La Quemada, Zacatecas – Archaeology by the sweat of our brow

History that’s much older than the one the Spaniards brought with them can be found at La Quemada, just under an hour south of Zacatecas City. The archaeological find Ruinas de Chicomostoc (41 MXN pp entrance fee) was once important religious, political, and trade centre. Settlement from 500 to 900 is regarded as proven. Credible indications to an earlier settlement need more excavations and proofs. Still today it is not completely sure who populated the land, but it must have been a powerful tribe. Walls extend for kilometres around the area on a mountain with 360° panorama view. Bone finds in different pyramids and Mesoamerica’s largest hall with 5 m height, 30 m width, 41 m length, and 12 columns supporting the roof indicate human sacrifice. Most of the residential buildings are decayed or burnt down, but finds of food remnants and pottery proof domestic activities. Especially remarkable and emphasizing the importance of the complex is that it was never built over.

A steep stony trail leads from the parking lot via the columned hall and the pyramids up to the citadel, but it is worth the two-hours-hike even with boiling heat. All inscriptions are in Spanish and English.

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