City size in Late Postclassic Mesoamerica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article assembles archaeological and documentary evidence on the sizes of cities in Mesoamerica on the eve of Spanish conquest. Out of several hundred documented Late Postclassic urban centers, eighty-seven have reliable archaeological data on the area of the total city and/or the area of the central administrative zone (called the epicenter). The median urban area is 90 hectares (ha), and the median epicenter is 2.0 ha. These data are analyzed in terms of geographical zone, political type, population size and density, and rank-size distributions. The results suggest that political and administrative factors were the primary determinants of city size, with geographical zone having only a minor influence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-434
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Urban History
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes

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earthquake epicenter
population size
population density
urban area
determinants
evidence
city
Mesoamerica
Spanish Conquest
Rank-size
Urban Areas
Documentary Evidence
Archaeological Evidence
Archaeology

Keywords

  • Archaeology
  • City size
  • Mesoamerica
  • Rank size
  • Urbanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

Cite this

City size in Late Postclassic Mesoamerica. / Smith, Michael.

In: Journal of Urban History, Vol. 31, No. 4, 05.2005, p. 403-434.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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