Recent Excavations at Cerro de la Virgen, Oaxaca, Mexico

Author(s): Jeffrey Brzezinski

Year: 2017


This paper presents the preliminary results of recent excavations carried out at Cerro de la Virgen, a 92-ha hilltop site located in the lower Río Verde Valley of coastal Oaxaca, Mexico. The lower Verde’s first complex polity emerged during the Terminal Formative period (150 BCE – CE 250), during which Cerro de la Virgen was one of several secondary political centers distributed around the region’s political seat, Río Viejo. Current research at Cerro de la Virgen is designed to study the negotiations that took place between secondary centers and polity leaders by examining the scale at which political, economic, and religious resources were controlled. Excavations carried out in the spring of 2016 targeted public and domestic architecture to examine resource control within communal and household settings. Preliminary evidence indicates that architectural patterns and ceremonial caching practices at Cerro de la Virgen differed significantly from those witnessed at other Terminal Formative sites in the lower Verde, including Río Viejo. These data suggest that the region’s first complex polity collapsed at ca. CE 250 because hinterland populations were not integrated into the political system managed by leaders at Río Viejo.

Cite this Record

Recent Excavations at Cerro de la Virgen, Oaxaca, Mexico. Jeffrey Brzezinski. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431064)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15464