Rural Exchange Networks in Postclassic Oaxaca

Author(s): Elizabeth Konwest

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.

In 1523, Spanish colonizers, alongside their native allies and African slaves, arrived in Nejapa to find people already relatively accustomed to the social upheaval brought about from foreign entries into their territories. During the Late Postclassic, Zapotec and Aztec armies had followed existing trading routes along the camino real through Nejapa, Oaxaca to reach the resource rich isthmus. This paper will focus on the various trade networks accessed by the residents of the Nejapa valley site of Greater La Amontonada (GLA) while also referencing other Postclassic period sites in the region. Residents of GLA participated in an informal and decentralized, but robust region-wide network to exchange locally produced ceramics. Though imported in extremely limited quantities, local potters also had knowledge of wider Oaxacan and Mesoamerican styles, and considered those "exotic" styles desirable for imitation. The exchange of obsidian and other imported goods contrasts sharply with the ceramics and was much more restricted. Residents of contemporaneous settlements in Nejapa engaged with different networks of traders. Although living in a rural area between larger, more powerful geographic regions, the ceramics and obsidian at GLA demonstrate a people enmeshed into the larger Mesoamerican world.

Cite this Record

Rural Exchange Networks in Postclassic Oaxaca. Elizabeth Konwest. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451223)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -98.679; min lat: 15.496 ; max long: -94.724; max lat: 18.271 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24524