although there are not any certainties, many scholars
believe that this archaeological compound was actually Chicomoztoc
(from the Náhuatl voices chichome: seven and oztlo: cave), the place
which according with the legend, would have been built by a humane
group who came from Aztlan. Some time later, seven groups of people
would have departed from there, guided by the priest Tenoch, on
an errand in order of finding the ideal place in which to set the
foundations of the City of Tenochtitlan, the Capital of the Aztecs.
This Archaeological Compound extends across 250 hectares at the top of a small hillock, a strategic position from where its dwellers could keep an eye on the surrounding territory.
La Quemada is composed by 5 levels built with slab stones between the years 400 and 900 A.D.. Its main structures are 'the Hall of the Pillars' measuring 41 by 30 metres, the field for the ball game with its 70 metres of length, the great wall of the astronomical observatory and the twelve metre high votive pyramid, where the most ample terraces of this ceremonial centre are found.
Regrettably, this archaeological vestige has never been thoroughly explored. Nevertheless, it is known that the zone developed between the years 300 and 1200 of our times, acting as an important link in the chain of exchange for diverse products and prime materials (minerals, salt, sea shells, feathers, obsidian, etc.)
As for the decline of this archaeological compound, the scholars had discovered traces and evidences of a great fire, which should have triggered the violent and vicious end of La Quemada.
To enter this Pre-Hispanic centre, the visitor must go through a stone walkway of 25 metres wide, from which starts a road net with 220 kilometres of extension, crossing the Valley of Malpaso.
The traveller has also to make a visit to the interactive museum of La Quemada, created in 1996. It opens all week round between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. It is located at a distance of 56 kilometres from Zacatecas.
-Altavista Archaeological Zone,
the corners of
the principal structures of this ceremonial centre of the Chalchihute
Culture are aligned with the cardinal points, a peculiar detail
that shows the degree of knowledge reached by this people.
Built over the Cancer Tropic between the years 400 and 470 A.D., Altavista has among its main premises the 'Square of the Moon', also known as 'The Hall of the Columns', a rectangular area containing four rows of seven pillars each, which were burdened with a roof during its days of splendour.
At one of its sides is situated the 'Labyrinth' or 'Observatory', a long gallery with pillars arranged in diverse angles. During the equinoxes (March 21st and September 23rd) the sun rises from the back of the Picacho Mountain and its rays hit directly into this area, thus forming the so called 'Solar Path'.
At the centre of the Square there is a rectangular platform and a high structure known as 'the Pyramid of the Sun'. To the Southwest lays the 'Temple of the Skulls', receiving this name for the many human bones, specially skulls, that were found strewn in this place, presumably from war prisoners or human sacrifices to the gods.
The archaeological compound, named in the 20th century as Altavista for the close proximity of a ranch with that name, is located at 229 kilometres distance from Zacatecas. To arrive the visitor has to take the Federal Roadway 45 to the locality of Sombrerete and from there continue by 50 kilometres through the road that goes to Jiménez de Teúl, and to the Town of Chalchihuites, six kilometres before Altavista.
The visits can be done all week long, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.