Urban Landscapes in Late Postclassic Western Mesoamerica: A View from Angamuco, Michoacán

Author(s): Anna Cohen

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Approaches to Cultural and Biological Complexity in Mexico at the Time of Spanish Conquest" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

When Cristóbal de Olid arrived in Tzintzuntzan, Michoacán c. 1522 CE, he encountered the powerful king (irecha) of the Purépecha (Tarascan) Empire who controlled approximately 75,000 km2 of western and central western Mesoamerica. Never defeated by the Mexica, the Late Postclassic (1350-1530 CE) Purépecha Empire may have been one of the most politically and economically consolidated empires at that time in Mesoamerica. Previous research has examined imperial control of resources and trade within the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin heartland, and yet comparatively little is known about Purépecha urbanism and daily life. How were communities living on urban landscapes? How did settlement and consumption patterns change before and after imperial consolidation c. 1350 CE? This paper addresses these questions by discussing urban landscapes in Purépecha western Mesoamerica, some of which have only been documented recently. I focus on the site of Angamuco, a 26 km2 urban landscape that provides important insight into local socioeconomic and political practices during the Postclassic period. Increased understanding of pre-Hispanic complexity in this part of Mesoamerica is critical for assessing the impacts of colonial encounters throughout the Americas.

Cite this Record

Urban Landscapes in Late Postclassic Western Mesoamerica: A View from Angamuco, Michoacán. Anna Cohen. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451222)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.117; min lat: 16.468 ; max long: -100.173; max lat: 23.685 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24865