click here. At the bottom center of the aerial shot is Pyramid A. The circular wooded area just above Pyramid A is an un-excavated pyramid of even greater dimensions. Above the un-excavated pyramid, and slightly to the left, is the Ball Court which has been partly truncated by the road. It is second in size only to the great Ball Court of Chichen Itza.
trade. Some of the most valuable trade items included conch shells, sea salt, cotton, and cacao. Artifacts indicate that Xihuacán's trade networks extended to central and southern Mexico, Guatemala and even to the Pacific Coast of South America. Another source of power and wealth came from the conquest of outlying towns and settlements. These then became sources of tribute. At its peak between 450 AD and 1100 AD, Xihuacán dominated a considerable stretch of Guerrero's Pacific Coast.
Ojos de Dios is not clear. According to one theory, they were used for astronomical observations. Upon filling them with water, particular stars in the night sky would reflect in particular holes and thus aid calendric calculations. Another interpretation asserts that the act of filling the holes with water represented feeding the rock, thus encouraging the water god to send rain.
Toniná, an ancient Maya city in the highlands of Chiapas. The total area encompassed by the top, or ninth, platform is about 76 m x 76 m, (250 ft x 250 ft). In the foreground above, you can see the corner of a long rectangular pyramid. In the background at the top is another, this time square. In front of the square pyramid is a low altar, also square. In the left-center of the photo is a rectangular depression that was once part of a temescal (sweat lodge).
emescales were used for religious purposes in ancient times, and still are by indigenous people in today's Mexico. The sweating process is intended to cleanse the participant. This may occur prior to a religious ceremony, or perhaps after an experience which may have left the person spiritually unclean. Use of a temescal was also considered medicinal and they were sometimes used by women during childbirth.
Deciphering the stones
ball game was played almost everywhere, from Honduras to Arizona, specific rules seem to have varied from one place to another. Under some rules, the ball could not be touched by hands or feet and could only be propelled by a hip, shoulder, or head. Protective leather armor was sometimes worn because the heavy ball could injure or even kill an unprotected player. In some locations, including Chichen Itzá, certain players might sacrificed after the game. There is some dispute among archaeologists over whether the sacrificed players were the losers or the winners. In some Mesoamerican societies, being chosen for sacrifice was considered a great honor. While archaeologists have found evidence that human sacrifice was associated with Xihuacán's ball game, it is not presently known whether this involved the players themselves.
Tlaloc almost always include these elements.
Huehueteotl, the "Old, Old God" of fire. Statues and carvings of both of these gods have been found at sites of some of the earliest pre-hispanic civilizations. They continued to be central to Mesoamerican cosmology right through the Spanish Conquest. When you consider the importance of fire and water to ancient civilizations, and to the archaic hunter-gatherers that preceded them, the great antiquity of these two gods makes sense.
This completes Part 2 of my three-part series on the Guerrero Coast. I hope you enjoyed it and can visit this remarkable site in the future. If you'd like to leave a comment, please do so in the Comments section below or email me directly.
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Hasta luego, Jim