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An early state‐organized society flourishing in the highlands of Oaxaca, Mexico, during the Formative and Classic stages from about 200 bc through to ad 1000. Zapotec origins are obscure, but they emerge with Monte Alban as their capital, and distinctive material culture including grey ware pottery, in the period 200 bc to ad 200, and are fully developed by ad 300 when further expansion was hampered by the emergence of Teotihuacán. By ad 950 they have largely abandoned Monte Alban and relocated to other centres such as Mitla and Lambiteyeco. By the late Post‐Classic stage the Mixtec had begun to infiltrate Zapotec society and they were later heavily absorbed into the Aztec Empire. Only small groups remained in historic times. Zapotec culture includes a distinct language.

Subjects: Archaeology — History of the Americas.

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