Excavations at Cerro Tilcajete: A Monte Albán II Administrative Center in the Valley of Oaxaca

Christina Elson

This volume, part of a series on the prehistory and human ecology of the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, focuses on Cerro Tilcajete, a secondary administrative center below Monte Albán, the capital of the prehispanic Zapotec state.

After defeating the Tilcajete region, Monte Albán created a new administrative center for the Ocotlán region: Cerro Tilcajete. Elson excavated this Period II mountaintop administrative center for three seasons and showed that, in contrast to San José Mogote, Cerro Tilcajete was a newly created regional center rather than a reoccupation of an earlier site. Elson’s excavations aimed to document the nature of Cerro Tilcajete’s ties to Monte Albán, especially the links between the elite families at the capital and those at Cerro Tilcajete. By Period II, the site of Monte Albán had become the capital of a fully developed state and had begun to solidify its core region, investing in the administration of the area within 1-2 days travel of the capital. Elson deftly moves us away from the top-down, capital-centric focus, and in so doing, gives us new insights into secondary administrative centers in a pristine state.

Order from the University of Michigan Press.

Read more about the Oaxaca Project at Archaeological Research in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Explore the other volumes in the Prehistory and Human Ecology of the Valley of Oaxaca series here.

Publisher: Museum of Anthropology

Year of Publication: 2007

Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Pages: 138

Price: $35

Print ISBN: 978-0-915703-66-1

Ebook ISBN: 978-1-951519-84-1

Monograph Series / Number: Memoirs No. 42

Tables / Illustrations: 28 tables, 78 illustrations