voladores (flyers). Clay sculptures from Shaft Tombs appear to portray this practice, which involved priests who hung by ropes and spun around the poles. The ceremony may have been part of the devotions to Ehécatl, the wind god. It is believed that the circular shapes of the pyramids are related to the fact that the wind blows from every direction. Ehécatl is associated with Quetzalcoatl, the creator-god worshiped throughout Mesoamerica. The structures on top of the rectangular platforms surrounding the pyramids were made of perishable materials and so did not survive to the present. However, the creators of this model used the clay Shaft Tomb sculptures of houses and buildings as their guide for what these structures would have looked like. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Trade in salt brought from the flats around Sayula to the south was a major economic activity in ancient times. Another was obsidian production. There are more than 1000 ancient obsidian mines in the area, and the people used the volcanic glass to produce knives, spearheads, mirrors, jewelry, and macahuitls, or flat-bladed swords. Supposedly, the macahuitls could chop off a leg or an arm with a single blow.
The ancient people cultivated agave, just as their modern counterparts do. They used it for the production of a mildly alcoholic beverage called pulque, as well as for fibre to make clothing, baskets, and sandals. Today, the Blue Agave is used almost exclusively to produce the many varieties of Jalisco's fine tequila, named after the nearby town of Tequila. The ancient people also operated an extensive irrigation system including canals, dams, floodgates, and chinampas, or floating gardens. The chinampas were similar those used later by the Aztecs near their capital of Tenochitlán (modern Mexico City). This irrigation system is considered one of the most sophisticated in Mesoamerica and would certainly have been necessary to feed the estimated population of 40,000.
Conjunto 2: The Central Pyramid
Teotihuacan is designed the same way.
The Ball Court and Sacrificial Platform
Chichen Iza in Yucatan. In addition to entertaining the population, the ball games were used to settle important political and economic issues. Some of the other ball courts in Mesoamerica have rings set into their sides, with points scored by passing the ball through them. No such rings exist at this court, so the rules must have been somewhat different.
Conjunto 1: The Buried Pyramid
Pelicans, aqueducts, and frogs' legs
Highway 4, and Teuchitlán, run along the north side. The lake is home to a wide variety of birds, including White Pelicans, Great White and Snowy Egrets, American Coots, seagulls, and many others. Above, a motley congregation of chirpers and squawkers gathers on the stump of an old aqueduct.
This completes Part 6 of my Etzatlán series. I am always happy to receive comments if you are so inclined. Please leave your message in the Comments section below, or send me a return email.
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Hasta luego, Jim