ARQUEOLOGIA IBEROAMERICANA - ISSN 1989-4104
ISSN 1989-4104
ARQUEOLOGIA IBEROAMERICANA



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Yoko Sugiura, Elizabeth Zepeda, Carmen Pérez & Shigeru Kabataespañol
Title: The development of a lake settlement in the upper basin of the Lerma river: the case of Santa Cruz Atizapán, central Mexico.
Abstract. The Valley of Toluca is situated in the Lerma-Chapala-Santiago hydrological system, the largest basin of the Mexican Republic. Throughout its history it has been known for its three shallow water lakes or marshes (Chignahuapan, Chimaliapan and Chicnahuapan), connected by the Lerma river and flanked by volcanoes and thick forests. The environmental conditions of this cold, high-altitude valley allowed the early colonization of the region, evidence of which goes back more than 3000 yr BP, to the Early Formative period. Around c. 500/600 AD, the climatic conditions manifested as a drier period, causing the water table in the shallow lake zone to drop, which permitted occupation within the marshland. The archaeological site of Santa Cruz Atizapán constitutes one of the lacustrine sites which developed during this period in the Chignahuapan marsh. The article focuses on this site, describing how the ancient population adapted to the particular wetland surroundings and how they transformed the inhospitable environment into a habitable space, constructing more than 100 low platform mounds in the area within the marsh, on which they built their habitations. It also stresses a mode of lacustrine life characterized by a symbiotic relationship between the human population and their immediate environment, as well as the control of long distance exchange networks with other regions outside of the Toluca Valley, both of which played a relevant role in the processes of development and consolidation of the site as a regional center. At the end of the Epiclassic period, c. 900/1000 AD, climatic fluctuation resulted in more humid conditions and the recovery of water bodies which provoked the abandonment of the habitations located directly in the wetlands. Even though the people were obligated to move to the lakeshore zone, the central sector of Santa Cruz Atizapán (La Campana-Tepozoco) continued as a regional center until shortly before the Spanish Conquest of the Toluca Valley.
Keywords: lake settlement, Lerma river, Santa Cruz Atizapán, Mexico, Mesoamerica.
How to cite this publication: Sugiura, Y., E. Zepeda, C. Pérez & S. Kabata. 2010. El desarrollo de un asentamiento lacustre en la cuenca alta del río Lerma: el caso de Santa Cruz Atizapán, México central. Arqueología Iberoamericana 5: 5-22. http://www.laiesken.net/arqueologia/archivo/2010/05/1_en.html.
Publication date: 31-3-2010.
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