How did archeologist know Zapotec city of Monte alban was more than just a ceremonial center?
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Asked in Mayans, History of Central America
How are the Mayans Olmec and Zapotec civilizations the same?
The Zapotec civilization was an indigenous pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca in Mesoamerica. Archaeological evidence shows that their culture goes back at least 2,500 years. The Zapotec left archaeological evidence at the ancient city of Monte Alban in the form of buildings, ball courts, magnificent tombs and grave goods including finely worked gold jewelry. Monte Alban was one of the first major cities in Mesoamerica and the center of a Zapotec state that dominated much of the territory that today belongs to the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
How do archaeologists know that the Zapotec city of Monte Alban was more than just a ceremonial center?
Archeologist have dug through ancient trash pits and pain painstakingly swept away tiny particles of dirt one layer at a time for decades to reveal small bits of information that all get compiled together to create a whole picture over time. More is learned everyday, from what people ate and how they prepared their food to their games, worship and trade practices. The structures around the Main Plaza at the Zapotec city of Monte Albanare are varied, and have been identified as living areas, tombs, and entire communities. Going with populations and city site it would be very difficult to believe that this could have been a simple place of ceremonial worship... it was just used to much on a regular everyday basis, by too many people. The Zapotecs were farmers, and made distinctive pottery, they traded with other civilizations. They had a market system, for the distribution of goods into the cities. They even built ball courts for playing ritual games with rubber balls. Archeologist know that the Zapotecs developed a calendar and one of the first writing systems in Mesoamerica, earlier even than the Maya or Aztec. There is a great deal of information buried under the earth... if a person knows how to look for it, and that is what Archeologists do, look for the lost information and try to put the pieces back together.