Brief Time-Line of Archaeological Fieldwork at Monte Albán*

Guillermo Dupaix visits Monte Albán and records architecture, carved stones with “danzantes”, and other artifacts.

William Henry Holmes visited Monte Albán and produced relatively detailed descriptions and drawings of the ruins and some carved stones. At the time, he was a curator at the Field Museum in Chicago. See more here.

Ca. 1900
Dr. Fernando Sologuren and Francisco Belmar, local professionals and artifact collectors, explore Monte Albán.

Leopoldo Bartres visited Monte Albán and carried out limited excavations of tombs and structures, including Building L. He later published a map of the Main Plaza, drawings  of carved stone monuments and a study of hieroglyphic writing from the site.

——–Modern Era of Research———

Alfonso Caso and colleagues, including Jorge Acosta and Ignacio Bernal, carried out 18 field seasons of investigations at Monte Albán. Their work included stratigraphic excavations of structures and residences within and around the Main Plaza. They also discovered more than 170 tombs, including the most spectacular–Tomb 7–uncovered in 1932. This work led to groundbreaking analytical work, such as the establishment of a ceramic chronology. Caso’s team also investigated outlying areas, such as the 7 Venado complex and Atzompa. Their efforts included reconstruction of Monte Albán’s major buildings, which visitors see today.

Richard Blanton and colleagues carried out an extensive survey of Monte Albán and surrounding environs. Their study included a settlement pattern analysis and also produced a detailed map of Monte Albán and adjacent hilltop settlements (e.g., Atzompa, Cerro del Gallo, El Paragüito, El Plumaje, Monte Albán Chico, El Mogollito).

Marcus Winter and colleagues carry out excavations of residential areas at Monte Albán in an area located northwest of the Main Plaza. The residences were dated to M.A. Period I to IIIB-IV and were probably low status households.

Bernd Fahmel Beyer carried out intensive architectural study of buildings on Main Plaza and produced detailed maps of the structures.

Ernesto González Licón and colleagues carried out excavations at 15 residences in 3 different areas at Monte Albán located north and east of the Main Plaza.

The Proyecto Especial de Monte Albán (PEMA), directed by Marcus Winter, carried out excavations in several areas, including the North and South Platforms. The PEMA also produced a detailed total station map of the Main Plaza and surrounding areas.

Nelly Robles García directed a large-scale restoration project at Monte Albán, following damage to more than a dozen structures caused by the 1999 earthquake. This interdisciplinary project included archaeologists, architects, engineers, geophysicists, and geologists. The restoration efforts included limited excavations of several structures on the Main Plaza.

The Proyecto Arqueológico del Conjunto Monumental de Atzompa, led by Nelly Robles García, included excavation and restoration of several monumental structures, residences, plazas, and ballcourts at Atzompa. Closely related to Monte Albán, Atzompa is located a few kilometers northwest of the Main Plaza and is linked by ancient roads and paths. The site is open to the public and many of the artifacts are displayed at the Museo Comunitario de Santa María Atzompa.

Christian Duverger and colleagues carried out investigations at the 7 Venado complex, located just a few hundred meters southeast of the Main Plaza.

The Monte Albán Geophysical Archaeology Project, led by Marc Levine, carried out geophysical prospection on the site’s Main Plaza, including ground penetrating radar, electrical resistance, and gradiometry. The project also produced detailed topographic maps of the Main Plaza utilizing aerial photogrammetry and a robotic total station.


*Note: This time-line does not provide an exhaustive list of all research projects carried out at Monte Albán. In particular, the list does not include some of the important conservation, salvage, and research projects carried out by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH).