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Monte Alban is a large archaeological site in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.
The name "Monte Alban" means "White Mountain" in the Spanish language; the Zapotec name was Danipaguache, meaning "Sacred Mountain of Life". The Aztecs knew it as Ocelotepec, or "Jaguar Mountain".
This sacred Mesoamerican city is on an artificially flattened mountain top some 400 meters above the city of Oaxaca.
Monte Alban was built over a period of over 2,000 years, starting about 900 BCE, by the Zapotec people. The early art shows Olmec influence. The most impressive building period was during the Mesoamerican Classic era, from about 550 CE to 1000 CE. About 1300 CE, the Zapotec were driven out of the site and surrounding area by the Mixtec people. The Mixtec made further additions to Monte Alban until they in turn were conquered by the Spanish Conquistadores in 1521, at which time Monte Alban was abandoned.
Guillermo Dupaix investigated the site in the early 19th century. J. M. García published an account of the site in 1859. A. F. Bandelier visited and published further descriptions in the 1890s. The first large-scale archaeological project of the site was done in 1902 by Leopoldo Batres. Eighteen years of more extensive excavations began in 1931 under Alfonso Caso. Despite such detailed work, much of the large site, over 80%, has never been excavated.
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