El Palacio: Historiography and new perspectives on a pre-Tarascan city of northern Michoacan, Mexico
In the centuries that preceded the European conquest in 1521, the central-northern region of the state of Michoacan, West Mexico, was a place of significant socio-political changes materialized by important transformations of settlement pattern and material culture. The archaeological site of El Palacio (also known as La Crucita or Mich. 23), located in the Zacapu Basin, constituted a major center throughout these regional events. The site has been mentioned in the archaeological literature as early as the end of the nineteenth century, and dispersed subsequent research has documented changes in site morphology, function, and degree of integration into interregional networks of cultural interaction. The present volume offers the first monographic publication about El Palacio. It is composed of a series of eleven contributions looking at both legacy and archive data (1896-1995) and results derived from recent archaeological investigations (2012-2017). The systematic review and analysis of the chrono-stratigraphy, material culture, urbanism, and economic and ritual practices at the site yields critical information that allows discussion of the role of El Palacio and the context of its development at both local and extra-local scales, between A.D. 850 and 1521. Beyond this central concern, this volume provides extended material for cultural comparisons with West, Northwest and Central Mexico during this time period, as well as for broader discussions about the complex social mechanisms involved in the rise, transformation, and fall of premodern urban centers.