Title

Defining a Postclassic Component in the Cerro El Vigía Hinterland of Tres Zapotes, Veracruz, Mexico

Presenter Information

Matthew MeyerFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Major

Geoarchaeology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Marcie L. Venter, PhD.

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

In 1997, an archaeological survey was undertaken on the southwest slopes of the extinct Cerro El Vigía volcano, located along Mexico’s southern Gulf Coast. A primary goal of that study was to describe the relationship between Tres Zapotes, a large center occupied from ca. 1200 BCE to 900 CE, and this adjacent region. The 24-square kilometer survey area 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 (ca. 900 CE). Since then, stratigraphic excavations were conducted at Totogal, a Late Postclassic (ca. 1350-1521 CE) center which shares its western boundary with the earlier survey. These new data from Totogal permitted the reassessment of the adjacent survey region and facilitated a refinement of the Postclassic settlement pattern. Through the statistical analysis and counting of temporal diagnostics within the survey, we can redefine settlement patterns in the region, and establish a new chronology for the Cerro El Vigía area. Obtaining a more accurate reconstruction of late prehispanic patterns in the region is important because this area was one of the first locales to be subjected to Spanish colonial administration in the mainland of the Americas, to be converted over to intensive agricultural production and to make use of enslaved laborers. Having a more accurate understanding of the demographics of the region at Contact in the 1520s facilitates a more accurate assessment of Colonial changes.

Fall Scholars Week 2019 Event

Earth and Environmental Sciences Poster Session

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Defining a Postclassic Component in the Cerro El Vigía Hinterland of Tres Zapotes, Veracruz, Mexico

In 1997, an archaeological survey was undertaken on the southwest slopes of the extinct Cerro El Vigía volcano, located along Mexico’s southern Gulf Coast. A primary goal of that study was to describe the relationship between Tres Zapotes, a large center occupied from ca. 1200 BCE to 900 CE, and this adjacent region. The 24-square kilometer survey area 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 (ca. 900 CE). Since then, stratigraphic excavations were conducted at Totogal, a Late Postclassic (ca. 1350-1521 CE) center which shares its western boundary with the earlier survey. These new data from Totogal permitted the reassessment of the adjacent survey region and facilitated a refinement of the Postclassic settlement pattern. Through the statistical analysis and counting of temporal diagnostics within the survey, we can redefine settlement patterns in the region, and establish a new chronology for the Cerro El Vigía area. Obtaining a more accurate reconstruction of late prehispanic patterns in the region is important because this area was one of the first locales to be subjected to Spanish colonial administration in the mainland of the Americas, to be converted over to intensive agricultural production and to make use of enslaved laborers. Having a more accurate understanding of the demographics of the region at Contact in the 1520s facilitates a more accurate assessment of Colonial changes.