The altepetl is a category that describes the organizational structure of the territory and the social hierarchy of pre-Hispanic societies in Mesoamerica. This category is used to understand the basic generator of territorial and political complexity in pre-Hispanic times. It is proposed that the repetition of itself, its iteration, increases social complexity until reaching structures comparable to big cities and great empires. These complex cultural developments are self-similar to the basic structure that generates them, the altepetl. The modeling of the pre-Hispanic altepetl is based on contributions made by ethnohistory to a spatial and social organization of territory and on the characteristics of alliances and segregations. These constitute the mechanisms that can explain linearization, increasing complexity or collapse of societies. The interactions between the altepetl and its agency capability are studied from the perspective of complexity theories to understand the relationships between neighboring entities. The study seeks to demonstrate the fractal properties of the structure and dynamics of Mesoamerican groups, based on the iteration principle of the generator component: the altepetl.
Part of the book: Fractal Analysis