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It was however only in 1931 that large-scale scientific excavations were undertaken under the direction of Mexican archaeologist Alfonso Caso.
In 1933, Eulalia Guzmán assisted with the excavation of Tomb 7.
Besides being one of the earliest cities of Mesoamerica, Monte Albán's importance stems also from its role as the pre-eminent Zapotec socio-political and economic center for close to a thousand years.
AD 500-750) and soon thereafter was largely abandoned.
The present-day state capital Oaxaca City is located approximately 9 km (6 mi) east of Monte Albán.
The partially excavated civic-ceremonial center of the Monte Albán site is situated atop an artificially-leveled ridge, which with an elevation of about 1,940 m (6,400 ft) above mean sea level rises some 400 m (1,300 ft) from the valley floor, in an easily defensible location.
As its political power grew, Monte Albán expanded militarily, through cooption, and via outright colonization into several areas outside the Valley of Oaxaca, including the Cañada de Cuicatlán to the north and the southern Ejutla and Sola de Vega valleys.(Feinman and Nicholas 1990) During this period and into the subsequent Early Classic (Monte Albán IIIA phase, ca.
CE 200-500) Monte Albán was the capital of a major regional polity that exerted a dominating influence over the Valley of Oaxaca and across much of the Oaxacan highlands.