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Mixtecs, Zapotecs, and Chatinos: Ancient Peoples of Southern Mexico

ISBN: 978-0-631-20978-2
368 pages
December 2009, ©2010, Wiley-Blackwell
Mixtecs, Zapotecs, and Chatinos: Ancient Peoples of Southern Mexico (0631209786) cover image


Mixtecs, Zapotecs, and Chatinos: Ancient Peoples of Southern Mexico examines the origins, history, and interrelationships of the civilizations that arose and flourished in Oaxaca.
  • Provides an up-to-date summary of the current state of research findings and archaeological evidence
  • Uses contemporary social theory to address many key problems relating to archaeology of the Americas, including the dynamics of social life and the rise and fall of civilizations
  • Adds clarity to ongoing debates over cultural change and interregional interactions in ancient Mesoamerican societies
  • Supplemented with compelling illustrations, photographs, and line drawings of various archaeological sites and artifacts
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Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

Preface xiii

1 People, Culture, and History 1

Sources of Evidence 5

Theorizing Oaxaca's Ancient Past 17

2 Peoples and Landscapes on the Eve of the Spanish Conquest 35

The Physical Geography of Oaxaca 36

Mixtec and Zapotec Peoples at the Time of the Spanish Conquest 42

3 From Foragers to Village Life 64

First Peoples 65

The Archaic Period and the Origins of Agriculture 66

The Transition to Sedentism 70

Negotiating Initial Village Life 73

4 Negotiating Community and Complexity 84

Constructing Community and Identity in the Early Formative 85

Community and Identity in the Early Middle Formative 104

Structures of Authority in the Early to Middle Formative 110

5 From Village to City: The Founding and Early Development of Monte Albán 118

The Late Middle Formative Political Crisis 120

The Founding of Monte Albán 128

Political Consolidation and Upheaval at Monte Albán 155

6 Political Centralization in the Mixteca and Coast 160

Social Transformations in the Mixtec Highlands 160

Interregional Interaction and the Rise of Mixtec Centers 173

Political Authority and Ideology 177

Urbanization in the Lower Río Verde Valley 180

Political Collapse in the Mixteca and the Oaxaca Coast 195

7 Authority and Polity in the Classic Period 197

Classic-Period Society in the Valley of Oaxaca 199

Classic-Period Polities of the Mixtec Highlands 226

Political Fragmentation and Centralization on the Oaxaca Coast 239

8 Collapse and Reemergence 248

The Collapse in the Oaxacan Highlands 249

The Classic-Period Collapse and the Early Postclassic on the Oaxaca Coast 252

Postclassic Heroic History 258

Lord 8 Deer “Jaguar Claw” and the Archaeology of Tututepec (Yucu Dzaa) 266

Late Postclassic Archaeology of the Oaxacan Highlands 270

The Spanish Conquest 280

9 Conclusions 283

Beyond Functionalism and Neo-Evolutionism in Oaxaca 284

Poststructural Theory and the Archaeology of the Mixtec, Zapotec, and Chatino 287

Endnotes 296

Bibliography 299

Index 336

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Author Information

Arthur A. Joyce is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has a Ph.D. from Rutgers University and has carried out field research in Oaxaca since 1986. His current research interests include social theory in archaeology, human ecology, and the origins, development, and collapse of complex societies in Mesoamerica.
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"It is recommended reading for any serious student of Mesoamerican prehistory, and will likely shape the theoretical orientation of much Oaxacan archaeology to come." (Journal of the Royal Astronomical Institute, 2011)

"A great read! Joyce focuses a fine critical eye on understanding changing relationships among Mixtec, Zapotec, and Chatino peoples across centuries of profound transformation."
Wendy Ashmore, University of California, Riverside

"In this masterful synthesis of Oaxaca archaeology, Arthur Joyce covers the entire prehispanic sequence from the Archaic through the Postclassic, weaving together traditional knowledge with data from the most recent discoveries in the three best-documented regions of Oaxaca—the Valley of Oaxaca, the Mixteca, and the Coast."
Marcus Winter, Centro INAH Oaxaca

"Excellent textbook to highlight major differences in the theoretical tenets of processual and post-processual archaeologies while giving voice to the cultural legacy of Zapotec, Chatino and Mixtec speaking peoples."
Javier Urcid, Brandeis University

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