My group worked on the Totonac Civilization. I found that all other cultures; Tarascan, Zapotec and pueblo were all dependent on maize to sustain the large populations of their cultural centers. Large stone temples were features of Tajin, Monte Alban of the Zapotecs and Tzintzuntzán, the major urban center of the Tarascans. The temples in the centers were necessary to guarantee fertility and the approval of the Gods in other endeavors, such as war. A ruling aristocracy and a hereditary priesthood topped a hierarchical social structure, with a lower class entirely relegated to agricultural production. The myths and rituals, all fertility cult deities were based on essentially the same cosmological  understanding, that civilization was born with the creation of maize. Interestingly, we have the Pueblo living in the north in many smaller groups, with no central urban capital. The harsher less fertile land, with scarce rainfall led to development of irrigation to ensure the food supply. Less people in the workforce, over a larger, area afforded women a more prominent role in a society. One that valued the necessity of their work alongside male farmers. Also, smaller communities did not support the rigidly stratified upper classes of urban religious where priests the elite consumed but did not work.

Richard Bein