Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



In 1982 we initiated a program of archaeological fieldwork at the site of Matacapan, a large Classic Period urban center in the Tuxtlas Region of the South Gulf Coast of Veracruz, Mexico (see Figure 1). Our working hypothesis was that Matacapan contained an encl ave of merchants from the the city of Teotihuacan in Central Mexico. That research had two principal objectives: (1) to define the structure of the Teotihuacan barrio, that portion of Matacapan where past research indicated that Teotihuacan materials were most highly concentrated; and (2) to establish the context of the barrio within the urban center of Matacapan. The following is a report of that research. Our presentation is divided into several parts. First, we discuss a general model describing Teotihuacan influence throughout Mesoamerica. We then summarize the methods we employed during surface survey and excavation, review the settlement history of the site, as defined by the survey, and discuss the evidence we retrieved from a series of excavations conducted in the Teotihuacan barrio. Next, we present an analysis of the obsidian assemblage, outlining major sources of variability across space and through time. Obsidian, we believe, was an important commodity traded to the Tuxtlas by Teotihuacan. We close with a prospectus for future research.


Latin American and Iberian Institute

Language (ISO)



Matacapan, Archaeology, Fieldwork, Obsidian, Tuxtlas, Teotihuacan