Building Power: The Teotepec Palace as Materialized Ideology

Author(s): Philip Arnold; Lourdes Budar

Year: 2016


Discussions of Classic Period (ca. AD 300-900) architecture in southern Veracruz, Mexico generally emphasize patterning in mound-plaza arrangements, with an array of configurations vying for preeminence across the coastal lowlands. Often lacking from these analyses, however, is a more nuanced consideration of the built environment's ideological implications. This paper examines palaces as important reflections of power's materialization in southern Veracruz. Specifically, we consider the palace at Teotepec, a site located along the northern shore of Lake Catemaco in the Tuxtla Mountains. Teotepec's palace is a restricted-access complex that includes both residential and public ceremonial components. The ceremonial complex consists of a large, 3 m deep sunken patio-like feature that fronts an almost 20 m high pyramid. We argue that this pyramid-patio association is a materialization of the Sacred Mountain-Primordial Water pairing that permeates ancient Mesoamerican ideologies. Moreover, we note that the Sacred Mountain-Primordial Water combination aptly reflects the volcanic mountains and lake waters that constitute Teotepec's natural surroundings. Finally, we consider this expression of ideology at Teotepec in light of architectural manifestations from other Classic Period sites within the Tuxtlas region.

Cite this Record

Building Power: The Teotepec Palace as Materialized Ideology. Philip Arnold, Lourdes Budar. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403637)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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