Zapotec Digs in Mexico Shows Clues to Rise and Fall

When it comes to pre-Columbian civilizations, the Aztec and Maya–known for their spectacular pyramids and temples, hieroglyphic writing systems, and elaborate, violent rituals–often overshadow the Zapotec, their less familiar counterparts centered in southern Mexico.

But the Zapotec also played a vital role in ancient Mesoamerica, and archaeologists are seeking new clues to the rise and fall of their culture and civilization, which flourished and declined in the Valley of Oaxaca at roughly the same time as the ancient Maya.