The Rise and Decline of Teotihuacan: Urbanism, Daily Life, and Regional Relations through Time

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

This session assembles current research on urbanism and daily life in the city of Teotihuacan and neighboring communities in the Basin of Mexico during the Classic and Epiclassic periods (ca. 1-800 CE). The evolution of Teotihuacan society through time is emphasized, including transformations in the urban landscape, the lives of commoners, and the relations of the capital city to surrounding settlements and resources. Papers include the results of new research on the Tlajinga district, a lower status group of neighborhoods in the south of the city, which illustrates the attractions and detractions of urban life for commoners and the processes by which the city grew southward. The creation of the first LiDAR map of the city; results of an initial season at the Plaza of the Columns; and new investigations at the Moon Plaza are also presented. Outside of the city, papers examine exploitation of the Sierra de Las Navajas obsidian mine and the growth of Epiclassic communities such as Chicoloapan, in the southern Basin, amidst the demographic decline of the city and the erosion of its central political institutions.

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  • Documents (13)

Documents
  • A City in Decline: Insights on the Collapse of Teotihuacan from the Southern Basin of Mexico (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Clayton.

    In this paper I discuss the urban decline and political breakdown of Teotihuacan from the vantage of Chicoloapan Viejo, an agrarian settlement situated in the Basin of Mexico hinterland, 40 km south of the capital city. Fieldwork in the southeastern Basin, including settlement survey led by Jeffrey Parsons in the 1960s and excavations at Chicoloapan in 2013 and 2014, shows that population numbers in this area grew dramatically in the years surrounding the state’s dissolution. As a settlement...

  • Explotación teotihuacana de obsidiana verde en La Sierra de Las Navajas (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alejandro Pastrana.

    Se analiza el proceso de explotación minera, talla y distribución de la obsidiana verde por parte de Teotihuacan en La Sierra de Las Navajas, con base en las excavaciones arqueológicas y recorridos detallados de superficie. Hemos identificado en el yacimiento tres tipos de locus de talla, talleres familiares, talleres especializados y áreas individuales de talla. La producción en general en el yacimiento comprende elaboración de instrumentos, armas, objetos religiosos y de vestimenta además de...

  • Geographical isotopes, migration and the Tlajinga District of Teotihuacan (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Gina Buckley. Rebecca Storey. Kenneth G. Hirth. Douglas J. Kennett. Brendan J. Culleton.

    The Tlajinga district was a possible southern entrance for visitors to the city of Teotihuacan. It was also a locus of craft specialization, especially of San Martin Orange ceramics in the later periods, yet was a cluster of common status neighborhoods. The Tlajinga 33 compound (33:S3W1) was extensively excavated 30 years ago, and recent excavations in two other compounds located along the southern Street of the Dead by the Tlajinga Teotihuacan Archaeological Project (PATT), have added to our...

  • Housing and Society at Teotihuacan (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michael Smith.

    Housing at Teotihuacan took several forms, including apartment compounds, nonroyal palaces, residential quarters within civic structures, and perishable houses. I describe several approaches and methods that have been, or could be, applied to the analysis Teotihuacan housing. These include quantitative measures of wealth inequality using the Gini index; typological analysis of the forms of rooms, spaces, and compounds; measures of architectural standardization; distributions of surface artifacts...

  • Lapidary Crafting in the Tlajinga Barrio at Sites 17:S3E1 and 18:S3E1, Teotihuacan (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Randolph Widmer.

    Fine screened (1 mm mesh) samples obtained from the heavy fractions of flotation samples at the recent excavations in the Tlajinga barrio of Teotihuacan have revealed evidence of extensive lapidary crafting of slate and greenstone. Sorting of the sediments from these samples results in the recovery of minute fragments of lapidary debitage as well as more typical domestic refuse. Evidence will be presented on the types of artifacts being produced, the materials being crafted, and the intensity of...

  • A network theoretical analysis of the emergence of co-rulership in ancient Teotihuacan, Central Mexico (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Tom Froese. Linda Manzanilla.

    The political organization of Teotihuacan continues to be unknown. While some researchers see evidence for a powerful centralized hierarchy, others argue for a more collective form of government. We created an abstract computer model of hypothetical social relations among neighborhood-level representatives to show that such a distributed political network could in principle have been sufficient for globally optimal decision making, as long as there are community rituals and sections of the city...

  • New research on ceramics and chronology from the Tlajinga district (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Daniela Hernandez Sarinana. Gina Buckley. Doug Kennett. Brendan Culleton. David Carballo.

    The Proyecto Arqueológico Tlajinga Teotihuacan (PATT) undertook two excavation seasons in the southern district of the city known as Tlajinga. These have provided new information concerning the growth of the city southward and life in residential apartment complexes. Tlajinga comprises a group of residential neighborhoods where commoners lived and engaged in both local and city-wide interactions. Analysis of ceramics from the project provides an understanding of the temporality of household...

  • Obsidian craft production at Teotihuacan: A view from Tlajinga 17 (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kenneth Hirth. Mark Dennison. Sean Carr. Sarah Imfeld. Casana Popp.

    In 1986 John Clark published a seminal article that questioned the scale of obsidian craft production at Teotihuacan as reconstructed by the Teotihuacan Mapping Project (TMP). Clark argued that many of the areas identified as obsidian workshops from surface materials were concentrations of production refuse deposited as fill and eroding out of residential and public architecture. Excavations by the Projecto Arqueologico Teotihuacan-Tlajinga (PATT) in 2013 explored the stratigraphic relationships...

  • Plaza of the Columns at Teotihuacan: Scope, Goals and Expectations of a New International Project (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nawa Sugiyama. Saburo Sugiyama. Verónica Ortega Cabrera. William L. Fash.

    Summer 2015, the Plaza of the Columns Project began a multi-year collaborative investigation of two large residential/ceremonial complexes that remained unexplored at Teotihuacan’s ceremonial core: Plaza of the Columns and its symmetric counterpart called Plaza North of the Sun Pyramid. The former comprises the largest three-temple complex with the fourth highest pyramid, a main plaza (11,408 m2) larger than the Sun Pyramid plaza, and deep occupational layers that could provide information about...

  • Prehispanic landscape and agriculture in the Teotihuacan Valley: the Tlaijnga área (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Emily McClung De Tapia.

    Archaeological evidence indicates occupation in the Tlajinga área of the southern Teotihuacan Valley throughout the Classic and Postclassic (ca. 200-1500 DC) as well as the Colonial period. Excavations as well as soil profiles in this sector provide macro- and microbotanical remains that, together with stable carbón isotope values (δ13C) provide new insights with respect to agricultural activities, conforming evidence for maize (Zea mays) and opportunistic flora associated with food production....

  • Urbanism and Domestic Life in the Tlajinga District, Teotihuacan: New Research (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only David Carballo.

    Teotihuacan’s Tlajinga district comprises a cluster of neighborhoods of primarily common status apartment compounds, covering approximately 1km2 in the south of the city. Previous investigations at one of them, 33:S3W1 or “Tlajinga 33,” provided valuable information concerning daily life in the urban periphery. The Proyecto Arqueológico Tlajinga Teotihuacan (PATT) has thus far involved excavations at two other compounds (designated 17:S3E1 and 18:S3E1) and along the southern extension of the...

  • Use-wear Analysis and Obsidian Tool Functions Before and After Teotihuacan (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only David Walton.

    Obsidian was one of the most important commodities for residents of ancient central Mexico before and after the great city of Teotihuacan. While previous research on stone tools in Mesoamerican archaeology has focused mostly on identifying production sequences, workshop locations, and market exchange, this presentation highlights how different technological forms of obsidian tools were actually used by household residents for specific tasks. A sample of 464 obsidian artifacts from the sites of...

  • Watering Tlaloc's Gardens: Ancient Irrigation in the Teotihuacan Valley (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Andres Mejia Ramon. Luis Barba. Deborah Nichols. Sergio Gomez.

    As showcased by the "Feeding Teotihuacan" symposium at the 79th Annual Meetings of the Society, there has been a surge of interest in understanding Teotihuacano agriculture or food production. Nevertheless, there is still the glaring question of how the ancient inhabitants dealt with water collection and irrigation in the semi-arid environment of the Northeastern Basin of Mexico. Although canal systems have been previously identified and excavated in various sites throughout the Teotihuacan...