Material Culture Change, Continuity, and Innovation at Postclassic and Early Colonial Achiutla, Oaxaca, Mexico

Author(s): Jamie Forde

Year: 2015


In this poster, I present results of an analysis of ceramic materials recovered from domestic contexts at the Postclassic and Colonial site of Achiutla, located in the Mixtec highlands of Oaxaca, Mexico. Materials from distinct household middens corresponding to the Postclassic and Colonial periods, respectively, facilitate intra-site comparisons of domestic ceramic assemblages, providing insights regarding cultural change and continuity at the micro-level over the course of the Spanish Conquest.

Results suggest intriguing patterns that confound traditional models of acculturation. For example, despite indications that indigenous peoples of Achiutla rapidly adopted European-introduced ceramic technologies, such as glazes and the potter’s wheel, Spanish-influenced pottery did not replace traditional wares; in fact, far from it. Certain native-style decorated serving wares, such as polychromes, not only persist from the Postclassic period into Colonial times—they become significantly more frequent, though with considerable changes in formal characteristics and design motifs. This suggests not simply the endurance of an indigenous ceramic tradition, but instead a reformulation and florescence of one.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Material Culture Change, Continuity, and Innovation at Postclassic and Early Colonial Achiutla, Oaxaca, Mexico. Jamie Forde. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397205)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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