Reassessing Postclassic Settlement Data from the Cerro el Vigia Hinterland of Tres Zapotes, Veracruz

Project Abstract

In 2001, a survey of the southwest slopes of the extinct Cerro El Vigia volcano was undertaken. A primary goal of the study was to describe the relationship between Tres Zapotes, an Olmec, Epi-Olmec, and Classic period center, and this adjacent region, especially as it concerned basalt exploitation for monumental sculpture and utilitarian artifacts. The survey area of approximately 24 square kilometers yielded a number of ceramics, obsidian, groundstone, and other household and ceremonial items, all of which were analyzed and extensively recorded. That study concluded that the area in question was abandoned following the Classic period. Since then, new evidence from stratigraphic excavations at Totogal, a Late Postclassic center which shares its western boundary with the earlier survey, was obtained. These new data permit the reassessment of the adjacent survey region and can better inform the Postclassic settlement pattern. In this presentation, I make a first pass at reassessing the published data from survey, focusing specifically on the Late Postclassic period, examining descriptions of diagnostic ceramics and obsidian tools. This will not only fill a temporal void in the southern Gulf lowlands Postclassic archaeological dataset, but it will also facilitate more comprehensive examinations of area demography.


42nd Annual Midwest Conference on Mesoamerican Archaeology and Ethnohistory

Funding Type

Travel Grant

Academic College

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology




Bachelor of Science




Marcie L. Venter, PhD

Academic College

Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology

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