La Laguna, Tlaxcala: The Archaeology of a Formative Period Central Mexican Town.

PALL 2005

(3D-Render of Area)

Investigations in 2005 focused primarily on the horizontal excavation of a residential platform in Area F, which appears to have been occupied by a family of common status.  Being on the mid slope of a steep hill, the inhabitants created a stone retaining wall on the down-slope face and piled sediment behind it, thus creating an artificially flattened surface for their house and outside living area.

Residential Platform

Residential platform in Area F.


The house that once crowned the Area F platform was made of a woven wood lattice covered by clay, a technique known as wattle-and-daub.  All that remains of the house are postholes within the floor of the platform, a partial stone sub-floor, and fragments of cooked daub.  The inhabitants of the house buried their family members in pits within and in front of the platform, including a neonate whose remains were left in a white and red pot with an orange bowl serving as a cover.


Reconstruction of residential platform and wattle-and-daub house in Area F.


Daily household activities are attested to by the artifacts and features associated with the platform.  The processing of the maguey plant (Agave spp.) was particularly important to the economy of the household.  A large pit in front of the house served for roasting the plant, and stone scrapers were used to extract its fermentable sap and the fiber from its leaves, which could be used for making twine and a canvas-like fabric.  The inhabitants of the area also made their own stone tools, including sophisticated obsidian blades.  Although obsidian would have been acquired from approximately 60 km away, more distant resources such as greenstone and marine shell were virtually absent in Area F.  Together with the modest physical construction of residential space, this suggests that the inhabitants were of common status—particularly when compared with the residential area excavated in Area H during the 2006 season.

More limited excavations were also undertaken in the center of the site in 2005, designated as Area I.  Details of those excavations and a comparison with Area F are available here:  Through excavations in both areas several examples of effigy vessels depicting Formative versions of the Old God of Fire (Huehueteotl to the Aztecs) and Storm God (Tlaloc to the Aztecs) were recovered.  The standardization in depictions of these deities show that Formative central Mexicans were converging regarding the beliefs and ritual practices associated with them and the primal elements of fire and water/earth they epitomized.  More details are provided in Carballo (2007).

Ceramic VesselsCeramic Vessels

Ceramic vessels used to bury the remains of a neonate next to the house in Area F.
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