54. Possible Relatives in the Americas
Lake Texcoco (Mexico)
by George Weber
Many of the earliest archaological sith human involvement in Mexico site were found in the Valley of Mexico. The valley was protected from the rough pleistocene climate and sheltered a large variety of animals and plants. This in turn seems to have attracted the earliest known humans into the area, at an unknoewn time before 20,000 years ago.
The Valley of Mexico was a very different place from today. Above all, it was far wetter and more fertile. Only 500 years ago where the huge megalopolis of Mexico City sprawls today, there was a large, shallow freshwater lake: Lake Texcoco. On the largest of the many islands in this lake there was the Aztec capital of Techochtitlan which was conquered and largely destroyed by the Spanish in 1521.
A map of the environments of Mexico City today, overlaid witht he outline of Lake Texcoco during the last days of the Aztec empire.. During the last 10,000 the lake changed its shape and extent dramatically many times.
Any shallow lake is very variable in extent, with our without human intervention. Lake Texcoco in prehistoric times (i.e. long before the Aztecs and their predecessors, the Toltecs and others) was large during wet periods and small or completely dry (as today) in drier periods. The island in the lake on which the Aztec capital city, Tenochtitlan, was located, is marked in red.
For details see:
3 Tepexpan (and St. Isabel Istapan)
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Last change 1 March 2007