Most of the presently visible remains at Monte Albán date from IIIB.
During this phase construction at Monte Albán is essentially completed with the full enclosure of the Main Plaza. The entire hill, as well as neighboring hills such as Azompa and El Gallo is occupied with the slopes configured into terraces largely occupied by household units. Limited agriculture was probably also undertaken on the terraces.
The entire site was apparently subdivided into barrios focusing around a center of public architecture consisting of elites residences and and public areas for ritual activities all evidenced by largely unexcavated mounds. In addition to the Main Plaza, ten such barrios have been identified on the slopes of Monte Albán and four others on neighboring hills. This spatial organization may be viewed as an ealboration of that already in evidence (as three barrios) during Early I. The unique size and architectural elaboration of the Main Plaza and and the fact that there are 14 structures surrounding it suggest that it may have played a role in integrating the activity of the barrios.
A network of roads ( Fig. MA.4,) covered the site but apparently bypassed the Main Plaza suggesting that this area served neither as a market, nor as the site of other types of frequent gatherings of large numbers of people. Indeed, there is no evidence that any location at Monte Albán might have been a market. Nor is there firm evidence of manufacturing activity duriing this period. This is in sharp contrast with Teotihuacán where commercial activity was a significant feature during this time.
This phase coincicdes with the emergence of Teotihuacán in the Valley of México as a pan-Mesoamerican power and evidence of interaction between Monte Albán and Teotihuacán is visible in the public architecture and and ceramic remains at Monte Albán.
A closed household unit consisting of rooms opening onto and usually enclosing a square central patio is typical of IIIB (See Fig. MA.5.)
The emergence of the closed household unit completes a sequence of gradual change in the complexity and spatial organization of these units beginning with the open unit (See Fig. MA.2.) in Early I and continuing through the semi-closed units of Late I and II.
The closed household units of this phase exhibit significantly more standardization in size and morphology than do those of earlier phases. Three types, based on patio size, were distinguished by Winter ( Winter '74) Blanton’s analysis ( Blanton, ‘78:96-100 , based on a substantially larger sample, suggest a more complex typology with at least six types. Winter’s types will however serve to illustrate the diversity of residential architecture.
Also providing evidence for interaction with Teotihuacán during IIIA, is a deposit of Teotihuacán-style ceramics found in conjunction with Monte Albán IIIA ceramics in a location to the southwest of the Véritice Geodésico on the North Platform. ( López ,‘94)
Aside from structures already mentioned (including the
Material specific to this period is drawn from:
To the north of the
among a series of
riges and small hills
appear the remains of several tombs for elite persons, dating to IIIB, including:
Each of these consists of an enclosed tomb, frequently excavated into bedrock and decorated with mural paintings, opening onto the
surface of a paito complex containing a surface structure -- either a temple of a small palace.
Colorado School of Mines
Division of Liberal Arts and International Studies
Dr. Joseph D. Sneed
Material specific to this period is drawn from: Marcus ‘83a, Marcus ‘83b, López ‘94.