Cultures & Traditions


Settling as early as 2000 BCE, the Tlatilco people flourished in the Valley of Mexico between 1250 BCE and 800 BCE during the Early Formative period. The major archaeological sites of the area include Tlatilco, Tlapacoya, and Coapexco. They were so named for the Nahuatl word, meaning “place of hidden things,” though we do not know what they actually called themselves. There is significant Olmec influence in this region, which may be explained by the significant increase in long distance trade during this period. More than 340 burials have been found at the site of Tlatilco, which further illustrate Olmec stylistic influences. Tlatilco is known for their ceramic tradition, particularly multiple representations of small-scale female figurines.

Adapted from

Rex Koontz, "Tlatilco Figurines," Khan Academy. Accessed 13 October 2016.

Web Resources

  • Khan Academy
    Read more about Tlatilco Figurines.

  • Khan Academy
    Watch a video with Dr. Lauren Kilroy-Ewbank and Dr. Steven Zucker, discussing Tlatilco female figurines.