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Ancient Mesoamerica, 71986), 103-120 Copyighe © 1996 Cambridge Univesity Press. Printed in the US.A. FORMAL ARCHITECTURE AND SETTLEMENT ORGANIZATION IN ANCIENT WEST MEXICO Michael A. Ohnersorgen* and Mark D. Varien® *Depactment of Anthropelony,Artona Sate Unversity, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA Depatment of Anthropology, Arzona Sate Urmversty, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA, and Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, 28390 County Road , Cote, CO 81321, USA Abstract Classi perod stement inthe Teachian enon of West Mexico is characterized by the presence of unigue, formal ‘cular srorures surrounded by residential area. Previous eesearch in the aren bas suggested the presence of foursteed Seulement hierarchy based onthe ize ofthese sieuctres, although, to date, this judgment has beeb made ona largely impressionistic bass, Our esearch further examines Weigands Tevchilan setement data, We present a theoretical ‘perspective Tor understanding the role of ites with formal archtestre and evaluat th presence of steve hierarchy Uhrowgh volumetric eimations.Sceasios for site lnteraction are sugested by our use of a gravity ode. Our primaty {0a is to propose models of Teuchiln setlement organization, whi Recent archaeological work in West Mesico has produced con clusive evidence forthe existence of complex societies in the highland lake region of western Jalisco and adjacent Nayarit (Weigand 1985, 1990. Feld research in this area, conducted largely by Phil Weigand, has uncovered a Classc-peiod settle ‘ment system that might well be described asthe most recently documented "cvilzation” in Mesoamerica, These Classic-period developments constitute a settlement hierarchy’ located in the Teuchitlan aea of Jalisco, The density of Classc-perod settle ‘nen in this atea suggests that it was the core ofa larger regional system, which Weigand has termed the Teuchitlan tradition (Weigand 19902:28), ‘One hallmark of Classie-perid settlement is the prolifera tion of formal architecture, characterized by circular buildings "unique to Mesoamerica (Weigand 1990, 196). Weigand argues for the existence of a fourtiered setlement hierarchy based largely on the varying size of sites with formal architecture, although, to date, these arguments have been largely impres- Sionisic. Based on the spatial distribution of sites with formal architecture and associated residential sites, Weigand (1985, 1990, 19923) suggests tha setiement in the Teuhitlan core was concentrated int six major habitation zones, each dominated by one of the large cicular architecture compounds. Important ‘questions remain about the social and political roles of sites with formal architecture, their relation fo the habitation zones, and the organization of components inthe Teuchilan settlement hierarchy, We build on Weigand’s work by providing a theoretical framework for understanding the role of formal architecture in signaling functional distinctions among Teuchitlan sites. We cvaluate Weigand’ proposed settlement hierarchy through a cal- culation ofthe volumes of the formal architectural buildings. (Our findings differ from Weigane’s model, and we propose 2 revised settlement hierarchy. We then use our volumetric caleu- 103 ne tested by ongoing fieldwork i thereon. lations in gravity model analysis, following a similar analysis bby Alden (1979), to suggest alternative models for interpreting the settlement organization within the Teuchtlan core Ini important to note that we have not visited the sites in this region, but rely on Weigand’s unpublished data for our research. Weigand has focused wo decades of fieldwork on re- cording and mapping sites in the Teuchitlan core area, and his survey work provides information on sites with formal archi tecture and on asociated residential remains, The data we use include all available plan maps of sites with formal architecture the boundaries of habitation areas surrounding these sites, and estimates of the density of residential setlement within habita tion areas. The collection ofthese data and the methods of esti mating residential density are described in more detail below. Because survey is still ongoing, and because the sites are not yet, precisely dated, this analysis provides only a preliminary anal ssis of regional settlement organization. ‘THE SETTING. The study area les within the highland lake district of western Jalisco and adjacent Nayarit (Figure 1). Here fertile lake basins abut high volcanic mountains and deep canyons, to produce a ‘epion of tightly packed, yet diverse, ecological zones (Weigand 1992a:221). The area is rich in water and aquatic (lacustrine) resources, and the allvial bottom/voleanie ash soils are agi- culturally productive (Weigand 1985, 19922, 19926). The area also is noteworthy for the abundance of normally rare sources: high-quality obsidian, blue-green stone, various erys tals, salt and other minerals can be obtained easily (Foster and ‘Weigand 1985; Weigand 1985), ‘Archaeological work in the highland lake area and its su. rounding region reveals complex cultural developments begin ning inthe Preclassic period (ea. 1500 .¢.-a.p. 200) (Foster and los Figure 1. Map of modern Mexico showing the location ofthe Tevchitan core rep. Weigand 1985; Scott 1985: Weigand 1989). Though poorly ‘understood, this period is characterized primarily by elaborate shaft tombs that served as elite burial chambers and by El ‘Opetio- and Capachalike ceramics (Bell 1974; Kan ee al. 1989; Kelly 1980; Oliveros 1974: von Winning and Hammer 1972; von ‘Winning and Stendahl 1968; Weigand 1985, 1992c). The Clas- sie perio (4.0, 200-700) marks a fluorescence in West Mexican cultural complexity, with what Weigand (1985:75, 1990a:28, 1992c:2) terms a “transformation to civilization.” Sites with ‘Onnersorgen and Varien formal circular architecture profiferate in the 26,630-square- kilometer core area, which is believed to have been inhabited by atleast 40,000-60,000 individuals during the peak Classic- period occupation. Sites with similar circular buildings are sat tered beyond the Teuchitlan coze, and their distribution forms the boundaries of the Teuchitlan repional system (Weigand 1982b:1). Figure 2 shows the distribution of the circular architecture sites and associated areas of habitation in the Teuchitlan core. Sites with circular architecture are numbered; site names and the tier assignments made by Weigand are presented in a ey (Table 1), Residential sites within the habitation areas are not individually plotted in Figure 2 but are shown in terms of site density: high density habitation sts are less than 100 m apart), medium density (habitation sites are between 100 and 199m apart), and low density (habitation sites are between 200 and 300m apart). Six additional sites with circular architecture were discovered approximately 10-15 km west ofthe area show in Figure 2. These additional sites are not used in our analysis because three of them are Late Formative in date, rather than Classi, The area around these sites was not systematically sur- veyed, nor was the area in between them and the core area ‘Three additional Classie-period sites are small and their exclo- sion does not alter our results. Icis evident from Figure 2 that an area of high-density se tlement surrounds each ofthe sites with Tormal architecture. In ‘Weigand’ (1985) setlement model, the sites of Ahualulco (128), Huitalapa-A (#43), Santa Quiteria (50), Las Plas (#41), and San Juan de tos Arcos (#24) are the largest ste in thei espec- Table 1. Ses with formal acitctre nthe Teuchan coe are ad tek ora er rankings ‘Site Number and Name Original Rank 1. Guachimontén 2. Mesa (Loma) Aka 3. Arroyo de fs Lobos 4 Mesa (Loi Ba) 5. Estanncla ‘ ® Capila Campania Caldera de los Lobos 9 Mesa Ala-A (EI Refugio) 0. Mesa AaB (EI Refuzi 12. Entroque 13. Encheveria 1S. Chivas Palacio 16. Povtero de as Chivas 19. Arroyo de las Chivas 18 Zacametate 19. Nogalera 20. Animas 21 Cuislo 22. Meaauite 23, Ahulscalco 24, San Juan de los Atcos 28, Bosaue 26, La Mora ‘Ste Number and Name Original Rank 27, £1 Carmen uw 28, Ahwalico| U 28, Ahualulco Este av 30, Ahualulco Residencial no asgnment 31, Coracena| ur 532, Laguna Colorado um 33, LaProvidenoa 1M, Ahualleo Norte 45, Cerro de los Monos 36. Chapuiita 37. La Pena 38, ET Sancta 38, Los Ceborucos 41, Las Pe {2 Mesa de las Plas Huitalaps- Hoitaiapa 8 Hutallpace Hutalaps-D Las Navas ‘Amiitan Oeste Sania Quieria t Mess Alta Lu Lor Bailadores u 106 tive habitation zones, which are named after these sites. The ste ‘of Guachimont6n (1) isthe highest-order stein the Teuchitan- Refugio zone. Weigand’s model implies that sites with formal architecture served o integrate the domestic sites within each habitation zone. Boundaries diving the six major habitation ‘anes are nol clearly defined, which is especially problematic in distinguishing the adjacent zones south of the Voledn de Tequila ‘Weigand (1990a:48) argues that the distribution of smaller sites with circular architecture indicates that these large habita- tion zones may have been divided into smaller dstits or watds ‘As conceived by Weigand, the Teuchtlan core represents a set tlement hierarchy in which the largest circular compounds inte- arate large habitation zones, whereas the smaller circular ‘compounds serve to integrate or administer smaller ares within cach habitation zone. One goal of eur analysis to evaluate this ‘organizational model, An additional concern les in the tier assignments given sites with formal architecture. Table I shows that a large number of these sites were assigned intermediate rankings (e.g. Tier U-IID, suggesting that the distinctions between ters are nat clear. Thus, the basis for ter assignment is also an issue addressed by our analysis. Before we present our ‘results, we will briefly review Weigand’ definition of Teuchi- tlan formal architecture along withthe theoretical perspective ‘that we use to interpret the function oF these buildings. TEUCHITLAN-TRADITION ARCHITECTURE ‘Teuchitlan formal design principles were based on a series of| concentric eteles that produced buildings with a high degree of| proportionality and symmetry (Weigand 1996). The circular buildings are made up of five distinc elements: (1) a circular ele vated patio; 2) a terraced or truncated conical pyramid centered ‘on op ofthe patio; (3) a raised banguette/platform around the circumference of the patio; (4) a number of platforms (between 44 and 12) spaced at regular intervals on top of the banguette/ platform; and (5) small e-nterable crypts present beneath some platforms (Weigand 1996). Principles of formal design are adhered 10 more strictly in the largest circles; smaller circles dis- play more variation in building layouts (Weigand 1996). At the largest sits, the design grammars incorporate a number of cr sles and ball courts into an overall site plan, Guachimont6n, for example, has three circles and a ball court that appear to be part of a single construction episode (Weigand 1996). Ball courts vary in style and size and are present at many, but not all, of the sites with circular architecture (Weigand 1996). Unlike the circles, ball courts are not unique tothe Tev- hit tradition (Scarborough and Wileox 1991), Recause of their formal design, however, they ae included in our analysis Inaddition to the circles and ball courts, there are a number of unusually large buildings chat have been included, because their ‘size and layout distinguish them from those surface remains imerpreted as domestic architecture. ‘Weigand (1996) acknowledges a relation between archites- tural design and structure function and argues that theresa ten- dency forthe largest, most formally designed buildings to have Public functions. Along these lines, Weigand (198S:87) makes 4 distinction between monumtental circles and ball courts on the ‘one hand, and submonumental circles and ball courts on the ‘other. Like the tier assignments, the distinetion between mon- ‘Obnersorgen and Varen “umental and submonumental architecture is eases 0 discern ‘when looking at examples from the opposite ends ofthe size continuum; this distintion becomes blurred inthe middle, and itis dificult 1 define the boundary between what is monumen: tal and wht isnot monumental (Ohnersorgen and Varien 1993) ‘The largest Teuchitlan tradition circular buildings are those that are the most clearly monumental, exhibit the most formal