On this page we are assembling resources relating to our excursion to the archaeological site of Atzompa.  (Under construction; if you wish to print, please wait until closer to the start of the Institute.)

Atzompa was a satellite of nearby Monte Albán, also occupied by Zapotecs.  It was founded between 650 C.E. and 850 C.E. (Classic Period). Artifacts show that the occupants of Atzompa traded with people as far south as what is now Guatemala and as far north as the modern state of Hidalgo, Mexico.  The people of Atzompa produced pottery. The site also has a stone quarry that probably produced the stone used for building Monte Albán.

Atzompa has an extraordinary number of ball courts and two luxurious residences for the nobility, known today as the Casa de Oriente (East House) and the Casa de los Altares (House of the Altars).

One of several ball courts at Atzompa (S. Wood, Nov. 2013)

One of the interesting features of this ball court is its niches, perhaps where sacred objects were stored.

Decorated buttress for one of the temples at Atzompa (S. Wood, 2013)

Notice the geometric patterns in the wall.

Palace with a magnificent view of the valley below. Atzompa. (S. Wood, 2013)

Given the historic tensions between the Zapotecs and the Mixtecs, it was important to be able to monitor activity (and control agriculture) in the valley below.  In this photo the valley of Etla is just visible in the distance, but from this location one truly has a grand view.

View of the Valley of Etla (S. Wood, 2013)

Below, we see an explanation of the ceramics traditions of ancient times and today in this region and the modern community of Atzompa. Today, the modern community of Atzompa, below the archaeological site and going toward the Valley of Etla, is a Mixtec community. It is still famous as a pottery-producing community.

Ceramics traditions in Atzompa (S. Wood, 2013)

Kiln for ceramics at Atzompa, which is still very much a ceramics community. (S. Wood, Nov. 2013)

Kiln in the backyard of Dolores Porras. (S. Wood, 2008)

Today, Atzompa is known for a type of green-glazed pottery. A few women, such as Dolores Porras and Angélica Vásquez,  have also innovated in ceramics and received considerable acclaim.

Green-glazed pottery in the Atzompa ceramics marketplace. (S. Wood, 2011)

Angélica in her studio. (S. Wood, 2008)

One of Angélica’s pieces that emphasizes native flora. (S. Wood, 2008)

Just a few of the many styles of Dolores Porras. (S. Wood, 2008)