Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Gerardo Gutierrez

Second Advisor

Catherine Cameron

Third Advisor

Arthur Joyce


By the end of the Postclassic Period, the Aztecs had developed a thriving hydraulic system in the Basin of Mexico. Composed of aqueducts, dikes, causeways, wetland farming, and canals, the hydraulic system supported the urban population of Tenochtitlan and large-scale agricultural production. Critical to the ecological success of the Aztecs, the hydraulic system was also deeply embedded in social elements of society, including history, politics, and religion. This analysis focuses on the multiple functions of a single site on the hydraulic landscape. The site of Chapultepec, a small outcropping southwest of the city of Tenochtitlan, represented the balance of social and the ecological aspects of water management in the Postclassic Period. After the Spanish conquest in AD 1521, Chapultepec transformed to meet the needs of colonial society, yet managed to maintain elements of the pre-Hispanic significance.