Early Formative Public Architecture and Corporate Identity in the Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca


Public spaces appeared early in Mesoamerica, often linked to emerging communal identity

and/or socio-political complexity. Their construction, and subsequent maintenance and

renovations, reflect the collective effort of different social actors and corporate entities. In

Mesoamerica, public space first appears during the Early Formative period (1500-900 BCE), a

time of emerging socio-political complexity at sites such as San Lorenzo, San Jose Mogote, and

Paso de la Amada. The arrangement and orientations between platforms and plazas or open

space lay the foundations for later innovations in public and ceremonial space throughout this

cultural region. In addition to the construction of space, the placement of different deposits and

offerings, both contemporaneous with the public space as well as later to its use, reveal important

dimensions in understanding both the development of larger ritual and religious concerns as well

as the emergence of local elites. Recent excavations at the site of Etlatongo, in the Mixteca Alta

of Oaxaca, have confirmed the presence of public space during the later portion of the Early

Formative. We both compare and contrast what has been documented about this public space

with contemporaneous examples across Mesoamerica, recognizing variations in layout, style,

contextual and construction history of these spaces.

Cite this Record

Early Formative Public Architecture and Corporate Identity in the Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca. Victor Emmanuel Salazar Chavez, Jeffrey Blomster. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430119)

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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): 16532