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There are a lot of cultures in Oaxaca, that makes it multicultural, one of them is the Zapotec culture that with the Mixtec are the most famous.


The Zapotecs are the most old group of Oaxaca, this culture surged and had their apogee in the Central Valleys but they also inhabited in other big parts of the oaxacan territory.

We don´t know exactly when they surged but probably they were nomad groups or Olmecs.

Their first important community was San José del Mogote that developed in the early and middle preclassic period. In this mayor village were found characteristic elements from zapotec culture, like the beginnings of the zapotec sistem of writhing.

The zapotecs were not a primitive culture, they had their own constructions, writing sistem and calendar.

Photo by: Douglas Favero Photography. MONTE ALBÁN.


The zapotec writing has been one of the oldest and permanent sistems of the pre-hispanic period.

It surged in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca. The preclassic elites started to leave registers in stone monuments in the years 300 or 400 b.C.

This writing system has more than 100 symbols.

Zapotec writing had his apogee in Monte Albán (very important zapotec city) were archaeologist have found most of the writings.


The zapotec calendar combined numbers from 1 to 13 with the names laa (lightning), china (deer), piya (brush) y xoo (earthquake) to name the years. This names have the positions 2,7,12 and 17 in the days list.

There are proves that the way mentioned up here was used from the beginning of the culture until the abandonment of Monte Albán without any change.

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Source: Arqueología Mexicana, EDICIÓN ESPECIAL #24 Recorridos por Oaxaca, Valles Centrales, Guía Visual.Categories

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