Why were some provincial households and communities resilient in the face of conquest by the Aztec Empire, while others were destroyed or negatively impacted? How can archaeologists measure things like quality of life, resilience, community organization, and urbanization? Were the Aztecs really sacrificial maniacs? I describe excavations of Aztec provincial houses at rural and urban sites in central Mexico that help answer these and other questions about Aztec life and society. The application of new concepts and approaches to household-level excavation data generates increasingly detailed understandings of ancient households, communities, and cities in ancient central Mexico. I also explore contemporary implications of these data.