"Eating locally" in Tlaxcallan: The Impacts of Political Economy on Postclassic Diets

Author(s): Keitlyn Alcantara

Year: 2017


Late Postclassic Central Mexico is defined by significant political change, with the Aztec Triple Alliance quickly dominating the political landscape. As the triple alliance materialized in the 15th century, Tlaxcallan simultaneously emerged as a key market center, connecting trade in the central highlands to the Gulf Coast. As the alliance expanded, Tlaxcallan remained a uniquely unconquered space, yet the conditions of its autonomy are unclear. Siege of trade routes and the manipulation of access to commodities (often foods key to diversifying local diets) was a central tactic used by the Triple Alliance. Through bioarchaeological analysis of dietary isotopes, which reflect consumed foods incorporated into human bones and teeth, I discuss preliminary results from burials excavated in the city of Tlaxcallan’s Tepeticpac district. Changes in local diets could disclose nuanced social and political relationships of market administration and economic embeddedness, and clarify the political and economic position of Tlaxcallan during this period. Differential access to foods likely also occurred at a sub-group level (age, sex, occupation, or social group). This information can be used to reconstruct social structures within Tlaxcallan, and their relationship to broader geopolitical networks of trade in order to contextualize how local political architects confronted interregional politics.

Cite this Record

"Eating locally" in Tlaxcallan: The Impacts of Political Economy on Postclassic Diets. Keitlyn Alcantara. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431138)


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): 16096