ANth mexico.pdf - J Archaeol Res(2016 24:174 DOI...

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Teotihuacan Deborah L. Nichols 1 Published online: 4 August 2015 Ó Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015 Abstract Teotihuacan in the northeastern Basin of Mexico was an unusually large and influential early city and state. This article reviews recent research trends in Teotihuacan from its founding and explosive growth ca. 100 BC into the largest city in Mesoamerica. Biogenetics provide details of how immigration fueled the city’s growth and shaped its multiethnic composition and link Teotihuacan to other parts of the central highlands and more distant regions. Urban theory highlights the importance of neighborhoods and how their composition changed. Collective aspects of irrigation, markets, warfare and the military, and ideology encouraged the development of Teotihuacan’s corporate governance. Although Teotihuacan polit- ically dominated central Mexico, its control over the regional economy was not as centralized. Beyond its hinterland, Teotihuacan’s foreign relations were a mosaic of trade diasporas, diplomatic exchanges, pilgrimages, emulation, and strategic direct interventions of limited duration. As its foreign influence retracted, Teotihuacan faced challenges from its hinterlands and intermediate elites and factions that cul- minated in the burning and desecration of the urban center. The Epiclassic saw the change from Teotihuacan’s regional state to city-states and confederations. Although much reduced in size, Postclassic Teotihuacan retained an enormous legacy that subsequent states sought for their historical validation. Keywords Urbanism Á Mesoamerica Á State formation Á Collapse Á Classic period ‘‘And above all, it was the city where political power, wealth, and civilization were [was] concentrated’’ (Florescano 2006a , p. 15). & Deborah L. Nichols [email protected] 1 Department of Anthropology, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA 123 J Archaeol Res (2016) 24:1–74 DOI 10.1007/s10814-015-9085-0
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Introduction The recent literature on Teotihuacan is expansive and parallels the size and influence of this great early city. Research on Teotihuacan is important not only for what we learn about the city but also its state system, its foreign relations, and its legacy. Teotihuacan is a key site for comparative studies of urbanism and state formation—one of archaeology’s ‘‘grand challenges’’ (Kintigh et al. 2014 ; also Smith 2012 ). Research on Teotihuacan has shaped and been shaped by significant theoretical and methodological developments in archaeology. Citing an extraordinarily influential synthesis by Armillas ( 1950 ), Millon ( 1992 ) noted that 1950 was pivotal in Teotihuacan studies. The following decade saw the inception of the Teotihuacan Mapping Project, the Basin of Mexico settlement pattern surveys, and Proyecto Teotihuacan of the Instituto Nacional de Antropologı´a e Historia’s (INAH) (Bernal 1963 ; Millon 1973 ; Sanders et al. 1979 ). These projects reshaped the way we see Teotihuacan and laid the foundation for current Teotihuacan studies and wider understandings of urbanism and state formation
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