subdomainarchive Monte Albán Intro

Monte Albán


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A Brief Introduction

Founded in 500 BCE and continuously inhabited for over twelve hundred years, Monte Albán was the ancient capital of the Zapotec culture and is one of the oldest-known urban cities in Mesoamerica. The civic core is centered around a plaza and most of the city's great monumental structures are built in its vicinity. It is estimated that approximately 30,000 people lived within a six-kilometer radius of this center during the city's peak in the 6th century CE. Sometime between 700 and 800 CE, the ruling Zapotec lineage at Monte Albán collapsed, construction halted, and the city fell into decline. Today, the site remains a source of great pride for the peoples of Oaxaca, particularly the Zapotec-speakers that still farm the fields on the valley floor below.

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