Remains of Nahuatl-speaking Caxcan group unearthed in Zacatecas

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Las Ventanas, south of Zacatecas, an archaeological site where the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) has undertaken new release and consolidation works have resulted in the finding of Caxcan remains. The Caxcans were one of the nahuatl speaking groups with more will to fight against the advances of the Spaniards.

Remains of Nahuatl-speaking Caxcan group unearthed in Zacatecas
Five of the burials belong to children approximately between one and
five years of age [Credit: Marco Antonio Santos/INAH]

In some of the structures around the Two Altar Plaza and on the surface level of the site, they have found seven burials that could have belonged to the last inhabitants of the site, between 1200 AD and the first decades of the XVI century, Caxcan settlements according to historical sources.

“Five of the burials belong to children approximately between one and five years of age”, added the archeologist Marco Antonio Santos Ramirez.

The interesting part, added the director of the Archeological Project Las Ventanas, is that the chronicles indicate that women, infants and elder Caxcans were the settlers of these sites while the young men participated in the Mixton War in 1541 and 1542.

Since 2012, the INAH has begun systematic labors in Las Ventanas. The archaeological zone comprises 150 acres acquired by INAH, the biggest structures of this site distributed in 48 acres that make up the civic ceremonial center.

Remains of Nahuatl-speaking Caxcan group unearthed in Zacatecas
Excavation at the site have focused on this square, the architectural layout is unique
to the region [Credit: Marco Antonio Santos/INAH]

The plaza is constituted by two altars and flanked by constructions that were destined for the elite. One of them has a main flight of stairs that gives access to a gateway divided into two entrances leading to a series of pillars in the back part of the structure.

The investigator at the INAH Center in Zacatecas added that the main staircase is oriented towards the equinox, which creates different displays of lights and shadows according to the layout marked out for important moments by the position of the two altars in the ritual year.

Marco Antonio Santos said that Las Ventanas is the biggest site of cultural development known as Canon de Juchipila, and it alludes to a series of settlements distributed throughout the site, the central point being the river with the same name (Juchipila) that extended to the Valley of Atemajac, known today as Guadalajara, Jalisco.

In the next few years some structures that constitute the ceremonial area of the site will be liberated, among these the Great Pyramid and the Central Garden.

Source: INAH via ArtDaily [January 27, 2014]

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