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Unformatted text preview: hat did arise as the predominant force in the area by the first century A.D.
It seems likely that Teotihuacán’s natural resources, along with the city elite’s ability to recognize their potential, gave the city a competitive edge over its neighbors. The valley, like many other places in Mexican and Guatemalan highlands, was rich in obsidian. The hard volcanic stone was a resource that had been in great demand for many years, at least since the rise of the Olmecs (a people who flourished between 1200 and 400 B.C.), and it apparently had a secure market. Moreover, recent research on obsidian tools found at Olmecs sites has shown that some of the obsidian obtained by the Olmecs originated near Teotihuac án. Teotihuacán obsidian must have been recognized as a valuable commodity for many centuries before the great city arose.
Longdistance trade in obsidian probably gave the elite residents of Teotihuac án access to a wide variety of exotic good, as well as a relatively prosperous life. Such success may have attracted immigrants to Teotihuac án. In addition, Teotihuacán’s elite may have consciously attempted to attract new inhabitants. It is also probable that as early as 200 B.C. Teotihuacán may have achieved some religious significance and its shrine (or shrines) may have served as an additional population magnet. Finally, the growing population was probably fed by increasing the number and size of irrigated fields.
The picture of Teotihuacán that emerges is a classic picture of positive feedback among obsidian mining and working, trade, population growth, irrigation, and religious tourism. The thriving obsidian operation, for example, would necessitate more miners, additional manufacturers of obsidian tools, and additional traders to carry the goods to new markets. All this led to increased wealth, which in turn would attract more immigrants to Teotihuac án. The growing power of the elite, who controlled the economy, would give them the means to physically coerce people to 243
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move to Teotihuacán and serve as additions to the labor force. More irrigation works would have to be built to feed the growing population, and this resulted in more power and wealth for the elite. Paragraph 1: The city of Teotihuacán, which lay about 50 kilometers northeast of modernDay Mexico City, began its growth by 200100 B.C. At its height, between about A.D. 150 and 700, it probably had a population of more than 125,000 people and covered at least 20 square kilometers. It had over 2,000 apartment complexes, a great market, a large number of industrial workshops, an administrative center, a number of massive religious edifices, and a regular grid pattern of streets and buildings. Clearly, much planning and central control were involved in the expansion and ordering of his great metropolis. Moreover, the city had economic and perhaps religious contacts with most parts of Mesoamerica (modern Central America and Mexico).
1. The word massive i...
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This note was uploaded on 09/17/2013 for the course LANGUAGE 13DL208 taught by Professor Wang during the Fall '13 term at East China Normal University.
- Fall '13