The Aztec heartland in the Valley of Mexico was the same highland basin where the huge modern megapolis of Mexico City now sits. Lacking domestic animals that helped sustain other ancient empires in the Old World and in Andean South America, the Aztecs and their ancestors developed particularly intensive means for managing their diverse environment. In doing so, they achieved unusually high levels of agricultural production and harvests of “wild” (but carefully managed) aquatic resources. This lecture considers how the Aztecs, and their descendants, managed the piedmonts, lakeshore plains and marshlands to provide for more than a million people in the Valley of Mexico by the early sixteenth century.
Recorded Thursday, March 05, 2009 at The Field Museum.