Home Region:  Mexico (North America)

Archaic Basin of Mexico

D G SC WF EQ 2020  mx_basin_of_mexico_1 / MxArch*

Preceding:
No Polity found. Add one here.

Succeeding:
Add one more here.

The Basin or Valley of Mexico is a highlands plateau in central Mexico roughly corresponding to modern-day Mexico City. Here, we are interested in the phase of its prehistory known as the 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  
Preceding Entity:
Succeeding: Initial Formative Basin of Mexico (mx_basin_of_mexico_2)    [None]  
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

Preceding Entity:
MxArch* [mx_basin_of_mexico_1] ---> Initial Formative Basin of Mexico [mx_basin_of_mexico_2]

Language
Language Genus:
NO_VALUE_ON_WIKI

Religion

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

Inhabitants.


Polity Territory:
-

in squared kilometers


Polity Population:
-

People.


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.


"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.


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

"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.


"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.


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.


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

"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.


"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.
Power Transitions
- Nothing coded yet.