In the central valleys of the Mexican state of Oaxaca lie stone ruins centered around an artificially leveled hill. It is now a famous tourist destination as well as a major archaeological site. Although it has cultural significance today, it has very little political or administrative significance. There was a time, however, when the archaeological site of Monte Alban was the heart of a major state-level political system that ruled over much of Oaxaca.
Origins of Monte Alban
It is not known what the original inhabitants of Monte Alban called their city. Most modern people, both scholars and laypeople, simply refer to the ancient city as Monte Alban. The site of Monte Alban appears to have been inhabited since at least the 8th century BC. The complex that would later be known as Monte Alban has its origins around 400-500 BC.
The Mexican state of Oaxaca is important for having been one of the earliest sites of civilization in Mexico. Oaxaca is also where of one of the earliest ceremonial structures and defensive barriers in Mexico, dating to 1300 BC, was built. The first urban culture to develop within Oaxaca was that of the ancient Zapotecs, which first appears as an urban civilization in the archaeological record, around 1500 BC.