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A MULTISCALAR APPROACH TO MIGRATION AND SOCIAL CHANGE AT MIDDLE POSTCLASSIC XALTOCAN

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 June 2016

Lisa Overholtzer*
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, McGill University, 7th floor Leacock Building, 855 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec H3A 2T7, Canada
Kristin De Lucia
Affiliation:
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Weber State University, 1299 Edvalson St. Dept. 1208, Ogden, Utah 84403–1208
*Corresponding
E-mail correspondence to: lisa.overholtzer@mcgill.ca

Abstract

Ethnohistoric documents characterize the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in central Mexico as an era of endemic warfare and mass migration, processes that archaeologists have causally related to the development of the Aztec Empire. In this paper, we explore a striking transition in this dynamic, but poorly understood period at the Otomi capital of Xaltocan. The archaeological record reveals that with the adoption of Aztec II Black-on-Orange pottery by a.d. 1240, Xaltocan witnessed the expansion of the island to accommodate more residents, construction of the chinampa agricultural system, and the emergence of two subpopulations with distinct household organization, consumption, and funerary practices. We link a microscale examination of domestic activities with contextual understanding of macrolevel population dynamics, ethnic politics, and political-economic processes, and argue that this shift is due to an influx of migrants. These findings have significant implications for shifting conceptions of identity associated with the emergence of large polities.

Type
Special Section: Breaking and Entering The Ecosystem—Remembering Elizabeth M. Brumfiel
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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