javelins. However, weapons made from wood and cloth have been documented for the later periods, so their absence in the archaeological record may be due to preservation bias.

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Handheld Firearm:
absent

Gunpowder not yet invented.


Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent

Gunpowder not yet invented.


Crossbow:
absent

Hassig lists crossbows 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


Composite Bow:
unknown

Sources [1] only mention very little archaeological evidence for weaponry for this period, and this does not include bows of any kind. However, weapons made from wood and cloth have been documented for the later periods, so their absence in the archaeological record may be due to preservation bias. Moreover, Spanish documents record the use of bows and arrows at the end of the Monte Alban V period. [2]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.

[2]: Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People. New York. p217-8


Atlatl:
present

Present in the valley of Oaxaca since preceramic times (the Proto-Otomangueans) for hunting. [1] and, in previous periods, obsidian blades were found in Tomb 10 at San José Mogote which may have been hafted into atlatl darts. [2] In addition, glyphs depicting what may be atlatls or spearthrowers have been carved with the danzantes at San Jose Mogote. [3]

[1]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (1983). "The Cloud People." New York, p36

[2]: Marcus, J. and K. V. Flannery (1996). Zapotec civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley, Thames and Hudson London, p133

[3]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. p153


Handheld weapons
War Club:
unknown

Sources [1] only mention very little archaeological evidence for weaponry for this period, and this does not include clubs. However, weapons made from wood and cloth have been documented for the later periods, so their absence in the archaeological record may be due to preservation bias.

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Obsidian-edged wooden swords and daggers are inferred present based the presence of obsidian blades in the valley. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Spear:
present

Present in the valley of Oaxaca since preceramic times (the Proto-Otomangueans) for hunting. [1] However, it does seem to be clear whether they were also used as weapons in warfare.

[1]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (1983). "The Cloud People." New York, p36


Polearm:
unknown

Sources [1] only mention very little archaeological evidence for weaponry for this period, and this does not include polearms. However, weapons made from wood and cloth have been documented for the later periods, so their absence in the archaeological record may be due to preservation bias.

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Dagger:
present

Obsidian-edged wooden swords and daggers are inferred present based the presence of obsidian blades in the valley. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Battle Axe:
unknown

Sources [1] only mention very little archaeological evidence for weaponry for this period, and this does not include axes. However, weapons made from wood and cloth have been documented for the later periods, so their absence in the archaeological record may be due to preservation bias.

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Animals used in warfare

Hassig lists horses 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


Elephant:
absent

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
Wood Bark Etc:
unknown

Sources [1] only mention very little archaeological evidence for military technology for this period, and this does not include armour. However, armour made from wood and cloth have been documented for the later periods, so their absence in the archaeological record may be due to preservation bias.

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Shield:
unknown

Sources [1] only mention very little archaeological evidence for military technology for this period, and this does not include armour. However, armour made from wood and cloth have been documented for the later periods, so their absence in the archaeological record may be due to preservation bias.

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Scaled Armor:
absent

Metalworking was not widely used in Mesoamerica, with metal products consisting mainly of small beads and ornaments. [1] [2]

[1]: Coe, M. D., Koontz, R. (2013) Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs (7th ed.) Thames and Hudson, London, p157

[2]: Kowalewski, S. A., Feinman, G. M., Finten, L., Blanton, R. E., Nicholas, L. M. (1989) Monte Albán’s Hinterland, Part II: Prehispanic settlement patterns in Tlacolula, Etla, and Ocotlan, The Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, Volume II. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Number 23. Ann Arbor.


Plate Armor:
absent

Metalworking was not widely used in Mesoamerica, with metal products consisting mainly of small beads and ornaments. [1] [2]

[1]: Coe, M. D., Koontz, R. (2013) Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs (7th ed.) Thames and Hudson, London, p157

[2]: Kowalewski, S. A., Feinman, G. M., Finten, L., Blanton, R. E., Nicholas, L. M. (1989) Monte Albán’s Hinterland, Part II: Prehispanic settlement patterns in Tlacolula, Etla, and Ocotlan, The Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, Volume II. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Number 23. Ann Arbor.


Limb Protection:
unknown

Sources [1] only mention very little archaeological evidence for military technology for this period, and this does not include armour. However, armour made from wood and cloth have been documented for the later periods, so their absence in the archaeological record may be due to preservation bias.

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Leather Cloth:
unknown

Sources [1] only mention very little archaeological evidence for military technology for this period, and this does not include armour. However, armour made from wood and cloth have been documented for the later periods, so their absence in the archaeological record may be due to preservation bias.

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Laminar Armor:
absent

Metalworking was not widely used in Mesoamerica, with metal products consisting mainly of small beads and ornaments. [1] [2]

[1]: Coe, M. D., Koontz, R. (2013) Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs (7th ed.) Thames and Hudson, London, p157

[2]: Kowalewski, S. A., Feinman, G. M., Finten, L., Blanton, R. E., Nicholas, L. M. (1989) Monte Albán’s Hinterland, Part II: Prehispanic settlement patterns in Tlacolula, Etla, and Ocotlan, The Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, Volume II. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Number 23. Ann Arbor.


Helmet:
unknown

Sources [1] only mention very little archaeological evidence for military technology for this period, and this does not include armour. However, armour made from wood and cloth have been documented for the later periods, so their absence in the archaeological record may be due to preservation bias.

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Chainmail:
absent

Metalworking was not widely used in Mesoamerica, with metal products consisting mainly of small beads and ornaments. [1] [2]

[1]: Coe, M. D., Koontz, R. (2013) Mexico: From the Olmecs to the Aztecs (7th ed.) Thames and Hudson, London, p157

[2]: Kowalewski, S. A., Feinman, G. M., Finten, L., Blanton, R. E., Nicholas, L. M. (1989) Monte Albán’s Hinterland, Part II: Prehispanic settlement patterns in Tlacolula, Etla, and Ocotlan, The Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, Volume II. Memoirs of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Number 23. Ann Arbor.


Breastplate:
unknown

Sources [1] only mention very little archaeological evidence for military technology for this period, and this does not include armour. However, armour made from wood and cloth have been documented for the later periods, so their absence in the archaeological record may be due to preservation bias.

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. Flannery and Marcus (1983) The Cloud People: divergent evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec civilizations. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Academic Press, New York.


Naval technology
Specialized Military Vessel:
absent

The Valley of Oaxaca is landlocked.


Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
absent

The Valley of Oaxaca is landlocked.


Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
absent

The Valley of Oaxaca is landlocked.



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.
- Nothing coded yet.