Residential Patterns at Monte Alban, Oaxaca, Mexico

Science  13 Dec 1974:
Vol. 186, Issue 4168, pp. 981-987
DOI: 10.1126/science.186.4168.981


Monte Alban was founded in period I (about 500 B.C.) probably by households from previously existing villages in the Valley of Oaxaca. There is some evidence for status variation in period I households, but more information is needed to determine its role in the early development of the city. During the millennium or more of urban growth at Monte Alban a change occurred in the organization of household space from an open outward-directed focus to a closed inward-directed one. This was accompanied by a formalization of household and interhousehold space and by a standardization in household sizes and burial treatment reflecting emergence of a social class hierarchy. These changes indicate development from a flexible to a highly structured society, which may be a general trend in urbanization.