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J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 DOI 10.


The Archaeology of Tula, Hidalgo, Mexico
Dan M. Healan

Published online: 12 August 2011 Ó Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Abstract The site of Tula, Hidalgo, Mexico, is well known for its distinctive architecture and sculpture that came to light in excavations initiated some 70 years ago. Less well known is the extensive corpus of archaeological research conducted over the past several decades, revealing a city that at its height covered an area of c. 16 km2 and incorporated a remarkably diverse landscape of hills, plains, alluvial valleys, and marsh. Its dense, urban character is evident in excavations at over 22 localities that uncovered complex arrangements of residential compounds whose nondurable architecture left relatively few surface traces. Evidence of craft production includes lithic and ceramic production loci in specific sectors of the ancient city. Tula possessed a large and densely settled hinterland that apparently encompassed the surrounding region, including most of the Basin of Mexico, and its area ´s Potosı ´. of direct influence appears to have extended to the north as far as San Luı Tula is believed to have originated as the center of a regional state that consolidated various Coyotlatelco polities and probably remnants of a previous Teotihuacancontrolled settlement system. Its pre-Aztec history exhibits notable continuity in settlement, ceramics, and monumental art and architecture. The nature of the subsequent Aztec occupation supports ethnohistorical and other archaeological evidence that Tula’s ruins were what the Aztecs called Tollan. Keywords Tula Á Tollan Á Toltec Á Cities Á Urbanism Á Archaeology Á Mesoamerica

Introduction To Mesoamericanists, ‘‘Tula’’ conjures up many topics that go far beyond the archaeological site itself in southern Hidalgo. Chief among these is its long-standing
D. M. Healan (&) Department of Anthropology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA e-mail:



J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115

association with Tollan, the legendary city of the Toltecs whose accounts in contactperiod sources have fascinated and puzzled generations of scholars and still provoke controversy today. No less controversial are its architectural and artistic parallels to ´ n Itza ´ (Fig. 1, E), which have been cited as proof of Tula’s status as Tollan Chiche ´ n Itza ´ ’s conquest by Toltecs. and the veracity of ethnohistorical accounts of Chiche While it would be difficult to focus at length on Tula without considering both of these issues, I am not directly concerned with questions surrounding its identifi´ n Itza ´ , for which the interested reader is cation as Tollan or its relationship to Chiche urged to consult a recent collection of papers on both subjects (Kowalski and Kristan-Graham 2007). Instead, my primary concern is with our knowledge of Tula and the surrounding region based on archaeological investigations since Acosta’s pioneering work in the mid-20th century. Although the archaeological evidence indicates that Tula was indeed the site the Aztecs called Tollan, I simply refer to it as Tula in light of evidence that ‘‘Tollan’’ is a larger cultural construct whose origins may go back at least as far as Teotihuacan ´ pez Luja ´ n and Lo ´ pez Austin 2009; Stuart 2000). For similar reasons, I do not use (Lo ‘‘Toltec’’ as a descriptor for Tula, despite its use as a formal time period in the Basin of Mexico. Tula is located in central Mexico (Fig. 1, A), an interior plateau with a long tradition of prehispanic (Mesoamerican) cities, beginning with Teotihuacan and ´ n. A disproportionately large number were located within ending with Tenochtitla the 8,000-km2 lacustrine basin known as the Basin of Mexico, whose long and

Fig. 1 Mesoamerica and central Mexico (inset) showing (A) Tula and other sites and localities discussed ´ n Itza ´ ; F, Cerro Portezuelo; in text: B, Teotihuacan; C, D, Ucareo and Pachuca obsidian sources; E, Chiche G, Cerritos; H, Carabino; I, Villa de Reyes


J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115


vibrant urban tradition has been the subject of numerous studies (e.g., Millon 1973; Sanders et al. 1979; Wolf 1976). Tula lies c. 30 km north of the basin in an area bounded on three sides by mountain ranges and dissected by streams that provide passage into neighboring regions (Fig. 2). The site is situated on the southwest corner of a broad alluvial plain that is today productive agricultural land enhanced by irrigation systems, some of which go back at least to the colonial era. Volcanism has produced numerous prominent hills, including the centrally located Cerro Xicuco, and mesas along the eastern flank. The site core occupies an elongated north–south upland along the Tula River that has been partially dissected to form two north–south lobes upon which are situated three large mound/plaza complexes (Fig. 3, inset). The southernmost complex constituted Tula’s political and religious center during its apogee; the northernmost is a smaller complex that appears to have been the political and religious center for Tula’s earliest settlement. The overall similarity in plan between the two led Matos (1974a) to suggest that the earlier mound complex had served as the prototype for the later one; he designated the two complexes Tula Chico and Tula Grande,

Fig. 2 Topographic map of the Tula region showing Tula’s urban limits (black) and other sites discussed in text: A, La Loma; B, Chingu; C, Acoculco; D, El Tesoro; E, La Mesa; F, Cerro La Ahumada (Mesa Grande)


Map appears to be oriented to magnetic north. Garcı accounts of the site. which in 1973 was c. Previous archaeological research In many respects the first archaeological investigations at Tula were conducted by ´a Cubas (1873) provided the earliest the Aztecs. 3 Topographic map of Tula (source: Yadeun 1974) showing mounds greater than 1 m in height and major monumental precincts (inset). 123 . 8. Charnay (1887) conducted exploratory excavations in and around Tula Grande in 1880.2°E respectively. The Plaza Charnay is named for the French explorer who conducted excavations there in 1880. although the site itself extends far beyond. Although no major work was conducted until 1940. The three complexes occupy most of the 1.56 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 Fig. In the post-conquest era.1-km2 area within the protected archaeological zone.

Chronology Acosta (1945. Moncayo 1999) have introduced new types and other modifications to Cobean’s ceramic typology and chronology. to refer not only to specific pottery and figurine types but also to larger ceramic and cultural complexes and a chronological period is an unfortunate and unending source of confusion. although most of the 17 ceramic types he defined for the and Perı Tula-Mazapan complex were present in both phases (Acosta 1945.. 1957. into two phases (Early Tollan and Late Tollan) based principally on the appearance and proliferation of Jara Polished 123 . 1983) have conducted numerous additional investigations at Tula and in the Tula region. ´a e Historia Beginning in 1940. 1999. elucidation of its settlement history and that of the surrounding region. During the late 1960 and 1970s. Herna et al.. as formulated by Cobean (1978. Estrada 2004. Mastache 1996a) and other institutions (Healan et al. Their major contributions include determination of Tula’s overall size. 1941. Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropologı (INAH). 1956– 1957. 4). 1956a. the last three of which pertain ´ ) phases plus to Aztec period occupations. Acosta’s use of the term ‘‘Mazapan’’ has little to do with the pottery type of the same name and instead follows Vaillant’s (1941) use of the term to refer to the larger cultural complex embracing all of preAztec Tula.’’ The current use of Mazapa. Bey 1986. under the direction of Jorge Acosta. in much the same way that others use ‘‘Toltec. so that each period had but two unique types. More recent studies (e. 1959. 1981. surface survey. pp. whose test excavations provided ceramic evidence for Tula’s intermediate placement with respect to Teotihuacan and the Aztecs. 1956–1957) provided the first ceramic typology and chronology for Tula. 1983. Abascal 1982. two comprehensive archaeological projects were conducted by INAH (Matos 1974b. and excavation at Tula and regional survey and excavation in the surrounding area. The current ceramic typology and chronology for Tula and the Tula region. 1974. originally embracing all of Tula’s Early Postclassic apogee. 1990). conducted extensive investigations at Tula over an 18-year period that focused on Tula Grande. 1976) and the University of Missouri (Diehl 1974. Although Acosta never wrote a definitive site report. 1961a. 55–56).’’ ´odo Antiguo The latter complex contained two phases.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 57 Tula was visited periodically by various scholars. designated Perı ´odo Reciente. 1945. Both projects involved mapping. including Vaillant (1938). 1944. Equihua 2003. pre-Aztec complex he called ‘‘Tula-Mazapan. or Mazapan. pp. Healan 1989). INAH (e. 1942. or periods. see Diehl 1989a for a summary). 1943. 1960. One particularly significant revision (Bey 1986. he published numerous detailed interim reports and several syntheses (Acosta 1940. Two earlier (La Mesa and Chingu ceramics associated with even earlier occupations were identified in the surrounding ´ ndez area. He recognized two distinct ceramic/cultural complexes. and a comprehensive ceramic chronology. b. Cobean 1982.g. one associated with the Aztec and the other an earlier.g. 307–314) involves splitting the Tollan phase. consists of eight ceramic complexes (Prado– Tesoro) and corresponding temporal phases (Fig. b. 1964.

p. For example. Vaillant (1938) reported that the predominant ceramic type encountered in exploratory excavations at Tula was what he called Mazapa Laquer on Yellow. it peaked in popularity well before its apogee. For whatever reason. Cobean. using it to define his Perı Cobean’s ceramic chronology revealed that Mazapa Red on Brown. the mischaracterization of Mazapa Red on Brown as diagnostic of Tula’s apogee obscures temporal relationships between Tula and the Basin of Mexico. as a temporal marker. or Wavy Line Mazapa. pp. Portions of the Basin of Mexico and Teotihuacan chronologies are omitted Orange (hereafter Jara) in the latter phase. is far less prevalent at Tula than previously thought. Smith 2007. In fact. ´odo Reciente (Acosta 1945. 123 . which he called Naranja a Brochazos. a type commonly regarded as diagnostic of Tula’s apogee. 583). 56). where Mazapa refers not only to a pottery type and a larger ceramic/ cultural complex but also a time period that many assume to be contemporaneous with Tula’s apogee (e. 4 Chronological chart of central Mexico. Acosta had previously recognized the importance of Jara. which almost certainly refers to Jara (R. Its previously exaggerated importance at Tula is in part the result of the initial use of Mazapa by Vaillant and others to embrace a number of largely unrelated types. personal communication 2009) and has no direct relationship to Mazapa Red on Brown..g.58 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 Fig.

54) Ferna There are 23 published radiocarbon dates with adequately documented contextual information for the Tula region (Table 1. 21) Healan and Cobean (2009. p. 3) from several ´ gico Tula (Abascal Macı ´as 1982). This does not include some additional 24 dates (Paredes 2005. p. p. p. fig. fig. 316) Mastache et al. p. fig. 21) Mastache et al. 54) Ferna Cobean and Mastache (1999. (2009. Indeed. 316) Mastache et al. 21) Healan and Cobean (2009. p. p. for various reasons Tula Grande is the only part of the ancient city of which most modern visitors to the site are aware. localities excavated by the Proyecto Arqueolo although little contextual or other information is currently available for these samples. fig. 5). 50) Diehl (1981. 316) Sterpone (2006a. 72) Cobean and Mastache (1999. 72) Cobean and Mastache (1999. p. fig. 316) Mastache et al. tabla 5) Sterpone (2000–2001. (2009. p. (2009. fig.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 59 Table 1 Radiocarbon dates for samples recovered from various excavation localities at Tula and other sites in the region discussed in text Lab/no. virtually all that was known archaeologically about Tula came from Acosta’s investigations at Tula Grande that recovered a wealth of sculpture and monumental architecture that for better or worse came to embody the entire city. p. fig. 281) ´ ndez (1994. p. (2009. 281) Diehl (1981. p. The monumental center: Tula Grande Until recently. fig. 72) Cobean and Mastache (1999. Fig. fig. fig. 21) Healan and Cobean (2009. fig. 21) Healan and Cobean (2009. a relatively small number considering the nearly 900-year span of prehispanic occupation. 54) Ferna ´ ndez (1994. (2009. 72) ´ ndez (1994. 123 . 316) Mastache et al. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w UAZ/5399 UAZ/5038 UAZ/5396 UAZ/5040 UAZ/5398 UAZ/5039 UAZ/5856 UAZ/5855 UAZ/5852 UAZ/5853 INAH/1989 INAH/1990 QL/132 QL/1020 QL/1021 QL/130 INAH/1773 UAZ/5402 UAZ/5401 UAZ/5404 UAZ/5405 INAH/317 INAH/1174 bp 1490 1300 1320 1250 1040 1490 1260 1245 1265 1240 1164 1092 1130 1110 1070 1020 1021 1530 1040 1050 830 739 710 Sigma 50 100 70 50 60 50 130 55 30 35 25 16 70 40 70 50 54 60 70 55 50 32 30 Site La Mesa La Mesa La Mesa La Mesa La Mesa Tula Chico Tula Chico Tula Chico Tula Chico Tula Chico Tula Grande Tula Grande Canal Canal Canal Canal Vivero Tepetitlan Tepetitlan Tepetitlan Tepetitlan Vivero Vivero Source Healan and Cobean (2009. 281) Diehl (1981. 281) Diehl (1981.

6. The only other temple/pyramid at Tula Grande is Building K on the south side of the main plaza. Mastache et al. 3. at least 10 m high. Although there are numerous large pyramidal structures in the area surrounding Tula Grande (Fig. but these include the two largest pyramids at the site. there are few such structures within Tula Grande itself. subsequent investigations have revealed that this is part of a later Aztec structure and that the original stairway.’’ each with a centrally located unroofed and often sunken patio or atrium (Fig. personal communication 2009). Calibration was performed using CALIB–5. 2002. 3). Each hall is unconnected to the others and enjoys its own access to the outside. Building 1. their placement and orientation are reminiscent of the Sun and Moon Pyramids at Teotihuacan. designated Building J. which contains three contiguous columned halls lined with benches decorated with painted friezes. The largest is Building 3. were encountered atop a low platform immediately to the east that was likewise heavily damaged. Cobean. Remains of a similar structure. and 4). was on the north (plaza) side (R. 6). is similar in form to the Sun Pyramid. pp. of which only traces remain. A common architectural form at Tula Grande consists of a large building containing two or more prominent ‘‘columned halls. Although excavation encountered a stairway on the south side of Building K.1 software (Stuiver and Reimer 1993) Architectural characteristics Tula Grande’s main plaza measures c. Buildings 1. Only a small portion of Building 4 was excavated by 123 . Pyramid C. where ongoing excavations (Getino 2000. the so-called Palacio Quemado. 113–114) encountered portions of its superstructure containing a single colonnade flanking an elongated columned gallery (Fig. 130 m 9 150 m and is flanked by various monumental constructions (Fig. contains at least two columned halls flanked by smaller rooms. Designated Pyramids B and C. the partially excavated Palace of Quetzalcoatl. including an abutting platform (cuerpo adosado) supporting its stairway. 5 Two-sigma ranges of calibrated radiocarbon dates for samples recovered from various excavation localities at Tula and other sites in the region discussed in text (full information on each sample is listed in Table 1).60 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 Fig. 6).

pp. likewise suggested by reliefs along benches in Buildings 3 and 4 that depict processions involving 123 . 45 m north–south and 60 m east–west and contains two columned halls and smaller flanking rooms. Subsequent excavations (Mastache et al. and 4 as palaces. 301–304) have exposed over half of Building 4. The spacious columned halls suggest more public activities. Some scholars have challenged Acosta’s interpretation of Buildings 1. which measures c. 3. chiefly because the combination of large central halls and small peripheral rooms and their lack of interconnectivity make them poorly designed for residential life.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 61 Fig. 2009. who nonetheless also interpreted it as a palace based on its size and grand (9 m wide) entranceway. 6 Plan of Tula Grande monumental precinct Acosta.

1960. suggesting activities involving groups of people. la few intact remains other than a base or scar in the floor where they once stood. and a garment made of hundreds of finely carved shell plaques (Cobean and Mastache 2003. and in distinctive ways. or tabular pieces of stone laid in courses. censers. Two broken ollas encountered on the floor of a small room in Building 4 may have been associated with group activity. pp. mortared with lime or mud. 18). fig. 375 columns appear in various configurations at Tula Grande. including the so-called Atlanteans. 18. 20–23). is the Temple of the Eagles at ´ n. including Chiche ´ m.’’ Acosta’s artistic license in this regard has been rightly criticized by Molina (1982). who asserts that Acosta deliberately created them to enhance the resemblance between Tula and ´ n Itza ´ . warrior columns. and mode of construction (Healan 2001). Klein (1987.6 m) Atlanteans are among the best-known prehispanic sculptures in Mesoamerica. 34–37). fig. Both are located on the east side of an L-shaped colonnaded vestibule Tenochtitla and contain porticos with an altar along the interior wall at the main entrance flanked by benches with procession scenes carved in relief. in his own words. shape. Most columns were square and constructed of stone masonry. 43) who intentionally gave them. XV. There is. Their original provenience is unknown. a pyrite mirror. as noted below. excavation beneath the floor of Building 3 encountered an elaborate offering containing marine fauna. no compelling evidence that any of the structures inside Tula Grande were residential in function. figs. These were encountered disarticulated in the ruins of the pyramid. 146) suggests they may have been atop Pyramid C. leaving often with a timber core (Acosta 1960. 2009. that his reconstructed photographic evidence (Acosta 1945. each contains at least one columned hall. These included serving vessels and braziers. fig. The ‘‘colossal’’ (4. p. Remains of c. 94). therefore. Rather. including colonnades. 307) suggests that the Temple of the Eagles was the scene of autosacrifice and other activities associated with warfare. and their present location atop Pyramid B reflects Acosta’s belief that they had been columns for its superstructure. 200 vessels grouped by type was encountered beneath a fallen roof at the east end of the vestibule on the north side (Acosta 1945. including one illustrated by Charnay (1887. la columns were erected where prehispanic columns had once stood and are an accurate reflection of their size. XV). as noted by Molina (1987). and serpent columns atop Pyramid B. all of the extant masonry columns at Tula Grande were reconstructed in full by Acosta (1961a. palaces and other elite residences may have been located elsewhere. More recently. However. 303–304). Tula Grande’s columns include monolithic anthropomorphic and zoomorphic forms. and often covered with 123 . A signature element is the use of small-stone veneer. pp. but parts of at least four other Atlanteans also have been found at Tula (de la Fuente et al. p.24). perhaps in the surrounding Monumental Precinct. Acosta provides abundant documentation. ´ m. p. Mastache et al. An unusual cache of c.62 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 numerous individuals. Getino 2000. a closer Aztec analog. although Acosta (1944. p. 2009. While Mastache and Cobean suggest that the plan of the excavated portion of Building 4 resembles that of Aztec palaces (Mastache et al. and tobacco pipes. In fact. Tula’s monumental construction utilized a variety of building materials. ‘‘…un aspecto ruinoso para no desentonar con el resto del edificio. 3. 1988.

2–4). and soil rather than unconsolidated rubble.17). but at least Buildings 3 and 4 contain adobe-block walls.g. easily discernible surface remains. numerous Aztec offerings have been encountered in the ruins of Tula Grande. 115). Particularly surprising is the widespread use of mud rather than lime as mortar in walls of stone construction. a common technique in Mesoamerica. cobbles. while highly characteristic of Tula’s monumental construction. Probable skull rack During exploration of Ballcourt 2 in the 1960s. a single talud or sloping body faced with small-stone veneer with traces of lime plaster. Inside the platform Matos encountered what he described as an ‘‘offering box’’ containing a ‘‘large blade or knife’’ (my translations). Tula Grande’s use of mud-mortared stone or adobe-block walls covered with decorative facades prompted Covarrubias’s (1957. Substructure platforms were constructed of fill enclosed by stone masonry. More precise dating of this structure 123 . paint. are directly visible today. or tzompantli. where structures constructed of stone and concrete have left ubiquitous. figs. smallstone veneer. but the use of small-stone veneer. but its use in monumental construction is more elaborate.’’ The preference for adobe blocks and mud mortar at Tula Grande may be less a reflection of ‘‘hucksterism’’ than an architectural tradition whose roots may be embedded in the cultural milieu of Tula Grande’s builders. 273) oft-cited dictum that ‘‘these buildings were meant to impress. Compared to Teotihuacan. As described below. altars. for which an interesting variant involved courses of pottery sherds instead of tabular stone (e. terms that until recently usually referred to bifaces rather than prismatic or percussion blades. columns. although a variety of methods are required to discern them. Covarrubias is accurate in his assessment of the poor long-term durability of Tula’s architecture. particularly domestic structures. associated ceramics suggest the structure is Aztec.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 63 lime plaster. or some combination of these. p.. At the same time. Small-stone veneer was commonly applied to benches. but in some cases the fill involved courses of boulders. remains of a rectangular platform and an adjacent smaller one were encountered immediately to the east and appear to be a skull rack. It also is encountered in domestic architecture. and even whole pyramids (e. fig. including bifaces inside stone boxes or other containers. The extant platform is unreconstructed beyond consolidation of its outer wall. even ‘‘adobe cities’’ such as Tula leave surface traces.g. According to Matos. Beyond what is mentioned in the official INAH guidebook and in printed information at the archaeological zone. Acosta 1974. involving walls up to a meter thick faced with mud or lime plaster. is not a feature of Aztec construction at Tula. there is little published information about the structure other than a brief description (Matos 1972. However. Healan 1989. often on structures interpreted as domestic altars. Walls were commonly constructed of stone cobbles laid in courses. Adobe-block construction is also quite common in Tula’s domestic architecture. very few of Tula’s structures. but not to last. despite the abundance of lime and its widespread use as a decorative plaster. to judge from the numerous fragments of human teeth and crania that were found on top. p. 12..

2002. easily weathered. or reclining human figures. or vice versa. there are two encyclopedic treatments of Tula’s sculpture (de la Fuente et al. pp. 1982). or warriors (Kristan-Graham 1993. presumably of local manufacture. 2007. Kelley 1978.7). unfortunately. 2002). that may be older than those at either Tula or Chiche Although the Tula Grande mound/plaza complex is perhaps the most prominent feature. in-theround sculpture. XVIb). 14). 1993. is bas relief. (2) processions of canines. Tula’s sculpture generally is made of volcanic rock. Aside from the painted friezes. made on panels of soft volcanic rock that is easily carved and. columned halls. A large number of panels were recovered from the columned halls in Building 3. and skull racks at sites in northern Mexico (Hers 1989. fig. The nature of these similarities and who had them first have been subject to debate among Mesoamerican archaeologists and art historians for more than a century. la Acosta’s explorations documented a remarkably high degree of similarity in the ´ n Itza ´ . Some is free-standing. (Acosta 1964. Many of the mud or lime-plaster wall coatings retained traces of paint. Mastache et al. art and architecture of Tula and Chiche atop pyramids. XVIa. however. although this is to some extent a result of poor preservation. felines. The most dramatic forms of repetitive art include (1) painted reliefs in and around Building 3 depicting processions of elaborately attired individuals with paraphernalia that suggest merchants. including broad horizontal bands of red. Similarities in sculpture involve not only the same media and modes of human and animal representation but also highly specific details of costume and accoutrements. Tula’s monumental art stresses repetition. and raptoral birds along Pyramid B. including the numerous recliningfigure bas relief panels depicting elaborately attired humans in a supine pose typically clutching staffs or weapons (Mastache et al. rulers. we have little other evidence of painting or murals at Tula Grande.64 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 is important in order to determine whether the famous tzompantli at Tenochtitlan was copied from Tula. The debate has grown more complex with the discovery of colonnades. 1988. The use of columns in colonnades. including the colossal Atlanteans and serpent columns atop Pyramid B and the equally well-known chacmools. Monumental art Acosta recovered numerous sculptures that exhibit a corpus of distinctive artistic and stylistic traits often labeled ‘‘Toltec. Mastache et al. fig. and black in Building 3. 2009. it is but one component of a larger zone of mounds and plazas that form a 123 .’’ which I describe here only briefly. 300. and (3) processions of serpents engorging or disgorging human skeletons along the coatepantli. or serpent wall. where they appear to have lined the open ceilings of the interior patios. yellow. 303). 10. Most of Tula’s sculpture. Nelson 1997) ´ n Itza ´ (Aveni et al. given at least one rural site with evidence of such (Mastache et al. and inside columned halls and galleries and the use of benches constitute the most salient similarities between the two sites. 2009. at least 20 from one hall alone. ´ nez Garcia 1998) and several studies of more specific aspects (Kristan-Graham Jime 1989. portions of a mural depicting a procession of at least two individuals was encountered in Building 1 ´ m.

Canal (Healan 1989). Excavations of three large mounds in this area (Fig. b. d.d. e. p. l. Museo Acosta (Paredes 1992). a. h. p. (2002) and excavation localities discussed in text: a. Zapata II (Paredes 1990). Pozo 16 (Paredes 1990). r. u. Vivero (Ferna ´culo 1 (Paredes (Acosta 1974). Unnamed (Excelsior 1 December 2009) 123 . Montı ´ ndez Reyes et al.). 1982). El Corral 1989). Mormon Church (Mastache et al. Charnay 1887). Colonia Pemex 1990). La Nopalera (Paredes 1990). 2002). Daini (Pen ´ ndez 1994). v. Fig. Canadia School (Mastache et al. 1999). k. 156. m. q. Building 2 ´guez 1976). Zona Urbana Norte (Getino n. 2002). f. well-constructed buildings that appear to have been residential (Acosta 1944. i. Cruz (Healan et al. U98 (Herna (Matos 1976). j. t. Toltec House (Charnay 1887). o. 3). c. k) encountered large. Toltec Palace (Charnay 1887). b. 2002). n. s. 7.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 65 larger monumental precinct covering most of the surrounding hilltop (Fig. Corral (Healan ˜ a and Rodrı (Acosta 1944). 7 Planimetric map of Tula (source: Stoutamire 1975) showing urban limits as defined by Mastache et al. suggesting that palaces and other residences of Tula’s ruling class were situated in the surrounding area. Viaducto (Paredes 1990). U27-28 (Mastache et al. g.

000 persons. While a direct correlation between mound and occupation density might be assumed. pp. and likely represent residential structures. Paredes 1990). The paucity of visible structural remains has hampered efforts to estimate Tula’s population at its height. in which each component family occupied a separate building or house. including determination of its overall size. which are the vast majority identified on the photogrammetric images (Yadeun 1975. 284) figure of 32. 1993. 1975) identified over 1.000 persons/km2. and apartment compounds. Healan and Cobean (Healan 1989. 4 km. in part because the two are often not easy to distinguish. INAH’s photogrammetric mapping project (Yadeun 1974. Yadeun 1974. encompassing a remarkably diverse landscape of hills. assume a smaller settlement and lower density than the survey data suggest. with a maximum north– south length of c. p. 3). spaciousness.000 mounds a meter or more in height whose distribution forms distinct clusters of varying size and density (Fig. 2009a. p. three separate investigations (Healan and Stoutamire 1989. 245) suggest a minimal population of 60. some examples of which are shown in Fig. p. then estimated at 12 km2. plains. Residential structures exhibit considerable variability in quality of construction. 8. 69–70). particularly with limited exposure. Most of the 22 localities show clustered arrangements of rooms or whole buildings interpreted to be residential compounds that housed multiple families (Healan 2009a). 24) figure of 19. p. I have previously characterized these as two distinct types: house compounds. In retrospect this distinction is probably of limited value. Mastache and Crespo 1982. 15). this does not appear to be the case given that some of the highest densities of Tollan complex pottery from the Missouri project survey occur in areas where few mounds were identified. and other decorative elements that may reflect differential status. Although utilizing different approaches (Healan 2009a. the photogrammetric map does not include mounds under a meter in height.000–37. Other estimates. Residential life Residential structures have been encountered in excavations in at least 22 different localities within the ancient city (Fig. Construction utilized the same methods and materials seen at Tula Grande but with greater use of adobe. or house groups. featuring exterior walls of mud-mortared stone foundations overlain by courses of adobe blocks. and even brackish marsh (Figs.66 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 Beyond Tula Grande: The Tollan phase city Since Acosta’s pioneering work at Tula Grande.000–35.000. in which each occupied a portion of a single building. 1975) have focused on the larger city.000 and Diehl’s (1981. including Yadeun’s (1975. a figure initially proposed by Stoutamire (1975) based on Tula’s overall size. paint. and Sanders and Price’s (1967) minimum urban density figure of 5. 7) and are the subject of several relatively detailed studies (Healan 1989. these investigations reveal that at its height Tula covered an area of about 16 km2. 3 and 7). The clearest examples of apartment 123 . alluvial valleys. In addition. and use of plaster. 6 km and a maximum width of c.

five houses definitely contained hearths. hearths. while 123 . That these 22 localities were residential in function is indicated by associated artifacts and features that include utilitarian pottery. of which the best examples include three juxtaposed compounds exposed in the canal locality (Fig. g). A common feature in both house and apartment compounds is a centrally located interior or exterior courtyard that apparently served as common space and the focus of activity involving the entire compound.g. Letters refer to localities listed in Fig. metates. even among structures within individual compounds. b).J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 67 Fig. well-built structures with plaster-covered and possibly painted floors and walls that suggest elite residences. House compounds. and in situ braziers. Figs. show considerable variability in form and quality. 7 and 8. 8. a. 7 compounds at Tula are spacious. three of which are located within the monumental precinct (e.. In the canal locality. 8 Plans of selected residential structures from various localities excavated at Tula.

4. 242–243). kernels). pozole. or. it is unlikely that the compounds in these 22 localities are a representative sample of Tula’s households. but maize and amaranth were encountered at several ´ lez and Montufar 1980). p. It is reasonable to assume that some portion of Tula’s residents were farmers. 287.e. seemingly in the company of other families engaged in the same activity. although the large basalt and rhyolite tools found at rural sites that may have been used in agricultural activity do not appear to have been part of the urban household assemblage.68 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 possible food preparation areas. The consumption of nixtamal at Tula and the Tula region is indicated by remains of pozol (i. As discussed below.. censers. 243) to suggest that cazuelas or some other vessel may have been used for this purpose. identified by whole metates and associated pottery vessels. (2002. Their central prominent location suggests activities that involved all member households. Obsidian core/blade production Obsidian artifacts are second only to pottery sherds in abundance at Tula. This led Mastache et al. more intriguingly. probably the chief form in which maize was consumed in prehispanic Mesoamerica. Economy and subsistence The most detailed information on diet and subsistence comes from rural sites in Tula’s hinterland (see below). obsidian core/blade and ceramic vessel production. and the vast majority. while ritual activity at a higher level is indicated by structures interpreted as altars in the courtyards of many residential compounds. Craft production Evidence for craft production consists largely of by-products of manufacture recovered in both excavation and survey. 2002. The most abundant evidence involves two utilitarian craft activities. localities within the city (Diehl 1981. and at least three altars containing human burials suggest veneration of a common ancestor and the likelihood that the component families were related. A temple/pyramid in the canal locality may indicate ritual activity at the local neighborhood level. 234. and possibly tamales (Gonza pp. Braziers. balls of maize ´ lez 1999. Surprisingly. The spatial and contextual segregation of possible cooking versus food preparation areas suggests that cooking and presumably eating were largely familyspecific activities while some food preparation was commonly performed outdoors. Mastache et al. were generally located in and around exterior courtyards (Healan 2009a. perhaps 95–99%.5). however. 147. consists of segments of prismatic blades 123 . that tortillas were not the principal form in which maize was consumed at Tula. and human figurines suggest household-level ritual activity. pp. p. fig. ceramic griddles (comales) used in the preparation of tortillas from ground nixtamal are infrequent in both the city and the hinterland compared to their relatively high frequency at contemporaneous sites in the Basin of Mexico. Gonza Metates recovered from many of Tula’s excavated residential compounds suggest grinding of maize prepared by nixtamalization.

1. have been parts of other kilns destroyed by plowing (Herna Of particular interest was the recovery of numerous fragments of fired ceramic molds apparently used to make shallow bowls and dishes that form a major component of the Tollan phase ceramic assemblage. Both the residential compound and the outdoor work area were relatively free of production waste. A second core/ ´ ndez 1986. This included a partially intact updraft kiln and loose. pp. While these are mostly various forms of plates and bowls. and pastes. 1994) was excavated at the Vivero locality to the blade workshop (Ferna north (Figs. 150 km to the west (Fig. C). H) partially exposed a workshop that contained distinct living. 167–169) encountered overfired and warped sherds and other wasters over an area of about 2. during systematic reexamination of the site’s boundaries. D). p. Mastache and Crespo (1982. 1999). constituting 80–95% of Tula’s obsidian by the Late Tollan phase. 7. most of which was encountered in a peripheral refuse dump underlying the highest surface obsidian densities in the locality. 7 and 8. forms. However. This suggests that surface hot spots generally mark dumps rather than actual work sites. including representatives of three different ceramic wares defined by Cobean. Crespo and Mastache 1973.’’ Highway salvage excavations in the U98 locality near the north end (Fig. 7). vitrified adobe blocks presumed to ´ ndez Reyes et al. 7). although core platform grinding appears to have taken place inside the residential compound (Healan 2009b). Associated wasters indicate that the U98 locality produced at least seven major Tollan phase ceramic types. 1983) and produced prismatic cores and blades from imported polyhedral (percussion) cores (Healan 2002. Pottery production No evidence of pottery production loci was encountered in either the Missouri project or the Proyecto Tula urban surveys. 2003). Mastache et al. 7. and architectural decorative elements. the Vivero work areas appear to have been located inside rooms and patios of the residential compound. 1. A more systematic survey (Pastrana 1977) revealed numerous localized ‘‘hot spots’’ presumed to mark individual production loci. Obsidian residue indicate that the actual core/blade reduction loci were located outdoors (Healan 1997). which subsequent excavations exposed at two localities within the larger surface concentrations. n) partially exposed a residential compound containing numerous wasters and other kiln furniture. 2002. f). and refuse dumping areas (Healan 1986. 123 . spindle whorls.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 69 intentionally broken for uses that probably involved hafting (Healan 1992a. which they interpreted as a ‘‘potters’ barrio.5 km2 along the extreme eastern edge of the site (Fig. Over Ucareo-Zinape time Tula came to rely increasingly on the Pachuca (Hidalgo) source c. they embrace a wide variety of styles. Healan et al. The locality apparently also engaged in limited manufacture of ceramic figurines. Tula’s earliest (Prado/Corral) settlement obtained most of its obsidian from the ´ cuaro (Michoaca ´ n) source c. although the two were probably not very far apart (Healan 1992b). 451). Excavations at the Cruz locality (Fig. working. 70 km to the east (Fig. Probable obsidian production loci at Tula came to light when a surface survey encountered several anomalous concentrations of core/blade debitage in the eastern portion of the city (Fig. Unlike the Cruz locality.

It must not be assumed. Discussion The relatively high quality of many of the residential compounds excavated to date. including a cache of Tohil plumbate and Central American polychrome vessels in the canal locality (Diehl et al. a by-product of the drilling-out stage of vessel manufacture. 7). Nine of 36 spindle whorls recovered in the Missouri project survey are likewise clustered in the monumental precinct. On the other hand. In the upper levels. None are from the fringe where lower-status individuals may have lived. Other craft production Possible production areas for mold-made ceramic (Mazapan) human figurines are indicated by surface concentrations of figurine fragments. Evidence for other utilitarian craft activities at Tula include salt making. As noted above. Moreover. Alternatively. The relatively small number (19) recovered in the latter locality and the absence of finished or unfinished vessels suggest that the plugs were obtained elsewhere and reused in some fashion. Proa and Joroba. p. the single most diagnostic Late Tollan type. pp. suggests activities involving use rather than manufacture (Pastrana 1977). Additional evidence in the form of cylindrical drill plugs of tecali. Nearby is a surface concentration of obsidian unifaces (scrapers) that given the absence of debitage. 57) and the discovery of what appears to be a kiln where ceramic tubes used to drain or transport water were fired (Healan 1989. both of which are diagnostic Early Tollan types. 13 of 17 tecali plugs recovered in surface survey came from the monumental precinct north and west of Tula Grande. Guatemala (Aoyama 2007. Evidence of possible tecali (travertine) vessel manufacture at Tula was previously reported by Castillo (1970). along with other indicators of affluence. including Jara. Inomata 2001) and Teotihuacan (Manzanilla 2006). tecali vessels may have been produced by nonelite craft specialists who were ‘‘tethered’’ to elite households. 29. elite residences may have been located in this area. In the lowest levels. suggest they were of relatively high status. suggesting cloth production.70 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 The locality’s ceramic assemblage provides support for the proposed Early Tollan/Late Tollan phase division based on production rather than consumption. however. or perhaps these drill plugs are reused objects as was suggested for those in the canal locality. which was an important activity among the Aztec elite classes (Evans 2001). was recovered in the Missouri project survey and in excavation at the canal locality (Diehl and Stroh 1978). fig. similar to ‘‘high craft’’ activities recently identified at Aguateca. production involved principally other Tollan phase types. ceramic production involved mainly two types. 123 . tecali vessel manufacture may have been an activity associated with elite households. that these 22 localities are representative of Tula’s households because a disproportionately large number of them are from the central portion of the city (Fig. suggesting that this may have been an area where tecali vessel manufacture occurred. including one figurine mold fragment in the northeastern portion of the city. 1974). as indicated by salt-pan fragments recovered from around El Salitre marsh (Yadeun 1975. 254–259).

estimated at less than one core reduced per day (Healan 1992a. spindle whorls. The Cruz locality obsidian workshop also contained evidence of the manufacture of shell and bone objects and various items made from prismatic blades. On the contrary. Noting the small volume of extant craft production. however. Similarly. ceramic and lithic production was more specialized and involved relatively few of Tula’s households. p. excavators intentionally selected prominent surface mounds that are likely associated with more substantial architectural remains of higher-status households. 123 . Thus the sample of localities excavated to date is probably biased towards relatively affluent households. most notably trilobal eccentrics (Stocker and Spence 1973). or multicrafting (Feinman and Nicholas 2000. apparently a common practice in prehispanic Mesoamerica (Hirth 2009). 5). p. it seems unlikely that the larger ceramic production zone would have escaped detection in two previous surveys had there been more substantial surface evidence. there is evidence that both ceramic and lithic workshops engaged in multiple craft activities. at least initially. This also may be true of Tula’s ceramic workshops given the small size and small number of kilns in the U98 locality. while the U98 ceramic workshop also manufactured figurines.5). each engaged in a low volume of production. Craft production appears to have occurred generally in a domestic setting. 453). p. While the prospect of numerous workshops. just as pottery production did. it appears unlikely to have been a major source of wealth for the city. Of particular importance is Mastache’s (1996a. 268) that Tula’s populace appears to have been mostly nonfood producers. it appears that the Cruz locality obsidian workshop engaged in a low volume of production. seems counterintuitive. History of settlement of Tula and the Tula region Knowledge of Tula’s settlement history comes from excavation at Tula and other sites and from regional survey. as detailed below. fig. 136. which agrees with other evidence that household-based craft production was the norm in Mesoamerica (Feinman and Nicholas 2000). Its location in one of the densest hot spots within the larger obsidian surface concentration suggests that a low volume was characteristic of the entire production zone. This may explain Sanders and Santley’s assertion (1983. low output was indicated for three core/blade workshops recently excavated at Xochicalco (Hirth 2006. which I believe is unlikely. Other possible evidence of multicrafting includes the surface concentration of obsidian unifaces in the same general area where there is evidence of figurine production. 276). Surprisingly. While some was probably nonspecialized activity engaged in by most households for their own consumption. Tula was probably dependent upon its hinterland for much of what it consumed. This embodies the concept of ‘‘workshop’’ as the term has come to be used and is well illustrated by refuse dumps in the Cruz locality that show individual deposits containing mixed core/blade debitage and domestic refuse (Healan 2009b. and architectural decorative elements. table 8.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 71 in many localities. p. It is likely that evidence for other craft production at Tula went undetected. Hirth 2006.

Subsequent excavations (Cobean 1974) revealed that Chupı ceramics are not limited to burials and in fact constitute as much as 5% of the decorated pottery at the site (R. 13–17). i. designated La Loma. including a burial. 2002. Three of the four sites are small settlements. or other small sites. Numerous rectangular stone fragments suggest the use Proyecto Tula (Dı of the distinctive talud-tablero facade characteristic of Teotihuacan monumental architecture. The vast majority of settlements are what Mastache (1996a) calls ‘‘dispersed’’ sites.5 km (Fig. the largest of which. The earliest well-defined settlements are Late Formative.. with Chingu been heavily damaged but not before it was systematically investigated by INAH’s ´az 1980). its sustaining area must have included more than the three small sites identified in survey. These remains. 15 ha of a mesa at the south end of the survey area (Fig. covers an area of over monumental architecture. where there are other sites with both ´cuaro ceramics (McBride 1969. Gamboa. If La Loma were a regional center. nucleated sites with dense surface artifact cover and ´ . 2. while the other. Its location at the apex of Ticoman and Chupı an area of major settlement to the south is consistent with that for ‘‘gateway communities’’ as defined by Hirth (1978). suggest an Early/Middle Formative period settlement of unknown size. 1956) ´cuaro tradition of southern encountered burials with ceramics of the Chupı ´cuaro Guanajuato. with four sites containing predominantly Ticoman III ceramics (Mastache et al. B). ´ phase sites suggests a The variability in size and complexity among the Chingu ´ at the top. Exploratory excavations in La Loma’s ceremonial center (Cook de Leonard et al. A). The latter site has possible four-tiered settlement hierarchy. 44). 2. 1982).72 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 Mastache et al. temporary camps. personal communication 2006).e. La Loma’s supporting area may be the northern part of the Basin of Mexico immediately to the south (Fig. Chingu 2 2. B). Cobean. surface scatters that may represent homesteads. 475 visible mounds. 1974). covers c. 2002) intensive survey of the immediate region around Tula that grew out of a preliminary survey conducted as part of the Proyecto Tula (Mastache and Crespo 1974. some of which are 123 . exhibiting diagnostic Tzacualli through Metepec phase ceramics of Classic Teotihuacan located less than 70 km to the southeast (Fig. The site contained c. pp. additional settlements may lie beneath alluvium or some of the later Classic period settlements. Earliest settlement The earliest evidence of settlement consists of Early/Middle Formative pottery recovered from construction sites in downtown Tula de Allende in 1977 and 2008 (L. hereafter referred to as the survey area. p. However. given its location. 1). Classic period settlement ´ phase. Mastache and Crespo 1982. There also are 12 large. substantial settlement appeared in the During the Classic period Chingu survey area. Mastache’s intensive survey covered the area within a 17-km radius of the ancient city. personal communication 2008. 1.

Puebla (Garcı ´ appear to have been made in the image of 1993). ´ phase settlement was under the control There seems little doubt that the Chingu of Teotihuacan. Indeed. and the Toluca Valley (Sugiura and Angulo 1981). and includes a prominent interior ´az’s map suggests that mound like the Ciudadela’s Feathered Serpent Pyramid. located north of Tula. Hirth ´a Cook 1981). Indeed. fig. its sheer magnitude compared to the previous Late Formative settlement suggests outright colonization by those with close ties to Teotihuacan. ´ phase settlement hierarchy includes three sites. Notable differences between the two sites include the ´ of counterparts of Teotihuacan’s Sun and Moon Pyramids. (2002. 2002. 2009). which absence at Chingu may underscore their construction and perhaps greater importance before Teotihuacan became the center of a macroregional empire. pp. 4. 59) suggest that lime exploitation was a major activity of ´ phase settlement in the region. some of which contain monumental architecture. ´ phase occupation at the There is currently no evidence for any significant Chingu site of Tula itself. All eight are situated in the southern and eastern periphery of the survey area and include two sites with a strong Oaxacan affiliation. 59). fig. Dı structures were arranged along north–south and east–west axes that intersect in front of La Campana. Conversely. This was confirmed by recent X-ray the Chingu fluorescence (XRF) analysis that identified these deposits as the source of lime for at least one Teotihuacan apartment compound (Barba et al. 35. despite its favorable location at the confluence of two rivers and the relatively high density of settlement in the immediate vicinity. although many aspects of Chingu Teotihuacan. The fourth level includes the numerous dispersed sites already noted. ´ itself is situated at the terminus of Mastache et al.2). is comparable in form to Teotihuacan’s Ciudadela. The third level includes eight smaller nucleated sites of about 10–15 ha. The second level of the Chingu each about 80 ha. 2002. including a level 2 site less than 2 km to the north. Chingu one of these canals (Mastache et al. Thus it is reasonable to suggest ´ phase settlement was the exploitation of lime and that a major activity of the Chingu agricultural resources. These mounds include two orientation of Teotihuacan (Dı rectangular enclosures. at least one of which also exhibits evidence of talud/tablero architecture and a Ciudadela-like enclosure. ´ phase sites are situated along two irrigation particularly as a number of Chingu canals that are at least as old as the colonial period (Mastache and Crespo 1974. the largest of which. presumably for the Teotihuacan state. 3). although smaller. a second Ciudadela-like compound immediately east of La Campana has no obvious counterpart at Teotihuacan. 123 . as do the north–south and east–west avenues in front of the Ciudadela at Teotihuacan. Given the extensive calcareous deposits in the immediate region and the considerable volume of lime used at Teotihuacan (Barba and Frunz 1999).J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 73 rectangular in form and whose orientation approximates the 15°300 east of north ´az 1980. Likewise. Mastache et al. the agriculturally productive alluvial plain may have been an important resource. La Campana. p. as described below. Similar instances of intrusive settlement systems attributed to Teotihuacan have been documented in Morelos (Angulo and Hirth 1981.

D). slab-lined trench Oaxacan ceramics (Herna ´ n II tombs. Oaxacan pottery constitutes 50–60% of identifiable ceramics (Dı ceramics at two level 3 sites. which occupy nonadjacent ´o Tula near the southern limits of the region hilltops along a tributary of the Rı ´ n II and IIIa (Fig. pp. noted below. 103) suggests that at least some of these immigrants may have been specialists in the production of lime. Mastache et al. 2002. yielding skeletal remains and grave goods that included a variety of ´ ndez 1994). and some appear to be locally made (Crespo and Mastache 1981. pp. possibly for stone and forest products (Polgar 1998. Lo likewise interpreted as outright colonization by Teotihuacan. 1991). The tomb was a narrow. Teotihuacan and the ‘‘Zapotec diaspora’’ in the Tula region ´ phase sites contain ceramics of Oaxacan affiliation in addition to Many Chingu ´ . 93–96. cited in Crespo and Mastache 1981. Lo ´ phase contained low frequencies of Oaxacan ceramics. 57–59) suggest that the Zapotec presence in the Tula region is likely linked to Teotihuacan. El Tesoro and Acoculco may have been Zapotec enclaves given their predominantly Zapotec ceramic assemblage and funerary architecture. given the well-known Zapotec enclave there (Millon 1973. 1998. Sanders (personal communication 1976. (1998) suggest that these sites. This region includes the Pachuca obsidian source (Fig. one of which was excavated. The Teotihuacan-related occupation is confined to the southern portion of the Valle del Mezquital. 29–31). the location of 123 . however. These settlements contain ceramics of the Xajay tradition. 44–45). although the reasons for what Spence (2005) has termed ‘‘a Zapotec diaspora’’ in central Mexico are not known. 1998. of preexisting settlements to the ´ pez Aguilar et al. although there are other possible explanations for their location. personal communication 2009). some of which control. Cobean. Mastache et al. (2002. C. In this regard. where they are 7% of decorated diagnostic Teotihuacan ceramics including Chingu ´az 1981. ´ pez Aguilar 1994. a craft that in Oaxaca goes back to the Early Formative period (Flannery and Marcus 1994). Spence 1992). p. north that may have restricted Teotihuacan expansion (Lo pp. Acoculco and El Tesoro. pp. There is evidence. 1. 30–32) and are pp. 109). Two other possible tombs were encountered in the wake of a recent housing development at El Tesoro (R. associated ´o that span the Classic and Epiclassic periods (Nalda with sites in the eastern Bajı 1975. D). p. Lo ´ pez Aguilar et al. At least two Zapotec-style tombs have been identified at El Tesoro. with steps at one end and a slab roof and similar in form to Monte Alba floor. 102. a reasonable assumption given the size of Chingu and its intermediate location. which may indicate the northern limits of rainfall agriculture.74 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 Numerous sites with Teotihuacan ceramics also are present in the southern portion of the Valle del Mezquital along Tula’s northern flank (Fournier 2007. were an extension of Chingu ´ settlement from the Tula region. 57). The Tula region thus provides additional evidence of systematic interaction between central Mexico and the Valley of Oaxaca. p. p. Identifiable Oaxacan ceramics are diagnostic Monte Alba types (Caso et al. 1967). This may explain the location of these two sites at the northern threshold of the Basin of Mexico. 2. which various authors have suggested was under Teotihuacan’s ´ pez Aguilar et al.

g. p. Others (Garcı ´ Gomez and Cabrera 2006. fig. The demise of Teotihuacan was felt throughout Mesoamerica (Diehl and Berlo 1989) and is the defining event of the Classic/Epiclassic boundary (Diehl and Berlo ´ nez Moreno 1959. there was occupation at Teotihuacan during the Epiclassic period that. Rattray 2006. 56. Sanders 1986. A. Cowgill 1996. interpreted as evidence of relatively dense but less extensive occupation. 2001) proposed pushing this date back at least a century (Fig. 53–56). p. Rattray 1996. pp. the Xolalpan phase (Lo end of Metepec phase Teotihuacan was dated to c. Manzanilla 2005. Rattray 1996. Classic to Epiclassic The Classic/Epiclassic period transition in central Mexico is marked by two events: (1) the demise of Teotihuacan by the end of the Metepec phase and (2) the appearance of a distinctive ceramic complex known as Coyotlatelco throughout much of central Mexico. 2006. Diehl 1989b. p. 148) believe that Epiclassic Teotihuacan not only functioned as a coherent settlement but ´a Cha ´ vez et al. 1979. 206) argue that Teotihuacan was a discontinuous landscape of hamlets or villages with ‘‘no central organization and large unoccupied zones in between’’ (Rattray 1996. First identified in excavations near Atzcapotzalco in the basin (Tozzer 1921). pp. Sanders et al. Armillas 1950.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 75 El Tesoro and Acoculco may be explained by their proximity to the calcareous deposits in the southern portion of the survey area. On the other hand. Sugiura 2006. This revision appears to have gained general acceptance with relatively little fanfare or controversy.. 4). 129. Proponents of a substantial settlement appear to base their opinion on the surface distribution of Coyotlatelco ceramics. p. while more recent 123 . It was also during this time that initial settlement occurred at Tula. Although evidence of burning and other 1989. Despite its demise. Teotihuacan may already have been in a state of decline by the ´ pez Perez et al. 750 (Millon 1973. Solar 2006). however. Coyotlatelco’s Epiclassic dating is based largely on its occurrence in post-Metepec contexts at Teotihuacan (e. but over a decade ago at least two researchers (Cowgill 1996. opponents base their opinion on excavations at various localities that show either a lack of Epiclassic occupation or one involving insubstantial construction or reoccupation of Classic structures. Webb 1978). Until recently. Rattray 1996. rather violent end (Millon 1996). p. 216–217. Recent evidence (Manzanilla 2003. Rattray (1966) provided the first definitive study of Coyotlatelco pottery. 2006. Some investigators (e. Mountjoy and Brockington 1987. 12). still spark disagreement. like many other sites in the Basin of Mexico. p. p. p. 216). 217). despite its profound impact on the timing of and relationships among various developments in the Classic and Epiclassic periods (Diehl and Berlo 1989. 330. The size and nature of the Epiclassic occupation. p. 208) that at least some of the widespread burning occurred at the end of the Xolalpan phase provides additional support for an earlier end date.. was still the largest settlement in the basin. 12. Jime destruction along the Street of the Dead suggests a sudden. Sejourne 1956) and in stratigraphically early contexts at Tula (Acosta 1945.D. p.g. 94. is associated with Coyotlatelco ceramics. 2006.

4). Many of the other La Mesa phase settlements exhibit monumental architecture and evidence of terracing. 2002). Polgar 1998. including Tula Chico. E). although none. and Solar (2006). As in the Basin of Mexico. 51). 1982. plus nine large. Cobean et al. Cobean and Mastache 1989. La Mesa contains three distinct monumental centers flanked by terraces containing both rectangular and circular structures. p. the latter uncommon in central Mexico. Painted vessels are typically highly burnished and often have tripodal conical supports. 1981. Another nucleated Coyotlatelco hilltop settlement. comales. this is discussed below after the following section. which covered an area of about 1 km2 (Bonfil 2005. 1999. pp. appear to have been densely occupied. although abandonment had apparently been underway since the Xolalpan phase (Mastache and Cobean 1989. F) was encountered during the Zumpango region survey immediately to the south 123 . Mastache and Cobean 1989). Abandonment of Teotihuacan-associated sites also occurred in the Valle del Mezquital (Cervantes and Torres 1991. 1990. The Epiclassic and preceding ´ phase settlement systems are notably different. and censers. 2002. Fournier 2007. p. Prado. Epiclassic settlement in the Tula region ´ phase sites in the survey area were abandoned by the end of Virtually all Chingu Teotihuacan’s Metepec phase. perhaps reflecting the breakup of the Teotihuacan political system.. There is considerable debate over what is ‘‘Coyotlatelco’’ (e. In a systematic study over several decades (Cobean 1978. Coyotlatelco assemblages also include undecorated monochrome vessels. Gaxiola 2006). Nichols and McCullough (1986). Torres et al. with the latter Classic period Chingu occupying the center of the survey area while the ten Epiclassic nucleated settlements are situated on hilltops or elevated terrain mostly along the periphery. Its chief characteristics include red-painted geometric and other designs applied to the interior and/or exterior of natural or cream-slipped hemispherical and flat bottom bowls. 82). p. It also could indicate that the two settlement systems overlapped in time. and since the Tula region plays a significant role in the debate. of which the earliest (La Mesa) phase is believed to include all nine nucleated hilltop settlements except Tula Chico. Cobean and Mastache divided the Coyotlatelco occupation in the Tula region into three successive (La Mesa. 2. nucleated settlements. There is currently a lively debate regarding the origins of Coyotlatelco ceramics.g. These settlements include the site of La Mesa itself (Fig. p. as discussed below. 96. few sites exhibit both components (Mastache et al. Mastache et al. pipes. The majority are dispersed sites. This mutually exclusive distribution suggests wholesale discontinuity between the Classic and Epiclassic settlement systems. 2. 45–48. Although both Classic and Epiclassic dispersed sites were encountered on the alluvial plain. Epiclassic settlement in the Tula region is associated with the Coyotlatelco ceramic complex. and Corral) phases (Fig. 45). including La Mesa. known variously as Cerro la Ahumada and Mesa Grande (Fig. 1990. Mastache and Cobean 1989.76 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 comprehensive studies include those of Cobean (1990).

193. pp. fig. 19). Despite their similarity in layout. 13. an unusual arrangement somewhat like the twin-temple/pyramidal complex of Tenochtitlan’s Templo Mayor. Yadeun 1975. Cobean and Sua 2009). p. 3. Cerro Magoni (Mastache and Cobean 1990. Excavation suggests that at least two hilltop settlements. The earlier dating of the La Mesa phase is based on ceramics whose painted motifs were perceived as simpler in form and execution than those of the subsequent Prado and Corral phases and of Coyotlatelco sites in the Basin of Mexico. Cobean and Mastache (Cobean 1982. 174–184. 68) and Cerro Elefante ´nez 1994). Cobean. including the approximate north–south orientation of the former versus the c. Mastache and Cobean interpret the La Mesa phase settlement as a series of largely independent polities rather than a single integrated system. see also Mastache et al. only two others. personal communication 2008). Sanders et al. 69. Epiclassic/Coyotlatelco settlement at Tula Chico Coyotlatelco ceramics were first identified at Tula by Acosta (1945) in excavations at Tula Grande and apparently near Tula Chico. and may be the tenth and southernmost La Mesa phase hilltop settlement.6. 17° east of north orientation of the latter. 2002. In both the Missouri and Proyecto Tula surface surveys. p. 1981. Surface pottery from all nine (Martı La Mesa phase sites apparently exhibit notable differences in form and decoration. Coyotlatelco surface ceramics clustered around Tula Chico (Healan and Stoutamire 1989. Thus the two subsequent Coyotlatelco-related (Prado and Corral) phases are restricted to Tula Chico and presumably the dispersed sites in the surrounding area. 19). 123 . Rees 1990). Additional investigations have been conducted at Tula Chico in recent decades. including unique types that constitute at least 20% of the ceramics at each site (R. Differences also are seen in site layout. p. two ball courts. 1979. thus interpreted as developmentally and temporally earlier (Cobean et al. Mastache and Cobean 1989. virtually all by ´ rez 1989. Tula Chico and Tula Grande differ in several ways. According to Mastache and Cobean. p. Tula Chico contains a central plaza measuring c. and large platforms comparable to those of Tula Grande (Fig. 1979. pp. leading investigators to interpret it as the monumental center for the earliest settlement. have been explored by excavation. 56). 104–105). Tula Chico’s ceramics resemble those described for Coyotlatelco sites in the Basin of Mexico (Blanton and Parsons 1971. 2009. La Mesa and Cerro Magoni. and lithic assemblages (Mastache et al. 131). a pattern reminiscent of the Tezoyuca phase hilltop centers and surrounding settlements on the periphery of the Teotihuacan Valley during the Terminal Formative period (Sanders et al. Although the La Mesa phase includes all ten nucleated hilltop settlements except Tula Chico. and Mastache and Cobean proposed from surface ceramics that the other La Mesa phase hilltop sites were as well. were single component sites.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 77 (Parsons 2008. 2002. p. fig. fig. Mastache et al. architectural characteristics. Mastache et al. 75 m east–west and is flanked by several pyramids. Equally distinctive is that Tula Chico’s two principal pyramids are situated side by side at the north end.

Tozzer 1921) more than they do the La Mesa complex. This problem might be resolved if a larger study of Prado and Corral ceramics permitted the subdivision of one or more existing types into early and late variants by which the two complexes could be differentiated. of a single (Corral) phase. Few Prado ceramics were encountered in surface survey inside the city (Healan and Stoutamire 1989. Designated the Prado complex and phase. 13.5 km2 (Fournier 2007. Prado ceramics were identified at Chapantongo ˜ os 2007). 66). fig. whose ceramic assemblage includes most of Tula’s Corral and Prado phase ceramic types. 108). three of which were located within Tula Chico and another located c. Two such complexes and phases (Prado and Corral) were defined. p. Fournier and Bolan located c. This agrees with the relatively small quantity of Tollan complex ceramics recovered from Tula Chico in surface survey. p. 180 m to the southeast (Cobean 1982. Cobean 1982. Coyotlatelco ceramics predominated throughout. respectively. Prado ceramics at Chapantongo show no variation in relative frequency over time (Cervantes and Fournier 1994. This subassemblage. Rattray 1966. although most of Tula’s Epiclassic settlement pertains to the Corral phase. it may be preferable to consider Prado and Corral as early and late subphases.’’ plus the suite of Coyotlatelco ceramic types that define the Corral complex. was used to define an earlier ceramic complex. 2).7) and few were encountered in regional survey (Cobean 1982. Cobean (1990. The bulk of the ceramics used to define these two phases came from four exploratory pits excavated by INAH at Tula Chico. sufficiently so to merit their definition as a separate complex that they believe postdates the La Mesa phase. It must be emphasized that the Prado complex consists of the above subassemblage. 44) subsequently identified Prado in the lowest levels of two exploratory pits previously excavated by INAH at Tula Chico (Matos 1974a. Recently. 10) that had been described as Teotihuacanoid. an Epiclassic site about 2. suggesting the monumental center was unoccupied during the Tollan phase. Coyotlatelco ceramics are still more numerous. Outside Tula Chico. In all four pits. with Prado as an earlier variant. figs. fig. p. hereafter referred to as ‘‘Prado ceramics. consisting of decorated serving vessels with no examples of utilitarian vessel forms (Cervantes and Fournier 1994. Unlike Tula Chico. p. this appeared ‘‘to stratigraphically precede the ‘full-blown’ Coyotlatelco manifestation during the Corral phase’’ (Cobean and Mastache 1989. small amounts were present even in the highest levels. 110.78 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 Nichols and McCollough 1986. 7–9). Prado vessels were recovered from burials in salvage excavations by INAH near the Museo locality (Paredes 2005. however. Failing this. In all three pits inside Tula Chico. 27 km northwest of Tula. Even in levels where Prado ceramics are at peak popularity. 123 . and while Prado ceramics sharply decline in frequency in subsequent levels. pp. p. 64). p. 8. 42). with small quantities of Tollan phase ceramics limited to the uppermost levels (figs. which could indicate a relatively brief temporal duration. Cobean identified a distinctive subassemblage co-occurring with Coyotlatelco ceramics that was most common in the lowest levels. 211–214). Thus the distinction between the Prado and Corral phases is one of relative frequency and therefore somewhat arbitrary.

Sua 2007). p. p. thus extending one of Tula Grande’s signature monumental art forms back into the Corral phase. essentially identical in style. the earliest construction levels in which Coyotlatelco ceramics have been encountered at Tula Grande appear to date to the Terminal Corral rather than Corral phase. 53. however.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 79 While the extent of Tula’s Prado phase settlement is unknown. Epiclassic settlement in the Tula region evolved from a landscape of small. 2002. and it appears that the two monumental centers did not overlap in time. 209–213). and accoutrements to those from Building 3 at Tula Grande. Mastache et al. Corral phase based on associated ceramics (Mastache et al. 129) have speculated on the existence of a Corral phase monumental center at Tula Grande given the recovery of Coyotlatelco ceramics from the lowest levels of several excavations there (Acosta 1945. 72. p. 2002. with an accompanying shift from largely peripheral. Yadeun 1975. 2009. 23. 302). Evidence of additional iconographic continuity between Tula Chico and Tula Grande was encountered in excavations in the southwest corner of Tula Chico’s plaza. 20). pp. thereby extending this art form back into the Prado phase. p. 22). p. Corral phase occupation at Tula has been identified in excavations at the El Corral locality (Cobean 1990. dress. fig. Cobean and Mastache conducted excavations on the south facade and superstructure of the largest pyramid on the north side of Tula Chico. Associated sculpture includes a relief panel depicting a reclining figure (Mastache et al 2009. Teotihuacan-associated settlement system. fig. the subsequent Corral phase settlement has been estimated as between 3 and 6 km2 (Cobean 1982. pp. Chronological issues According to Mastache and Cobean. Mastache and Crespo 1982. Mastache et al. The proposed earlier dating of the La Mesa ` vis both the Prado/Corral phases and Coyotlatelco assemblages in the phase vis a Basin of Mexico raises the possibility that the former may have overlapped in time ´ phase. 129). Overlap between 123 . This included a relief panel fragment showing the foot and lower leg of a reclining personage. Recent investigations at Tula Chico During 2002 and 2003. This also is with the Chingu ´ suggested by the strikingly complementary distribution of the La Mesa and Chingu phase settlements that may explain why the former settlement system ‘‘surrounds the area rather than occupying it’’ (Mastache et al. 23–24. 22). where sculptural fragments and architectural remains associated with Prado complex ceramics were encountered beneath more than a meter of rock fill that underlay the plaza (Mastache et al. The superstructure. possibly including the area later occupied by Tula Grande given its commanding location. competing polities to a single integrated system centered around Tula Chico. which had been burned in prehispanic times. It is reasonable to assume that Corral phase settlement extended into Tula’s monumental precinct. p. 2009. 2002. Outside Tula Chico. As discussed below. pp. was dated to the ´ rez et al. Various authors (Mastache and Crespo 1982. hilltop settlements to the alluvial plain. 141) and the Museo and Cerro Malinche localities (Paredes 2005.

p. Tula and the origin of Coyotlatelco ceramics Although the debate regarding where. 22. pp. personal communication 2009).g. However. for overlap between Classic and Epiclassic settlement to be more than an interesting possibility. 511) strikingly similar. 5. and lithic assemblages. several authors have recently noted that Blanco ´o (e. specifically the Chalchihuites region given similarities in ceramics as well as architecture. Fournier and Bolan of supposed architectural and other material ties between La Mesa phase and Chalchihiutes sites. this provides no support for the premise that La Mesa and presumably the other La Mesa phase hilltop sites predate Tula Chico. the notion that the appearance of Coyotlatelco signals the arrival of peoples from over 500 km away seems unlikely.. a. it is often and somewhat inaccurately characterized as a dichotomy involving those who favor a nonlocal versus a local origin. for these and 123 . a–j) provide mixed results with respect to this issue. discussed below. and how Coyotlatelco ceramics originated involves numerous points of discussion. ˜ os 2007. Jime Chalchihuites ceramic phases has made them contemporaries of the Coyotlatelco complex rather than earlier complexes from which the latter could have derived. Hernandez. 5. Fournier ´ nez Betts 2006). or as near as the Bajı ´ taro (Fig. pp. and Rattray (1966). Braniff (1972). see also Cobean 1990. with almost total overlap. originally proposed by ´ nez Moreno (1959). For Tula Chico.. 165–167. pp. trace Coyotlatelco to Jime one or more red-on-buff ceramic traditions to the north and west as far away as the ´o region of Chalchihuites region of Zacatecas and Jalisco. 1). f). this date has stratigraphic integrity since it comes from fill beneath the plaza floor underlying the Ballcourt. the two-sigma ranges for four of the five samples from each of the two sites are ˜ os (2007. when. Mastache and Cobean (1989. 71). Proponents of a nonlocal origin. In retrospect. 500. 65. As Fournier and Bolan note. p.g.g. 505–509) question the validity Other authors (e. C. On the one hand. p. both sites have one date whose two-sigma range falls almost completely within the Classic period (Fig..80 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 the two settlement systems would have obvious implications for the debate surrounding the origins of Coyotlatelco ceramics. while the other four dates are from stratigraphically later contexts associated with a later platform. however. Levantado is likewise absent in much of the southern portion of the Bajı Brambila and Crespo 2005. 2006. Too few dates are involved. However. settlement. The primary reason given by Mastache for believing that the Chalchihuites region was the most likely source involves the disparity between the supposed abundance of Blanco Levantado ´o during the Epiclassic versus its absence in both the pottery in the Bajı Chalchihiutes and Tula regions prior to the Early Postclassic period (Mastache et al. Mastache 1996a. The view that La Mesa phase sites were settled by immigrants from the Chalchihuites region has been soundly criticized by various authors (e. 47–50) favor a nonlocal origin. p. southern Guanajuato and Quere 1990. At the same time. recently obtained radiocarbon dates for both La Mesa and Tula Chico (Fig. Jime ´ nez Betts notes that revised dating of et al. 2002. p.

g. pp. there appears to be an emerging middle ground (e. C) on the ´o (Healan 1997. The destruction and abandonment appears to have been confined to Tula Chico itself given the presence of Tollan phase structures and ceramics in the immediate surrounding area. although more indirect forms of interaction also could have ´o is the most likely been responsible. the eastern Bajı region of origin given its proximity (Fig. Fournier 2006. That Tula Chico remained in ruins as it was surrounded by the growing city. as is discussed below. table 1). Sanders 2006. the settlement data strongly suggest that the Coyotlatelco settlements in the survey area were intrusive. 2006. Coyotlatelco sites characteristically exhibit a lithic assemblage dominated by obsidian from the Ucareo obsidian source (Fig. Moreover. Instead. Sugiura 2006) that Gaxiola 2006.d.’’ or ‘‘syncretism’’ of the preexisting Teotihuacan ceramic tradition with a nonlocal tradition possibly introduced by migrating populations. At the same time. Manzanilla 2005. p. Post-Corral phase developments Abandonment and destruction of Tula Chico Survey and excavation reveal an absence of later construction or other occupation at Tula Chico itself. Hernandez and Healan 2000) has documented a long-lived red-on-buff ceramic tradition (Hernandez 2000) whose origins go back to the Early/Classic period. Prado and Corral ceramics have been recently ´ taro by Saint-Charles and identified in burials at Cerro la Cruz in southern Quere ´quez (2006). times. suggesting it was abandoned some time after the Corral phase. minimal population displacement. Ana Enrı ´a. Dumond and Muller 1972. if so. is identical to Rojo Sobre Bayo El Mogote. common in southern Quere In addition. 190). With respect to the other side of the debate. Recent excavation of southeastern flank of the Bajı habitation sites around the source (Healan 1997. who assert that one of the principal Prado ceramic types.). p. Beekman and Christensen 2003. a previously defined type Marı ´ taro (Nalda 1975). As most of these authors note. p. the proximity of the eastern Bajı would facilitate regular interaction without necessarily involving migration or.. 1214. although continuity in ceramics and other traits suggests largely internal processes were involved. as determined by recent chronometric dating (Hernandez and Healan n. Recent exploration of structures on the north and east sides of Tula Chico ´ rez encountered evidence of burning and intentional destruction (Cobean and Sua 1989). 438–439. 1) and growing evidence of a rich and ´cuaro) widespread red-on-buff tradition that goes back to Late Formative (Chupı ´o.g. however. Lo sees Coyotlatelco as a ‘‘fusion. there are relatively few proponents of a purely local origin for Coyotlatelco (e.. The discovery of a Terminal Corral ceramic assemblage on the floor of a burned structure atop the East Platform suggests the destruction occurred during the Terminal Corral phase. ´ pez Perez et al. The apparent destruction and burning of Tula Chico was undoubtedly a major event. 269. who see its origins in red-on-buff ceramics at Teotihuacan or earlier traditions in the Basin of Mexico. a situation not unlike the Acropolis surrounded by modern 123 . particularly to the Tula region. 1.’’ ‘‘hybridization.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 81 other reasons.

stratigraphic data from subsequent excavations. 273. followed by Ira and Jara.’’ was encountered in apparently all of decoracio Acosta’s stratigraphic test pits at Tula Grande. Although Mazapa resembles Coyotlatelco. which Acosta referred to as ‘‘ocre con ´ n de lineas rojas ondulantes. p. According to both Cobean and Bey. Jara and Ira are wholly different from and unrelated to the later Aztec orange wares. its destruction could have been the result of internal conflict and its ruins left as a reminder of the triumph of one faction over the other(s). At Tula. even others by Acosta (1945. 123 . although he later corrected this assumption. These have no clear relationship to previous ceramic types. as discussed below. is one of the most enigmatic aspects of Tula’s settlement history. appear during the Terminal Corral phase. both cream-slipped. of which Jara comes to dominate Tula’s ceramic assemblage during the late Tollan phase. Mazapa Red on Brown. These anomalous seriations led Acosta to initially assume that Mazapa Red on Brown comprised a major part of Tula’s ceramic assemblage for most of the city’s existence. Whatever the reason. as much as 52% of non-olla sherds in some levels and abundant in virtually all but the highest levels of all three pits. both orange but actually double-slipped (cream and orange) wares. pp. published ceramic and ´ m. consistently show Mazapa to be a far less prevalent type that appeared around the time that Coyotlatelco ceramics waned in popularity. p. Mazapa also waned in popularity prior to Tula’s Late Tollan phase apogee. By comparison. Appearance of orange-and-cream wares One of the most significant changes in Tula’s post-Corral ceramic inventory was the appearance of what Cobean collectively calls Canales Polished Ware or ‘‘orange-and-cream wares. Appearance of Mazapa Red on Brown I refer here specifically to the distinctive pottery type called Mazapa or Mazapan by Linne (1934.82 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 Athens. unlike the latter its surface is not burnished at Tula and its red paint differs in both texture and color. This anomaly has been interpreted in various ways. Alternatively. 182–186) show unusually high proportions of Mazapa. hence they represent a new ceramic tradition at Tula. including that Tula Chico was hallowed ground because of events known or believed to have occurred there (Mastache and Crespo 1982). personal communication 2008). 75. The two earliest types. often exhibiting a ‘‘faded’’ appearance (Cobean 1990. its destruction and abandonment and the construction of Tula Grande probably closely followed one another in time. Proa and Joroba. see also Elson and Mowbray 2005) that was first identified in post-Metepec contexts at Teotihuacan and defined principally on its distinctive redpainted designs composed of parallel wavy lines. Published ceramic inventories for three of these pits (Acosta 1940.’’ given their distinctive orange and/or cream-colored slips comprising four distinct types. la 1).

123 . making its absence in Tollan phase assemblages as diagnostic as its presence. where all four types were manufactured and found in association with similar ceramics said to be ‘‘very ´ ndez probably’’ from the Gulf Coast that may have served as prototypes (Herna Reyes et al. Bey proposes using the relative frequencies of Mazapa and Jara to subdivide the Tollan phase into early and late subphases or phases. the post-Corral. containing low frequencies of Coyotlatelco as well as several succeeding Tollan phase types. I have already noted Bey’s (1986. pp. Given its highly eclectic nature. likewise underlay a Tollan phase structure. one of the two cream-slipped wares. Joroba.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 83 Cobean (Mastache et al. 150 m southeast of Tula Chico where it was identified in levels that overlay Corral phase deposits and underlay a Tollan phase structure. 385) suggested it was the prototype from which the latter were derived. Equihua 2006. p. as noted above. is potentially the most diagnostic Terminal Corral type since it is largely restricted to this phase. 307–314. 46) suggests that Tula’s orange-and-cream wares are related to ceramic traditions of the Gulf Coast. The preceding Terminal Corral phase is problematic. p. 1999. Mazapa rapidly wanes and ultimately disappears while Jara appears and waxes until it becomes the predominant ceramic type in the workshop and for Tula in general. including a type so similar to the Proa and Joroba that Bey (1986. the small number of excavated contexts. in the lower levels of the Corral locality. based on the Cruz locality obsidian workshop where. albeit transitional phase or merely an artifact of mixed deposits. One of its two principal ceramic types is Mazapa Red on Brown. which contained numerous probably imported Gulf Coast ceramics. in part because of its transitional character. but the ability to distinguish bona fide Terminal Corral phase deposits from mixed Corral and Early Tollan phase deposits remains a problem. Bey and Ringle 2007. 288). 78). 2002. Cobean based his definition of the Terminal Corral phase on two excavations: one was principally an exploratory pit c.. The other occurrence. in the earliest levels. but it is not very common and could easily be absent in small samples (e. p. followed by a much longer (Tollan) phase. the ceramic assemblage consisted largely of Tollan complex ceramics plus up to 15% Mazapa Red on Brown pottery but lacked Jara. is also a significant component of the Early Tollan phase. and its occurrence beneath Tollan phase construction in both pits. The above mentioned discovery of an in situ Terminal Corral assemblage on the floor of a burned structure at Tula Chico may validate its integrity. p. pp. Still other evidence comes from the Cruz locality obsidian workshop. Other possible evidence of Gulf Coast ties comes from the U98 ceramic workshop. one can question whether Terminal Corral is a real. pre-Aztec portion of Cobean’s ceramic chronology consisted of two phases: a relatively brief. The other type.g. The Terminal Corral and Early/Late Tollan phases As initially formulated. In subsequent levels. which. 307–314) proposed subdivision of the Tollan phase. Jara may be the most useful of the two given its ultimate ubiquity and the speed with which this occurred. transitional (Terminal Corral) phase.

274) apparently believes these deposits are unmixed assemblages deposited as fill. Notwithstanding the problems with the definition of the Terminal Corral ceramic complex and phase detailed above. and a number of Tollan complex types. Acosta (1945. p. The final. 29–31). depending upon whether the assemblage of Coyotlatelco. This massive structure not only covered the stage 2 platform but extended northward. A. but the later stage 3 platform and the prestage 1 basal platform both contain Coyotlatelco. and soil nearly 4 m thick (Sterpone 2000–2001. cobbles. p. 81).’’ a name originally coined by Acosta. but in two recent articles he proposes that they be assigned to a new phase designated ‘‘Tula-Mazapa. Sterpone (2000–2001. B). and Tollan complex ceramics in both the stage 3 and basal platform fills represent bona fide Terminal Corral phase deposits or a mixture of Early Tollan. Jara and Ira. His proposed name change is not only unnecessary but would introduce a phase name already used in the Basin of Mexico. p. Sterpone (2006a. 169) interpreted the feature as a storage pit. and apparently abutted the west side of an early stage of Pyramid B (Cruz y Cruz 2007. 6.7 m high and faced with small-stone veneer and painted plaster (Sterpone 2000– 2001. 1. Acosta himself ultimately rejected Tula-Mazapa 123 . Mazapa. The earliest evidence of occupation was a shallow depression or pit-like feature containing sherds and a lenticular deposit of charcoal near the bottom of one pit excavated to bedrock (Fig. are either absent or appear only in the uppermost levels of Sterpone’s pits (Equihua 2003. while both diagnostic Late Tollan phase types. However. 182–186). Terminal Corral. of which stage 1 is ill-defined while stage 2 is a two-tiered talud/tablero platform c. and perhaps Corral phase deposits dating to the Early Tollan phase. 6. Mazapa. 61) interpreted it as a fire pit. perhaps beneath Ballcourt 1. appears until the uppermost levels of his stratigraphic test pits at Tula Grande (Acosta 1940. p. part of a low (c. pp. while Equihua (2003. Jara or Ira. 1 m) basal platform that occupies much of the north end of Tula Grande. rather than the existing Terminal Corral phase. pp. These excavations revealed that the North Platform was a massive undertaking involving several stages that probably began in the Terminal Corral or Early Tollan phase. 152–178). Neither stage 1 nor 2 was excavated. 60) dated Tula Grande’s construction to his Perı which generally corresponds to the Late Tollan phase. figs. suggesting that construction began earlier. p. stage 3 platform was a massive undertaking involving a grid of intersecting walls (cajones) whose interstices were filled with courses of boulders. The pit-like feature was overlain by fill capped by flooring. 33–37).84 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 Construction of Tula Grande ´odo Reciente. This suggests that construction at the north end of Tula Grande began either during the Terminal Corral or Early Tollan phase. figs. but both believed it was a domestic feature given the associated utilitarian ceramics. the ceramic data from Sterpone’s excavations offer no new perspective on these problems. neither Late Tollan phase type. At present the most detailed ceramic and stratigraphic data pertaining to Tula Grande come from two 4-m 9 4-m pits excavated by Sterpone (2000–2001) atop the North Platform (Fig. This in turn was overlain by three stages of the North Platform. begging the question of contemporaneity and cultural continuity and making worse an already confusing chronological situation. A).

it is not included in Fig. pp. although his own stratigraphic data show that the shallow pit-like feature containing the radiocarbon sample predates both stages 2 and 1 as well as the underlying basal platform (Sterpone 2000–2001. Sterpone the earlier was ‘‘la ma associated the radiocarbon sample itself with stage 2 of the North Platform. given the similar use of cajones (Cruz y Cruz 2007. its growth to perhaps the largest city in Early Postclassic central Mexico is 123 . The other date (Fig. 83). 141–154). 5. p. 2006a. 5. began during the Epiclassic period.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 85 as a meaningful term. whose two-sigma range spans the Corral. and the Early Tollan phases as currently dated. referring to it as ‘‘esa falla en la nomenclatura’’ (Acosta 1956–1957. l) came from platform fill along the eastern flank of Pyramid B believed to be contemporaneous with the stage 3 platform. However. Terminal Corral. about which surprisingly little is known outside of exploratory investigations by Charnay and Acosta. pp. p. The escarpment on the southern and western flanks of Tula Grande enjoys a commanding view of the surrounding valley and would seemingly have been a desirable location early on. The other two dates were obtained from Sterpone’s exploratory excavations. one of which (Fig. 5. of a sample from a remnant column timber in Edificio 3 (Crane and Griffin 1964.D. asserting that ´ s apropriada’’ (Sterpone 2006a. is given little attention due to its extremely wide (A. The construction date for Tula Grande is of obvious importance as an indicator of the city’s apogee. 276). pp. The sample date was first pooled with those of four other samples. Fortunately. 14). and by extension the city’s apogee. k) indicates that monumental construction began in the latter half of the eighth century. Sterpone (2000–2001. but it is only a part of a larger zone of monumental construction on the surrounding hilltop (Fig. 3). Sterpone derived this earlier date through a questionable set of procedures. 5. 4). 583–584) has cited as possible evidence that the construction of Tula Grande. however. all of this area lies within the protected archaeological zone so that future investigation could determine whether earlier monumental construction may lie outside the confines of Tula Grande itself. which he concluded would put initial construction activity back into the eighth century (Sterpone 2006b. although one. 275). He then ignored the later of the two modes. 28). yielding a bimodal probability curve for the recalibrated pooled date. 137–981) twosigma range. p. which at least one author (Smith 2007. hence the numerous mounds in this area could include components that predate the construction of Tula Grande. There are currently three published radiocarbon dates for Tula Grande. and whose two-sigma range is consistent with a presumed later construction date. Urban growth Despite a prevailing pattern of continuity throughout Tula’s pre-Aztec history. 267. Although too few to be definitive. three from sites in the Basin of Mexico judged to be contemporaneous by virtue of their ceramic assemblages. k) came from the shallow pit-like feature beneath the basal platform. fig. Finally. b) claims that the radiocarbon date of the pit-like feature beneath the basal platform (Fig. both dates support a Terminal Corral or Early Tollan phase date for initial construction at the north end of Tula Grande (Fig. In three separate publications.

including orange-and-cream and other ceramics on which painted designs were absent or reduced to rim bands or very simple designs. suggesting better control over firing temperatures and contact with flame. pp. Bey noted evidence of improved firing technology in the decrease in the incidence of fire-blackened cores and fire clouding. as documented in Bey’s (1986. in which multiple brushes were arranged in tandem to produce complex patterns of parallel wavy lines with relatively few strokes. Innovation and change in ceramic and lithic production Accompanying the appearance of new ceramic wares noted above was a variety of innovations in how ceramics were produced. 321. but the reverse could also be true: that the need for vessel uniformity to facilitate nesting promoted the use of standardized molds. 1990). An obvious common denominator among these various innovations is their capacity to increase rates of vessel production while maintaining aesthetic appeal. nestability may have been an indirect consequence of the use of molds. This and a greater capacity for transportation en masse could reflect responses to growing demand and also greater commercialization in the marketing of ceramics (Bey 1986. and political milieu in which ceramics were produced. this was confirmed by the recovery of actual molds from the U98 ceramic workshop. and for at least one type (Ira). As Bey notes. All of these innovations involved vessels whose form suggests a probable serving function. Other examples include simplifying the designs themselves. Reducing the time spent in decorating vessels may have decreased production time almost as much as the use of molds. but their extensive use in vessel manufacture at Tula may signal mass production of utilitarian pottery.86 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 accompanied by a number of changes in the archaeological record that may reflect responses to population growth and other aspects of Tula’s urban trajectory. and consumed. This trend began with Mazapa ceramics. 322). One of the most significant innovations was the use of molds to replace all or part of the vessel fabrication process previously done with coiling or hand modeling. p. economic. Another development was the proliferation of shallow. distributed. including figurines and composite braziers at Teotihuacan. 123 . possibly facilitating their transportability en masse from producer to consumer. they may reflect significant changes in the social. complicated stamped designs were apparently incorporated into the mold itself. This was initially noted with orangeand-cream wares and other later types and could. reflect an improvement in the design or operation of kilns. While Bey and others initially inferred the use of molds from ceramic data (Bey 1986. 318–325) comparative study of ceramics from Tula and nine rural sites. Yet another innovation noted by Bey was a shift to simpler designs or modes of painting that required less time than previous designs. as Bey noted. Molds are known to have been used previously in other aspects of ceramic manufacture in central Mexico. Finally. flat-bottomed bowls and dishes lacking supports or with tiny nubbin feet that made them easily nestable. p. A number of Tula’s most common ceramic types exhibit a similar range of shapes and sizes that Bey calls ‘‘ceramic sets’’ (Bey 1986. Cobean 1978.

that ground platforms were of greatest value to blade makers whose low volume of production made it difficult to maintain adequate levels of skill. 285–291. fig. Settlement expansion The widespread. I have previously suggested (Healan 2009b). pp. creating an impression of explosive growth between Tollan and previous phases. suggesting it lay outside or on the city’s periphery. 13. The subsequent resurgence of a distribution system involving Pachuca obsidian may signal Tula’s growing control of that source.9) stand in sharp contrast to the much more restricted distributions of Corral and Terminal Corral complex ceramics (Healan and Stoutamire 1989. 3). Bey and Ringle 2007. This is probably an illusion given that some of the Tollan phase types apparently originated during the Terminal Corral phase. At that time the locality was barren. a characteristic of many Epiclassic sites in central Mexico. 7. An important innovation in obsidian core/blade technology that appeared sometime after the Corral phase is platform grinding. prior to which the locality appears to have been exploited for construction materials (p. Recalling that the Tula workshops were apparently involved in multiple craft activities. 431–434). although other explanations also are possible (Healan 1992a). and Late Tollan) phases currently estimated to span 2. The canal locality (Fig. 132.6. Early Tollan. g) does not appear to have been settled until the Late Tollan phase (Healan 1989. 7) probably represent urban growth over three (Terminal Corral. Hence. 144). 13. eroded terrain along the western flank of El Salitre marsh (Healan et al. figs. dense surface distributions of undecorated body sherds and diagnostic Tollan complex pottery (Healan and Stoutamire 1989. a labor-intensive process whose advantages are often assumed to have been higher blade production rates and consequently greater output. suggesting alternative ‘‘services’’ that raise the intriguing prospect of competition in the marketing of utilitarian ceramics. Two excavated localities settled at different times in Tula’s history provide some perspective on its growth over time. ground platform preparation could have originated in workshops engaged in multiple craft activities that juxtaposed core/ blade and lapidary production. p. Indeed. not only was the use of ground platforms an adaptation to multicrafting. 96). 13. Tula’s maximum limits (Fig.8). 163). h) appears to have been settled during the Early Tollan phase. Its marginal character may have been a factor in its settlement by obsidian workers and/or its peripheral location perhaps a reflection of their relative status. 123 .J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 87 pp. fig. The Cruz locality (Fig. Tula’s post-Corral phase obsidian industry experienced a shift in source utilization from predominantly Ucareo during Epiclassic times to predominantly Pachuca during the Early Postclassic (Healan 2007.5 centuries or more. 7. However. pp. 1983. but it may in turn have fostered multicrafting by making blade making attractive to other craft specialists seeking to diversify production. may represent a preexisting distribution system that filled the void left by the collapse of the Pachuca distribution system following the demise of Teotihuacan. The initial predominance of Ucareo obsidian. noting the apparently low production volume of Tula’s workshops.

based on their supposed correspondence to orientations of various structures of different ages. recent efforts to do so (Healan n. although I and others have expressed the need to confirm these findings by verifying the lineations on these and other aerial imagery and by ground-truthing. Several lineations that were confirmed in the field are terraces supporting modern roads and field walls. however. thorny vegetation that made it impossible to access most localities where lineations were calculated to lie. at least one of which lies directly over prehispanic plaster floors (Healan n. identified numerous aligned surface lineations believed to represent commonly oriented roadways.d. No fewer than three different orientation schemes were identified. and other constructions within Tula’s urban limits. and c. although it could as well reflect the incorporation of existing walls and foundations into later construction. To summarize. figs.. 17° east. using special aerial stereophotographs. The multiplicity of orientations among structures excavated to date. while structures in most of the remaining localities are oriented between 7° and 15° west of true north (Healan n. are not shared by any structures excavated outside Tula Grande to date. At the same time. platforms. and most of the lineations they identified are not visible in other aerial photographs.e. most of which are Tollan phase structures. 123 . Evidence that Tula possessed a formal plan. is as enigmatic as it is intriguing. suggesting that they represent something other than citywide systems of structural orientation in use at various times in Tula’s history. 2009. systematic examination of the orientations of excavated structures in various localities using available plan drawings. c. were believed to represent three temporally distinct episodes of construction activity. fig. Attempts at ground-truthing the published lineations (e.. north–south. 3). With the untimely deaths of both Mastache and Crespo in 2004..88 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 Urban planning at Tula: A reevaluation Nearly three decades ago. and high-resolution Google Earth imagery revealed that..g. from earliest to latest. with the exception of Tula Grande itself. it has not been possible to access the imagery on which their study was based. terraces. although in most excavated localities virtually all structural remains. a majority of the 17 localities for which data were available are oriented between c. Mastache and Crespo (1982). In fact. Each scheme (i. apparently no orientations correspond to any of the three orientation schemes proposed by Mastache and Crespo. three such plans. This is perhaps an indication that some policy of orientation was followed at the local level. exhibit the same general orientation. indicating Tula exhibited an overall plan.) have not met with success. on-site measurements. The three orientation schemes. which was presumed to reflect the city’s growth over time. while the lack of cultivation within the archaeological zone during the nearly 30 years since its creation has given rise to dense. fig.d. 26–28) have been thwarted by several decades of intensive mechanized cultivation that has destroyed much of Tula outside the archaeological zone. 7° and 12° east of true north. 2). which. at present most of the surface lineations identified by Mastache and Crespo can be neither confirmed nor refuted. indeed. suggests that no common citywide orientation was followed.d. 18° west) covers a progressively larger area than its predecessor. Unfortunately. Mastache et al.

(2002. but the location of many large nucleated sites on elevated terrain along principal routes of access suggests a possible defensive strategy as well. this would mean that between 33% and 45% of the region’s population lived outside the city. As in previous time periods. Strikingly similar in form to those of Tula’s canal locality. and large nucleated settlements. fig. 1. 210–211) estimated Tula’s hinterland population at c. unnucleated and small nucleated settlements. Ceramics from these two studies as well as Mastache’s survey exhibit a high degree of similarity to the urban ceramic assemblage. of which the most common type was dispersed sites while the other eight settlement types were various categories of habitation sites differing in size and structure (Mastache et al. Using a largely siteless-survey approach. 60. The other hinterland study (Bey 1986) involved intensive surface survey of eight rural sites ranging in size from dispersed to large nucleated settlements and located in various parts of the survey area. are situated along the periphery of the survey area. suggesting that rural sites generally enjoyed access to the same ceramic production and distribution or marketing systems as the city (Bey 1986. but it extends into peripheral areas that saw little or no previous occupation. 330). 7.000–50. Numerous well-preserved floral and faunal remains presumably reflect various subsistence and other activities. p. For the present discussion. Bey’s study included typological and modal comparisons of rural site ceramics with those from several excavated residential localities at Tula. nucleated rural sites.6). I have merged these into three categories: dispersed sites. 2002. Mastache et al. mostly unnucleated and dispersed sites occupy the interior. Tula’s hinterland has been the focus of two other studies. and in roughly the same proportions. Given Tula’s estimated Tollan phase population of c. tables 7. This is a strategy often used in alluvial regions to maximize the use of productive land while keeping farmers in close proximity to their fields. a large nucleated settlement near the northwestern limits of the survey area. much more than was seen for the preceding periods. most estimated to be 10–20 ha. 7. with both rural and urban Tollan phase obsidian assemblages 123 .18).6). fig. pp. This also is true of obsidian. Surprisingly. Mastache (1996a) identified 304 sites and nine different settlement types exclusive of the city itself. The rural sites in Bey’s study contained all of Tula’s major ceramic types. as discussed below. Regional survey encountered extensive Tollan phase settlement. all large.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 89 The Tollan phase hinterland The dramatic growth of the post-Corral phase city was accompanied by an equally dramatic growth of settlement in the surrounding region. (1979) for the Basin of Mexico.000. 30. the Tepetitlan residential compound contained several multiroom houses arranged around a courtyard with a prominent central altar (Cobean and Mastache 1999. the bulk of Tollan phase settlement in the survey area is situated in the alluvial plain immediately east of the city. Using methods of population estimation developed by Sanders et al. 2002. one of which (Cobean and Mastache 1999) involved excavation of a residential compound at Tepetitlan. whereas smaller.5.000. of which perhaps 65–80% lived in nucleated rather than small or dispersed settlements (Mastache et al.

fig.7). however. pp. and fuel. ´ lez notes that these may have been imported given the small although Gonza quantity involved. sharp spines. 2002. cuadro 15). Bey (1986. 10. a necked olla with distinctive white. The paucity of comals noted for the city is also true of hinterland sites. a ceramic assemblage that includes both imported and ritual-related ceramics. Its greater importance in rural sites. ideological. Another cultigen of importance in prehispanic central Mexico was maguey. Domesticated beans also were identified (Kaplan 1999).5% of identifiable surface ceramics (Mastache et al. including substantially fewer imported and ritual-related ceramics in rural sites. fig. also is indicated by Blanco Levantado production loci in a cluster of rural sites along the south flank of Cerro Xicuco (Mastache et al. Subsistence The Tepetitlan house compound yielded numerous fragments of maize (Benz 1999) ´ lez 1999). pp. Numerous carbonized remains. p. they suggest social. 2002. Maguey also is a major source of cordage and thread. 137–138. fig. This would include the excavated compound at Tepetitlan given its close resemblance to house compounds at Tula. 4. Assuming that these differences are not an artifact of sampling error. It is not the case. chiefly spines but also leaf and fiber. and other differences between urban and rural households. it is reasonable to assume that at least some households in the hinterland settlements were comparable to middle. This also is suggested by evidence of ceramic production at various sites in the survey area (Mastache et al. a tribute item for the region during Aztec times and amaranth (Gonza (Mastache 1996b). that imported and ritual-related ceramics are altogether absent in rural sites. 297. notable differences between the urban and rural ceramic assemblages. p.7). whose sugary sap is today consumed fresh or fermented (pulque). but additional evidence of maguey cultivation is largely indirect.90 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 ´ nchez showing a predominance of prismatic blades and green (Pachuca) obsidian (Sa 1999a). 449). Mastache 1996b. Both Bey (2007) and Mastache 123 . Fournier 2007. peanut and cacao. and its roasted leaf and trunk are eaten as well. which provided maguey sap as tribute to the Aztec state (Bey 2007. Both Mastache and Bey found that rural sites exhibit much higher frequencies of Blanco Levantado. than does the city (Cobean 1990. 352–354) identified various modal differences in Jara pottery between urban and rural sites that suggest that households in the two realms may have acquired some of their ceramics through separate production and marketing systems. Parsons and Parsons 1990). p. however. Its center of production may have been outside the city. 297. There are. watery painting on the body often arranged as crisscrossing bands. 10. where it constitutes as much as 10. Smith 1992. and given relatively high-status households in Aztec rural sites (Evans 1988. 229). indicating rural components of ceramic production that may have operated independently of those in the city. 229. 1997). and the presence of two exotic food items. 2002. were encountered at Tepetitlan. pp. The production of pulque is currently an important industry in the Tula region and the surrounding area (Fournier 2007. building material.and perhaps upper-class urban households.

and ´ lez 1999. 205). Bey (2007) characterizes Blanco Levantado ollas as ‘‘a New World amphora. 303) suggested that carbonized remains at Tepetitlan indicate consumption of roasted maguey leaf. sunflower. and mouth seemingly designed to be capped. an all-purpose necked container of uniform size and form used to store. This in fact 123 . a practice that continues in the region today (Fournier 2007. p. Parsons and Darling 2000. The complex of cultigens—maize. pp.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 91 (1996a. 291–292. Craft activities As one of two (along with cotton) principal fiber sources in prehispanic central Mexico. roundbottomed. Critical features of this strategy include not only the high caloric and nutritional levels of maguey sap and flesh. wild beans. p. p. respectively.e. maguey also provided textiles and cordage. restricted neck. and maguey—discussed above is precisely that cited in recent arguments (Parsons and Gorenflo in press. Bey notes that various Aztec codices depict vessels holding maguey sap as elongated. Parsons and Parsons 1990) that the expansion of Mesoamerican civilization into the dry highland regions of northern central Mexico was made possible by ‘‘the integration of seed-based cultivation and specialized maguey production’’ (Parsons and Darling 2000. This may have been particularly important for rabbit (Gonza households located in more marginal terrain. 238) suggest that the greater importance of Blanco Levantado in rural sites reflects its association with maguey sap production. Noting their characteristic rounded base. they may instead indicate fiber extraction using the penca asada method described by Parsons and Parsons (1990). necked ollas with crisscross banding on the vessel body that resembles the distinctive decoration of Blanco Levantado. amaranth. 82). According to these authors. suggesting that the rural populations supplemented their diet by hunting and collecting such items as chenopodium. deer. Although Cobean and Mastache (1999. agricultural plots in Tula’s alluvial plain would have included interplanted seed crops and maguey. 300–302) suggest were used to extract fiber and to create and maintain the cavity for sap collection. Among the preserved organic remains at Tepetitlan were a variety of wild plant and animal remains. Some vessels may instead have been used to store and carry water. Following the strategy suggested by these authors. which specifically deals with maguey sap as an item of tribute from the Tula region. p. Artifacts at Tepetitlan and other rural sites possibly used in maguey cultivation include two distinctive forms of unifacial tools of basalt and obsidian that Parsons and Parsons (1990. with maguey becoming the predominant cultigen in more marginal. 345). but the adaptability of maguey cultivation to marginal soils and climates and its yearround availability that make it a near-perfect complement to seed-based cultivation in this region.’’ i. This includes the Codex Mendoza. Polaco 1999). an agricultural system that featured interplanting of maguey and seed crops and the scheduling of maguey sap and/or leaf harvesting around the more seasonal regime of seed-crop cultivation ‘‘could ´a plot’’ (Parsons and have doubled the annual caloric yield of a typical tierra frı Parsons 1990. peripheral lands.. transport. and perhaps collect and serve maguey sap. p.

11). Fournier and Lo settlement during the Early Postclassic period. 250) and the numerous basalt unifaces and associated production debitage that may have been used in maguey fiber ´ nchez 1999b. Parsons 2008. forest. Other sites had evidence of basalt and rhyolite tool production. Tula’s hinterland almost certainly extended beyond the 17-km radius covered in Mastache’s intensive survey. Sanders and Santley 1983. 2002. lime production may have been an important activity for sites located near the calcareous deposits in the southern half of the survey area. 1.92 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 seems the more likely activity given the lack of quids that result from chewing fibrous maguey flesh (e. note a sharp increase in pp. p.. fig. Finally. Lithic artifacts from Postclassic sites in the region include examples of implements believed to have been used to extract maguey fiber and sap (Fournier 2007. It appears that Tula’s outer hinterland incorporated most if not all of the Basin of Mexico. including the Zumpango and Temascalapa regions and the Teotihuacan Valley. Recent stylistic and chemical analyses of Early Postclassic pottery from excavations at Cerro Portezuelo (Fig. Tollan phase ceramics are common at sites in the Valle del Mezquital to the ´ pez Aguilar et al. and into southern Texcoco’’ (Crider n. figs.d. through Teotihuacan. A buildup of settlement associated with Tollan phase ceramics in the north and north-central portion. pp. p. p. although the outer portion may include preexisting polities incorporated into the expanding state that probably exhibited their own identity as well as evidence of Tula’s hegemony. agricultural. is believed to reflect its incorporation into Tula’s hinterland as well (Nichols and Charlton 1997.4). as indicated by their shared ceramic assemblage that reflects not only a common cultural tradition but the existence of markets and other linking infrastructure. City and hinterland are thus interdependent components of the larger state. Chingu The outer hinterland ‘‘Hinterland’’ refers specifically to the area and settlements that probably provided Tula’s occupants with most of its food and labor and in turn were dependent on the city for various goods and services. including the Pachuca obsidian source area. 11. northeast and northwest (Fournier 2007. 32. and suggest that this region came under Tula’s hegemony for its lime. 30. 269. Smith 1967. pp. 1998. and evidence of chert biface production was encountered at several sites near the eastern limits. p. F) have revealed a predominantly Tollan phase ceramic assemblage that ‘‘indicates full participation in the Mazapan/Tollan pottery complex extending from Tula.. Tollan phase ceramics also were an 123 . three of which were located near the ceramic production zone along the city’s eastern limits. 32–34. and 33). and lithic resources. 194. 399–424). 10.7). Lo ´ pez Aguilar et al. Mastache identified probable ceramic production loci at four other sites in the alluvial plain (Mastache et al. 72–76. 1). as it is presumed to have been for the Classic period ´ phase settlement. Maguey cultivation is a major activity in the Valle del Mezquital today and was during the Aztec period (Fournier 2007). fig. 111. p. with little continuity with previous Epiclassic settlement.g. fig. extraction (Sa In addition to the above-mentioned Blanco Levantado production loci.

H) in northern Guanajuato (Braniff 1972.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 93 integral part of sites in the Chalco region at the southern edge of the basin (Parsons ´n 1998). direct contact possibly involving enclaves from Tula (Brambila 2001. several are proposed to have been part of a pan-Mesoamerican cult associated with the veneration of Quetzalcoatl (Ringle et al. some 130 km to the well beyond its hinterland. are three sites previously reported to contain Tula-like ceramics and architectural features (Flores and Crespo 1988). Tollan phase ceramics are generally absent in the Toluca Valley to the west and they are not common in Morelos to the south (Smith and Montiel 2001. is estimated to be 135 km. In fact. This is considerably smaller than the 25. El Cerrito (Fig. 125–150 km in a north–south direction. including Carabino (Fig. I) in southern San Luı 1976). Its east–west extent. recovered Terminal Corral/Tollan phase ceramics and Tula Grande-style sculpture.’’ although these are not necessarily equivalent terms. with Tula near the middle. Tula’s hinterland would roughly approximate a circle missing the southwest quadrant and have a maximum area of c. Muller 1970). Tula’s hinterland would extend for c. Crespo and Villa de Reyes (Fig. the foot of an Atlantean-style ‘‘colossal’’ sculpture. noting that ‘‘the site appears as Toltec as some of the sites within [Tula’s] heartland’’ (p. As tentatively delineated. ´ nez Moreno 1966. et al. Hernandez and Healan 2000) to the west. evidence that Tula’s hegemony extended to the north and west ´ taro. 1998). Diehl (1993) suggests various traits or objects constituting a horizon style emanating from Tula. Tovalı If these regions are included. 1. Still farther north are several other sites. table 24). however. Crespo 1991). G). It does not appear that the Toluca Basin immediately west of the Basin of Mexico was part of Tula’s hinterland given the apparent absence of Tollan complex ceramics (Sugiura 2006). Beyond the hinterland Tula’s ethnohistorical legacy includes Aztec accounts that it (Tollan) controlled a large empire purported to cover much of western Mesoamerica (Davies 1977. including a chacmool. 123 . Flores and Crespo 1988) ´s Potosı ´ (Braniff 1992. and the substantial representation of Terminal Corral and Tollan phase ceramics indicates regular. whose ceramic assemblages likewise contain substantial proportions of Terminal Corral and Tollan phase types. p. although there is in fact little supporting Jime archaeological evidence for this claim (Smith and Montiel 2001). 1. but there is no definitive evidence that any of the traits involved specifically originated in Tula. 149).000 km2. Excavations at the largest of these. p. 1982. Like El Cerrito.000-km2 area Nichols and Charlton (1997. There is. 329). p. Near the modern city of Quere northwest. 1. 259) or in southern Puebla to the east (McCafferty 2001. these are hilltop sites with monumental architecture and nucleated settlements. 196) suggested was under Tula’s ‘‘control. 13. Kirchhoff 1985). which probably includes the Pachuca obsidian source area and the upper Teotihuacan Valley to the east and Jilotepec and possibly the Acambay Valley (Folan 1981. Bey conducted a systematic surface survey at Carabino and identified 19 Tollan phase types (Bey 1986. and various diagnostic decorative architectural elements (Brambila 2001.

instead. whose origins date to the work of Boas and Gamio (see Cervantes et al. decorative modes. Tula and the Tula region following the Tollan phase The Tollan complex is followed by three successive (Fuego. A critical problem is the paucity of excavation and chronometric dating that forces reliance on the dating of the Aztec ceramic sequence in the basin. that may have included colonization from Tula. and IV ceramic complexes. would pose serious challenges to prehispanic settled life in the northern interior. while the subsequent Palacio phase appears to represent a period of repopulation and relative stability. they correspond to the Aztec II. There also is evidence suggesting some type of direct interaction between Tula and areas of eastern and southern Mesoamerica. and depopulation at Tula. their chronological placement in Fig.94 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 The existence of an archipelago of settlements with a strong Tula affiliation ´o and into the arid interior of north-central Mexico as far as across the eastern Bajı ´s Potosı ´ recalls earlier arguments (Armillas 1969) of a ‘‘northern oriented San Luı Toltec state’’ based on initial accounts of sedentary sites in this area (Braniff 1961). The disruption in ceramic continuity is accompanied by an apparent cessation of occupation in most of the excavated localities in the city outside Tula Grande where information is available. respectively. Even in those localities where post-Tollan phase occupation is evident. Although there are differences of opinion concerning the duration and degree of overlap among the four. 2009 for a comprehensive overview). The post-Tollan period is arguably the least understood part of Tula’s settlement history.’’ However. In addition. 120 km northeast of Tula showed a climate much like today. III. although one core from a lake c. recent lake core sediments (Metcalf and Davies 2007) indicate that this was one of the driest periods of the Holocene in central Mexico. This sequence. Palacio. and technological characteristics of Tula’s Tollan complex that Fowler argues indicates direct ties. and Tesoro) phases whose component ceramics show little or no continuity with the preceding ceramic complexes. 700) attributed these sites to climatic change during Early Postclassic times that favored a ‘‘northward displacement of the agricultural frontier. of the Basin of Mexico. The Fuego phase appears to represent a time of demise. Armillas (1969. it is limited in scale and exhibits a clear break with the previous occupation. however. Fowler’s (2011) tural and sculptural elements shared with Chiche recent investigations of two Early Postclassic Pipil settlements in El Salvador encountered evidence of close affinities with Tula. 4 reflects an apparent consensus among current 123 . Even today’s climate. including the numerous architec´ n Itza ´ . perhaps somewhat mitigated by a subsistence strategy using a combination of seed and maguey cultivation and perhaps other xerophytic crops. perhaps of a commercial nature. p. consists of four sequential (Aztec I–IV) ceramic complexes that show some temporal overlap but are commonly grouped into Early Aztec (I/II) and Late Aztec (III/IV). destruction. This includes a ceramic complex that apparently includes the principal forms.

Parsons et al. Cobean and Mastache (1999. 89) notes a scarcity of Aztec IIassociated occupation in the Zumpango region compared to more substantial occupation farther to the south (Sanders et al. p. p. 3b. Likewise. Nichols and Charlton 1996.g.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 95 investigators (Cowgill 1996. 4). hence its popular nickname Palacio Quemado. less than 1% of classified prehispanic ceramics. where Acosta encountered burning so intense it left portions of the adobe outer walls brick-like in color and hardness (e. p. p. 2009. Sterpone 2000. 77. 2002. 89–90. Likewise. p. the only other evidence of burning was encountered in the Daini locality. p. table 13.1). pp. pp. It would appear that Fuego phase peoples did not attempt to occupy the city or remain in Tula Grande very long after the destruction occurred. her databank contains only 81 sherds identified as Aztec II. 95. 131–137). Mastache and Crespo (1974. In a recent paper. This includes Building 3. and Parsons (2008. 116). 76) encountered little Aztec II pottery during their preliminary regional survey. Fuego phase activity at Tula Grande appears largely confined to the reoccupation and subsequent destruction of Tollan phase buildings. 42). p.2). tanto sobre los pisos como encima del escombro de las estructuras’’ (Acosta 1956–1957. which he interprets as evidence of drastic population decline between the Late Toltec and Early Aztec periods (Parsons 2008. likewise associated with Aztec pottery. 5. there is little Aztec II-associated occupation in the Teotihuacan Valley and the nearby Temascalapa region (Gorenflo and Sanders 2007). 304) and Building K (Getino 2000. Mastache et al. and Pyramids B and C were both found in a heavily damaged state. fig. 1979. Evans and Freter 1996.. 151). 1996). and although Mastache did not have the opportunity to analyze the Aztec settlement data from her regional intensive survey before her death. although this should not be assumed a priori to date to the Fuego phase given evidence of widespread disturbance of Tollan phase deposits during the following Palacio phase. 115. Fuego phase The Fuego phase is associated with Aztec II ceramics and evidence of destruction and burning at Tula Grande. 73) encountered few Aztec II sherds in their excavations at Tepetitlan. Aztec II ceramics also are associated with destruction and burning in Building K (Getino 2000. Little Aztec II pottery was encountered in the neighboring Valle del Mezquital (Fournier 2007. 181. Outside Tula Grande. Only 230 Aztec II sherds. 33) conclude 123 . 28). Few Aztec II ˜ a and Rodrı (c. 75). although few of these sherds ´guez 1976). p. figs. p. Parsons and Gorenflo (in press. p. 5%) were identified as Aztec II (Pen ceramics were noted in other excavated localities where ceramic inventories are reported. and similarly small quantities were recovered in the INAH urban survey (Yadeun 1975. Acosta attributed Tula Grande’s destruction to users of Aztec II ceramics because he encountered ‘‘grandes cantidades de [Aztec II] tiestos. Rather than new construction. p. Aztec II pottery is similarly scarce in the surrounding hinterland. were identified in the Missouri project urban surface survey (Healan and Stoutamire 1989. Burning also was encountered in recent excavations of both Building 4 (Mastache et al. There also was extensive damage to sculpture suggestive of iconoclastic activity.

A larger issue is the relative timing of the end of the Tollan phase.D. are less clear. However. 293). It is possible that Tula Grande was already abandoned when Fuego phase peoples left Aztec II ceramic debris inside buildings and apparently 123 . 5. There also are two archaeomagnetic dates provided by Wolfman (1990). of which at least five are nonarchitectural specimens. w) are from contexts associated with Aztec III ceramics (Ferna Similarly. These data are consistent with a recently reported (Stahle et al. a common tactic in Late Postclassic warfare (Hassig 1998. and the beginning dates for the Fuego phase and the Aztec II complex in general.96 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 that the scarcity of Aztec II-associated settlement in the northern Basin of Mexico and the Tula region ‘‘represents a real absence of population. The other archaeomagnetic date was obtained from the structure in the canal locality believed to have been used to fire ceramic drain tubes (Healan 1989. 1150 appears to be based on the generally accepted beginning date for Aztec II in the Basin of Mexico at the time Cobean (1978) formulated his ceramic chronology. 1150. Although the estimated end date for the Tollan phase of A. as did Acosta. as Wolfman notes. k–t). all of which are not necessarily coterminous events. This is a particularly important date since it pertains specifically to the burning at Tula Grande. The paucity of Aztec II ceramics may be more an artifact of relatively few diagnostic Aztec II types than it is an indication of sparse occupation (M.D. 54). Smith.D. v. 5. 105). 3) do not extend significantly past A. one of which is based on clay samples collected inside Building 3 at Tula Grande from postholes he described as ‘‘baked at the time the Palacio Quemado burned’’ (p.D. 1140–1190 for the last time it was used. this date is supported by subsequent chronometric dating. that the destruction and burning of Tula’s monumental center was part of the conquest of the larger city. 1150. most of the two-sigma ranges for the other 24 radiocarbon dates for Tula reported by Paredes (2005. p. It may seem logical to assume. fig. 1149 to 1167. Other events surrounding post-Tollan phase Tula. Of the other three samples. personal communication 2010). although he noted that ‘‘this extrapolated date may be a little early’’ (p. 1). All but three of ten published radiocarbon dates from post-Corral contexts at Tula and Tepetitlan (Fig. including the apparent abandonment of the city and the depopulation of its hinterland and perhaps the entire northern portion of the Basin of Mexico. 2011) dendrochronological sequence based on millennium-old trees from southern Queretaro that revealed a ‘‘severe and sustained drought’’ in central Mexico from A. although it is subject to several potential errors unique to archaeomagnetic dating. ´ ndez 1994. appendix II). have two-sigma ranges that fall short of or do not extend significantly beyond A.’’ which they associate with the collapse of Tula. 1140 for the burning of Building 3.D. which the authors suggest contributed substantially to the ‘‘decline of the Toltec state’’ (p. The four samples yielded an average estimated date of A. There seems little doubt that Tula Grande was destroyed and that its destruction occurred at the hands of Fuego phase peoples whose Aztec II ceramics bracket the destruction horizon. however. two (Fig. p. which yielded a date of A.D. specifically the time when the Tollan ceramic complex ceased to be produced. 292). Tula’s demise as a functioning city and the destruction of its monumental center did not necessarily occur at the same time. Tula’s demise.

D. 4 reflects the apparent consensus. Nichols and 1150 and 1400 (Garcı Charlton 1996. 116–117. the overall Aztec III population in the region was almost certainly smaller than the preceding Tollan phase population.D. pp. who notes the apparent removal of sculpture and architectural elements from Building 3 and the collapse of adjacent structures.9. table 13.D. the vast majority were small or dispersed occupations. p. when population in the Basin of Mexico alone is estimated to have reached one million (Sanders et al. 1150.D. prior to its burning. and Wolfman’s archaeomagnetic date for the burning of Building 3 is accurate. pp. Lo pp. where the distribution of Late Aztec ceramics is as extensive as that for Tollan ceramics (Healan and Stoutamire 1989.5. and Mastache’s regional intensive survey databank contains one fifth as many Aztec III as Tollan complex sherds. only about half as much Aztec III as Tollan complex pottery was identified in the Missouri project survey. 176). Likewise. ´a Cha ´ vez 2004. Mastache and Crespo (1974. fig. 34–36). If this is true. 3. Palacio phase occupation was encountered in only 6 of the 22 excavation localities shown in Fig. a possibility that obviously requires additional investigation.2) but far less dense. a post-A. possibly from lack of maintenance. 6 and mostly involved reoccupation and 123 . 13. There was substantial Late Aztec settlement in the northern portion of the Basin of Mexico (Gorenflo and Sanders 2007. A similar pattern is seen at Tula itself. 1998. 1200–1350. Indeed. which agrees with Cook’s (1949) characterization of the latter region as a populous area during late Aztec times.D. A. however. Parsons 2008) ´ pez Aguilar et al. In fact. this would mean that the demise of the city and the end of the Tollan phase actually occurred some time before A. noted by Parsons and Gorenflo (in press). the Tula region appears to have had substantial population during Late Aztec times. However.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 97 burned them. figs. Parsons et al. Manzanilla et al. 1979. that Aztec II dates to c. In fact. 1300–1450 (Garcı Gorenflo in press. Palacio phase The Late Aztec (Aztec III/IV) period in central Mexico was a time of considerable population expansion that reached its climax in the era of the Triple Alliance. Some 32 recently obtained radiocarbon dates from Aztec II and mixed Aztec I/II contexts at ten different sites in the Basin of Mexico generally range between A. This possibility also is raised by Sterpone (2000). The dating of the Early Aztec phase in Fig. and the Valle del Mezquital (Fournier 2007. 1996). Parsons and in the basin to as late as A. 13. 76–77) encountered more sites with Aztec III ceramics during preliminary regional survey than they did sites with Tollan phase ceramics. 1200 beginning date for Aztec II would not only increase the likelihood that Tula Grande had been abandoned for some time prior to the Fuego phase but would prolong the apparent hiatus in settlement following Tula’s demise that currently exists for the entire region. the majority cluster in the late 13th to the early 15th century.8. p. leading some authors to suggest a redating of Aztec II ´a Cha ´ vez 2004. 1996. tabla 3. hence. 33). While the implications of such a redating are not fully comprehended.10. hence it appears that Late Aztec settlement was far less dense and probably not urban in nature.

However. pp. q). However. Mastache and Crespo encountered what they described as ‘‘a variety of Jara Polished Orange’’ (Cobean and Mastache 1989. Both dates have two-sigma ranges consistent with the (Ferna current dating for Aztec III. both of which are from the upper levels of the Vivero locality ´ ndez 1994. recent excavations in Tenochtitlan’s sacred precinct encountered a headless but otherwise complete chacmool sculpture that so closely resembles the whole and numerous fragmentary specimens at Tula that ´ pez Luja ´ n and Lo ´ pez Austin 2009. (1994. but many appear instead to represent the removal of objects from Tula’s ruins alluded to in ethnohistorical documents. 54). Museo. Paredes 2005). Tula’s Palacio phase occupation appears to be discontinuous and of low density. 5. A third date from this locality (Fig. This would certainly appear to indicate the cazuelas (Go contemporaneity of Tollan and Aztec ceramic types. 129). ‘‘there seems to be no doubt as to its origins’’ (Lo p. although the evidence is far from ´ mez (1994. v. p.98 J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 modification of existing Tollan phase structures. 395–399). Yadeun 1975. p. and Zapata II localities (Go 1994. which Cobean (personal communication 2009) subsequently identified as Aztec Orange ceramics with a surface treatment similar to Jara’s distinctive a brochazos finish. 401). Indeed. Lo ´ pez Austin 2009. Similarly. but in reality the two occupations appear to have little in common. pp. Acosta and others encountered extensive Aztec III construction ´ pez Luja ´n and other activity inside or over Tollan phase buildings (Diehl 1989a. two consistent features of Palacio and Lo phase occupation at Tula Grande include (1) a generally inferior quality of construction and (2) a frequently intrusive character involving excavations unrelated to construction activity. Aztec reoccupation and reuse of Tollan phase structures and the intentional disturbance of Tollan phase deposits also could explain their cooccurrence. 21) note that Jara and definitive. The latter are often associated with burials or caches. There are currently two radiocarbon dates (Fig. 994. w) from probable Palacio phase contexts.. p. Several authors have suggested that some diagnostic Tollan complex ceramic types may have continued into Aztec times. urns. some of the 19 Aztec period urn burials encountered in a Tollan phase residential compound in the Museo locality are reported to have been capped with diagnostic Tollan phase bowls and ´ mez et al. from Tollan phase contexts. some of them inside ´ mez et al. Go other diagnostic Tollan phase ceramics were found alongside Aztec III ceramics on the floors of unspecified structures at Tula. essentially the same pattern of relatively dispersed occupation characteristic of Late Aztec settlement 123 . p. On the nature of the Palacio phase occupation at Tula Some authors have interpreted Palacio phase Tula as a large settlement comparable to the Tollan phase city (e. although there are other possible explanations. p. 39) associated with Aztec III pottery in rural Aztec sites.g. Finally. which they interpret as evidence of their contemporaneity. as discussed below. is consistent with current dating for the latter phase. 24–29). 6. 89) and Go ´ mez et al. Aztec burials. were encountered at the Daini. At Tula Grande.

Fox 1977. as well as to strengthen their claim to being Tula’s rightful heirs (p. While this would appear to indicate a relatively brief interval between abandonment and reoccupation. p.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 99 in the surrounding region. 511. 165). p. Contrary to Gillespie’s (2007. it seems almost certain that the ruins of Tula. and those that do often involve reuse of existing Tollan phase buildings. (1989. Sahagun 1961. Tollan phase residential construction often incorporated foundations of previous buildings.g. Duran 1984. The belief that Tula’s ruins were imbued with the power of gods and ancestors may explain the numerous Aztec burials encountered at several localities with otherwise little evidence of Aztec occupation. Noting specific ethnohistorical references to the removal of relics from the ruins of Tollan by the Aztec (e. p. there appears to be little continuity between the Tollan and Palacio phase occupations in the manner in which Tula Grande was occupied.. the majority of the 22 localities excavated to date at Tula show no evidence of Aztec occupation. 393). Healan et al. including the belief that they were imbued with the power of gods who once dwelled in Tollan. A related aspect. these structures need not have been fully standing when reoccupied. Various studies (e. Hidalgo. which these authors describe as ‘‘a sort of neo-toltecism’’ (p. Concluding remarks The post-Acosta era of investigations at Tula began around the time of the New Archaeology. More recently.g. Sjoberg 1960. at least some of whom may have been brought from elsewhere specifically for interment in Tula’s ruins.. systematic disturbance of Tula’s ruins and the originals ´ n’s sacred and numerous copies of Tula’s sculpture and architecture in Tenochtitla precinct reflect a widely held preoccupation rather than the contrivance of a few intermediaries. 247) suggest that the Aztec occupation at Tula Grande was part of a cult dedicated to the veneration of Tula that involved both the placement of offerings and the removal of sacred ´ pez Luja ´ n and Lo ´ pez Austin (2009) suggest that the objects. which in Mesoamerica included the first systematic investigation of settlements considered urban.’’ the extensive. were what the Aztecs called Tollan. Palacio phase construction at Tula Grande appears to be a collection of insubstantial platforms and other ill-defined structures associated with the burial of Aztec objects and the exhumation of ‘‘Toltec’’ objects from Tula’s ruins. p. Likewise. 403) involves the deliberate imitation of sculpture and other artifacts from Tula in the belief that they would be likewise imbued with power. 123 . Outside Tula Grande. The Tollan phase vessels reported to have been used to cap Aztec urn burials in the Museo locality may have been previously recovered objects reused as burial furniture for their presumed power. 112) suggestion that references to Tula as Tollan in Aztec sources may have been the work of ‘‘some Aztec literati’’ who did so ‘‘for specific purposes. Notwithstanding evidence that ‘‘Tollan’’ was a name applied to many cities and whose origins go back at least as far as Teotihuacan. Lo Aztecs’ apparent preoccupation with Tula’s ruins and relics involved several different factors.


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Wheatley 1972) suggest that preindustrial cities are a strikingly diverse array of communities, which appears to be true of Mesoamerica as well. The few characteristics shared by the array of sites considered to have been prehispanic cities are functional rather than physical in nature, most notably the centralization of political and economic functions (Fox 1977, pp. 24–29). That prehispanic cities were the centers of ancient states underlies a dominant theoretical approach that views them as centralized manifestations of regional social, political, and economic institutions (Blanton 1976; Hirth 2003; Marcus 1983; Smith 1989), blurring the distinction between a city and its hinterland and potentially assigning city status to a wide range of settlements in terms of size and density. While there is ongoing debate over how inclusive the category of prehispanic cities should be (e.g., Sanders and Webster 1988; Smith 1989), there is little disagreement that it includes at least the largest, densest, and most complex sites such as Teotihuacan, ´ n, Tikal, and Copan. One of the most significant contributions of the Tenochtitla post-Acosta era of investigations is confirmation of Tula’s urban character, based on surface survey that encountered an undulating landscape littered with building stone, ceramics, and prismatic blade fragments extending up to 3 km from Tula Grande. Densely packed residential structures encountered in excavation at 22 different localities provide additional evidence of Tula’s large size and dense, urban character. Some of these remains are less than 20 cm below the surface (Healan 1989, figs. 7.5, 7.6) yet left few topographic manifestations (e.g., Healan 2009a, fig. 4.10). The extant remains of Tula’s ‘‘adobe city’’ pale in comparison to the durable stone and concrete wall architecture of cities like Teotihuacan, but evidence of c. 16 km2 of dense settlement place Tula among the largest and densest Mesoamerican cities. These findings refute previous characterizations of Tula as a modest settlement, based partly on the premise that Tula Grande was lacking in scale and artistic complexity to have been the center of a large city (e.g., Kubler 1961, p. 49; Weaver 1981, p. 374). Recent exploratory excavations in the North Platform, however, show that the visible structures at Tula Grande are merely the figurative tip of an architectonic iceberg, in some places 5 m or more in depth. Moreover, Fig. 3 shows that Tula Grande, while likely the core of Tula’s political and religious center, is but part of a larger, mostly unexplored monumental precinct whose omission from published plans understates its extent when compared to that of other cities (e.g., Smith 2007, fig. 1). Another major contribution of the post-Acosta era of research is the discovery of Tula’s large, relatively dense hinterland. The shared ceramic, lithic, and other material traits among the city and hinterland sites reflect the flow of goods and information over the regional network of the larger state. Tula and its hinterland appear to be the product of a highly successful mode of adaptation to the dry highlands involving integrated seed and maguey cultivation, in light of which its location in a seemingly marginal environment is no longer an enigma, nor an obstacle to accepting its status as the urban capital of a state that now appears to have extended into northern Mexico’s arid interior. Considering the latter evidence, along with evidence that its hinterland incorporated most if not all of the Basin of Mexico, Tula’s direct influence appears to have extended over a considerably larger


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area than the so-called ‘‘mini-empire’’ delineated by Smith and Montiel (2001, p. 263, fig. 4). In addition, the recent evidence of strong affinities between Tollan phase Tula and settlements in western El Salvador raises intriguing questions about direct connections between Tula and the Nahua-speaking Pipil. Tula’s physical domination of its hinterland while depending on it for food and revenue are defining characteristics of administrative cities in Fox’s (1977) five-part urban typology, although in fact most prehispanic cities were either of this type or what Fox called ‘‘regal-ritual’’ cities. Compared to the politico-religious centers of other prehispanic administrative cities, however, Tula Grande is distinctive in the apparent absence of palaces and few temple/pyramids. Instead, it has several buildings with large columned halls that may have been venues for libation, feasting, and other group activities. Surrounding benches are embellished with procession scenes, and ollas and nested ritual and serving vessels and tobacco pipes were found in Buildings 4 and 3, respectively. These ‘‘great halls’’ suggest a disproportionately large role for secular activity, and their presence in lieu of palaces may imply group leadership typical of corporate political strategies in which power is shared by different groups or sectors of society (Blanton et al. 1996; Feinman 2001). Corporate leadership also may be reflected in some of the repetition in Tula’s monumental art, including the columns atop Pyramid B with bas reliefs of warriors associated with various glyphs that might identify various military or other sodalities (Acosta 1956–1957, p. 100). This also may be true for the numerous bas reliefs of elaborately attired reclining individuals that line the columned halls of Building 3. Current evidence suggests that Tula arose as the center of a regional state that consolidated various Coyotlatelco polities and probably the remnants of the ´ phase settlement system. However, there are few if any Teotihuacan-related Chingu traces of the latter in the Prado/Corral ceramic complex, whose roots lie clearly in the former. Coyotlatelco ceramics are widespread in central Mexico (e.g., Solar 2006) and may have multiple origins, but in the Tula region Coyotlatelco settlement ´o is almost certainly intrusive, most likely involving populations from the Bajı ´ phase. Models of whose settlements may overlap in time with those of the Chingu cultural discontinuity involving migration have been generally out of favor for at least a generation, particularly in Mesoamerica where ethnohistorical accounts of repetitive migration are widely discounted. More recent perspectives on migration (e.g., Anthony 1990), however, take a more systematic approach that in Mesoamerica involves less monolithic models involving smaller scale and more diverse processes (e.g., Beekman and Christensen 2003; Nelson and Crider 2005). In the present case, the Coyotlatelco intrusion probably involved short distances, hence minimal displacement of populations already familiar with the Tula region and intermittent episodes of migration and even return migration between source and destination, as suggested by the sites with strong Tula affiliation in southern ´ taro. Quere That Tula’s origins possibly lay in the consolidation of various regional factions suggests that a corporate power strategy may have been in place from its very beginning. This possible consistency in political strategy over time may explain the similarities in layout between Tula Chico and Tula Grande and the



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common presence of at least one form of repetitive sculpture (i.e., bas reliefs of reclining heroic figures). The architectural and artistic continuity between Tula Chico and Tula Grande agrees with ceramic evidence of strong cultural continuity throughout Tula’s pre-Aztec occupation. Even the destruction and abandonment of Tula Chico occurred within an uninterrupted succession of waxing and waning ceramic types, suggesting that wholly internal processes, possibly of a nonbellicose nature, were involved. It was after this event that Tula’s major growth and the ambitious program of construction at Tula Grande probably began, again within a framework of ceramic continuity. Tula’s demise is a complex set of events. The events surrounding the end of the Tollan phase occupation, the destruction of Tula Grande, and the Aztec occupation of the site are unclear, as are their timing and interrelationships. Nevertheless, at least for Tula, survey and excavation indicate that the Aztec period occupation was oddly limited and selective, often coexisting and interacting with the ruins of the Tollan phase city rather than supplanting them. In this regard, the archaeological record agrees with ethnohistorical and archaeological evidence of an Aztec preoccupation with Tula’s ruins. As with most sites, Tula has numerous issues that obviously require additional fieldwork to resolve, and here we confront the most serious of Tula’s problems: its ongoing destruction in the wake of modern development that followed construction of the nation’s largest oil refinery over three decades ago. While it is fortunate that some 1.1 km2 of the site core lies within the protected archeological zone, we will never have a better picture of the overall city than what was obtained from surveys conducted in the 1970s. Given intense development in the immediate area, the situation will only worsen. With this in mind, I propose three urgent priorities for future research: Because of its sheer size and density, many parts of the ancient city outside the protected zone are apparently still intact, which we know from an active salvage program that has brought several new and exciting finds to light. These include excavations in November 2009 of a Tollan phase residential structure (Fig. 6, v) that encountered a whole ceramic statue nearly 1 m tall of a representation of the deity the Aztecs called Xipe Totec (Excelsior 2009). Many opportunities for investigations outside the protected zone still exist, not only at Tula itself but for sites in the hinterland, and this is what demands attention for the near future. More programmatic investigations based on published survey data should certainly include the apparent ceramic production zone, much of which is still undeveloped farmland. Not only would this shed light upon urban ceramic workshops, but in situ assemblages from production loci are invaluable for confirming and refining ceramic chronology. Additional excavation of the apparent obsidian production zone would shed more light on its extent and its internal variability. Similar exploration of other possible craft production loci is possible given their documentation by previous researchers, and published distribution maps and databases provide numerous opportunities to identify and explore other areas of interest. This also applies to sites in the Tula region that are likewise being destroyed by modern development.


and this must be made clear to scholar and nonscholar alike. Acosta. Acknowledgments I thank Gary M. Revista Acosta. La tercera temporada de exploraciones arqueolo ´gicos 6: 125–164. Instituto Nacional de Antropologı ´a e Historia. J. which may resolve some of the chronological issues noted in this paper. J. Linda Manzanilla. J. R. References cited ´as. Cuadernos Americanos 2: 133–146. Hgo. Mexico City. but for our ongoing dialogue on Tula for what has been almost 40 years. R. Revista Mexicana de Estudios ´gicos 4: 172–194. collegiality. whose scholarship. Hidalgo Acosta. J. R. To my wife Nancy I am especially grateful. not only for his comments and suggestions and for sharing published and unpublished data from his many years of research at Tula and in the Tula region. R. 123 . R. Exploraciones en Tula. 1941. La cuarta y quinta temporada de exploraciones arqueolo ´gicos 7: 23–64. it seems clear that the term ‘‘Mazapa’’ has lost most of any utility it may have had through overuse and misuse. (1956a). (1982). Resumen de los informes de las exploraciones arqueolo durante las Vl. Feinman and T. Mike Smith. Revista Acosta. as well as researchers in neighboring areas. I suggest beginning with the creation of a high-resolution topographic map of the larger monumental precinct to provide detailed imagery of the arrangements of mounds and plazas that are obvious to the trained eye. and Evelyn Rattray. and Luis Gamboa. including Richard Diehl. Hidalgo. Two other obvious benefits of systematic stratigraphic excavation is the opportunity to collect additional ceramics and associated carbon and other materials for chronometric dating from in situ contexts. Tula Grande is not the totality of the Tollan phase city’s political/religious center. Hidalgo. of which little is currently known. R. Mexicana de Estudios Antropolo ´ gicas en Tula. Blanca Paredes.J Archaeol Res (2012) 20:53–115 103 Notwithstanding the urgency of fieldwork in the unprotected parts of the ancient city. The name should be restricted to refer only to the ceramic type of this name. Antropolo ´ gicos en Tula. (1943). de Arqueologı Acosta. R. and four other. This map also would inform archaeologists investigating the range of architectural and functional variation within the larger precinct. Vll y Vlll temporadas 1946–1950. Patricia Fournier. R. Deb Nichols. Proyecto arqueolo ´ cnico de la Coordinacio ´ n Nacional ´gico Tula. Douglas Price for inviting me to contribute this article to the Journal of Archaeological Research. for her shared love of Mexico both past and present and for her genuine interest and enthusiastic support during the research and writing of this review. Archivo Te Abascal Macı ´a. including Destiny Crider. I owe a considerable debt to the late Alba Guadalupe Mastache. On a related note. Los colosos de Tula. Cuadernos Americanos 1: 121–131. and in fact impedes Tula’s proper temporal placement in the chronology of the Basin of Mexico. Mexicana de Estudios Antropolo ´ gicas en Tula. 1940. To my friend and colleague Robert Cobean I owe special thanks. (1941). I am grateful to many colleagues who have generously shared the results of previous and/or ongoing research at Tula and the Tula region. however. Anales del Instituto Nacional de Antropologı´a e Historia 8: 37–115. (1945). J. Revista ´ ltimos descubrimientos arqueolo Acosta. ´ gicas en Tula. Mexicana de Estudios Antropolo Acosta. and friendship have left their mark on these pages. (1942). Jeff Parsons. (1940). My paper has benefited immeasurably from the comments and suggestions of Ben Nelson. Los u ´gicos 5: 239–243. (1944). including possible palaces and temples associated with Tula’s pantheon. J. La ciudad de Quetzalcoatl. J. archaeological investigations within the archaeological zone should and will continue as the focus of tourism and the most direct opportunity for high impact outreach. Hgo. anonymous reviewers.

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