Chapter 1. Rusty Nails, Stone Walls and a Drum
The Aztecs: Bloodthirsty Savages or Just Regular Folks?
Who Were the Aztecs, Anyway?
Aztec Families and Households
My Journey to Aztec Households and Communities
Chapter 2. The Discovery of Aztec Peasants
The Invisible Aztec Peasant
Background to the Fieldwork
Getting into the Field
Digging Houses at Capilco
More Houses at Cuexcomate
"Any Idiot Knows These Walls were Foundations for Adobe Bricks!"
The Village of Tetlama
Where are all the Bodies?
Celebrating the End of the World
Farming the Hillsides
The Rainy Season Begins and the Excavation Ends
Chapter 3. Reconstructing Daily Life Our Lab in the Emperor Maximilian's Stable Hand-Made Tortillas The Artifacts of Daily Life Access to Markets The Hidden Realm of Domestic Ritual Rich and Poor Changes in Rural Society Chapter 4. A High Quality of Life Wealthy Households Household Choice and the Diversity of Goods External Social Networks Aztec Summer Camp The Mexica Imperial Protection Racket The One Percent and the Ninety-Nine Percent Successful Rural Households Chapter 5. Excavations in an Urban Community Urban Survey: Knocking on Doors and Being Chased by Dogs The Site is Invaded by a Squatters Settlement We Excavate Anyway An Elite Residence Burial of the Dead Irrigation and Urban Agriculture Excavation in the Churchyard Chapter 6. Urban Life Daily Life Our Laboratory in Yautepec Flutes, Whistles, and Rattles Obsidian Workshops Scientific Studies of Trade Life in the Big City Cortes and the Spanish Conquest Chapter 7. Resilient Communities What is a Community? The Calpolli: Key to Community Success Responsive Local Government: The City-State Chapter 8. Lessons From the Dirt A New View of Aztec Society Why were these Households and Communities Successful? Sustainable Smallholder Agriculture A New Archaeology of Households and Communities The Aztecs and the Urban Revolution Lessons for Communities Today
Michael E. Smith is one of the leading international authorities on the Aztecs, with extensive experience excavating at Aztec sites. He is currently a Professor of Archaeology in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University.
*** Winner of the Society of American Archaeology 2017 Book Award - Popular ***
"Resisting the trappings of 'monumental archaeology'- a fixation on kings, priests, pyramids, and bloody ceremonies that has for so long dominated scholarly discourse - Michael E Smith instead focuses on the life of the 'ordinary' Aztec, diving into trash heaps and exploring households in order to investigate the humble communities that actually made up the largest part of Aztec society... Through his remarkably engaging narrative, Smith often weaves personal anecdotes and methodological insights, drawing the reader into the hot Mexican dirt right alongside him."- Current World Archaeology
"Smith is one of the preeminent authorities and archaeologists of the Aztec, and his compassionate rendition in this instance is a welcome contribution. In this eminently readable, engaging account, he weaves a wondrous archaeological tapestry of the unsung heroes and prosperous peasant communities whose resilience, determination, and cultural knowledge stand in stark contrast to the myths and misgivings that today cloud the interpretation of thousands of years of Mesoamerican civilization and civility. Summing up: Essential"- R. G. Mendoza, CHOICE Reviews