Oaxaca temple complex hints at archaic Mexican state

April 23, 2013 11:34 AM

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Oaxaca temple complex hints at archaic Mexican state

Much of what we know about past civilizations in Mexico comes from the writings of colonial Europeans -- Spanish conquerors and priests -- who arrived in the Americas in the 1500s. But archaeological evidence from recent excavations at a site called El Palenque in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, shows that temple precincts similar to the ones the Europeans encountered had existed in the region some 1,500 years earlier.

Redmond and Spencer have been studying the remains of ancient civilizations in Oaxaca since the 1970s, when both were undergraduates at Rice University. Interested in learning how early states arise, they have been working in the area around El Palenque since 1993. The research they described in the...

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