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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea


This morning we decided we needed to go see the Guachimontones ruins near the city of Tehuchitlan, about a 1 hour drive from Guadalajara.  We hired a taxi for the afternoon to take us there and back for $75 US dollars, plus when we got there we hired a guide that spoke English for $15.

The ruins are very unusual.  First, the pyramids are round.  There are about 500 of these pyramids - most of which have not been restored - in this area of Mexico.  They were built over 2000 years ago and have only recently started to be explored and excavated.  Guachimontones in particular is the largest and most complex site yet known and is thought to have been the capital of Western Mexico.  More than 50,000 people lived within 15 miles, and there was a trade route that stretched all the way to Arizona.

The flat square areas you see around the circular pyramid are where the "important people" had their houses.  Though the houses were only occupied when ceremonies at the pyramids were taking place.  The priest would put a long pole through a hole in the top of the pyramid and balance on it while lying on his stomach - somehow to emulate flying.

Around the large pyramid complex are a series of smaller pyramids - again with houses surrounding.  This was thought to be for "somewhat important" people.

The site is located on a high hill that overlooks a big valley.  There is a river that runs through the valley making it rich farmlands.  The lake you see on the left wouldn't have been there at the time though as this was formed by a dam.

Apparently when the site was abandoned the inhabitants buried the pyramids to keep raiders from damaging them.  The pyramid below hasn't yet been excavated.  When excavated they are in remarkably good condition.

This area was a ball court.  They played a game where they would hit a rubber ball with their hips and try to get it down to the end.  They played a single game from sunrise to sundown.  The captain of the winning team was executed as it was believed this would send him directly to heaven.

 This is where the spectators would sit to watch the ball game.

Our guide explaining how the site was discovered.  Apparently the local legend had it that these pyramids existed and in 1969 an archeologist and his wife were escorted to the site and stayed the rest of their lives to see it excavated and renewed.

There is also a small museum that is quite interesting.  These small water bottles are shown "corked" with ears of dried corn.

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