In Tariacuri's Legacy: The Prehispanic Tarascan State, Helen Perlstein Pollard draws upon ethnohistoric documentation, ecological data, and archaeological research, including her own recent work in the region, to provide the first comprehensive overview of the Tarascan state, one of the two great political powers the Spanish encountered when they arrived in Mexico in the early sixteenth century. The Tarascans dominated western Mexico - in a state founded, according to legend, by the mythical Tariacuri - as fully as the Aztecs dominated the central Valley of Mexico, but until recently they have been little studied and poorly understood. There are several reasons for this neglect: Spanish chroniclers recognized but did not focus on the Tarascans, who were far from the heart of the Spanish administration in Central Mexico; nineteenth-century archaeologists were more drawn to the spectacular monumental sites of the Maya area and of Central Mexico; and, in the twentieth century, the Aztec model was the paradigm for civilization against which other Mexican states were measured. In more recent years, however, the Tarascan state has become a subject of growing interest, and in the last decades the work of Helen Perlstein Pollard in particular has revealed much about this remarkable civilization. Pollard's survey of Tzintzantzun has led her to identify specialized zones and to define the urban character of this central administrative city, as well as its economic, political, ecological, social, ideological, and cultural relationship to other parts of the Tarascan state. She emphasizes the importance of metallurgy, in particular, as a marker of elite social status and a major source of wealth for the ruling dynasty. Placing the Tarascan state in the larger context of Mesoamerica, Pollard shows one complex and brilliant variant of archaic civilizations. The text is accompanied by twenty-three maps and thirty-four photographs.