Verónica Pérez Rodríguez

Office: Arts and Sciences, Room 113
Phone: (518) 442-4453
E-mail:         Publications
Ph.D., University of Georgia, 2003            Curriculum Vitae

Verónica Pérez Rodríguez

Interests: Ecological and Environmental Anthropology; Mesoamerican Archaeology; Complex Societies and Urbanism; Landscape and Regional Studies; Agriculture and Terracing.


Research Statement

In my research I employ an ecological and historical perspective to study social complexity, urbanism, and agriculture in Mesoamerica. By looking beyond the single archaeological site and instead focusing on settlement patterns, regions, and the surrounding landscape archaeologists are able to look at large-scale spatial and temporal patterns of social organization, land use, and their environmental impact. My work so far has focused on the highland region of the Mixteca Alta in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.

The Mixteca Alta is a fascinating place to work in for many reasons, from the emergence of the ancient ñuu to the decipherment of the Mixtec codices and writing system. One of the less obvious reasons is that the region’s environment presents a series of challenges to agriculture. The Mixteca Alta’s high elevation, varying temperatures, topography, seasonal rain, and aridity patterns make agriculture a difficult proposition and yet early agricultural villages flourished there in the Formative period. These societies eventually gave way to early urban centers and later on to the famous cacicazgos or ñuu that were the stuff of legend and the subject of fascinating Mixtec codices. This highland region, which has not received as much scholarly attention as the neighboring Valley of Oaxaca, developed an interesting pattern of urbanism in hilltop urban centers that integrated elaborate terrace systems in their layout.

In recent and previous studies I have sought to integrate archaeological methods, including GIS with ethnography, ethnohistory, soil and geomorphological studies to look closely at the development of agricultural landscapes and urban centers in the Mixteca Alta. My current research at Cerro Jazmín investigates highland urbanism and its use of green and agricultural spaces, especially terracing in their layout. By working with geomorphologists and other scholars this research also investigates the environmental impact and potential sustainability of this form of urbanism. My hope is that what we learn about successful and failed attempts of urbanism in the past can inform current attempts to live in cities successfully and sustainably.

To learn more about the Cerro Jazmín Archaeological Project follow the link to the project’s website.

Selected Publications

Pérez Rodríguez, Verónica and Kirk C. Anderson
2013   Terracing in the Mixteca Alta, Mexico: Cycles of Resilience of an Ancient Land-Use Strategy. Human Ecology. In press June 2013.

Pérez Rodríguez, Verónica
2013   Recent Advances in Mixtec Archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Research 21(1): 75-121.

Pérez Rodríguez, Verónica, Kirk C. Anderson, and Margaret Neff
2011   The Cerro Jazmín Archaeological Project: Investigating Prehispanic Urbanism and its Environmental Impact in the Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca, Mexico. Journal of Field Archaeology 36 (2): 83-99.

Pérez Rodríguez, Verónica
2011   Book review: The Lords of Lambityeco: Political Evolution in the Valley of Oaxaca by Michael Lind and Javier Urcid. American Anthropologist 113(4): 684-685.

2011   Investigaciones en Cerro Jazmín: el urbanismo tridimensional en el Oaxaca antiguo. In Memorias de la Quinta Mesa Redonda de Monte Albán, edited by Iván Rivera Guzmán.

2009   Unidades domésticas en el Oaxaca antiguo y su contribución a la complejidad social. In Bases de la Complejidad Social en Oaxaca: Memoria de la Cuarta Mesa Redonda de Monte Albán, edited by Nelly M. Robles, pp. 91-105. CONACULTA INAH, México D.F.

Kowalewski, Stephen A., Andrew K. Balkansky, Laura R. Stiver Walsh, Thomas J. Pluckhahn, John F. Chamblee, Verónica Pérez Rodríguez, Verenice Y. Heredia Espinoza, and Charlotte A. Smith
2009   Origins of the Ñuu: Archaeology in the Mixteca Alta, Mexico. University Press of Colorado, Boulder.

Link to the book on Amazon:ñuu

Heredia Espinoza, Verenice Y., Stephen A. Kowalewski, and Verónica Pérez Rodríguez
2009   Cerro Jazmín: The Morphology of an Urban Center in the Mixteca Alta. In Urbanism in Mesoamerica, edited by Guadalupe Mastache and Robert Cobean. Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia and Pennsylvania State University, Mexico City and University Park, pp. 423-446.

Grau Mira, Ignacio and Verónica Pérez Rodríguez
2008   Aproximación Arqueológica al Estudio de los Paisajes Aterrazados en el Área Central Valenciana. LVCENTVM XXVII: 33-50.

Pérez Rodríguez, Verónica, and Laura R. Stiver
2008   El yuhuitayu de Teposcolula: una mirada desde la comunidad sujeto de Nicayuju. Arqueología Mexicana 15(90): 40-41.

Pérez Rodríguez, Verónica
2008   Household labor and landscape transformation in Ancient Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca, Mexico. In Economies and the Transformation of Landscape. Edited by Lisa Cliggett and Christopher A. Pool, pp. 77-102. Altamira Press.

2006   States and Households: The Social Organization of Terrace Agriculture in Postclassic Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca, Mexico. Latin American Antiquity 17(1): 3-22.

2006   Sociedades complejas y paisajes agrícolas: un estudio regional de asentamientos y terrazas en la Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca, México. In Jornadas de Arqueología La Aplicación de los SIG en la Arqueología del Paisaje, edited by Ignacio Grau, pp. 247-254. Universidad de Alicante, Alicante, Spain.

Balkansky, Andrew K, Verónica Pérez Rodríguez, and Stephen A. Kowalewski
2004   Monte Negro and the Urban Revolution in Oaxaca, Mexico. Latin American Antiquity 15(1): 33-60.

Balkansky, Andrew K., Stephen A. Kowalewski, Verónica Pérez Rodríguez, Thomas J. Pluckhahn, Charlotte A. Smith, Laura R. Stiver, Dmitri Beliaev, John F. Chamblee, Verenice Y. Heredia Espinoza and Roberto Santos Pérez.
2000   Archaeological Survey in the Mixteca Alta of Oaxaca, Mexico. Journal of Field Archaeology 27(4): 365-389.

Pérez Rodríguez, Verónica
2002   Modelo de reporte arqueológico para comunidades del estado de Oaxaca: el caso de la Mixteca Alta Central. In Sociedad y patrimonio arqueológico en el valle de Oaxaca: Memoria de la Segunda Mesa Redonda de Monte Albán, edited by Nelly . Robles García, pp. 383-405. Conaculta INAH, México D.F.