Archaeology and the Aztec empire

Michael E. Smith, Frances F. Berdan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This article provides two explanations for the relative lack of archaeological evidence for the existence of the Aztec empire. First, the nature of Aztec imperial strategies and organization did not lead to extensive patterned material remains in provincial areas. Second, archaeologists have been slow to address issues of Aztec expansion with problem‐oriented fieldwork projects. We describe new ethnohistoric and archaeological research on the Aztec empire outside of the Basin of Mexico and show how both kinds of information are needed to provide an adequate account of Aztec imperialism and its effects in Postclassic Mesoamerica.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-367
Number of pages15
JournalWorld Archaeology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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