Advertising the Empire: Purépecha Strategies in the Imperial Heartland at Angamuco, Michoacán

Author(s): Anna Cohen

Year: 2017


Regime change is a social process that has occurred throughout human history and yet much is still unknown about how political developments shape local communities. This paper examines the impacts of the Late Postclassic (1350-1530 CE) Purépecha Empire on residents at Angamuco, an ancient city within the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin imperial heartland in Michoacán, Mexico. Imperial narratives in ethnohistoric texts emphasize that authorities controlled craft production, tribute, and social practices. Archaeologists have investigated these narratives within a social evolutionary framework that underscores an expanding and highly centralized Purépecha state and empire. Drawing upon material from excavation and survey of domestic and public ritual contexts, I evaluate whether the dominant top-down model of political economic consolidation has more explanatory power than alternative bottom-up models. Changes in the production and use of the ceramic artifacts, as well as differences in stone architecture, suggest that the Purépecha exploited existing resource systems, and that imperial changes are most visible in elite areas of Angamuco. The results of this study provide a foundational chronology of occupation at Angamuco and add to our knowledge of complexity and urban forms in western Mexico.

Cite this Record

Advertising the Empire: Purépecha Strategies in the Imperial Heartland at Angamuco, Michoacán. Anna Cohen. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429975)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15635