The Zapotec were a pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca in Mesoamerica. Archaeological evidence reveal their culture going back at least 2,500 years. Remnants of the ancient city of Monte Albán in the form of buildings, ball courts, magnificent tombs, and finely worked gold jewelry testify of this once great civilization. Monte Albán was one of the first major cities in Mesoamerica and the center of the Zapotec state that dominated much of the territory that today belongs to the Mexican state of Oaxaca. In a game of Zapotec, you build temples, cornfields and villages in the three valleys surrounding the capital to generate resources needed for building pyramids, making sacrifices to the gods, and performing rituals.