March 18, 2017

Ground-breaking study of the Central Highlands City of Tlaxcallan

Respected archaeologist Richard Blanton of Purdue has written a research report about the governance of the city of Tlaxcallan founded in 1250 CE. The Spanish documented the ordeals Tlaxcallan leaders had to face to govern the city. They had to stand naked in the central plaza and be beaten by the citizenry, then had to stay in a temple for 2 years while they were educated by the priests on the moral and legal code, starved, beaten with spiked whips, cutting themselves in bloodletting rituals. Having gone through this, they emerged warriors and joined the 100 member senate. Richard Blanton, in his research in Science Magazine, stated that the city was run as a collective. The clues to this are in their repetitive architecture, public places over temples, local production over importation of luxury goods, and a narrower wealth gap. Michael E. Smith, the premiere archaeologist on the areas surrounding the Mexica capital, will now take this data and test it by using the methods Blanton has revealed. This new paradigm contrasts with other major sites in Mesoamerica from the Olmecs to the Maya and Aztecs, where the structure was imperial, and the rulers and elite lived in posh palaces filled with exotic luxury products. Tlaxcallan plazas were scattered in every neighborhood, with no sign of a clear center or hierarchy. Recently, the Olmec center of Tres Zapotes was found to have this style of collective layout and collective artifacts from 400 BCE to 300 CE.

The Tlaxcallans successfully defended their city against the Aztecs throughout, and when the Aztecs imposed a trade blockade, the Tlaxcallans were not weakened because their goods were locally produced as was their food.

Science Magazine has the research here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Toltecs and Aztecs

Mike Ruggeri’s Aztec and Toltec World Magazine

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