Aztec period houses and terraces at calixtlahuaca: The changing morphology of a mesoamerican hilltop urban center

Michael Smith, Aleksander Borejsza, Angela Huster, Charles D. Frederick, Isabel Rodriguez Lopez, Cynthia Heath-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Calixtlahuaca, a Middle-Late Postclassic site in the Toluca Valley of central Mexico, was occupied ca. A.D. 1100-1530. Our excavations reveal some of the processes involved in the creation, functions, and decay of a large hilltop urban center. At its height, the majority of the site's surface (264 ha) was covered with residential-agricultural terraces supported by a complex water management system. House construction techniques included the use of adobe brick, wattle-and-daub, and stone pavements. Our fieldwork contributes to a growing body of research on hilltop political capitals in Mesoamerica. Using a refined chronology, we illuminate the processes by which people constructed the residential zones of this ancient hilltop city. Keywords: Agricultural terraces, Aztec, hilltop centers, Postclassic, urbanism, Toluca Valley.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-243
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Field Archaeology
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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