A key component of archaeological research in the Basin of Mexico was a series of systematic regional surveys conducted between 1960 and 1975. This essay discusses efforts to finalize settlement data generated by those surveys, and preliminary analyses of the resulting dataset that include geographic information system applications to examine patterns of settlement over time. The paper begins by reviewing the surveys and the information they produced for more than 3,900 sites. Analyses of demographics, settlement hierarchies, and environmental patterning reveal periods of slow population increase and decrease that indicate no major demographic events, but noteworthy shifts in settlement types and environmental focus. Analyses of spatial patterning reveal evidence of considerable geographic shifts in settlement over time, probable widespread reliance on irrigation throughout much of the pre-Columbian basin, likely major shifts in adaptation to the central lake system in the region, and intraregional migration as a key demographic process in settlement patterning. Amid growing understanding of pre-Columbian settlement patterns in the Basin of Mexico, this paper also defines key research problems involving demographic mobility, the role of water control in adaptation and sociocultural evolution, and implications of changing environmental emphasis in settlement patterning.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)