The Zapotec civilization rose in the Oaxaca Valley at roughly the same time as Teotihuacan and the Maya civilizations near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Small agricultural settlements were built in the Valley of Oaxaca during the Formative period, and these villages evolved into complex societies that revolved around the Zapotec religion and politics. The people eventually moved from the valley floor to the Monte Alban ridge which offered a spectacular and defensive view of the plains below. This started around 100 AD according to the Biblical Timeline with World History.
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Monte Alban became the capital of the Zapotec civilization sometime between 150 BC to 150 AD, and it became the dominant force in the Oaxacan highlands. At its peak, it was one of the largest cities in Mesoamerica with a population of more than 10,000. The Zapotecs chiseled away at the limestone top of Monte Alban to create a leveled surface and started the large-scale construction of the main plaza, ball court, public buildings, and temples. The common people built their houses on the terraced hillside close to the ceremonial centers, while the members of the elite lived in compounds located north of Monte Alban.
This period also produced some of Zapotecs’ best works of art recently recovered from Monte Alban, including the jade bat god, the Scribe of Cuilapan, and various pottery figures from tombs.
Picture By Nsaum75 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12440330
Chavalas, Mark W., and Mark S. Aldenderfer. Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476 C.E. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press, 2004
Cremin, Aedeen. The World Encyclopedia of Archaeology. Richmond Hill, Ont.: Firefly Books, 2007
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