The pre-Columbian archaeological site of Monte Albán, inhabited for over 1,500 years by the Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs. Oaxaca, Mexico.
Monte Albán, Zapotec capital set on a steep bluff in the middle of the Valley of Oaxaca which rose to prominence after about 400 BCE. Four main phases in the developement and occupation of the site have been recognized.
In period I (500-200 BCE) the slopes of the hill were leveled off to form over 2000 terraces. An acropolis protected by stone walls lay at the centre. Inside was a stone platform surrounded by 140 carved stone slabs depicting contorted human figures. These were executed in Olmec style.
In Period II (200 BCE-AD 300) the palaces were built, along with ball-courts, temples, and an arrow-shaped building in the main plaza. During this period there appears to have been extensive contact with Maya Lowland centres and the increasingly powerful Teotihuacán.
At its peak in Period III (AD 300-750), Monte Albán had an estimated population of 25-30,000. Public buildings, terraces, and residences covered over 40 square kilometres.
Period IV (AD 700-1000) was a time of decline as the main plaza was abandoned. Zapotec influence disappeared, although the site was partially reoccupied by the Mixtec.
-Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology, Timothy Darvill.
The Aztecs adopted human sacrifice from earlier cultures (such as the Olmecs) because they believed the universe would come to an end and the sun would cease to move without human blood.
During an Aztec human sacrifice, five priests, sometimes with their faces painted with different colors, held the sacrificial victims’ arms and legs. The heart, referred to as “precious eagle cactus fruit,” was cut from the live victim and burned on a fire in the temple.
Group on ladder of Ceremonial Cave (Alcove House), Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico
Date: 1915? Negative Number 042070
Group photo includes Kenneth Chapman on left, Charles F. Lummis (bottom of ladder), Frank Springer (2nd on ladder), Judge McFie (6th from top), Alfred Kidder (4th from top), and Santiago Naranjo (topmost).
America’s Lost City — Cahokia and the Mound Builders
Long before Europeans first explored and settled the new world, what is now the United States was a host to a wide variety of rich, sophisticated, and vibrant cultures. One of the most interesting were the Mississippian Mound builders, a culture that stretched from Illinois and Indiana, throughout the Mississippi River region, and as far south as the Gulf Coast. Unlike most native cultures of the US and Canada, the Mississippians were unique in that they developed a society governed by centralized authority (a king or chief), built large cities and population centers, and conducted large scale engineering and agriculture. The center of Mississippian culture revolves around mound building. Usually the center of a Mississippian town or city was a large earthwork pyramid or platform which served as a religious and governmental center.
Of all Mississippian population centers, the largest was a city called Cahokia, located in southern Illinois across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, MI. Settled around 600 AD, the city covered 6 square miles and featured 120 mounds of various sizes and shapes. The largest is “Monks Mound”, a large terraced earthwork 100 feet high and with a base similar in size to the Great Pyramid of Giza (13.1 acres).
At its height around 1200 AD, Cahokia is estimated to have had a population of around 40,000 making it one of the largest cities in the world. At that time Cahokia was comparable in population to London (40,000) and Venice (45,000), while Rome (20,000) was significantly smaller.
Like Ancient Rome, Cahokia is special in that all roads, or perhaps I should say rivers, led to it. From 900 to 1200 AD Cahokia served as a primary trading center in what is now the United States. As a result Cahokian trade goods can be found all over the Central United States. Some of the most popular goods traded were metal goods, as Cahokia was one of the few cultures north of Meso-America to practice the art and science of metal working. Most Cahokian metal work consists of copper items, many of which show incredible artistry and craftsmanship.
The decline of Cahokia began around 1,300. Historians cite a number of reasons for the decline, including climate change, the use of unsustainable agricultural methods, poor waste disposal systems, political instability, famine, disease, and warfare. As Cahokia declined so too did the culture of the Mississippian mound builders. By the time Columbus “discovered” America, the city was abandoned. The Mississippian culture itself broke down, its people forming the many tribes that inhabit the south such as the Alabama, Apalachee, Caddo, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, Creek, Guale, Hitchiti, Houma, Kansa, Missouria, Mobilian, Natchez, Osage, Quapaw, Seminole, Tunica-Biloxi,Yamasee, and Yuchi.
Today Cahokia is a National Historic Landmark, Illinois State Historic Site, and one of 21 UN World Heritage Sites in the United States.
In Mesoamerican folk religion, a Nagual or Nahual (both pronounced [na'wal]) is a human being who has the power to magically turn him- or herself into an animal form: most commonly a donkey, turkey, or dog,but also other and more powerful animals such as the jaguar and puma.
Such a Nagual is believed to use his powers for good or evil according to his personality. Specific beliefs vary, but the general concept of nagualism is pan-Mesoamerican. Nagualism is linked with pre-Columbian shamanistic practices through Preclassic Olmec depictions which are interpreted as humans transforming themselves into animals. The system is linked with the Mesomerican calendrical system, used for divination rituals. The birth date often determines if a person will be a Nagual. Mesoamerican belief in tonalism, wherein all humans have an animal counterpart to which their life force is linked, is also part of the definition of nagualism. In English the word is often translated as “transforming witch”, but translations without the negative connotations of the word witch would be “transforming trickster” or “shape shifter”.
Hello, everyone! Many of you have requested study guides for AP US History since I opened the offer up - and I have delivered!
Here is the first study guide. It will be part of this page on this blog found under the ‘explore!’ menu. I will update it very frequently! I expect to have most of them done for every era by tomorrow. Maybe even all of them. We just don’t know.
Eventually I’d like to make infographics of all the eras but that’s hard and I am a mere student living life, blogging, exercising, watching shows………..