Zapotec civilization had its beginnings in the Oaxaca valley in the late 6th Century BC. The three branches of the valley were divided between 3 different sized societies, separated by 80 km2 “no-man’s-land” in the central valley.
Similarities between the pottery of San José Mogote and at early Monte Albán indicate that the people who populated Monte Albán where the people who had left San José Mogote. Archaeologists Joyce Marcus and Kent V. Flannery argue that this process is similar to the process of synoikism of ancient Greece, that is a centralization of smaller dispersed populations in one central city, often in order to meet an external threat. Even though there are no direct evidence for such an external threat in the early phases of Monte Albáns history