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SOCIAL MEMORY AND THE ORIGINS OF MONTE ALBAN

  • Marcus Winter (a1)

Abstract

The founding of Monte Alban marked the beginning of the urban revolution in Oaxaca and a reorganization of Zapotec culture and society, which soon had repercussions among Mixtecs and other Otomangue groups in highland Oaxaca. While local factors contributed to Monte Alban's origins, the architectural expression of the city's core, consisting of a main plaza with leaders’ dwellings on each side and a ceremonial precinct at one end, comes from the Mixe-Zoque area, probably La Venta or highland Chiapas. One of the earliest architectural monuments at Monte Alban is the Danzantes Wall with carved stones that portray founding participants, including many chiefs from valley communities, as interpreted, imagined and remembered by the city's leader or leaders, years after the event. The wall was short-lived, partly dismantled within a few generations of its completion, and the carved stones reused, erasing the narrative's original significance. In contrast, elements of the city's core layout persisted at least until the end of the Late Classic as a template, remembered and repeated, sometimes with modifications at Monte Alban and elsewhere, of how a city should be.

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Corresponding author

E-mail Correspondence to: winteroax@prodigy.net.mx

References

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