Archaeological excavations in the heart of Mexico City can help to explain how indigenous people created and transformed public and private spaces in the city before and after the Spanish conquest of 1521. Archaeological data from Mexico City show that many pre-conquest engineering techniques were used to build the colonial city, allowing us to see the role of indigenous engineering, architecture, and technology in building the capital of New Spain. The data also show, surprisingly, that indigenous builders created the earliest houses for Spanish colonizers with their traditional, indigenous aesthetics.
Enrique Rodriguez-Alegria is an associate professor at the University of Texas, Austin.
Co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American Studies and the Archaeological Research Facility.