The Recorrido Arqueológico de Coixtlahuaca (RAC) presents period-by-period settlement pattern maps for the valley of Coixtlahuaca in the northern Mixteca Alta. The RAC project made improvements in full-coverage survey methods. We identify limitations and suggest that similar projects in the future need to resolve several management and budget problems. The survey revealed two periods of heavy occupation, 700–300 BC and AD 1200–1520, separated by a long period of lower population. Archaeological and historical data indicate that during the AD 1200–1520 period, and probably earlier, small landholders organized in strong communities managed an intensive agroecosystem, investing in landesque capital. Urbanization was impressive, yet cities were aggregations of communities and barrios. Today local citizens pose questions about how the large prehispanic population could have organized and sustained itself; these questions coincide with anthropological interest in collective agency, property, landesque capital, and collapse.