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Monte Alban at Crossroads: Fifth Edition of the Round Table Dedicated to the Ancient Zapoteca City
From September 2 through 5, in Oaxaca, a round table discussion on Monte Alban will be held. Photo: Mauricio Marat/INAH.

MEXICO CITY.- “Monte Alban at Regional and Disciplinary Crossroads” (Monte Alban en la encrucijada regional y disciplinaria) is the thematic axis of the fifth edition of the round table dedicated to the ancient Zapoteca city, from September 2nd to 5th, 2009, that will take place in Oaxaca City, to present results from most recent archaeological investigations conducted in different regions of the State, from Central Valleys to Isthmus, and from Mixteca to Coast.

Archaeologists, physical anthropologists, ethno historians, architects, and other specialists will present in 30 lectures themes like Origins; Monte Alban during its peak, life and collapse; Transformation; Archaeology and history, among others, at the gathering organized by the National History of Anthropology and History (INAH) through Monte Alban Archaeological Zone.

At the press conference organized at National Museum of Anthropology (MNA), Dr. Nelly Robles Garcia, director of Monte Alban Archaeological Zone, explained that the main theme of the Fifth Round Table was decided based on consensus among the round table’s Scientific Committee.

“To present, Monte Alban studies are at a crossroads; either we continue them per se, or we broaden them to understand more in terms of quality and quantity of data and subjects, surpassing archaeological perspective”.

“Regarding location, we may focus research on Central Valleys or open it to different Oaxaca regions and areas of Mesoamerica, with the aim of understanding the phenomenon that allowed Monte Alban’s development (500-850 AD) as a cultural, religious and politic controlling State”, expressed the general coordinator of the round table.

This quandary will be reflected at the encounter’s lectures; some of them are related to places that had never been subject of research: Santa Maria Atzompa (at the north of Monte Alban, which correspond to its last phase, between 700 and 850 AD); Copalita, in Huatulco, and other sites at Mixe and Isthmus zones; and the relation with settlements in Veracruz.

Ivan Rivera, academic coordinator, announced other case to be discussed: Cerro Palmillo, an archaeological site near Santa Cruz Tepenixtlahuaca, in Chatina region, where a stele with High Plateau iconography was discovered.

Archaeologist Nelly Robles commented these works will contribute to complete Oaxaca Archaeological Atlas, “to know which sites and of which nature are distributed in the state. We need to continue the study in the Mixteca, because this is the second ethnic group in quantity, and research in Mixe area, specifically Sierra Juarez, which has been relegated due to its inaccessible orography”.

Academics from INAH, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Center for Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS), as well as from international institutions like University of Colorado at Boulder, Leiden University, Field Museum of Chicago and the American Museum of Natural History of New York.

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