Late I social variation: Residential mobility and migrant markets in the Tlacolula subvalley, Oaxaca, Mexico

Date of Completion

January 2003


Anthropology, Archaeology|Anthropology, Cultural




Archaeological research in the Oaxaca Valley has focused on the development of an administrative hierarchy during pre-state Monte Alban. This study is primarily concerned with the factors that contributed to a change from a valley defined by kinship to one ruled by regional elites located in a political core. Despite the existence of an apparent administrative hierarchy described by the original survey interpretation, this study indicates that kinship and social variation were central organizing principles during Period Late I. ^ Reevaluating the monograph of the settlement patterns (University of Michigan, 1989) and applying a model of the frontiering Kofyar in Nigeria (Stone, 1991), this research provides a different set of juxtapositions to the understanding of movement into the Late I piedmont. ^ Excavation, residue analysis, use wear analysis and ethno-archaeological methods were applied to investigate the use of manos and metates in the village of San Sebastian Teitipac. This artifact set was used in pre state Monte Alban and is still used in contemporary households in the valley. While the primary focus was to trace the use of technology and resources in one of the valley's driest arms, this study is concerned with the social relations of production and the role of women as brokers of tradition. The relationship between women, kinship and social collaboration informed the Late I piedmont landscape. Kin groups in the dry Tlacolula subvalley are defined-in this study by-residential mobility which fuelled the dynamics of the development of a migrant exchange system. ^