The ancient Mexican city of Monte Alban

Archaeologists from the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago They found out Socioeconomic conditions that led to the rapid growth of the city before the Hispanic period Monte AlbanIt was located in the Mexican state. oaxaca.

In the year 500 BC, the city was founded on the top of a hill near three arms of the Valley of Oaxaca. New Political and Religious Center Zapotec culture Although the scarcity of rain and water resources has hindered the growth of agriculture, the region has grown and established itself as an important metropolis of pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican communities for 1,300 years.

Gary Feynman, co-author of the study published in the newspaper earlier this month. Limits in political science: “We have been working in the Valley of Oaxaca for 40 years. We and our colleagues wonder why so many people have moved to and around Monte Albán, and what has allowed the city to survive for so long.

Archaeologists initially suggested that the rapid growth was due to the belief that Monte Albán’s land was good for agriculture. It is also believed that the rulers forced the people to go there.

in search of the truth

To test the first hypothesis, the scientists conducted topographical surveys of the Oaxaca Valley, listing different types of soil and determining whether agriculture could develop in this way.

The research focused on crop profitability and soil moisture.

The results of the analyzes indicate that the quality of the soil is not a determining factor to promote the growth of human settlements in the Monte Albán Settlement because the city is not close to fertile land.

After discovering that the theory of favorable land for agriculture was not true, the researchers began to study a second hypothesis to show whether people in pre-Hispanic cities were really forced to settle. This study lasted decades because archaeological excavations had to be carried out using aerial photographs and maps of the region, in addition to excavating the site.

The research shows that the population of Monte Albán, unlike others in the region, is organized as a collective community. Others mesoamerican cultures They were almost arbitrary. Despite the environmental deficiencies that prevailed in the area, this cooperative character could have been a factor in attracting these people to the population of the city.

“Monte Albán was a city where a new social contract was established,” Feynman said, adding that the city was able to support “more than a million” thanks to a “collective and relatively fair administration.” “However, when it collapsed, the city’s population shrunk dramatically and many of its institutions were dissolved, leading to a period of authoritarian rule,” the archaeologist concluded.