185 Zonas
Clave / IDNombreResumen ENDescripción ENSabías qué EN
Soledad de MacielBuilt of river stones and adobe, this ancient city may have been as important as Teotihuacan. The capital of the Costa Grande of Guerrero state, inhabited for 25 centuries by Tomiles, Cuitlatecas and Tepoztecas, it has a partially excavated ball court which could be the largest in Middle America.
TabasqueñoMonumental architecture in the Chenes style, the principal structure or Palace-Temple has a superb facade with designs of animals. Its inhabitants had incredible skills for supplying water to the community by drawing from two springs deep in caves as well as constructing a series of chultunes (cisterns) for collecting rainwater.

Given Tabasqueño’s location, on raised ground, the site’s former inhabitants accessed water from two sources: two springs to the east and the west of the settlement’s central area; two caves in the middle of the site; and a series of “chultunes” or underground rainwater collection reservoirs. These cisterns were generally bell- or bottle-shaped and coated in stucco to prevent filtration, and they could store between 1,300 to almost 16,000 gallons of water.

The main buildings at Tabasqueño form three architectural groups. The constructions are characteristic of the Chenes style of architecture, dating from the Late Classic (650-850 AD) and notable for the profusely decorated façades. In Group 1 there are remains of Structure 1 or the “Palace-Temple”, the most well-known construction at the site with an imposing zoomorphic façade. This two-tier building is abutted to the south by a plaza measuring 200 feet (north-south) by 130 feet (east-west).

The concentration of monumental architecture and presence of hieroglyphic sculptures and inscriptions strengthens the argument that Tabasqueño was an important regional settlement given the rarity of Chenes sites with hieroglyphic inscriptions and reliefs. Santa Rosa Xtampak and the eight stelae reported there are located some 28 miles away as the crow flies. Dzibilnocac, which also has stelae and monoliths, is located 17 miles from Tabasqueño. San Miguel Pakchén (Xpulyaxché de Maler), where a small stela has been found, is located just three miles to the northwest. In that same direction, but 20 miles from Tabasqueño, is an archeological site called Dzehkabtún which has various stelae with glyphs and a number of sculptures.

Teobert Maler (1895) was the first person to discover and report on the site. Eduard Seler (1916) described the main building based on the earlier studies. Alberto Ruz (1945) mentioned some details of the buildings that were still standing. Ricardo Robina (1956) reported on architectural details and the layout of the buildings on a terraced hill. Harry Pollock (1970) summarized the existing information and drew up a detailed study of his visit to Structure 1, at that time one of the finest examples of the Chenes façade style. David Potter (1977) made a brief summary of the information from Tabasqueño. Paul Gendrop (1983) drew the site’s buildings and made their comparison easier. Abel Morales and Betty Faust (1986) made the first archeo-astronomical analyses of the site. Renée Zapata (1987) drew up a preliminary map of Tabasqueño. George F. Andrews (1986) contributed with further architectural details about Tabasqueño. Sprajc and Sánchez Nava (2013) reassessed and studied various issues of the site’s pre-Hispanic astronomy.

Agustín Peña undertook the earliest conservation works at Tabasqueño in 1979. Antonio Benavides C. (1992) carried out consolidation work on the tower and some sectors of the Palace. Later, under the supervision of Ramón Carrasco (2003), work was carried out at the Palace-Temple, Structure 1-A and Structure 3. Sara Novelo and Antonio Benavides C. were responsible for overseeing the transport of sculptures (2009) and carved stones (2013).

  • The Palace-Temple has 10 chambers on two floors, and the building was originally painted bright red.
  • Tower structures are mainly found in the Chenes region, with examples at Chanchén, Nocuchich and Tabasqueño.
  • Tabasqueño’s four monuments with reliefs and hieroglyphs were carved between 900 and 1000 AD.
Tamohí (El Consuelo)Important Huasteca center (1100-1300 AD). Mural paintings, fine work in shell and conch-shell, pottery, metal-work and sculptures – such as the famous “El adolescente huasteco”, all demonstrate the refined aesthetic culture of these people. Situated on the banks of a river, it had an important river trade.
TamtocLocated in the Huasteca Potosina region (900-1100 AD), with significant river trade, the site is remarkable for its pyramids, monoliths, stelae, mural paintings, the use of the calendar, circular buildings and amazing stone sculptures, such as the Venus of Tamtoc, which speaks of the important role of women.For centuries, the ancient city of Tamtoc remained abandoned and hidden beneath dense rainforest until 1937, when the ethnology historian and archeologist Guy Stresser-Péan had the opportunity to carry out research work in the area; however, it was the engineer Joaquín Meade who made the discovery of the archeological site’s importance in 1942.

Meade was an expert on the Huasteca Potosina and his work is fundamental for any study of the region. In his publication "The Archeological Ruins of Huasteca Potosina" (1957), he mentions that, for their size, the pyramids of Tamtoc are the most significant in the area, and he describes the neighboring buildings and sites, as well as other discoveries.

At the end of the 1930s, the Museum of Archeology and Ethnology carried out work at various archeological sites in Huasteca, under the guidance of Enrique Juan Palacios and Wilfredo Du Solier. The latter worked on the El Consuelo site in 1946 (today known as Tamohí), during which period he carried out a few tours of the Tamtoc archeological site accompanied by Doctor Gordon Ekholm.

From 1962 to 1964, three seasons of fieldwork were carried out under the direction of Guy Stresser-Péan. This work included contributions from scientific consultants, technicians, restorers and engineers.

As a result, in 2001, the book “Tamtok Huasteco archeological site, its history, its buildings, vol. I” was published. The authors, Guy and Claude Stresser-Péan, presented the first results from this series of investigations relating to the historical and social evolution of the Tamtoc site. Later, in 2005, they published “Tamtok, Huasteco archeological site: daily life, volume II”, significantly contributing to the knowledge of the site's material culture.

In 1994, the archeologist Patricio Dávila, from the INAH Center in San Luís Potosí, resumed excavation work with the aim of understanding a number of aspects of the site’s architecture. Based on this intervention, in 2002 he wrote “Tantoc: a Huasteca city," and together with Diana Zaragoza, presented a number of lectures.

In 2001, the Tamtoc Archeology Project began again under the guidance of Guillermo Ahuja. It was financed by the Archeological Trust for the Recovery of Tamtoc, comprising the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the San Luís Potosí State Government and Banamex Cultural Development. During this period, further excavation and conservation of buildings were carried out. This included the exploration of the area of La Noria, particularly the recovery of Monument 32, the construction of the service area and the opening of the archeological site to the public in May 2006.

From October 2008 until the present day, the INAH has maintained the archeological project “Origins and Development of the Urban Landscape of Tamtoc, San Luís Potosí," with the participation of a group of specialists in various fields of anthropology who are interested in the study of the site, under the direction of Estela Martínez Mora.
TancamaIn the heart of the Sierra Gorda, it had a long period of occupation (200 BC – 900 AD). It has three large plazas and 56 structures. At the winter solstice the Sun becomes aligned with the Cerro Alto hill. Marvelous views of the surrounding landscape.This pre-Hispanic settlement of the Sierra Gorda in Querétaro was probably occupied for the majority of the Classic period. It is situated on the lower slopes of the Cerro Alto, also known as Tancama, in a valley bordered by slow flowing seasonal streams which provide it with water. The natural form of the land needed to be adapted to create terraces and platforms, which prepared the ground for several groups of structures.

The archeological site has three main plazas, known as El Mirador, Santiago and La Promesa, two minor groups and two terraces. These plazas are distinguished by their north-south alignment, and by the fact that they are all at different heights.

To date 56 structures of different forms and sizes have been found. The most outstanding are the circular and semi-circular structures. Also worthy of note is the 60-foot-long ballcourt, one of the smallest in Mexico.

The Sierra Gorda Valleys archeological project began in 1999-2000. The three plazas mentioned have been investigated over a number of seasons, with the help of exploratory trenches and pits. The building system has been identified, as well as various volumes, stairways, entrances and other features, as a starting point for conservation work.

The archeological site opened its doors to the public in November 2011. A site tour includes a look at the El Mirador and Santiago plazas with their various buildings, whose names relate to specific architectural features or the finds which have come from them. For example Building 1 is known as the “Copper Butterfly” after some earrings in the form of a butterfly from a group burial, while Building 7 is known as the “Huastec Man” building because of the burial of a man with ceramics from the region, who had remarkable Huastec features such as dental mutilation and tabular erect cranial deformation.
  • The overall architecture of the site displays features in common with Las Ranas and Toluquilla such as construction using stone slabs and high banks.
TehuacalcoPyramids and palaces surround the great central plaza of this stately location that was never dominated by the Mexicas. Surrounded by hills that coincide with the points of the compass, the site reproduces the scheme of the pre-Hispanic universe. Its deities were the gods of fertility, the sun, the hills and water.The Tehuacalco archeological site is located in the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range, at one end of a long corridor which links the Central Plateau with the Pacific coast. Its strategic position in relation to this corridor conferred great importance and a favorable situation for its growth as a large population center, although in reality it was its immediate context that led it to become a great ceremonial center. It is set on a broad ridge surrounded by peaks which appear to encircle the urban center. Four of these hills coincide with the pre-Hispanic idea of the earthly plane being divided into four cardinal directions. As a result of Tehuacalco's position between these four peaks that “marked” these directions, rituals were held here and a sacred geography was established. That is to say, each mark and feature of the landscape bore strong divine significance, making it a center for religious rituals.

Tehuacalco was a pre-Hispanic settlement covering 200 acres, comprised of a civic-ceremonial center dedicated to the worship of water and the mountains, a surrounding population, and other temples, caves and petroglyphs in the outskirts of the urban nucleus. The name Tehuacalco must have been given by the Nahua groups who arrived after the Conquest to take the place of the local ethnic groups who had almost disappeared. The place name may be derived from the terms tetl/huacalli/co: place of the stone box, or Teoacalco, from teo/atl/calli/co: place of houses of holy water or place of water temples.

The site has eight principal archeological complexes, as well as ten smaller structures. The area with the larger structures covers 30 acres. As for the configuration of the civic and ceremonial center, the structures surround a large rectangular square and were oriented towards and aligned with the most prominent hills on the horizon. These hills establish clear visual lines that mark significant days in the solar year, such as the equinox or the solstices.

As a ceremonial center, Tehuacalco not only had civic, ceremonial, administrative and residential buildings; it also had an area full of ritual elements, from the landscape itself (like the sacred hills and caves) to petroglyphs and natural springs. All of these elements made it a ritual site and reflected its essence as a place of worship and veneration of the gods of agriculture and water. As well as the natural characteristics of the environment and the site’s own architecture, blocks of granite and sandstone were found attached to the walls of some plinths. They are engraved with motifs which are considered to be elements belonging to the urban iconography. These designs give character and identity to the monuments.

Most of the blocks discovered display aquatic elements such as spirals and raindrops, which confirm the idea that Tehuacalco was a center for the worship of water. Motifs related to celestial bodies, such as Venus, can also be observed, as well as the presence of gods of water and earth.

Occupation of the site dates back to just before the year 650, when its geographical location and surroundings helped it to become a major ceremonial center. Throughout the following centuries, the large pyramidal bases were built and it reached its peak in the year 1000. Following its decline, from 1350, when rivalries began between different ethnic groups in the region, people began to leave. However, some structures and caves continued to have ritual uses, and other sections of the site maintained a residential use until the site was finally almost completely abandoned. This left a smaller group of inhabitants in areas of the ceremonial center who continued with ritual activities.
  • In Tehuacalco, worship of the mountains and rain means the majority of the offerings placed were river pebbles, consecrating the ceremonial space dedicated to water.
  • The settlement was organized by social class, which can be seen through the structural systems used in the housing, which ranged from mud and clay huts for the general population to paved courtyards in the palace area.
  • In the ballgame court, a stone was found with symbolism relating to the Fuego Nuevo (“New Fire”), showing that a ceremony for the start of the calendar was carried out in Tehuacalco
  • In the excavations carried out between the years 2006 and 2008, care for the environment and conservation of plant species was promoted. Thanks to this, an extraordinary space was created to which the fauna displaced by over-hunting—including wild boars, armadillos, deer and iguanas—have returned.
Tehuacán el Viejo
Templo MayorThe center of Mexica religious and political life, the extraordinary remains of Templo Mayor stand in the heart of Mexico City. Dedicated to Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli, its treasures include a wall of skulls altar, the House of the Eagles, and a monolithic sculpture of the goddess Coyolxauhqui.

Tenochtitlan was the Mexica’s religious and political center, and their Huey Teocalli or Great Temple was the most important building of this vast pre-Hispanic city. The site was believed to be the confluence of the four cardinal points of the earth and the axis of the three levels of life: the sky, the earth, and the underworld.

The Templo Mayor was expanded seven times; the final iteration, the one seen and destroyed by the Spanish, was an imposing 150 feet high and had a square base with each side measuring 440 yards. The pyramid had two large flights of steps leading to its uppermost part, in front of each of the two temples dedicated to the Mexica’s principal Gods: one temple was built to the north, in honor of Tlaloc (“nectar of the earth”), god of rain and agriculture; and the other to the south, as a shrine to Huitzilopochtli (“left-hummingbird” or “resuscitated warrior”), god of war. With each new extension, the Mexica declared a “flower war”—a ritual war waged against an enemy people in order to take captives and sacrifice them on the day the renovated temple was to be consecrated.

Two sacred mountains were represented in the Huey Teocalli: to the north, Tonacatepetl, hill of sustenance, a food store; and, to the south, Coatepec, hill of serpents and birthplace of Huitzilopochtli.
Opposite the large pyramid stood the circular-based shrine of Ehecatl, the god of wind (a title of Quetzalcoatl). And on the southern edge the tzompantli altar was erected, with an elongated rectangular base on top of which, skewered on pieces of timber held up with tall stakes, were the heads and skeletons of thousands of sacrificial victims and also, it seems, warriors who had died in battle. In front of the Huey Teocalli was the Palace of Axayacatl, residence of Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, a building subsequently occupied by the recently arrived “visitor,” Hernán Cortés.

The main causeways connecting Tenochtitlan to terra firma converged at the Templo Mayor: the road to Iztapalapa to the south, with a branch leading to Coyoacán; the way to Tacuba (Tlacopan) lay to the west and Tepeyac (Tepeyácac) to the north.

The last of the Chichimecs, the Mexica were a people who spent many years spent migrating through Mesoamerica’s northern regions before eventually establishing themselves permanently in the Valley of Mexico. According to historical sources, they claimed to have come from an island on a lake called Aztlan, and they left that site in search of a better place in which to settle on the instructions of their guardian god, Huitzilopochtli.

The location of Aztlan has been a subject of controversy among researchers of pre-Hispanic Mexico, with some believing it was a mythical place that never actually existed, but used by the Mexica to legitimize their past. Others, meanwhile, have attempted to locate it geographically in the north of Mexico’s central highland region.

The date on which Tenochtitlan was founded has also been debated, though most scholars agree on the date 2 Calli, which corresponds to the Common Era date of 1325 AD. Its foundation is accompanied by a whole series of symbols and myths to distinguish this spot chosen by the Mexica’s god for their city. However, there must also have been a predominantly military and economic reason for choosing this area, since the lakes provided a vast range of products and could be defended easily.

In 1914, historian and archeologist Manuel Gamio discovered the south-western corner of the temple and part of a set of steps, pinpointing the location of the Huey Teocalli. Subsequently, in 1978, the fortuitous discovery of the monolithic Moon God, Coyolxauhqui, triggered one of the twentieth century’s most important archeological projects, led by archeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma and a multidisciplinary team that worked tirelessly during an initial excavation stage from 1978 to 1982, recovering the remains of Tenochtitlan’s Templo Mayor.

With the findings of more than 7,000 objects during that initial stage of exploration, on October 12, 1987, the doors were opened to the Templo Mayor site museum, designed by architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez.

  • In 1790, the Coatlicue and Sun Stone sculptures were found in Mexico City’s main square, now known as the Zócalo.
  • In 1792, the first book on archeology was published in Mexico. Written by Antonio de León y Gama, it was called “Descripción histórica y cronológica de las dos piedras” ("Historical and chronological description of the two stones").
  • Thanks to the intervention of Bishop Feliciano Marín, Alexander von Humboldt was able to study the Sun Stone; after he completed his work the sculpture was reburied.
  • In 1877, a publication called “Annals of the National Museum" included an article written by Manuel Orozco Berra called “The Dedication of Mexico’s Templo Mayor," about the green headstone carved in 1487 to commemorate the completion of one of the construction phases of a Mexica temple.
Tenam PuenteSpectacular platforms with retaining walls, plazas, palaces, oratories and residences. It maintained important trade relations (300-1200 AD) with the surrounding region, the Gulf coast, central Chiapas and the highlands of Guatemala.
TenayucaFirst capital of the Chichimecas of Xólotl (end of the twelfth century) until it was moved to Texcoco. It still contains an extraordinary pyramid crowned with twin temples dedicated to Tlaloc and Huitzilopochtli, with glyphs on many steps and surrounded by a wall of serpents.The foundation of Tenayuca is attributed to the Chichimec group led by Xólotl in the year 1250. Later, after the Chichimec capital moved to Texcoco, Tenayuca became part of the Tepaneca dominion of Azcapotzalco. Then, in the final part of its pre-Hispanic history, it was closely tied to the Mexica of Tenochtitlan, until the arrival of the Spanish.

Its location on the shore of Lake Texcoco meant its inhabitants had the raw materials to produce salt, whilst the Tlalnepantla and San Javier rivers supplied them with vegetables and fish, as well as sufficient water for farming. Finally, they extracted the stone to build their monuments and homes from the Cerro de Tenayo and other peaks in the Sierra de Guadalupe.

One of the most outstanding characteristics of Tenayuca is its majestic monument surrounded by sculptures of serpents. These may be seen not only on the four sections of the pyramid, but also the base it stands upon. In Bernal Díaz del Castillo's eyewitness account, the True History of the Conquest of New Spain, he notes that on their first journey to Mexico, the Spanish soldiers called Tenayuca the "Town of Serpents." The temple would undoubtedly have caused astonishment, as it is calculated that in its final stage of construction—the one the conquistadors encountered—there were approximately 600 serpent heads embedded in the Great Temple monument. If we add the 140 serpents whose bodies lie on the platform of the Coatepantli, their astonishment must have been all the greater.
  • In ancient Mexico, the serpent was one of the animals most closely associated with religious beliefs.
  • 140 serpents identified as the species crotalus triseriatus, commonly known as the rattlesnake, are found on the base of the Coatepantli (wall of serpents).
  • The fire serpent, or Xiuhcóatl, was associated with the New Fire and the cycles of renewal that occurred every 52 years.
Tenayuca IIBecause of its proximity (300 meters) it is considered part of Tenayuca. Here there is an interesting housing complex.
TeopantecuanitlánUnique settlement in the present-day state of Guerrero with monumental architecture bearing Olmec traces. It played a key role in the supply, manufacture and redistribution of luxury goods from the coast destined for the Valley of Mexico. It was inhabited for almost 800 years.
TeopanzolcoEngulfed in the urban sprawl of present-day Cuernavaca, and originally inhabited possibly by Tlahuicas, when the Mexica dominated the region they built new palaces, temples and houses. The principal pyramid survives, surmounted by two temples, one dedicated to Tlaloc and the other to Huitzilopochtli.The first inhabitants of this place were the so-called Tlahuica, who had settled in the western part of Morelos by 1200 AD. This complex of buildings dedicated to the cult of the gods was arranged around a great plaza. Rising up from the plinths and platforms were temples and other important constructions. We now know that the layout of these structures was different in an earlier occupation, before the great plaza existed.

The architecture of Teopanzolco is closely linked to the style of Mexica buildings. The layout and nature of the main constructions are also very similar to those found in the sacred area of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan. Moreover, the gods worshipped here were the same as those of the Mexica, such as Huitzilopochtli, Tlaloc, Tezcatlipoca and Ehecatl.

Teopanzolco lost its importance with the growth in political and religious power of the former Cuauhnahuac, now the city of Cuernavaca. In 1427, these lands came under the dominion of the Mexica of the Triple Alliance and its inhabitants were forced to pay tribute, which mostly consisted of large quantities of cotton blankets.

The large base of Teopanzolco, with its two temples on top, is the only example of Postclassic architecture of this kind preserved in Morelos.
  • The Marquesado del Valle Codex, a sixteenth-century document, mentions a boundary adjoining a place called Teopanzolco. We don't know if it refers to this ancient pre-Hispanic settlement, known at the end of the nineteenth century as El Mogote (The Hill).
  • The inhabitants of Teopanzolco performed group human sacrifices, after which they deposited the remains (together with the offerings) inside pits located within the lower platforms.
TeotenangoTo the south of the Toluca Valley, this was successively a civic and religious center, a walled city and a military garrison (650-1550 AD). A marvellous plaza of the Jaguar, with a carved monolith in bas-relief depicting the feline, as well as other reliefs carved in stone.


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