Rodh J. Lamothe
Monte Alban- An Empire






1.jpg
Through architecture structures at the site of Monte Alban, you can reconstruct patterns of social organization and possible social stratification in Monte Alban, the capital of the ancient Zapotec state in what is today the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Based on the research you argue that Monte Alban was an empire; social stratification has been defined as the division of a society into categories of individuals organized into hierarchal segments based on access to strategic resources, and once the state arises as a form of government, this inequality is then institutionalized and social strata or social classes are formed. Analyzing why the elite and rulers controlled the population by access to certain resources and buildings can bring clarity to the social organization and purpose of the Monte Alban site.
Empires are highly developed complex societies. Empires have particular characteristics that are used to categorize them. Empires use a centrally located capitol to head military, political, religious and economic systems. They use a strong ideology to maintain a grip on its citizen’s culture and wealth. They use a powerful military to establish new territory. Monte Alban was an urban capitol. Its location inspired its imperial ideology. Its military conquered many groups and influenced politics, settlement patterns, art, religion and the flow of goods. Monte Alban’s culture spread all through the Valley of Oaxaca. Therefore, by looking at archaeological evidence, one will be able to conclude that Monte Alban was an empire.




2.jpg
Monte Alban Phase I &II






















Monte Alban was the ideal location for establishing an imperial capitol. It attracted military and religious leaders. It stands out from the Valley floor because of its unmatched privacy and protection. Monte Alban was a dissembedded urban capital above two other lower lying mountains. The site is near cloud cover and was an ideal spot for spiritual worship. The site offers panoramic views of the outlying regions and a distinct visual advantage, which allowed for a competitive edge when spotting enemy invaders, locating resources and new territory. “Monte Alban (White Mountain) rests majestically on the leveled-off mountaintop high above the cares of the weary people working in the valley below.” (Hunter 1977: 187) The locals would have recognized the benefits of starting a society on the regions highest mountain top. Much like a modern dissembedded capitol, Washington D.C., they chose to have their center out of the way of most major cities.





danzante.gif




All empires need a central imperial ideology. Imperial ideology is expressed in the archeological evidence of the more than 300 Danzantes found at Monte Alban. They are evidence of the groups’ ideology and position as the central dominant power in the region. These graphic stone depictions were publicly displayed in a gallery on the side of building L, which might have been a religious temple built by people from San Jose Mogote. This accessible location allowed the Danzantes to be seen at eye level for the public to see. They were originally thought to be depictions of male figures dancing. But archaeologists believe they are corpses of captives from battle.
The Danzantes glorify militarism and the state. The captives depicted in the Danzantes carvings were elite males that were captured, stripped and sacrificed. The humiliation of stripping foreign captives of high ranks was done to boost civic pride and acted as a daily reminder for the citizens of Monte Alban that their military action pleased their gods. “The most elaborate Danzantes figurers are often adorned with necklaces, earplugs, complicated hairdos, and hieroglyphic names.” (Marcus, Flannery 1983: 176) Some display castration. Each Danzantes was a unique representation, but were fashioned uncoincidentally like ideographic carvings found at San Jose Mogote. Therefore, the Danzantes were symbols of propaganda which were used to enhance the local ideology and promote military conquest for the empire.
The Artwork displayed on the sides of buildings acted as daily reminders to the citizens of Monte Alban that their military action served a higher purpose and justified their imperialistic hold on the region.
“The conquest slabs consist of over fifty carved stones that have been interpreted as representations of places conquered by and/or paying tribute to Monte Alban. Each slab contains two distinct elements: 1) A standardized hill glyph signifying a place and 2) a glyph or series of glyphs directly above the hill glyph, differing for each stone and signifying the name of a particular place figure (4.3a) Many of the slabs contain an upside down human head directly beneath the hill glyph, each with a distinct head dress and interpreted as the dead ruler of a conquered locality.” (Brown, Stanton 2003: 55)
This emphasis on territorial conquest is a form of propaganda that is characteristic of empires.
Adoption of imperial gods by other cultures is required for empires. Monte Alban’s cultural influences were carried to other parts of the region via expansion of its military. The roots of Monte Alban can be traced back to San Jose Mogote. The city was attacked and burned. According to Dr. Barber, the conflict caused its leaders from San Jose Mogote to look for a new territory to begin a new city. Artistic similarities found in San Jose Mogote’s monument three and carvings at Monte Alban acts as evidence of the regional influences that were possible in the Valley of Oaxaca. It depicts a heart sacrifice in which the human’s blood is spilled in order to satisfy the gods. This evidence links the two distant cultures with a unifying religious practice and cultural similarities.






3.jpg
Monte Alban ballcourt




Furthermore, At Monte Alban and Teotihuacán there are artistic carvings of native men “elegantly dressed in Tlacloc headdresses, jaguar headdresses and serpent headdresses. They all carry small copal bags.” (Marcus, Flannery 1983: 176) The men were most likely high ranking foreign ambassadors or tax collectors who traveled on trade routes between Teotihuacán and Monte Alban. The headdresses were signs of the rain gods. These carvings are evidence of Monte Alban’s far reached influences of ideology, economy and infrastructure.
The population of Monte Alban and the surrounding regions underwent enormous growth. “Total population for those areas intensively surveyed, including the site of Monte Alban itself, probably ranged between 7,070 and 14,1474 in phase 1a and between 28,563 and 58,397 in phase1c.” (Marcus, Flannery 1983: 96) The population grew even more by phase II and remained consistent during phase III. The territory of Monte Alban stretched from sites, not only along major river tributaries, but also up small mountainous slopes. This evidence supports the idea that with population growth in the expansionary phase of a militaristic culture, it is more than likely that the multiple groups would have had meaningful contact with each other. Monte Alban used military power to conquer new territory. They incorporated new territories to produce goods which were sent back to Monte Alban.
Empires need an infrastructure to exchange goods from the capitol to outlying regions. Trade goods were sent back to Monte Alban via an interregional trading system. Some have suggested a four-tiered hierarchical system of social and political infrastructure in periphery settlements controlled by the Monte Alban Empire. There were three levels of administrative centers above the hamlet level. “In the eclipse of San Jose Mogote: there was an establishment of a new, larger and more centrally located administrative and ceremonial center at Monte Alban; and the emergence of a series of second-order communities between the regional center and the smallest villages.” (Marcus, Flannery 1983: 96) The region used trade routes for exchange of goods and resources. These routes run outward from Monte Alban to coastal, highland and lowland areas of Mexico. Monte Alban’s attraction of wealth was certainly supported by this interregional interaction.
Monte Alban’s economic system could have functioned using the world-system theory. “The core of the world system controls trade with peripheral regions, importing large quantities of staple goods and raw materials. According to Wallerstein, the relationship with the core strengthens the power of local elite and often leads to the development of greater complexity in the periphery.” (Workinger 2002: 46) Monte Alban was supported by lower land farming people because it lacked proper farming land. The maize farmers on the Valley floor, who provided these resources, were the lowest ranked in a four-tiered hierarchical system called the hamlet rank. Their production would have provided food for those at Monte Alban. The three upper-tiers were comprised of two administrative ranks, which may have included priests, merchants and shamans. The highest rank would have been a central political figure.





4.jpg


History
Monte Alban was founded in period I about 500 B.C. Probably by households from previously existing villages in the Valley of Oaxaca. There is some evidence for status variation in period I households, with an unknown role in the early development of the city. During the three periods urban growth at Monte Alban occurred in the organization of household space from an open outward-directed focus to a closed inward-directed one. This was accompanied by households and inter-household space and by household sizes and burial treatment reflecting emergence of a social class hierarchy. These changes indicate development from a flexible to a highly structured society, which may be a general trend in urbanization. This phase marks the first occupation of Monte Alban. It is frequently suggested that these other aspects of a social hierarchy included the evidence that people in higher living occupations in higher levels of the hierarchy enjoyed a higher standard of living in terms of access to greater variety and more costly ceramic, exotic commodities. This would be consistent with an explanation of the appearance of a settlement at Monte Alban. By the end of this phase some 5,000 people lived at Monte Alban. Apart from the settlement hierarchy, social class is apparent in the appearance of social units; larger households engaged in manufacturing activities. Some suggest, because of their location near settlements that were administrative centers. Interesting to note; though there was some rainfall agriculture on the terraces and evidence of irrigation, since there is no reliable, year-round water supply, water must have been carried from sources in the flood plains, which suggests that at least during dry season, water usage was governed, except perhaps among the elite. The Monte Alban I phase is characterized by a rapid increase in and marked change in the distribution of population significant increases in both social hierarchy and social complexity. These changes were relatively rapid and together marked a radical change in the social structure of Monte Alban and its future. Such changes can be attributed to the displacement of a chiefdom type political institutions and state type political institutions. Crucial to these changes may have been developments in ritual practice and religion which is evident in many of Monte Alban’s ritualistic sites. All these developments can be associated with the emergence of what is usually taken to be the capital at Monte Alban. If Monte Alban was designed to be a center of regionl decision making then its Early I settlement pattern can be easily explained with strong supporting evidence.
The various structures of Monte Alban center on the Great Plaza, a large open space which was the highest part of the city and some think corresponded to the elite quarters of the city's rulers. From this plaza, aligned north to south, there is a great view of the Oaxaca Valley. From the Great Plaza, there are many buildings to explore. Excavations at Monte Alban have revealed over 170 tombs, numerous ceremonial altars, pyramids, and palaces. Based on studies of the architecture of the buildings, tombs, ceramics, and jewelry, Monte Alban could been a place where social inequality was based on social organization, population, exchange systems, and authority.

Empires are characterized by a distinct ruling class or individual leadership. Political leadership was concentrated at Monte Alban almost exclusively for administrative purposes. The lay out of the main plaza and other neutral buildings suggest that Monte Alban was the center for politico-religious leaders to gather and oversee the rest of the Valley. There may be a single person or a group of elites in charge of military, economy and religious affairs. “Unfortunately, political processes are the hardest for archaeologists to identity and analyze.” (Smith 2001: 246) But, at Monte Alban archaeologists have discovered special burial tombs filled with imported artifacts and religious goods that might symbolize an imperial leader.
Monte Alban was the center for ideology and political activity for the region. Evidence is found in wealthy burial tombs. The richest tomb discovered so far is Tomb 43. It had 72 vessels, including at least 10 conch shell effigies, a duck effigy, frog effigies and other elaborate vessels. “Because the conch shell trumpet among the Zapotec was associated with public office, such a large number of effigies may indicate a person of some importance.” (Marcus, Flannery 1983: 90) When compared with dozens of burials at Monte Alban without tombs or vessels it is made clear that there was special tribute paid to elite leadership. “On this hilltop have been found some of the richest tomb treasures in America. There are over 150 tombs located here, burial grounds for nearly two thousand years, and some of them are painted with brilliant murals.” (Hunter 1977: 189) The coastal artifacts that were buried with these rulers are further evidence of the vast trading system and the ideological system which was concentrated at Monte Alban.

Monte Alban proves to be the administrative head of a vast economic, ideological and militaristic empire. “Marcus and Flannery argue that Monte Alban came to dominate interregional interaction in Oaxaca through political power and military force, including control over an empire stretching from the Cuicatlan Canada in the north to the lower Rio Verde region in the south” (Joyce, Neff, Thieme, Winter, Elam, Workinger 2006: 580) All Empires cave in at some point. An unstable political system and unforeseen foreign invasion pushed Monte Alban, when it was at its precipice, to an inevitable collapse. In its time Monte Alban was the administrative head of a geographically expansive socio-political system. There is evidence of sacrificing conquered leaders. There is evidence of religious propaganda. There is evidence of interaction spheres which stimulated exotic goods to be traded in and out of Monte Alban. Therefore, Monte Alban can be classified as an Empire.




References

Joyce Marcus and Kent Flannery
1983. The Cloud People Divergent Evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec Civilizations. Academic Press.


Arthur Joyce and Hector Neff and Mary Thieme and Marcus Winter and Micahel Elam and Andrew Workinger
2006. Latin American Antiquity 17(4) pp 579-594: Ceramic Production and Exchange in Late/Terminal Formative Period Oaxaca.


Miller, E. M.
1986 & 1996. 5 Classic Monte Alban, Veracruz and Cotzumalhuapa. The Art of Mesoamerica From Olmex to Aztec. Thames and Hudson Ltd, London.

Flannery, V. K. & Marcus, J.
1983. The Cloud People, Divergent Evolution of the Zapotec and Mixtec Civilizations. Academic Press, London


Scott. F. J.
1978. The Danzantes of Monte Alban part. 1 Text. ? Dumbarton Oaks.


Workinger, Andrew
2002. Coastal/Highland Interaction In Prehispanic Oaxaca, Mexico: The Perspective From San Francisco De Arriba, Dissertation.

Hunter, Bruce
1977. A Guide to Ancient Mexican Ruins. University of Oklahoma Press: Norman.










Modules




Module 14: Wikispaces Assignment
Monte Alban
Residential Patterns at Monte Alban, Oaxaca, Mexico
Author(s): Marcus C. Winter
Source: Science, New Series, Vol. 186, No. 4168 (Dec. 13, 1974), pp. 981-987
Published by: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1739210
http://www.jstor.org/stable/1739210

<exert>
Monte Alban was founded in period I (about 500 B.C.) probably by households from previously existing villages in the Valley of Oaxaca. There is some evidence for status variation in period I households, but more information is needed to determine its role in the early development of the city. During the millennium or more of urban growth at Monte Alban a change occurred in the organization of household space from an open outward-directed focus to a closed inward-directed one. This was accompanied by a formalization of household and interhousehold space and by a standardization in household sizes and burial treatment reflecting emergence of a social class hierarchy. These changes indicate development from a flexible to a highly structured society, which may be a general trend in urbanization.

<summary>
The site of Monte Alban is situated at the highest mountain mass in the center valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. Archeological research suggests the site was still under development when it began to decline as a major urban center. Structural patterns throughout the site lends the interpretation social organization was essential to the society. Households tend to reflect as well as manifest the social, political, and economic situation in a society; if so information from the 1972 to 1973 excavations at Monte Alban, together with the discovery in 1966 indicate there were multiple levels of status and hierarcal society(Winter, M. p984). The best example of status is the variation in burials found at the Period 1 building. Individuals are buried in simple graves with a single vessel to others. There are several individuals that were found with vessels, beads, ornaments, and shells. I assume that the variation in Period 1 burial treatments and in size implies status differentiation throughout the complex society.






Module 13: Wikispaces Assignment
Monte Alban site
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xx-WYH7IPS4
<video highlighting lifestyle at Monte Alban>

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0Wb1gjSaZ0&feature=related
<video highlighting the settlement of an empire at Monte Alban>

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu9wA18sBfU
<video highlighting a guided tour of Monte Alban>





Module 12: Wikispaces Assignment
Monte Alban site images

Monte_Alban_site.jpgMonte_Alban_II.jpg







Module 11: Wikispaces Assignment
Monte Alban
Through architecture structures at the site of Monte Alban, you can reconstruct patterns of social organization and possible social stratification in Monte Alban, the capital of the ancient Zapotec state in what is today the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. Based on the research you argue that Monte Alban was an empire; social stratification has been defined as the division of a society into categories of individuals organized into hierarchal segments based on access to strategic resources, and once the state arises as a form of government, this inequality is then institutionalized and social strata or social classes are formed. Analyzing why the elite and rulers controlled the population by access to certain resources and buildings can bring clarity to the social organization and purpose of the Monte Alban site.





Module 10: Wikispaces Assignment
Developing Wiki-Monte Alban
Monte Alban, site of an empire/Social Organization





Monte_Alban_map.jpg
Monte Alban map site

Monte Alban was the ideal location for establishing an imperial capitol. It attracted military and religious leaders. It stands out from the Valley floor because of its unmatched privacy and protection. Monte Alban was a dissembedded urban capital above two other lower lying mountains. The site is near cloud cover and was an ideal spot for spiritual worship. The site offers panoramic views of the outlying regions and a distinct visual advantage, which allowed for a competitive edge when spotting enemy invaders, locating resources and new territory. Monte Alban meaning White Mountain rests majestically on the leveled-off mountaintop high above the cares of the weary people working in the valley below. The locals would have recognized the benefits of starting a society on the regions highest mountain top. Much like a modern dissembedded capitol, Washington D.C., they chose to have their center out of the way of most major cities.

All empires need a central imperial ideology. Imperial ideology is expressed in the archeological evidence of the more than 300 Danzantes found at Monte Alban. They are evidence of the groups’ ideology and position as the central dominant power in the region. These graphic stone depictions were publicly displayed in a gallery on the side of building L, which might have been a religious temple built by people from San Jose Mogote. This accessible location allowed the Danzantes to be seen at eye level for the public to see. They were originally thought to be depictions of male figures dancing. But archaeologists believe they are corpses of captives from battle.



Monte_Alban_Great_Plaza.jpg
Gran Plaza-Monte Alban


Monte Alban’s emergence of pre-industrial urban centers like the Gran Plaza(Great Plaza) is commonly associated with the importance of kinship ties; as people in these centers live close by non-kin for the first time, the beginnings of rigidly defined, endogamous social classes, and increasing economic specialization appear throughout the urban center as what sets members of the community apart is their status. A common characteristic found in empirical societies.







Module 9: Wikispaces Assignment
Annual Review of Anthropology
http://www.jstor.org/stable/2949337?&Search=yes&term=monte&term=alban&list=hide&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3Dmonte%2Balban%26jc%3Dj100476%26wc%3Don%26Search.x%3D22%26Search.y%3D15&item=2&ttl&returnArticleService=showArticle&pageOfFirstMatch=true

Recent Research on the Origin of State, Wright, T. Henry. Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 6, (1977), pp. 379-397
<page 389 ¶ 3-page 392(portion of the article which pertains to topic)>
Most recent research in Mesoamerica has focused on Early and earlier Middle Formative societies, which are widely recognized to have been chiefdoms (43), and on the developed states of the Classic Period, rather than on the interesting develop- ments of the Late and Terminal Formative Periods. State emergence is indicated in the area by the rise everywhere of large centers dominating three or more subsidiary levels of settlement hierarchy. These centers characteristically have major secular architecture, and some have monuments indicating new and expansive forms of territorial control. For example, state emergence thus defined probably emerged in Oaxaca (26, pp. 215-19) about 300 B.C., during Late Formative times in the Valley of Mexico (19, 37), and highland Guatemala (42) about 100 B.C. during Terminal Formative times, and elsewhere during the early Classic Period after A.D. 200. In this review, I want to consider central Oaxaca for two reasons. ,First, three are a number of classes of evidence relating to administration. Second, much new analysis of this evidence, particularly of that relating to prestate societies, is assembled in a recent work edited by Flannery (23). In central Oaxaca, by 100 B.C., the end of the Monte Alban I Period and the beginning of the Monte Alban II Period, the great center of Monte Alban on a high mountain top overlooking the three arms of the Valley of Oaxaca is well established (9, 16). The central ceremonial area and the various wards of the city are clearly differentiated. The overthrow of centers, some of which appear to be outside the Valley of Oaxaca (33), was commemorated by the erection of monuments in the central area. The city itself has massive defensive walls. Within each arm of the valley there are large subsidiary centers with differentiated palaces, temples, and other buildings (26), smaller centers, and hamlets. Is this type of settlement hierar- chy, architectural pattern, and pattern of monument construction definitive evi- dence that the Monte Alban II polity was a state? Insofar as three levels of hierarchy above the level of hamlets implies that paramount rulers were making decisions about other decision-makers, probably using summary information for both assess- ment and decision implementation, we can say that there must have been both internal and external specialization of the central regulatory subsystem by this time. However, one would prefer evidence of the actual hierarchy of regulation. Such will probably become available only when intermediate centers are excavated and the path of products from center to center are traced and associated with elite households and public buildings in the centers. In addition, the identification of particular elite families and the tracing of their members from place to place through the study of tombs may prove to be useful. At present, with data only on Monte Alban itself (9, 16) and from various small settlements (18, 23), it is not possible to pursue these types of study. What did the Terminal Formative state control? Intensive archaeological survey of the valley is not yet complete, but from extrapolation of the completed surveys, the population of the whole valley by 100 B.C. must have been around 50,000 people (31, 47). For the first time in more than a millennium of village life in the valley, much of the population lived on the upper piedmont near streams useful for small scale canal irrigation, as opposed to the well irrigation of the main river alluvium (25). Whether or not there was some specialization in crops between these two parts of the valley, with more maize in the piedmont and other crops in the alluvium, is not certain. However, it is clear that the large population of Monte Alban itself, high on its rocky and poorly watered mountain, must have received food from the smaller valley settlements. Village craft specialization is revealed most outstandingly in the villages close to localized sources of clay and chert in the various arms of the valley. There is little evidence for craft specialists on Monte Alban itself. The degree to which such specialization in agriculture and craft would compromise the autonomy of the smaller settlements and the arms of the valley is not certain. Indeed, the positive evidence of Monte Alban's location and the iconography of its monuments could be taken to indicate that its rulers were far more concerned with conflict and conquest than with the administration of their state's economy. From what did the early Oaxacan state arise? The recently defined Rosario Phase, which began a century or so before the founding of Monte Alban and 450 years before state florescence during the Monte Alban II Period, is not yet as well docu- mented as the earlier and simpler chiefdom of the San Jose Phase. In comparison with Middle Formative chiefdoms elsewhere in Mesoamerica, for example in Vera- cruz, polities were small, incorporating perhaps 4000 people in one arm of the valley. There were two classes of settlements-hamlets and large nucleated villages in the standard Mesoamerican terminology, equivalent to the small villages and centers in Mesopotamia-in all of which there is evidence of elite residences and ritual activity. In the smallest hamlets there may be only a single elite household and limited evidence of household ritual (18). In others there may be a specially constructed plaza with evidence of public ritual as well (26, pp. 211-13). In the largest center, there are large buildings on a massive platform in the center of the settlement, a precursor of Monte Alban itself (26, pp. 214-15). There are indications of the distribution of commodities such as obsidian from central pools to households, particularly elite households. If such distribution served regulatory functions, one would expect more obsidian available during stable periods and less during unstable periods. For example, slightly pre-Rosario Household Cluster LG-1, an elite household at the subsidiary hamlet of Fabrica San Jose, shows high obsidian to chert ratios during the earlier and later use phases; but during the middle use phase when the house was burned there was no obsidian (18, pp. 89, 206). While one burned house does not conclusively demonstrate a period of instability, the example does show that evidence of this sort can be recovered with careful excavation. If the distribution of obsidian obtained in interregional exchange rather than locally pro- duced does provicte regulatory information, then in contrast to the locally produced redistributed goods of Hawaii, obsidian conveyed information about conditions in the broader network of polities rather than in the local polity. Given that the Rosario Phase polities-there were perhaps three of them in the valley, one in each arm-had two or at most three levels of settlement hierarchy, that residential differentiation suggests elementary class stratification, and that there is minimal evidence of regulation in rituals and distributional networks, it is likely that this is a period of developed chiefdoms very much like the Susa A example presented in the discussion of Greater Mesopotamia. While the details of Rosario agriculture and craft have not been synthesized, several points indicate that there was little move- ment of goods from center to center. For example, settlements were focused on the rich alluvial terraces, and even if the center had 200 households, there was still enough alluvial land nearby to support more than twice the number of households (24). Direct mobilization of food for the center would not ordinarily have been necessary, and movements of goods to the center would probably have been re- stricted to certain clays (31) and stones (18) of local occurrence. The contrasting presentations of prestate Rosario organization and developed state organization in Monte Alban II are drawn from the results of the ongoing research program of Flannery and his colleagues. While the scope and caliber of excavation data and analysis are unparalleled, any attempt to outline the processes critical in state emergence are hampered by the facts that most of the excavation has been concentrated on Rosario and earlier layers and features, and that the intensive archaeological survey of the Valley of Oaxaca is still in progress, while surveys of surrounding valleys are few. Thus estimates of population change must be imprecise and assessments of conflict based on settlement pattern configuration are not yet possible. In spite of these problems some changes can be outlined. With the end of the Rosario Phase, the one well-studied center was abandoned and the new valley-wide center of Monte Alban was founded. In spite of this political disjunction, the one portion of the valley in which Rosario sites were differentiated from preceding Guadalupe Phase sites shows that after a period of stability during these two phases, there was a population rise of about 400% during the early Monte Alban I Phase (31, pp. 38, 81-82). The new center is far above good soil and water, its primary locational advantages being political rather than productive. From its inception the elite of the new center were raising monuments with portrayals of slain or sacrificed captives, presumably their enemies and probably an indication that they were involved in repeated conflicts (33). During this time there are abandonments at a number of the excavated sites in the valley, perhaps as a result of such distur- bances. During Late Monte Alban I times there is a further 700% increase in estimated population, with expansion of the regional center itself and the founding of many surrounding small sites in what appears to be a planned settlement program (31, pp. 221-25). New elite funerary patterns became established (16), and future work will probably demonstrate that the elite residential patterns of the Monte Alban II Phase were becoming established at this time. All the Late Monte Alban I communities used a more standardized series of ceramics, suggesting that changes in craft specialization were occurring, but the necessary statistical and technical studies needed to demonstrate this have not yet been undertaken. All these demo- graphic, social, and economic changes follow the disruption preceding the founding of Monte Alban, but none of the presently available data allows us to define the associated changes in regulatory process.






System_4.jpg
Monte Alban's System IV


http://www.sfu.ca/archaeology/museum/laarch/tour/monte/monte5.html


This temple complex was built near 450 AD, and is thought to be one of fifteen temples associated with different barrios at Monte Alban. Barrios are residential units that housed groups of people that shared an economic status or family affiliation. This can suggest that social status during this time was important. Sites similar to System IV gives insight to the origins of civilization and social organization at Monte Alban.






Module 8: Wikispaces Assignment
''Kerma: The Rise of an African Civilization", B.G Trigger
http://www.jstor.org/sici?origin=sfx%3Asfx&sici=0361-7882(1976)9%3C1%3E1.0.CO%3B2-G&cookieSet=1
The flood plains along the Nile constitue an important but as yet little utilized series of laboratories for the comparative study of the origins and interaction of ancient civilizations.






Module 7: Wikispaces Assignment
Topic introduction:
Highland Mexico- 'The site of Monte Alban appears to be an empire/and or a city emphasizing social hierarchy.'
Empires are highly developed complex societies, which also have particular characteristics that are used to categorize them. Empires use a centrally located capitol to head military, political, religious and economic systems. They tend to use a strong ideology to maintain a grip on its citizens via culture and wealth. They emphasize on a powerful military to establish new territory. Monte Alban was an urban capitol. Its location inspired its imperial ideology. Its military conquered many groups and influenced politics, settlement patterns, art, religion and the flow of goods. Monte Alban’s culture spread all through the Valley of Oaxaca, and other regions of highland Mexico. Therefore, by looking at archaeological as well as architectural developmental infrastructure and social organizational evidence, one will be able to conclude that Monte Alban was an empire. A society that viewed social status very important.





Module 6: Wikispaces Assignment
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Monte_Alb%C3%A1n&action=history
I think there is somewhat reliability with Wikipedia. Though the context of a page can be edited by anyone, you still have to get all editations approved by a 'Wikipedia type board'. Wikipedia is a great source for building on ideas and getting direction to your research, but it's always good to have multiple sources. The site is consistant, providing useful information, and even references for additional sources.




Module 5: Wikispaces Assignment

5.jpg
Monte Alban layout







Module 4: Wikispaces Assignment

http://inside.mines.edu/fs_home/jsneed/courses/LISS.380-83/LISS.381/resources/sites/monte_alban/index.shtml

http://archaeology.about.com/cs/glossary/g/montealban.htm

http://www.retireearlylifestyle.com/monte_alban.htm


After researching what regions of Mexico constitutes as 'highland Mexico', I decided to narrow my Wikispace project to Monte Alban. Interestingly to note about the Monte Alban site is it was once the holy city of more than 30,000 Zapotecs who called themselves the cloud people, mainly because they were situated on a artifical high level mountain over 1,100 feet above the nearest town. Because the site is way above any other civilization, it indicates that only the elite, and rich lived there. Or the site of Monte Alban modeled an empire. Either way there is clear evidence that Monte Alban emphasized social status. The websites listed gives good information on Monte Alban and how the site came to be what is today regarded as one of the most interesting and extensively excavated ruin. I haven't decided which route to take with the project but I know it will be on Monte Alban.






Module 3 & 2: Wikispaces Assignment
Introduction/ & Interest
Hello group:
I decided to choose Highland Mexico because I have an interest in their economy structure. I've read about Mesoamerica trading goods with Central Mexico to Maya highlands which created a complex society between the regions. What I find most interesting about highland Mexico is how such economic networks provided avenues for political, social, and religious interaction; not only exchanging and trading goods, but also ideas with different societies throughout Mexico, which all have their own distinct history.