Basin of Mexico: Prehispanic Population History

Author(s): Deborah Nichols; L.G. Gorenflo; Ian Robertson

Year: 2021


This is an abstract from the "Ancient Mesoamerican Population History: Demography, Social Complexity, and Change" session, at the 86th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The Basin of Mexico Survey and the Teotihuacan Mapping Project were landmark projects in the history of archaeology. One goal of both projects was reconstructing prehispanic population history to improve our understanding of cultural evolution in this region. The population histories and estimates generated for the great city of Teotihuacan and the basin as a whole significantly changed our understanding of prehispanic Mesoamerica. The abandonment of many rural settlements in the Basin of Mexico at the time of Teotihuacan’s dramatic growth in the first century AD had been unknown, as had the impact of the city’s collapse on regional settlement and demographics, the geographic influence of Tula on Basin settlement, and the rapid growth of Aztec population. But those demographic reconstructions warrant revisiting. In this paper we discuss several factors that complicate demographic reconstruction in the basin and at Teotihuacan, including challenges of surveying multicomponent sites, the need for refined ceramic chronology, difficulties in linking urban and rural demographics, limitations on surface visibility of sites due to the effects of erosion and deposition, effects of varying land use on surface remains, and the general challenge of establishing contemporaneity within and among sites.

Cite this Record

Basin of Mexico: Prehispanic Population History. Deborah Nichols, L.G. Gorenflo, Ian Robertson. Presented at The 86th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. 2021 ( tDAR id: 466686)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 18.48 ; max long: -94.087; max lat: 23.161 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 30904