Home Region:  Mexico (North America)

Monte Alban III

D G SC WF HS EQ 2020  mx_monte_alban_3_a / MxAlb3A

Preceding:
100 BCE 200 CE Monte Alban II (mx_monte_alban_2)    [continuity]
Add one more here.

Succeeding:
500 CE 900 CE Monte Alban IIIB and IV (mx_monte_alban_3_b_4)    [continuity]
Add one more here.

The Monte Albán IIIA phase (200-500 CE) is generally regarded as the ’golden age’ or Classic period of the Zapotec state, [1] due to the widespread uniformity of ceramics and monumental construction as well as increased economic and political integration, centred at Monte Albán. [2] [3] The population of the capital, Monte Albán, continued to grow and the construction of monumental buildings at the site reached its peak. These buildings dominate what can be seen at the ruins of Monte Albán today. [4] [2] Additional settlements were established in the piedmont area (including Jalieza with 13,000 inhabitants in the southern sub-valley and Dainzú-Macuilxochitl-Tlacochahuaya-Guadalupe [DMTG] with 12,000 inhabitants in the eastern sub-valley). [4] [5] The movement of people into the piedmont areas may imply an increase in demand for agricultural labour during this period. [6] The territorial extent of the Zapotec state, on the other hand, decreased during this period in the face of increasingly powerful competitors on the borders of the state. Previously subordinate areas, such as the Sola Valley, became independent of the Zapotec state. [7] [8] [9]
Population and political organization
Five named rulers are known for this 400-year period, identified in public monuments in the vicinity of the Main Plaza of Monte Albán. [10] Status appears to have been inherited and related to one’s proximity to apical ancestors. [11] Burial remains and the differences in construction of residential buildings suggest two class-endogamous strata during this period, with the majority of the population (an estimated 96-98 percent) belonging to the commoner class. [12] The Zapotecs focused on internal consolidation: an increasing proportion of settlements were in defensible locations or had fortifications, and there was agricultural intensification in the piedmont and high alluvium zones. [13] There was also a pattern of settlement clustering around the main centres, similar to the pattern shown in the Monte Albán Late I phase (300-100 BCE), except the clustering occurred around secondary centres as well as around the primary centre, Monte Albán. [14]
Archaeologists Joyce Marcus and Kent Flannery estimate the population of the valley to have been around 115,000 people during this period. [15] A population range of 15,000-30,000 for Monte Albán is based on the estimated number of people living in each of the households at the site. Larger households may have included 10-20 people, while 5-10 may have lived in the smaller households, although this may be an underestimate. [16]

[1]: (Balkansky 1998, 472) A. K. Balkansky. 1998. ’Origin and Collapse of Complex Societies in Oaxaca, Mexico: Evaluating the Era from 1965 to the Present’. Journal of World Prehistory 12 (4): 451-93.

[2]: (Flannery and Marcus 1983, 127-28) Joyce Marcus and Kent V. Flannery. 1983. ’The Early Urban Period: Editors’ Introduction’, in The Cloud People: Divergent Evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec Civilizations, edited by Joyce Marcus and Kent V. Flannery, 127-28. New York: Academic Press.

[3]: (Blanton et al. 1982, 85, 88-9) Richard E. Blanton, R. E., et al. 1982. Monte Albán’s Hinterland, Part 1: The Prehispanic Settlement Patterns of the Central and Southern Parts of the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. Prehistory and Human Ecology of the Valley of Oaxaca, Vol. 7. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology.

[4]: (Balkansky 1998, 473) A. K. Balkansky. 1998. ’Origin and Collapse of Complex Societies in Oaxaca, Mexico: Evaluating the Era from 1965 to the Present’. Journal of World Prehistory 12 (4): 451-93.

[5]: (Feinman et al. 1985, 351) 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.

[6]: (Blanton et al. 1982, 91) Richard E. Blanton, R. E., et al. 1982. Monte Albán’s Hinterland, Part 1: The Prehispanic Settlement Patterns of the Central and Southern Parts of the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. Prehistory and Human Ecology of the Valley of Oaxaca, Vol. 7. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology.

[7]: (Balkansky 1998, 474) A. K. Balkansky. 1998. ’Origin and Collapse of Complex Societies in Oaxaca, Mexico: Evaluating the Era from 1965 to the Present’. Journal of World Prehistory 12 (4): 451-93.

[8]: (Spencer 1982, 254) Charles S. Spencer. 1982. The Cuicatlán Cañada and Monte Albán: A Study of Primary State Formation. New York: Academic Press.

[9]: (Balkansky 2002, 51) A. K. Balkansky. 2002. The Sola Valley and The Monte Albán State: A Study of Zapotec Imperial Expansion. Prehistory and Human Ecology of The Valley Of Oaxaca, Vol. 12. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology.

[10]: (Blanton et al. 1999, 128) Richard E. Blanton, Gary M. Feinman, Stephen A. Kowalewski and Linda M. Nicholas. 1999. Ancient Oaxaca. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[11]: (Joyce 2009, 215-17) Arthur A. Joyce. 2009. Mixtecs, Zapotecs, and Chatinos: Ancient Peoples of Southern Mexico. Malden, MA: Wiley‐Blackwell.

[12]: (Flannery 1983, 136) Kent V. Flannery. 1983. ’The Legacy of the Early Urban Period: An Ethnohistoric Approach to Monte Albán’s Temples, Residences, and Royal Tombs’, in The Cloud People: Divergent Evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec Civilizations, edited by Joyce Marcus and Kent V. Flannery, 132-36. New York: Academic Press.

[13]: (Marcus and Flannery 1996, 228-29) Joyce Marcus and Kent V. Flannery. 1996. Zapotec Civilization: How Urban Society Evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. London: Thames and Hudson.

[14]: (Blanton et al. 1979, 382) Richard E. Blanton, Jill Appel, Laura Finsten, Steve Kowalewski, Gary Feinman and Eva Fisch. 1979. ’Regional Evolution in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico’. Journal of Field Archaeology 6 (4): 369-90.

[15]: (Marcus and Flannery 1996, 224) Joyce Marcus and Kent V. Flannery. 1996. Zapotec Civilization: How Urban Society Evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. London: Thames and Hudson.

[16]: (Flannery and Marcus 1983, 128) Joyce Marcus and Kent V. Flannery. 1983. ’The Early Urban Period: Editors’ Introduction’, in The Cloud People: Divergent Evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec Civilizations, edited by Joyce Marcus and Kent V. Flannery, 127-28. New York: Academic Press.

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
14 Q  
Original Name:
Monte Alban III  
Capital:
Monte Albán  
Alternative Name:
Early Classic  
Temporal Bounds
Duration:
[200 CE ➜ 500 CE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
alliance with [---]  
Supracultural Entity:
Zapotec  
Succeeding Entity:
MxAlb3B  
Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity  
Preceding Entity:
Succeeding: Monte Alban IIIB and IV (mx_monte_alban_3_b_4)    [continuity]  
Preceding:   Monte Alban II (mx_monte_alban_2)    [continuity]  
Degree of Centralization:
unitary state  
Language
Linguistic Family:
Otomanguean  
Language:
Zapotec  
Religion
Religious Tradition:
Monte Albán Religion  
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
[15,000 to 30,000] people  
Polity Territory:
[3,000 to 20,000] km2  
Polity Population:
-  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
4  
Religious Level:
-  
Military Level:
[1 to 2]  
Administrative Level:
3  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
unknown  
Professional Priesthood:
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:
absent  
Formal Legal Code:
absent  
Court:
absent  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
present  
Irrigation System:
present  
Food Storage Site:
absent  
Drinking Water Supply System:
present  
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:
inferred present  
  Self Bow:
unknown  
  Javelin:
unknown  
  Handheld Firearm:
absent  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent  
  Crossbow:
absent  
  Composite Bow:
unknown  
  Atlatl:
present  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
inferred present  
  Sword:
present  
absent  
  Spear:
inferred present  
  Polearm:
unknown  
  Dagger:
present  
absent  
  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 Monte Alban III (mx_monte_alban_3_a) was in:
 (200 CE 499 CE)   Valley of Oaxaca
Home NGA: Valley of Oaxaca

General Variables
Identity and Location

Original Name:
Monte Alban III

Capital:
Monte Albán

Monte Albán continued to grow during this period, and reached peaked in population size and settled area. [1]

[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, p473


Alternative Name:
Early Classic

Temporal Bounds
Duration:
[200 CE ➜ 500 CE]

“Period IIIa in the Valley of Oaxaca saw the withdrawal of Monte Albán from distant provinces (e.g. Redmond, 1983) and the disintegration of its empire as new competitors arose on the fringes of its political territory.” [1]

[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, p474


Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
alliance with [---]

It has been argued that the Zapotecs at Monte Alban and the Teotihuacan state built mutually peaceful relationships, while both states were more powerful than other neighbouring polities. Neither conquered the other (based on distinct material culture and architectural styles) but did trade with one another. [1] Evidence for this includes the Lapida de Bazan (a carved stone slab at Monte Alban) which depicts a peaceful meeting between a Teotihuacan ambassador and Zapotec lord. [2] In addition, there is evidence for a "Oaxaca barrio" at Teotihuacan, with pottery styles dating to the MA II-III phases. [3] Political and ritual (as well as commercial) relationships were also probably maintained between the Zapotec state and former territories, such as the Sola Valley. [4]

[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. p161-166

[2]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. p233

[3]: 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. p170

[4]: Balkansky, A. K. (2002) The Sola Valley and the Monte Albán State: A study of Zapotec imperial expansion. Prehistory and Human Ecology of the Valley of Oaxaca, Volume 12. Ann Arbor. Museum of Anthropology, University of Michigan Memoirs, Number 36. p67


Supracultural Entity:
Zapotec

The valley became much more integrated during this period, with a consistent “Zapotec ceramic tradition”, Monte Albán stone monument styles and a wider distribution of settlements in the piedmont zone away from Monte Albán. [1]

[1]: 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, p85, 88-9



Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity

The centre at Monte Albán continued to grow during this period, but the territorial extent of the Zapotec state outside of the Valley of Oaxaca declined. [1]

[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, 473


Preceding Entity:
MxAlb3A [mx_monte_alban_3_a] ---> Monte Alban IIIB and IV [mx_monte_alban_3_b_4]

The Zapotec polity went into gradual decline during this period, with population dispersal across the valley.The Zapotec state began to fragment at the end of the IIIA period, and eventually formed numerous smaller competing "kingdoms", each politically independent of the others. [1] [2]

[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. p183

[2]: Caso, et al, 1967 and Acosta, 1965, cited in 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.

Preceding Entity:
MxAlb2* [mx_monte_alban_2] ---> Monte Alban III [mx_monte_alban_3_a]

The centre at Monte Albán continued to grow during this period, but the territorial extent of the Zapotec state outside of the Valley of Oaxaca declined. [1]

[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, 473


Degree of Centralization:
unitary state

The Zapotec polity reached its peak of centralisation during this period, even though the territorial extent of the state declined. [1] [2]

[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. p127-8

[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, p85, 88-9


Language
Linguistic Family:
Otomanguean

Language:
Zapotec

[1]

[1]: Marcus, J. and K. V. Flannery (1996). Zapotec civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley, Thames and Hudson London, p4. 27


Religion
Religious Tradition:
Monte Albán Religion


Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
[15,000 to 30,000] people

Inhabitants. This range is based on the estimated number of people living in each of the households at Monte Albán. 10-20 people may have lived in the larger households, while 5-10 may have lived in the smaller households, although this may be an underestimate. [1] Marcus and Flannery [2] estimate that Monte Alban had a population of 16,500 people duringt he IIIA period.
"Monte Alban grew to a population of around 25,000 in the Classic period.". [3]
"Table 11.3. Population in the largest centers, by phase, in Oaxaca and Ejutla." [4]
Valley of Oaxaca population (Largest center in Oaxaca): Monte Alban IIIA: 120121 (16507). [4]

[1]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (1983). "The Cloud People." New York, p128

[2]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. p226

[3]: (Blanton, Feinman, Kowalewski, Nicholas 1999, 132) 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 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:
[3,000 to 20,000] km2

squared kilometers. The Zapotec territory decreased in size over this period, but the exact extent of the polity is uncertain. The range coded here therefore refers to the size of the Valley of Oaxaca up the the extent of the polity gained in the previous period. [1]

[1]: Spencer, C. S. and E. M. Redmond (2004). "Primary state formation in Mesoamerica." Annual Review of Anthropology: 173-199, p183


Polity Population:
-

[72,416-158,040] People is the estimated population of the entire Valley of Oaxaca during this period, but the population of the Zapotec polity (including those not living in the valley) is not known. [1] Marcus and Flannery [2] estimate the population of the valley to have been around 115,000 persons during the IIIA period.
"Table 5.7. Estimated archaeological, resource-based, and labor-based potential populations for Valley of Oaxaca subareas in Monte Alban IIIA." [3]
Etla: 5492; Central: 18322; N Valle Grande: 28118; S Valle Grande: 23995; W Tlacolula: 29171; Ejutla: 14656; Albarradas: 1127; Sola: 7678. [3]
Total: 128,559.
"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]: Kowalewski, S. A. and R. D. Drennan (1989). Prehispanic Settlement Patterns in Tlacolula, Etla, and Ocotlan, the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, Regents of the University of Michigan, the Museum of Anthropology, p756

[2]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. p224

[3]: (Feinman and Nicholas 2017, 81) 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:
4

levels. Monte Alban remained the primary centre of the Zapotec polity, but secondary sites (such as Jalieza) grew in size and importance.
1. Monte Alban (estimated population of 16,500 people, living on 1196 terraces, and less than 5 percent of the population lived in 57 much larger, elaborate residences). [1]
2. Secondary centres: Jalieza, in the Valley Grande area (408 ha, estimated population of 12,835 people, >20 public buildings); DMTG, in the Tlacolula subvalley (a cluster of settlements which together had a population of around 12,292 people) [2] [3] 3. Tertiary centres (including new medium-sized settlements on the piedmont, such as Rancho Tejas, Sta. Cruz Mixtepec and "El Choco" near Ayoquezco) [4] [3] 4. Small villages and hamlets (hundreds of small hamlets were present but are less well represented) [5]
"Table 7.9. Monte Alban IIIA population hierarchy in Oaxaca and Ejuta." [6]
Vallay of Oaxaca: Level I: 12835-16507; II: 4925-6195; III: 1789-3219: IV: 715-1575; V: 211-608; VI: 116-197. No rank: 8-100. [6]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. p221-2, 226

[2]: Blanton, R. E., et al. (1979). "Regional evolution in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico." Journal of Field Archaeology 6(4): 369-390, p382

[3]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. p226

[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, p87

[5]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. p228

[6]: (Feinman and Nicholas 2013, 109) 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:
-

levels. Temples were constructed at the primary and secondary centres of the valley, with potential public buildings also at tertiary centres which may have had a religious function. The primary and secondary temples followed a standard plan, suggesting religious uniformity between these centres. [1] For examples:
1. Head of the official cult, Monte Alban temple
2. Priest officiating from a secondary temple(3. Local priest officiating from a tertiary temple)
However, there is no evidence that any existing religious hierarchy so closely matched settlement hierarchy.

[1]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (1983). "The Cloud People." New York, p82


Military Level:
[1 to 2]

levels. There is little direct evidence for Zapotec military organisation, but there may have been fewer levels than the previous period as the Zapotec were losing rather than gaining territory. [1]

[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.


Administrative Level:
3

levels. Three administrative tiers consisting of Monte Albán, regional administrative centers, and local administrative centers, were present by the Monte Albán II phase (100 BCE – 200 CE) and lasted until c. 500 CE. [1]
1. Monte Alban
2. Secondary centres (including Jalieza) [2] 3. Tertiary centres (including new medium-sized settlements on the piedmont, such as Rancho Tejas, Sta. Cruz Mixtepec and "El Choco" near Ayoquezco) [3] 4. Small villages and hamlets

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

[2]: Blanton, R. E., et al. (1979). "Regional evolution in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico." Journal of Field Archaeology 6(4): 369-390, p382

[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, p87


Professions
Professional Soldier:
unknown

There is little direct evidence for Zapotec military organisation 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.


Professional Priesthood:
present

Full-time priests are inferred present as the temple design was changed during the MA II period to allow for an inner, more private room (for example, Building X at the Main Plaza of Monte Alban). Ethno-historic evidence from the Spanish colonial period suggests that this inner room was used by full-time priests for more sacred rituals, and some priests (the bigana) had to stay permanently within the temple. [1]

[1]: Marcus and Flannery (1996) Zapotec Civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley. p182


Professional Military Officer:
unknown

There is little direct evidence for Zapotec military organisation 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.


Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
present

If still in use from the previous period, the sunken plaza at Monte Alban (50m wide and 4m deep) could be interpreted as a governmental structure, along with a smaller structure (20m wide) at San José Mogote, as suggested by Marcus and Flannery for the previous period. [1] More generally, Charles Spencer commented: ’One cannot fail to be impressed by the amount and variety of public/institutional architecture constructed between B.C. 300 and A.D. 800 in and around the Main Plaza at Monte Alban. The archaeological data indicate that much of this architectural complexity was in existence by Monte Alban II (100 B.C. through A.D. 200). Many of these buildings do not appear to have been residential and most likely served an array of religious (e.g., the various structures associated with two-room temples), military (such as Building J and perhaps the Ballcourt), and other "administrative" functions (including a variety of other public/institutional buildings the functions of which are still unclear). At the same time, it is probably also appropriate to consider the quihuitao (royal palace) to be another example of a public/institutional building. Both the main candidate for a quihuitao at Monte Alban (the Patio Hundido complex, according to Flannery) and also the example recently excavated at El Palenque (which was probably the capital of a rival independent state polity in Late Formative times) near San Martin Tilcajete (see Spencer and Redmond 2004 in Lat Am Antiq, and Redmond and Spencer 2017 PNAS) were not associated with tombs like other elite (and non-elite) residences; also, both examples had "residential" as well as "ceremonial/governmental" components. Note that the El Palenque quihuitao is securely dated to the Late Monte Albán I phase (300-100 B.C.)’. [2]

[1]: Marcus, J. and K. V. Flannery (1996). Zapotec civilization: How urban society evolved in Mexico’s Oaxaca Valley, Thames and Hudson London, p179

[2]: Charles Spencer, pers. comm., January 2018.


Merit Promotion:
unknown

The monumental construction at Monte Alban has been seen as a sign of a high degree of administrative centralization. [1] However, we lack adequate information about administrative structures at Monte Albán to be able to discern whether full-time specialist bureaucrats (i.e. not just chiefs or generals with administrative duties) were present. [2] [3]

[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, pers. comm., January 2018.

[3]: Charles Spencer, pers. comm., January 2018.


Full Time Bureaucrat:
unknown

The monumental construction at Monte Alban has been seen as a sign of a high degree of administrative centralization. [1] However, we lack adequate information about administrative structures at Monte Albán to be able to discern whether full-time specialist bureaucrats (i.e. not just chiefs or generals with administrative duties) were present. [2] [3]

[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, pers. comm., January 2018.

[3]: Charles Spencer, pers. comm., January 2018.


Examination System:
unknown

The monumental construction at Monte Alban has been seen as a sign of a high degree of administrative centralization. [1] However, we lack adequate information about administrative structures at Monte Albán to be able to discern whether full-time specialist bureaucrats (i.e. not just chiefs or generals with administrative duties) were present. [2] [3]

[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, pers. comm., January 2018.

[3]: Charles Spencer, pers. comm., January 2018.


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

"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] Feinman and Nicholas adopt a "multiscalar perspective" in their book chapter to argue that marketplaces were a central part of the economy during the Classic period in the Valley Oaxaca. [2]

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

[2]: (Feinman and Nicholas 2010) Gary M. Feinman and Linda M. Nicholas. 2010. "A Multiscalar Perspective on Market Exchange in the Classic-Period Valley of Oaxaca." In Archaeological Approaches to Market Exchange in Ancient Societies, edited by Christopher P. Garraty and Barbara L. Stark, 85-98. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.


Irrigation System:
present

There is some evidence for the use of irrigation systems during this period, but the evidence suggests that the irrigation systems were constructed at a small scale. [1] [2] How much was polity owned is therefore difficult to determine. Gary Feinman (pers. comm.) writes that small-scale irrigation, such as check-dams and small canals were in use. [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]: (Feinman, Gary. Personal Communication with Jill Levine, Dan Hoyer, and Peter Turchin. Email. April 2020)


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


Drinking Water Supply System:
present

A wall was built to dam a reservoir in the northern section of Monte Alban. [1]

[1]: Flannery, K. V. and J. Marcus (1983). "The Cloud People." New York, p85


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] Gary Feinman (pers. comm.) writes that small-scale irrigation, such as check-dams and small canals were in use. However, these seem to be used for agriculture rather than transportation. [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]: (Feinman, Gary. Personal Communication with Jill Levine, Dan Hoyer, and Peter Turchin. Email. April 2020)


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.
Other technologies


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] David Carballo (pers. comm.) wrote that slings for projecting stone and ceramic slingshots were present. [3]

[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

[3]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication with Jill Levine, Dan Hoyer, and Peter Turchin. Email. April 2020)


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


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.


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


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

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. David Carballo (pers. comm.) wrote that wooden clubs were present in this 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]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication with Jill Levine, Dan Hoyer, and Peter Turchin. Email. April 2020.


Obsidian-edged wooden swords and daggers are inferred present based the presence of obsidian blades in the valley. [1] David Carballo (pers. comm.) wrote that these obsidian blades were knives rather than swords or daggers. [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]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication with Jill Levine, Dan Hoyer, and Peter Turchin. Email. April 2020.

Obsidian-edged wooden swords and daggers are inferred present based the presence of obsidian blades in the valley. [1] David Carballo (pers. comm.) wrote that these obsidian blades were knives rather than swords or daggers. [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]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication with Jill Levine, Dan Hoyer, and Peter Turchin. Email. April 2020.


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


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.


Obsidian-edged wooden swords and daggers are inferred present based the presence of obsidian blades in the valley. [1] David Carballo (pers. comm.) wrote that these obsidian blades were knives rather than swords or daggers. [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]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication with Jill Levine, Dan Hoyer, and Peter Turchin. Email. April 2020.

Obsidian-edged wooden swords and daggers are inferred present based the presence of obsidian blades in the valley. [1] David Carballo (pers. comm.) wrote that these obsidian blades were knives rather than swords or daggers. [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]: (Carballo, David. Personal Communication with Jill Levine, Dan Hoyer, and Peter Turchin. Email. April 2020.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.
Power Transitions
- Nothing coded yet.