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Prehistoric Human Occupations of the Western Venezuelan Llanos Author(s): Alberta Zucchi Source: American Antiquity, Vol. 38, No. 2 (Apr., 1973), pp. 182-190 Published by: Society for American Archaeology Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/279364 . Accessed: 26/05/2011 14:47
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38, No. 2, 1973

ological data to test causal hypotheses will supplementthe limited tests we can now make using documentary data, which we presently have in any completeness for only a small fraction of the world'sknown cultures.Indeed, the archaeological record will probably continue indefinitely to be more useful than the ethnohistorical record for the testing of causal hypotheses, since the former will probably always be more extensive than the latter (particularly, of course, with regardto the development of preliterate cultures). In any case, I hope the present study may encourage comparativearchaeologistsand ethnologists to undertake complementary research on problems of culturalprocess and variation.
Acknowledgments. The study described here was partially supported by NSF Grant GS-25 79. I am indebted to Martin Boksenbaum for assistance in the beginning of the project, to Andrea Simon for collecting the data on the first sample, and to Diane Rothenberg for collecting the data on the second sample. A slightly different version of this paper was presented at the 1971 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in New York City. Adams, Robert McC. 1968 Archeological research strategies: past and present. Science 160:1187-1 192. Binford, Sally R., and Lewis R. Binford, eds. 1968 New perspectives in archeology. Aldine, Chicago. Deetz, James 1965 The dynamics of stylistic change in Arikara ceramics. University of Illinois Press, Urbana. Ember, Carol R., and Melvin Ember 1973 The conditions favoring multilocal residence, xeroxed. Southwestern Journal of Anthropology (in press). Ember, Melvin 1967 The emergence of neolocal residence. New York A cademy of Sciences, Transactions, 30:291-302. Ember, Melvin, and Carol R. Ember 1971 The conditions favoring matrilocal versus patrilocal residence. American Anthropologist 73:571-594. Flannery, Kent V. 1967 Culture history v. culture process: a debate in American archaeology. Scientific American 217:2:119-122. Levine, Morton H. 1968 Review of three books on prehistoric art. Science 161:150-152. Longacre, William A. 1964 Archaeology as anthropology: a case study. Science 144:1454-1455. Murdock, George P. 1949 Social structure. Macmillan, New York. 1967 Ethnographic atlas: a summary. Ethnology 6:109-236.

Naroll, Raoul 1962 Floor area and settlement American Antiquity 27:587-589.



Recent archaeological research in the western Venezuelan llanos has provided very old dates related to maize cultivation. The evidence obtained at Mound I, at the site Hato de la Calzada, indicates that these seasonally flooded savannas were occupied from 920 B.C. to A.D. 500 by the Cafio del Oso people who practiced hunting, fishing, and maize farming. Around A.D. 500 manioc cultivation and artificial earthworks were introduced in this area. Both elements were probably obtained from the Arauquinoid people who inhabited the Orinoco riverbanks. The available data regarding the antiquity of manioc, based on agricultural systems in seasonally flooded savannas of South America, suggests that such systems developed in the Amazon Basin. Department of Anthropology Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientfficas Apartado 1827 Caracas, Venezuela

Seasonally inundated savannas,with impervious soils and grassy vegetation, cover large extensions of the humid tropical lowlands of South America (Denevan 1966:4). The human population which inhabited these areas coped with the environmentalconditions by building their settlements on naturally high groundsor on stilts. Sometimes they also built a variety of artificial earth structures,which representone of the most elaboratetypes of humanmodifications of the naturalenvironment. Although some of these ancient earthworks have been known since the time of the Spanish conquest, they have received in general little attention from anthropologists, geographers, and ecologists. In the past few years, however, and after a detailed geographical study of diverse artificial features of the Llanos de Mojos, Bolivia (Denevan 1966), specialists in different fields have become more interested. Large artificial earthworkshave been recently






Fig. 1. Location map.




of Mound

I and the excavation.



[Vol. 38, No. 2, 1973

described in the San Jorge River floodplain of Colombia (Parson and Bowen 1966), on the coast of Surinam (Laeyendecker-Roosenburg 1966), in the Sabana de Bogota' (Broadbent 1968), at Lake Titicaca (Smith, Denevan, and Hamilton 1968), in the Rio Guayas Valley of Ecuador (Parsons 1969), and in the western Venezuelan Ilanos (Denevan 1970). These recent finds indicate that the technique of buildingartificialearthworkswas widely known throughoutSouth America. According to their probable use, these artificial structures can be grouped into 3 major which includes all types types: (1) agricultural, of drainedfields intended for a better exploitation of the agricultural potential of the tropical lowlands; (2) settlement, which includeshouse, temple, and burial mounds, artificial islas, and moats; and (3) communication,which includes those features intended to facilitate transportation and internalmovements,such as causeways and canals(Denevan 1966:58-90). Since so little is known regardingthe structure of any of these artificial earthworks, the

Fig. 3. Aerialview of the excavation.

human group directly responsiblefor their construction and the time when they were built, a large archaeological program was undertaken for this purpose in the western Venezuelan llanos. This article describes and analyzes the structure and provides radiocarbondates of an



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artificial mound located at the site Hato de la Calzada (804, 2' N. Lat.; 70011, 3' W. Long.), state of Barinas(Fig. 1). The results obtained are compared with the available data from other seasonally flooded savannas in South America. THE SITEAND THEMOUND The site Hato de la Calzadacoversan areaof approximately8 km2 and includes a group of artificial mounds connected to another by an elevated causeway locally known as Calzada Paez (Cruxent 1952, 1966). The group,located at the northern end of the causeway, includes Mound I and 2 smalleradjacentones. These 3 structureslie between the streamCafiodel Oso to the north and a largeestero to the south. Mound I is conical in shape, 11.8 m high, and from 60.00 m to 80.00 m in diameter.It is formed by layers of earth which differ in thickness, as well as in composition and moisture, and which were probably extracted from different places and depths of the surrounding area. Analysis of the structure of Mound I is based on the main features of the verticalcross section of the mound (Fig. 4). As it can be observed,the terrainon which the mound was built was slightly uneven, somewhat higher than its surroundings, and with a concavity in the middle. Becauseof the sloping beginningat pit 9, we assume that the original floor was naturally elevated. Layers IX and X indicate that this sloping was steeper toward the peripheryof the mound. It is probablethat the naturalelevation of the land was a decisive factor in its selection for the construction of the structure. Layers I and II constitute the base of the structure. The first of these layers presents a large accumulation potsherdsand whole snail of shells which fill the concavity of the original floor. Layer II, composed of burnt clay, seems to have been set in order to secure the loose filling materialwhich had been placed previously. However,it is also possible that this layer, as well as the other thin layers of burnt clay which are found in other parts of the structure,could have resulted from ceremonial practices or accidentally. The 3 following layers, which form part of the body of the mound, are differentfrom each other but homogeneous in composition. This

suggests that the material they consist of was obtained from different places and depths of the neighboring area.It is also probablethat the selection of these materials,and their arrangement, were made accordingto well-established constructiontechniques.The 3 layers are trapezoidal in shape, with a platform at the top, probably giving the mound a conical shape or that of a truncated pyramid. Layers from the VIth on, show irregular contoursat the top, but it is difficult to establish whether such irregularities are intentional or accidental. With the exception of layers I and VII, where we found none of the others showed evidenceof hearthss, occupation. For this reason, we are inclined to believe that the building process was continuous and each layer had only a technical meaning. There is little evidence regarding use of the these constructions. However, the absence of skeletal remainsin the mound and the fact that in this area burials are usually found among refuse in the flatlands,proves that these structures were not intended as burialgrounds.On the other hand, the fact that at the Hato de la Calzadaand La Betaniasites the highestmound is located north might indicate that large mounds were used for religious ceremoniesor servedas basesfor temples constructedof more perishable material. Finally, it is also possible that because of their height these structures might have been employed as watch-towersfor communicationacross the plain or for defense purposes. (From the top of Mound I a great portion of the savannasbetween the Ticoporo and Canagua riverscan be observed.) THEMOUNDBUILDERS The archaeological materialfound in Mound I belongs to the Caniodel Oso and La Betania complexes which representa recent subdivision (Zucchi 1967, 1968) of Cruxent and Rouse's del Canio Oso style (1958:185-187). The first of these complexes is characterized well-made by pottery, with elaboratevessel shapes, in which the composite silhouettes and the angularinflection prevail. The bases are convex or annular with varyingdegreesof elevation, but leg supportsand ring-legbases are also found. The decoration consists of monochrome and polychrome painting. The motives are basically linear but occasionallyare combined with such




[Vol. 38, No. 2, 1973

elements as spirals, circles, solid triangles pendant from a line, points, dots, drops, and drips. Other artifacts of this complex are: beads, needles, manos and metates, pestles, polishers,pendants,celts, bolas, figurines,discs, and spindlewhorls (Zucchi 1968:135). del The La Betaniaand Canio Oso complexes share numeroustraits, but the former owns, in addition, a variety of multipod and largeglobular vessels. Due to the erosion of the surfaces,it has not been possible to determine whether there was any painted decorationin the pottery of La Betania complex, and only the application of small lugs, sometimes incised, on the upper part of the legs or the necks, was observed. The associated artifacts of this complex are the same as those described for Caniodel Oso, with the exception of 2 types of griddles, 1 of which has cariap6 temper (Zucchi 1968: 135). The features of the ceramicmaterial,its lack of direct relationshipwith the pottery of the other complexes in Venezuela,and the radiocarbon dates obtained from the site La Betania, allowed to establish a new Osoid series(Zucchi 1967:179-180). This series covers Periods II, III, and IV of Cruxent and Rouse's regional chronology. The pottery which correspondsto the Canlo del Oso complex is scattered throughout the whole structure of Mound I, from layers I to VIII. On the other hand, La Betania material was found only in layers IX and X. The material related to the Cafiodel Oso complex can be divided into 2 groups: (a) the abundantmaterial found at the base of the mound (layer I), which consists of large fragments with little wearing;and (b) the relativelyscarceand badly eroded material which is scattered from layers II through VIII. Some of these sherds show concretions which apparently resulted from long immersionin water.

CHRONOLOGY Before discussingthe chronology of Mound I, it is necessary to describe the phases of development into which the Cafnodel Oso and La Betania complexes were divided, their chronological position, and the associated settlement pattern. In an earlier work, we proposed that artificial structureswere related to the La Betania complex and, thus, constructed by its people (Zucchi 1967:193). However,accordingto the data obtained from Mound I, we are now inclined to conclude that earthworkswere also constructed by the people of Phase C of Cafno del Oso complex. This new position is based on the presence of La Betaniamaterialonly at the 2 upper levels (IX and X) of Mound I; the absence of La Betaniamaterialat levels beneath the structure of the mound and the direct association between the hearths found at the top (layer VII) and at the base of the mound (layer I) with Cafio del Oso material. In addition, the 2 dates obtained from these hearths, A.D. 454 (IVIC-540)and A.D. 550 (IVIC-582), fit perfectly well with the chronologicallimits established for Phase C. Finally, since both of the dates are similarin age and were obtainedin the only 2 occupied levels, we are inclined to consider that they relate to the construction processof the mound. On the other hand, it can be observedthat the rest of the dates related to the mound are rather irregular(Table 1). This irregularityis explained by the fact that the earth composing the structure was excavated from the adjacent flatlands which the peoples of PhasesA and B hadinhabitedfroma veryearly time. The archaeological materials and the charcoalleft by the people of these phases (who built no artificial earthworks)were brought to the structureduring the construction process by the people of

Complex-Phase La Betania Canio del Oso C B A

Settlement Pattern Artificial Structures Pile dwellings Pile dwellings Pile dwellings


A bsolute Dates A.D. 650-1200 A.D. 150- 650 230 B.C.- A.D. 150 (?) -230 B.C.

REPORTS Table 1. Radiocarbon dates from Mound I. Sample IVIC-436 IVIC-437 IVIC-452 IVIC-454 IVIC-457 IVIC-459 IVIC-460 IVIC-469 IVIC-470 IVIC-471 IVIC-472 IVIC-474 IVIC-475 IVIC-476 IVIC-549 IVIC-550 IVIC-551 IVIC-580 IVIC-581 IVIC-582 IVIC-583 IVIC-584 IVIC-586 IVIC-587 IVIC-588 IVIC-590 IVIC-591 IVIC-592 IVIC-593 Material Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Wood Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Charcoal Pit B-il B-il B-1 B-2 A-1 B-2 AB-4 B-1 B-1 B-2 B-1 B-6 A-1 A-1 B-2 B-1 B-1 B-3 B-3 B-3 B-3 B-3 A-8 A-8 A-8 A-14 A-6 A-6 A-6 Level (meters) 11.50-11.75 12.00-12.25 4.75- 5.00 3.25- 3.50 5.75- 6.00 2.25- 2.50 8.00- 8.25 2.00- 2.25 1m 8.50- 8.75 7.75- 8.00 9.50- 9.75 8.75- 9.00 7.25- 7.50 9.25- 9.50 9.25- 9.50 9.50- 9.75 11.75-12.00 12.00-12.25 12.25-12.50 12.50-12.75 12.75-13.00 10.50-10.75 11.50-11.75 12.00-12.25 12.00-12.25 12.50-12.75 11.75-12.00 9.75-10.00 Date B.P. 1760? 80 1710? 70 1670?100 1410? 70 1640? 90 1560? 70 1760? 90 340? 60 1510? 70 1800?100 1700?100 1990? 90 1750? 70 2870?150 1490? 80 1530? 80 1690? 90 1740? 70 1400? 60 1820? 70 1800? 70 1510? 80 1570? 70 1480? 70 1730? 80 1640? 80 1810? 80 1350? 70


Dates Christian 190 240 280 540 310 390 190 1610 modern A.D. 440 A.D. 150 A.D. 250 B.C. 40 A.D. 200 B.C. 920 A.D. 460 A.D. 420 A.D. 260 A.D. 210 A.D. 550 A.D. 130 A.D. 150 A.D. 440 A.D. 380 A.D. 470 A.D. 220 A.D. 310 A.D. 140 A.D. 600 A.D. A.D. A.D. A.D. A.D. A.D. A.D. A.D.

Phase C. For this reason,we considerthat those dates belonging to Periods II and III (920 B.C.-A.D. 150) relate to the above-mentioned early occupations and not to the date of the construction of the mound. Finally, the 2 dates obtained from layers I and VII (IVIC-470and IVIC-469) are too recent to belong to the rest of the sequence. CONCLUSIONS There are at present2 diametrically opposed reconstructions of the prehistory of Tropical Forest South America. The first was proposed by Steward, who considered the Tropical Forest cultureas being derivedfrom the Forma-

tive period cultures of the Andes. Evans and Meggershave followed Steward's(1961) model since they also consider that much of the Amazonian cultureis derivedfrom the Andean west. The second model has been postulatedby Lathrap (1970), who suggests that the earliest intensive and successfulagricultural systems in the tropical lowlands of South America were centered on the floodplains of the major rivers and lake basins. Such systems maximized the potential of the limited, but excellent, recent alluvialsoils typical of the flood plain environment, and also relied heavily on the significant protein resources of the rivers and their associated systems of ox-bow lakes. In Colombia (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1965), Venezuela (Cruxent and Rouse 1958), Brazil (Evans and Meggers




[Vol. 38, No. 2, 1973

1957), and Peru (Lathrap1962), the extent and depth of middens left by people implementing such systems are impressive indicating communities of considerablesize and permanence. The reliability and productivity of the system, when pracTropical Forest agricultural ticed on the floodplains of the major rivers, afforded the basis for rapidly expandingpopulations. As Sternberg (1964) and Lathrap (1970) have emphasized,the amount of active floodplain in the lowlands of tropical South America is severely limited, so that population growth might have lead attempts to adapt the Tropical Forest agricultural system to other more challenging and initially less promising ecological niches. The annually flooded grasslands of tropical South America offer such conditions but they supported relatively prosystems. ductive agricultural Imposing effective agriculture on annually flooded grasslandssurely must have involved the solution of certainspecific problems.In the first place, there was the problem of elevating the dwelling areasabove the water level during the floods. This could be resolvedeither by the use of pile dwellingsor by the construction of earth mounds. Evidence from early Tutishc ainyo, on the upper Amazon (Lathrap 1970:88), and from Ananatuba,at the mouth of the Amazon (Meggersand Evans 1957:591), indicates that pile dwellings were part of the riverineadaptationfrom very early times. Second, agriculturalimplements capable of breakingthe heavy sods must have been available. And, finally, the annual fluctuations between inundation and total aridity had to be controlled. This could be met either by the use of a range of cultivated plants with short growingseasons-such as maize-which could be sown and harvestedbetween periods of annual inundation, or by the construction of a system of raisedfields cultivatedduringthe floods. The evidence regarding intensive agricultural exof ploitation of the seasonallyflooded savannas South America indicates that the aboriginal populationtook both alternatives. So far, the data obtained at Hato de la Calzada might indicate the earliest effective agriculturalexploitation of seasonally flooded savannas, which favored the first alternative. According to archaeologicalevidence, the subsistence of the people from Phases A and B of the Canlodel Oso complex was based on hunt-

ing, fishing and maize farming.The practice of hunting and fishingwas establishedon the basis of the abundant fragmentsof turtle shells and fish, bird, and land mammalbones. In addition, several ceramic bolas were recovered at La Betania site (Zucchi 1967b). Likewise, maize farmingwas evidenced by manos, metates, and charredmaize cobs. One of the cobs obtained at La Betania was classified as pollo (Paul Mangelsdorf,personal communication).At the time, the date directly associated with this cob indicated the oldest prehispanicmaize agriculture for Venezuela (Wagnerand Zucchi 1966). The only charredcob obtained at Mound I has not been analyzed. The evidence from MoundI system based on indicates that the agricultural maize begun around 920 B.C. (IVIC-549) and continued until A.D. 500 when it was modified by the introduction of manioc agricultureand artificial earthworks. Both techniques were probably obtained from the Arauquinoid people who inhabited the central llanos of the Orinoco, from the second half of Period III to the first half of Period V. These people practiced manioc agricultureand also built artificial mounds as a means to raise living areasabove the water level during the floods (Rouse and Cruxent 1963:90-95). The evidence from the Barinasareaindicates that the Canlodel Oso people (Phase C) constructed mounds and causeways.However, one is inclined to believe that they must have also built agriculturalfields, since the introduction of manioc cultivation in the savannas necessarily implied some artificial mechanism developed to face floods. Recently, Denevanhas reported ridged fields further south in the BarinasState (1970:649-650) but, so far, there the is no informationregarding groupwho built them. There is also the possibility that some of the agriculturalfields built by Cafio del Oso people have disappearedfrom the surface due to their low height and the rapidalluvialbuildup.

Recent evidence suggests that the earliest intensive utilization of annually flooded grasslands involvingmanioc cultivationand artificial earthworks is found at the Mouth of the Amazon. So far, the oldest absolute dates related to this system range between 70 B.C. (SI-201) and A.D. 690 (SI-199) and belong to culture. Nevertheless,Evans and the Marajoara Meggersconsider these dates too early for their



Marajoara sequence (Mielke and Long 1969:173-174). The artificialearthworksfound in other seasonally flooded areas of South Americaseem to be much later. The main concentration of raised fields on the coastal savannas of Surinam is associated with the Hertenritsmound built around A.D. 700 (Laeyendecker-Roosenburg 1966:35). In the Guayas riverfloodplain, agricultural fields, burial, and house mounds are related to the Milagro culture. The Milagropeople occupied the areafrom A.D. 500 until the Spanisharrival (Meggers 1966:132). In the San Jorge river floodplain, the agricultural earthworks are related with the Betancf-Viloria complex, which is quite late, and was still flourishing when the Spaniards entered the area around 1530 (Reichel-Dolmatoff 1965:125-128). In Llanos de Mojos,upperVelarde and Hernmark, 2 of the 3 complexes related to artificialearthworks have a tentative date of A.D. 1000 (Willey 1958:371). The third complex, Masicito, is considered as late precontact (Denevan 1966:24). These data indicate that savannacultivationinvolvingmanioc agriculture and artiflcial earthworks seem to have developedin the AmazonBasin.
A cknowledgments. I am most indebted to D. Lathrap and I. Rouse for their criticism, suggestions, and advice. W. Denevan, H. Seijas, E. Wagner, and N. Arvelo provided helpful comments. C. Quintero made the drawings. Broadbent, Sylvia M. 1968 A prehistoric field system in Chibcha territory. Nawpa Pacha 6:135-147. Cruxent, Jose M. 1952 Notes on Venezuelan archaeology, preliminary accounts of the causeways in the state of Barinas. Introductory notes. XXIX International Congress of A mericanists, Selected Papers, pp. 280-294. University of Chicago Press. 1966 Apuntes sobre las Calzadas de Barinas, Venezuela. Departamento de Antropologia, IVIC, Boletin Informativo 4:10-24. Cruxent, Jose M., and Irving Rouse 1958-59 An archaeological chronology of Venezuela. Social Science Monographs VI. Pan American Union. Denevan, William M. 1966 The aboriginal cultural geography of the Llanos de Mojos of Bolivia. Ibero-Americana 48. University of California Press. 1970 Aboriginal drained-field cultivation in the Americas. Science 169:647-654.

Laeyendecker-Roosenburg, D. M. 1966 A palynological investigation of some archaeologically interesting sections in northwestern Surinam. Leidse Geologische Mededelingen 38:31-36. Lathrap, Donald W. 1962 Yarinacocha: stratigraphic excavations in the Peruvian montaha. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation. Department of Anthropology, Harvard University. 1970 The upperAmazon. Praeger, New York and Washington. Meggers, Betty J. 1966 Ecuador. Thames and Hudson, London. Meggers, B. J., and Clifford Evans 1957 Archaeological investigations at the mouth of the Amazon. Bureau of A merican Ethnology, Bulletin 167. 1961 An experimental formulation of horizon styles in the Tropical Forest area of South America. In Essays in pre-Columbian art and archaeology, edited by Samuel K. Lothrop, pp. 373-388. Mielke, J. E., and Austin Long 1969 Smithsonian Institution radiocarbon measurements V. Radiocarbon 11:163-182. Parsons, James 1969 Ridged fields in the Rio Guayas Valley, Ecuador. American Antiquity 34:76-80. Parsons, James, and William A. Bowen 1966 Ancient ridged fields of the San Jorge River floodplain, Colombia. Geographical Review 65:317-343. Parsons, James, and William M. Denevan 1967 Pre-Columbian ridged fields. Scientific American 217:93-100. Reichel-Dolmatoff, Gerardo 1965 Colombia. Praeger, New York. Rouse, Irving, and Jose M. Cruxent 1963 Venezuelan archaeology. Yale University Press, New York and London. Smith, C. T., W. Denevan, and P. Hamilton 1968 Ancient ridged fields in the region of Lake The Geographical Titicaca. Journal 134 :353-367. Sternberg, Hilgard O'Reilly 1964 Land and man in the tropics. In Economic and political trends in Latin America. Academy of Political Science, Proceedings. Tamers, Murry A. 1965 Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas. Natural radiocarbon measurements. I. Radiocarbon 7:59-6 1. 1969 Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientfficas. Natural radiocarbon measurements IV. Radiocarbon 11:396-422. Wagner,Erika, and Alberta Zucchi 1966 Mazorcas de maiz prehistorico de Venezuela occidental. Departamento de Antropolog!'a, IVIC, Boleti'n Informativo 4:36-38. Willey, Gordon R. 1958 Estimated correlations and dating of South and Central American cultural sequences. American Antiquity 23:353-378. Zucchi, Alberta



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1967a La Betania. Un yacimiento arqueologico del occidente de Venezuela. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas. 1967b Boleadoras de Arcilla en los lianos occidentales de Venezuela. Departamento de IVIC, Boleti'n Informativo Antropologia, 5:18-22. 1 968 Algunas hipotesis sobre la poblacion aborigen de los llanos occidentales de Venezuela. Acta Cientifica Venezolana 19:135-139.

EDWARD E. CALNEK ABSTRACT Sanders (1970) has recently attempted to analyze settlement pattern and demography at the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, on the assumption that an early map called the Maguey plan represents a part of the city. A careful analysis of the physical layout of the community shown on the map, and of several written and pictographic glosses added sometime after the original map was completed, supports the view that the Maguey plan actually shows an island settlement located in a region which had been expropriated by Tenochtitlan following that city's conquest of Azcapotzalco in the early fifteenth century. Department of Anthropology University of Rochester November, 1971

Sanders'recent analysisof sixteenth century population data from centralMexico includesa short discussionof the Aztec capital,Tenochtitlan, based on the assumption that a sixteenth century map called the Magueyplan (Plano en papel de maguey) representsa section of that city located directly west of the church of Santa Mariala Redonda (1970:447449). This is in general agreement with a localization previously suggested by Maudslay (1910 III: 10-16). This conclusion is employed to support a new analysis of settlement pattern and total population at the time of the Spanishconquest (1519-21). Since Sanders' interpretation contradicts evidence recently summarizedby this writer (Calnek 1972), a few comments bearing on the nature and probablelocation of the area shown on the Maguey plan are appropriateat this time.

The Magueyplan is a largemap drawnin the indigenous style. It represents a community consisting of more than 400 residentialsites, each with a small house platform, adjoinedby some 6 or 7 narrow rectangulargarden plots (chinampas) (see Fig. 1). Name glyphs associated with each site suggestthat the map was a property registerof the type kept by community officials (calpuleque) in prehispanic times. Robertson(1959:76-82) concluded from the map's style, content, and composition, that belonging it had been painted by cartographers shortly to the school of Tenochtitlan-Tlatelolco after the conquest. A pictographictext in the upper right hand margin of the map was probably added at a later date. A number of glosses in Europeanscript establishthe orientation of the map and purportto identify certain features. of its topographical The layout of individual sites as shown by the map is extremely regular,and has frequently been describedas a gridironpattern.Careful examination of the map demonstrates, however, that it does not have a gridironpattern. The greater part of this community is divided into narrow strips by streets and canals which alternate at right angles to the east-west axis. Cross-streetsof the type required to convert this strip pattern to a grid pattern are entirely lacking in most of this district, although they do occur in the zone to the north of a diagonal canal that divides the map into 2 sections. Otherwise, the most important streets and canals only partly conform to the more regular organization of the residential sites. They frequently run along diagonal lines, which transect individual properties, and may even change direction at a number of points. This that it may eventually featurehas the advantage be found to match the layout of some area representedon colonial period or modernmaps, thereby establishing a particular localization with much greaterauthority than would be the case if this were nothing but an entirely regular street pattern. Previousattempts to localize the map on this basis have been completely unsuccessful, however. The maps prepared by Maudslay (1910, III, facing page 16), and by Toussaint, Gomez de Orozco, and Fernandez (1938:67) speak for themselves. The street patterns may coincide in a few respects, but other primary features, such as the diagonal canals,are left completely unexplained.