Home Region:  Mexico (North America)

Archaic Basin of Mexico

EQ 2020  mx_basin_of_mexico_1 / MxArch*

The Basin or Valley of Mexico is a highlands plateau in central Mexico roughly corresponding to modern-day Mexico City. Here, we are interested in the phase of its prehistory known as the Archaic or Pre-Ceramic period (c. 6000-2001 BCE). This period may be described as a long, gradual transition from a lifestyle centred on big-game hunting prevalent in the preceding "Paleo-Indian" period to a sedentary, agricultural lifestyle in the succeeding "Formative" period. Indeed, Archaic sites are defined by their lack of both large animal remains and ceramics. [1] No population estimates could be found in the consulted literature. Similarly, no information could be found on the political organisation of settlements at the time.

[1]: (Kennett 2012: 141) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/RTF3FP57.

General Variables
Identity and Location
Temporal Bounds
Duration:
[6,000 BCE ➜ 2,001 BCE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Succeeding Entity:
MxInitl  
Language
Language Genus:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
-  
Polity Territory:
-  
Polity Population:
-  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
1  
Military Level:
-  
Administrative Level:
-  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
unknown  
Professional Priesthood:
unknown  
Professional Military Officer:
unknown  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
inferred absent  
Merit Promotion:
unknown  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
unknown  
Examination System:
unknown  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent  
Judge:
unknown  
Formal Legal Code:
inferred absent  
Court:
absent  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
inferred absent  
Irrigation System:
inferred absent  
Food Storage Site:
inferred absent  
Drinking Water Supply System:
inferred absent  
Transport Infrastructure
Special-purpose Sites
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
absent  
Script:
absent  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent  
Nonwritten Record:
absent  
Mnemonic Device:
present  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
absent  
Sacred Text:
absent  
Religious Literature:
absent  
Practical Literature:
absent  
Philosophy:
absent  
Lists Tables and Classification:
absent  
History:
absent  
Fiction:
absent  
Calendar:
absent  
Information / Money
Information / Postal System
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
absent  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
absent  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
absent  
  Moat:
absent  
  Fortified Camp:
absent  
  Earth Rampart:
absent  
  Ditch:
absent  
  Complex Fortification:
absent  
  Long Wall:
absent  
Military use of Metals
  Steel:
absent  
  Iron:
absent  
  Copper:
absent  
  Bronze:
absent  
Projectiles
  Sling:
inferred absent  
  Self Bow:
inferred absent  
  Javelin:
inferred absent  
  Composite Bow:
inferred absent  
  Atlatl:
inferred absent 6000 BCE 4001 BCE
present 4000 BCE 2001 BCE
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
inferred absent  
  Sword:
inferred absent  
  Spear:
inferred absent 6000 BCE 4001 BCE
present 4000 BCE 2001 BCE
  Polearm:
inferred absent  
  Dagger:
inferred present  
  Battle Axe:
inferred absent  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
absent  
  Elephant:
absent  
  Donkey:
absent  
  Dog:
absent  
  Camel:
absent  
Armor
  Shield:
inferred absent  
  Limb Protection:
inferred absent  
  Helmet:
inferred absent  
  Breastplate:
inferred absent  
Naval technology
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Archaic Basin of Mexico (mx_basin_of_mexico_1) was in:
 (6000 BCE 2001 BCE)   Basin of Mexico
Home NGA: Basin of Mexico

General Variables
Identity and Location
Temporal Bounds
Duration:
[6,000 BCE ➜ 2,001 BCE]

Political and Cultural Relations

Language

Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
-

Inhabitants.


Polity Territory:
-

in squared kilometers



Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
1

levels. The earliest known village settlement have been found in the Valley of Mexico around 2000 BCE. [1]

[1]: (Emmerich 1963: 20) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/ZZ8EAUQ8.


Military Level:
-

levels. [1]

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


Administrative Level:
-

levels. [1]

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


Professions
Professional Soldier:
unknown

[1]

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


Professional Priesthood:
unknown

[1]

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


Professional Military Officer:
unknown

[1]

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


Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
absent

A Middle Archaic example of open-air site is Gheo-Shih [Oaxaca Valley], which is a field marked by boulders and kept clean. This is considered to be one of Mesoamerica’s earliest example of a community-focus structure, such as the plaza, temple-pyramid, and palace, all of which developed in the Formative and later periods. [1]

[1]: (Evans 2004: 92) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/EWW3Q2TA.


Merit Promotion:
unknown

Likely present in Teotihuacan, unknown before. [1]

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


Full Time Bureaucrat:
unknown

Likely present in Teotihuacan, unknown before. [1]

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


Examination System:
unknown

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

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


Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent

[1]

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


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

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


Formal Legal Code:
absent

Unlikely in this period. [1]

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


[1]

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


Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
absent

The following suggests that perhaps "community-focus structures" developed later. A Middle Archaic example of open-air site is Gheo-Shih [Oaxaca Valley], which is a field marked by boulders and kept clean. This is considered to be one of Mesoamerica’s earliest example of a community-focus structure, such as the plaza, temple-pyramid, and palace, all of which developed in the Formative and later periods. [1]

[1]: (Evans 2004: 92) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/EWW3Q2TA.


Irrigation System:
absent

The following suggests that perhaps "community-focus structures" developed later. A Middle Archaic example of open-air site is Gheo-Shih [Oaxaca Valley], which is a field marked by boulders and kept clean. This is considered to be one of Mesoamerica’s earliest example of a community-focus structure, such as the plaza, temple-pyramid, and palace, all of which developed in the Formative and later periods. [1]

[1]: (Evans 2004: 92) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/EWW3Q2TA.


Food Storage Site:
absent

The following suggests that perhaps "community-focus structures" developed later. A Middle Archaic example of open-air site is Gheo-Shih [Oaxaca Valley], which is a field marked by boulders and kept clean. This is considered to be one of Mesoamerica’s earliest example of a community-focus structure, such as the plaza, temple-pyramid, and palace, all of which developed in the Formative and later periods. [1]

[1]: (Evans 2004: 92) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/EWW3Q2TA.


Drinking Water Supply System:
absent

The following suggests that perhaps "community-focus structures" developed later. A Middle Archaic example of open-air site is Gheo-Shih [Oaxaca Valley], which is a field marked by boulders and kept clean. This is considered to be one of Mesoamerica’s earliest example of a community-focus structure, such as the plaza, temple-pyramid, and palace, all of which developed in the Formative and later periods. [1]

[1]: (Evans 2004: 92) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/EWW3Q2TA.


Transport Infrastructure
Special-purpose Sites
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
absent

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

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


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

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


Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent

[1]

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


Nonwritten Record:
absent

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

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


Mnemonic Device:
present

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

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


Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
absent

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

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


Sacred Text:
absent

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

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


Religious Literature:
absent

[1]

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


Practical Literature:
absent

[1]

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


Philosophy:
absent

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

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


Lists Tables and Classification:
absent

[1]

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


History:
absent

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

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


Fiction:
absent

[1]

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


Calendar:
absent

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

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


Information / Money
Information / Postal System
Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
Wooden Palisade:
absent

"Whereas no sites are documented as fortified or military observatories during the Formative and Classic periods, approximately one quarter of sites are during the Epiclassic and one-third of sites are during the Postclassic." [1]

[1]: (Carballo and Pluckhahn 2007: 615) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/MUW5MHB7.


Stone Walls Non Mortared:
absent

"Whereas no sites are documented as fortified or military observatories during the Formative and Classic periods, approximately one quarter of sites are during the Epiclassic and one-third of sites are during the Postclassic." [1]

[1]: (Carballo and Pluckhahn 2007: 615) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/MUW5MHB7.


Stone Walls Mortared:
absent

"Whereas no sites are documented as fortified or military observatories during the Formative and Classic periods, approximately one quarter of sites are during the Epiclassic and one-third of sites are during the Postclassic." [1]

[1]: (Carballo and Pluckhahn 2007: 615) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/MUW5MHB7.


"Whereas no sites are documented as fortified or military observatories during the Formative and Classic periods, approximately one quarter of sites are during the Epiclassic and one-third of sites are during the Postclassic." [1]

[1]: (Carballo and Pluckhahn 2007: 615) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/MUW5MHB7.


Fortified Camp:
absent

"Whereas no sites are documented as fortified or military observatories during the Formative and Classic periods, approximately one quarter of sites are during the Epiclassic and one-third of sites are during the Postclassic." [1]

[1]: (Carballo and Pluckhahn 2007: 615) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/MUW5MHB7.


Earth Rampart:
absent

"Whereas no sites are documented as fortified or military observatories during the Formative and Classic periods, approximately one quarter of sites are during the Epiclassic and one-third of sites are during the Postclassic." [1]

[1]: (Carballo and Pluckhahn 2007: 615) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/MUW5MHB7.


"Whereas no sites are documented as fortified or military observatories during the Formative and Classic periods, approximately one quarter of sites are during the Epiclassic and one-third of sites are during the Postclassic." [1]

[1]: (Carballo and Pluckhahn 2007: 615) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/MUW5MHB7.


Complex Fortification:
absent

"Whereas no sites are documented as fortified or military observatories during the Formative and Classic periods, approximately one quarter of sites are during the Epiclassic and one-third of sites are during the Postclassic." [1]

[1]: (Carballo and Pluckhahn 2007: 615) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/MUW5MHB7.



Military use of Metals

"Metals were another story. Throughout all these times [before 500 BCE], and even much later, they were essentially unused in Mesoamerica. Teotihuacan’s predecessors [...] and Teotihuacan itself used only stone tools". [1]

[1]: (Cowgill 2015: 40) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/JRFZPUXU.


"Metals were another story. Throughout all these times [before 500 BCE], and even much later, they were essentially unused in Mesoamerica. Teotihuacan’s predecessors [...] and Teotihuacan itself used only stone tools". [1]

[1]: (Cowgill 2015: 40) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/JRFZPUXU.


"Metals were another story. Throughout all these times [before 500 BCE], and even much later, they were essentially unused in Mesoamerica. Teotihuacan’s predecessors [...] and Teotihuacan itself used only stone tools". [1]

[1]: (Cowgill 2015: 40) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/JRFZPUXU.


"Metals were another story. Throughout all these times [before 500 BCE], and even much later, they were essentially unused in Mesoamerica. Teotihuacan’s predecessors [...] and Teotihuacan itself used only stone tools". [1]

[1]: (Cowgill 2015: 40) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/JRFZPUXU.


Projectiles

"Little is known about warfare in Mesoamerica before the Middle Formative [...] warfare was relatively unorganized, conducted by small groups armed with unspecialized tool-weapons". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Self Bow:
absent

"Little is known about warfare in Mesoamerica before the Middle Formative [...] warfare was relatively unorganized, conducted by small groups armed with unspecialized tool-weapons". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Javelin:
absent

"Little is known about warfare in Mesoamerica before the Middle Formative [...] warfare was relatively unorganized, conducted by small groups armed with unspecialized tool-weapons". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Composite Bow:
absent

"Little is known about warfare in Mesoamerica before the Middle Formative [...] warfare was relatively unorganized, conducted by small groups armed with unspecialized tool-weapons". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Atlatl:
absent
6000 BCE 4001 BCE

"In Mesoamerica [...] tools that could double as weapons, including handheld spears and spearthrowers (atlatls) [...] have been found as early as 4000 BC". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.

Atlatl:
present
4000 BCE 2001 BCE

"In Mesoamerica [...] tools that could double as weapons, including handheld spears and spearthrowers (atlatls) [...] have been found as early as 4000 BC". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Handheld weapons
War Club:
absent

"Little is known about warfare in Mesoamerica before the Middle Formative [...] warfare was relatively unorganized, conducted by small groups armed with unspecialized tool-weapons". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


"Little is known about warfare in Mesoamerica before the Middle Formative [...] warfare was relatively unorganized, conducted by small groups armed with unspecialized tool-weapons". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Spear:
absent
6000 BCE 4001 BCE

"In Mesoamerica [...] tools that could double as weapons, including handheld spears and spearthrowers (atlatls) [...] have been found as early as 4000 BC". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.

Spear:
present
4000 BCE 2001 BCE

"In Mesoamerica [...] tools that could double as weapons, including handheld spears and spearthrowers (atlatls) [...] have been found as early as 4000 BC". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Polearm:
absent

"Little is known about warfare in Mesoamerica before the Middle Formative [...] warfare was relatively unorganized, conducted by small groups armed with unspecialized tool-weapons". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Dagger:
present

The Archaic toolkit included knives. However, it is possible that these were used in hunting rather than warfare. [1]

[1]: (Evans 2004: 74) https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/EWW3Q2TA.


Battle Axe:
absent

"Little is known about warfare in Mesoamerica before the Middle Formative [...] warfare was relatively unorganized, conducted by small groups armed with unspecialized tool-weapons". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Animals used in warfare

Not native to region.


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
Shield:
absent

"Little is known about warfare in Mesoamerica before the Middle Formative [...] warfare was relatively unorganized, conducted by small groups armed with unspecialized tool-weapons". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Limb Protection:
absent

"Little is known about warfare in Mesoamerica before the Middle Formative [...] warfare was relatively unorganized, conducted by small groups armed with unspecialized tool-weapons". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Helmet:
absent

"Little is known about warfare in Mesoamerica before the Middle Formative [...] warfare was relatively unorganized, conducted by small groups armed with unspecialized tool-weapons". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Breastplate:
absent

"Little is known about warfare in Mesoamerica before the Middle Formative [...] warfare was relatively unorganized, conducted by small groups armed with unspecialized tool-weapons". [1]

[1]: (Hassig 1992: 12-13) Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/E9VHCKDG.


Naval technology

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.