Producers on the Lake: Late Aztec Lakebed Chinampa Communities of Lake Xochimilco

Author(s): Gregory Luna Golya

Year: 2015


Recent historic imagery analysis combined with 1960-70s archaeological surface survey data in a geographic information system (GIS) has generated a detailed spatial model of chinampa beds, canals, and settlement mounds for a 1,010 hectare area of Lake Xochimilco distinct from remnant Xochimilco chinampas that persisted into historic and modern times. The delineated agricultural waterscape was characterized by an approximately 1:1 land to water ratio with narrow raised agricultural beds (3.75 x 49.4 meters). The estimated lakebed population for the study area was 2,525 (2.5 persons/hectare) including 2,000 full-time tenant farmers. In this paper, I continue my spatial analysis of the Xochimilco lakebed chinampa GIS focusing on lakebed settlement. Two types of settlement – chinampa households/hamlets and village wharves – have been identified. Using network and least cost path analyses I define lakebed chinampa communities associated with particular lakebed village wharves – hubs of social and economic activity for tenant chinampa farmers who existed outside the traditional calpolli system of shoreline chinampa communities with pre-Aztec origins. Additionally, transport routes from fields, to lakebed wharves, to the docks of Tenochtitlan-Tlatelolco and other shoreline centers will be modeled. This project creates the first detailed spatially referenced system of lakebed chinampas and producers.

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Cite this Record

Producers on the Lake: Late Aztec Lakebed Chinampa Communities of Lake Xochimilco. Gregory Luna Golya. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396000)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;