Urbanism, Militarism, and Architectural Design: An Analysis of Epidassic sociopolitical structure at Xochicalco

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The form and organization of urban architecture is examined at the central Mexico site of Xochicalco to reconstruct aspects of both its internal community structure and regional political organization during the Epiclassic period (A.D. 700-900). Analysis of the site's defensive architecture provides unique information about the city's internal design. Dry moats, walled roads, and steep terrace facades subdivide the community into a series of population segments that on the basis of both size and architecture type resemble ward divisions found in central Mexico cities at the time of Conquest. Furthermore, Xochicalco does not have a single defensive perimeter characteristic of a strongly centralized polity; instead, it possesses a series of defensive precincts located on the hills and ridges adjacent to Cerro Xochicalco that are equivalent in form and redundant in function. The model that best approximates the segmentary nature of this structure is that of a regional confederacy dominated by Xochicalco during the Epiclassic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-250
Number of pages14
JournalAncient Mesoamerica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1995


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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