In an exceptional presentation the CAS March 2016 Guest Speaker, Dr. Sarah C. Clay-ton, escorted her enthusiastic audience of more than forty on a sociopolitical historical journey to and through the heart and environs of Teotihuacan.
An Iconic view of Teotihuacan from the Temple of the Moon along the Avenue of the Dead and past the Pyramid of the Sun correctly conveys an impression of power and prestige.
Archaeological exploration posits Teotihuacan’s founding around 300 - 450 BC and its col-lapse around AD 550 – 650. The peak population of Teotihuacan has been estimated at 125,000.
The Temple of the Sun is the 3rd largest pyramid in the world eclipsed only by the Great Pyramid of Cholula and Cheop’s Pyramid at Giza [The circumference of Monks Mound, Cahokia is larger than any of the aforementioned].
When studying the world’s earliest urban states Dr. Clayton outlined a series of questions for consideration:
How did they develop?
What was the economic organization and political structure?
What was it like to live there?
Why and how did the system break down?
There was a dissolution of government. What was the sociopolitical situation? The collapse was regional. In places buildings were burned and there is evidence of violence. There was movement out of the city to out-lying communities and goods were coming into the city from outlying sites instead of the opposite. It is difficult to study the sites of the hinterland be-cause of the sprawl of Mexico City. The city at its peak was 125,000 or perhaps twice that. After the collapse they numbered only 20,000.
The leaders were excellent planners, militaristic and war-like. Their serpent pyramid held 132 carefully arranged skeletons, important captives from other places. They had been powerful. At one time they had conquered at least a part of Tikal in faraway present day Guatemala.
Archaeologists are looking at two sites, Axotlan and Chicoloapan, in the hinter-land and sifting out their relationships to the capitol.
Axotlan appears to be simi-lar to the capitol and fell just at the same time and the same way. Chicoloapan had different ritual features and their everyday objects and cookware were differ-ent and more advanced. More investigations in the areas may teach us more about the collapse of the Teotihuacan government may provide a means of cul-tural collapse elsewhere.
By Bob Stelton - Editor