Freedom8 Mesoamerica




   


Xochicalco
(Nahuatl pronunciation: jotjikalko) is a pre-Columbian archaeological site in Miacatlam Municipality in the western part of the Mexican state of Morelos. The name Xochicalco may be translated from Nahuatl as "in the house of Flowers". The site is located 38 km southwest of Cuernavaca, about 76 miles from Mexico City. The apogee of Xochicalco came after the fall of Teotihuacan and it has been speculated that Xochicalco may have played a part in the fall of the Teotihuacan empire.
The architecture and iconography of Xochicalco show affinities with Teotihuacan, the Maya area, and the Matlatzinca culture of the Toluca Valley. Today the residents of the nearby village of Cuentepec speak Nahuatl.
The main ceremonial center is atop an artificially leveled hill, with remains of residential structures, mostly unexcavated, on long terraces covering the slopes. The site was first occupied by 200 BC, but did not develop into an urban center until the classic period (AD 700 – 900). Nearly all the standing architecture at the site was built at this time. At its peak, the city may have had a population of up to 20,000 people. Xochicalco was founded in about 650 AD by the Olmeca-Xicallanca, which are a Mayan group of traders from Campeche, at a site that gave them an excellent position along several of the major Mesoamerican trade routes. The people, many of whom were engaged in craft production and long-distance trade. It was an important fortressed commercial and religious center following the decline of the great Meso-American city states. The poor farming conditions in the area show that it was likely built for defense purposes and trading.