Monte Albán and Coixtlahuaca were famous precolumbian cities in the highlands of Oaxaca, Mexico. They were situated only 100 km distant from each other, and their people were always interacting and exchanging with each another, yet their urban character and the histories of their societies were vastly different. Why?
This presentation has three sections with time for discussion after each segment. The first describes the different histories of the two cities and their hinterlands. The second proposes explanations for their divergent paths. The third, more speculative segment poses questions about the rather mysterious behavioral and institutional basis of the underlying interaction and exchange between Monte Albán and Coixtlahuaca, questions that have more general significance for understanding the unity and diversity of America’s indigenous people.