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The Presence of Teotihuacan in the Cuitzeo Basin, Michoacán, Mexico

A world-system perspective

Agapi Filini


Until recently it was thought that West Mexico was isolated from the cultural region defined as ‘Mesoamerica’, especially during the apogee of the city of Teotihuacan, Central Mexico. Studies on the exchange network of Teotihuacan have not considered therelations between Teotihuacan and West Mexico despite the existence of a number of artifacts in West Mexico that either originated in Teotihuacan or were locally reproduced copies of Teotihuacan artifacts. In this work the author investigates relations between Teotihuacan and the Cuitzeo Basin, Michoacán, from a world systemic perspective. Ideological factors seem to have been particularly important for the structure of the Teotihuacan world-system that extended over a broad area in Mesoamerica. The polarizing dichotomy between ‘centre’ and ‘perAhery’ has impeded understanding of the dynamics of change for both the Cuitzeo Basin and Teotihuacan. This work examines whether dependency can be inferred by the local and imported material culture with references to other parts of the Teotihuacan world-system. An attempt is made to redefine the concept of complexity regarding perAheral areas and the role of important denominators such as trade, crafts specialization and symbolic complexity as manifested through specific cognitive concepts.