Ireta and Vapatzequa – Applications of the Alteptl Model to the pre-Hispanic P'urépecha


At the time of Spanish contact, Michoacan was under the control of a large empire centered at the capital of Tzintzuntzan in the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin. Prior to the rise of the Postclassic empire, the P'urepecha were organized into a series of small- to mid-scale polities known as ireta, which could be considered roughly analagous to the Nahua altepetl. These polities consisted of of a series of nested territorial divisions composed first of named barrio-level units called vapatzequa followed by smaller complejos formed from groupings of individual households. This paper outlines the historical basis for this model of government and explores its archaeological applications and implications for the formation of the empire in the Late Postclassic.

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Cite this Record

Ireta and Vapatzequa – Applications of the Alteptl Model to the pre-Hispanic P'urépecha. Kyle Urquhart, Christopher Fisher, Stephen Leisz. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397207)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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