ancient mesoamerica


El Cerrito, Queretaro, Mexico

Since 300 BCE, settlement of the region with the Chupícuaro culture and subsequently with Teotihuacan and Toltec, continuing with chichimeca and Otomi, immediately prior Spaniards arrival at the valley of Queretaro.

Towards 400 CE, the Altépetl, ceremonial center and its prehispanic urban zone, becomes política and religious capital of several peripheric settlements.

El Cerrito had a long permanence as regional political and religious center, was contemporary of Teotihuacan and Tula. As a regional capital, had a series of urban religious and residential, urban complexes in Cerro Gordo, Balvanera, La Magdalena, Santa Barbara, La Negreta and the banks of the River El Pueblito.

El Cerrito functioned as a regional political and religious center of regional importance from 400 to 1500 CE. Its apogee occurred in the postclassical, from 450 to 850 CE, during the Toltec culture influence of the center.

Over time, El Cerrito became a sacred space or sanctuary. The buildings and altars around the pyramid are expressions of religious activities around the worship of a female deity, probably the old mother or mother of the gods.

During the Spaniards arrival, it was populated by Chichimecas, sedentary and semi-nomadic cultures, with the addition of Otomi and Purépecha.


Homosexuality in The Maya & Aztec Empire

The majority of information on the pre-Columbian peoples comes from the reports of the Spanish conquest. These accounts must be taken with caution, given that the accusation of sodomy was used to justify the conquest, along with other accusations real or invented, such as human sacrifice, cannibalism, or idolatry. 

The first peoples with whom the Spanish came in contact on the American continent were the Mayans, who were tolerant of homosexuality. 

For the Mayan aristocracy, at least, pubescent homosexuality was preferable to premarital heterosexuality. Parents would provide their sons with male slaves to satisfy their sexual needs, while premarital heterosexual encounters were discouraged. Adult homosexuality was also condoned, and the Maya were known to hold large private sexual parties which included homosexuality.

The Aztecs on the other hand were not surprisingly puritanical and although they celebrated public rituals with remnants of erotic content, they were perhaps more ruthless than the Spanish even, in suppressing private vice. 

Aztecs placed a high premium on “manly”, “assertive” behavior, and a corresponding stigma on “submissive” behavior. When conquered people were not sacrificed on temple altars, the males of conquered nations were often demoted to the status of women. The penalties for male homosexual intercourse were severe. Mexica law punished sodomy with the gallows, impalement for the active homosexual, extraction of the entrails through the anal orifice for the passive homosexual, and death by garrote for the lesbians. In Tenochtitlan, they hanged homosexuals. In nearby Texcoco, the active partner was “bound to a stake, completely covered with ashes and so left to die; the entrails of the passive agent were drawn out through his anus, he was then covered with ashes, and wood being added, the pile was ignited. 

The existence of lesbianism is testified to by the Nahuatl word "patlacheh”, which designates a woman who carries out masculine activities, including the penetration of other women, as revealed in the General history of the matters of New Spain by Bernardino de Sahagún. 

In spite of the puritanism of the Mexica, the sexual customs of the people conquered by the Aztec Empire varied to a great extent. For example, Bernal Díaz del Castillo speaks of homosexuality among the ruling classes, prostitution of young people, and cross-dressing in the area of Veracruz. The yauyos had prostitution houses full of men with painted faces and women’s clothing.

There was a general tolerance of homosexuality and transgenderism among Ancient Mesoamerica, but this harmony was disrupted by Christian conquerors, who forced their ways upon the indigenous peoples, turning homosexuality from a celebrated status to one of shame and death.

Maya slateware cup

Ca. AD 900

This beautifully carved ceramic vessel depicts an exquisite royal portrait, surrounded by glyphs that read: “This is the drinking cup of K´ahk´ Uht K´nich [fire-countenanced sun god], King of Akankeh [modern Acanceh, Yucatán] and ball player.” Not only does the inscription tell us that Mayan ball players were elites, but it identifies a Maya lord—and where he is from—otherwise unknown to Mayan scholars.


Aztec incarnation vs Egyptian incarnation

Rather than an AU, Bill has infiltrated many human civilizations, most notably Egypt and the Aztec Empire, and inspired gods therein. He was in Egypt first as the god Apep, and later influenced Set, but as time does not apply to Bill, he was first and foremost Xolotl despite being recorded in ancient Egypt first.

In Mesoamerica, one of the sacrifices to him, Mictuel, was a rare twin. Despite the second born of twins normally being killed, the mark of Tezcatlipoca, the Big Dipper, prevented Mictuel from being killed and he was raised to be instead sacrificed to the god Xolotl. They wound up falling in love.

Mictuel, commonly known by the nickname Dze, died of old age and Bill waited until he could see him reincarnating in the near future, then went to Ancient Egypt, where Mictuel had reincarnated as Minatuan, more commonly known as Dier, and was in training to be a priest of the god Bel (fictional Egyptian god). Bill appeared to him, returned his memories of his time as Mictuel, and they once again fell in love.

Bill later lost the ability to appear on our plane as he grew weaker and weaker and eventually could only project himself into minds. He strove to bring about Weirdmageddon in the hopes of returning his full god power, however, the rest of his power resides inside Dipper, who has been his literal other half all along.

~Mirror Back.
Date: 7th–10th century
Geography: Mexico, Mesoamerica, Veracruz
Culture: Veracruz
Medium: Slate

The scrolls and interlaces that frame this stone plaque are characteristic of the art of Veracruz. Possibly a back support for a mirror, the plaque has a drilled hole (for suspension?) at its top edge. Such mirrors served as costume elements connoting the high rank or authority of the wearer. They perhaps served a ceremonial function as well. The image depicts the profile of a young man with a small bead beneath his nose that may refer to speech. A net cap with a prominent knot is over the hair, a large earflare with a tooth- or claw-shaped pendant adorns the ear, and a three-tiered beaded collar is around the neck. Along the jaw line, protruding out from his chin, there is a scroll resembling a beard, the extension of which pictorially balances the nose of the figure. The lively, free-flowing scrollwork at the edge of the plaque contrasts with the rigid geometric elements of the image. This combined with the slight incline of the figure and the asymmetry of the design imbue the carved surface with dynamism, creating a visually compelling composition.

Chapter 4: Black Olmecs and White Egyptians: A Parable for Professional Archaeological Responses to Pseudoarchaeology by David S. Anderson

One of the most complex problems surrounding pseudoarchaeology is how
professional archaeologists should respond to alternative claims about the
human past. While it is perhaps true that the proverbial “true believer” will
never be swayed by the refutations or denials offered by archaeologists, the
contributors to this volume strongly believe that some form of response
should be offered. We are thus left with asking how we should respond and
in what context a response is appropriate. Tim Schadla-Hall (2004:269) has _
suggested that archaeologists must “distinguish qualitatively between different
kinds of alternative archaeology, rather than treating it as if it were all
the same:’ The importance of context for both understanding and responding
to pseudoarchaeology is addressed in several chapters in this volume.
However, in this chapter I argue that the qualitative distinction set up by
Schadla-Hall ultimately creates an ambiguity that hampers our ability as archaeologists to promote the results of our research.

Schadla-Hall proposes that alternative views of the past can be divided
into two categories. His first category includes pseudoarchaeological claims
such as ancient alien contact or the plethora oflost continents allegedly littering
the bottoms of our oceans. He argues that these claims "should be
strongly challenged on grounds of their implicit or even explicit ideology
or blatant commercial distortion” (2004:269), an assertion with which we
can easily agree. His second category, however, is more problematic. In this
category, Schadla-Hall includes oral traditions and histories of indigenous
groups from around the world. While one might wish to argue that pseudo-archaeology and indigenous histories should not be placed side by side, we
can approach them both from the perspective that they present human histories that may not be supported by archaeological data. In regard to this
second category, Schadla-Hall suggests that these “alternative views should
be acknowledged and celebrated as elements in the diverse ways in which
people experience the past” (2004:269).

Modern archaeology, in comparison to its colonial roots, has made great
progress in improving its relationship with descendant communities whose
ancestors had been excavated and placed on display in museums for many
centuries without their consent ( e.g., Colwell-Chanthaphonh et al. 2010; Gallivan and Moretti-Langholtz 2007; Robles Garcia 2010; Watkins 2012). More progress is necessary, but most archaeologists today agree with Schadla-Hall's assertion that “we should respect the views and interpretations of indigenous peoples” (2004:268). However, the boundary between two categories of alternative claims is not as definitive as we might wish, and archaeologists should speak out against all distortions of the archaeological record, regardless of their authorship.

Keep reading


My current work-in-progress for my art history class. We are learning about ancient mesoamerica- the olmecs, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and so on. I was really inspired by the Mayan system of writing. I did a lot of research on how it worked, how they put the symbols together, how they made their words, and how they read and wrote. They had folded books on parchment made from bark (for my project thick watercolor paper stained with coffee was sufficient). I referenced the Dresden Codex for how they structured their folded books. Not many survive today and that one is rare and the most famous. I also referenced some wall frescos and sculpted stele to come up with how to draw and decorate my characters like the mayans would have. My last step here is to add color.


Lubaantun (pronounced /lubaːnˈtun/; also Lubaantúnin Spanish orthography) is apre-Columbian ruined city of the Maya civilization in southern Belize, Central America. Lubaantun is in Belize’s Toledo District, about 42 kilometres (26 mi) northwest of Punta Gorda, and approximately 3.2 kilometres (2 mi) from the village of San Pedro Columbia, at an elevation of 61 metres (200 ft) feet above mean sea level. One of the most distinguishing features of Lubaantun is the large collection of miniatureceramic objects found on site; these detailed constructs are thought to have been charmstones or ritual-accompanying accoutrements.

The city dates from the Maya Classic era, flourishing from the AD 730s to the 890s, and seems to have been completely abandoned soon after. The architecture is somewhat unusual from typical Classical central lowlands Maya sites. Lubaantun’s structures are mostly built of large stone blocks laid with no mortar, primarily black slate rather than the limestone typical of the region. Several structures have distinctive “in-and-out masonry”; each tier is built with a batter, every second course projecting slightly beyond the course below it. Corners of the step-pyramids are usually rounded, and lack stone structures atop the pyramids; presumably some had structures of perishable materials in ancient times.

The centre of the site is on a large artificially raised platform between two small rivers; it has often been noted that the situation is well-suited to military defence. The ancient name of the site is currently unknown; “Lubaantun” is a modern Maya name meaning “place of fallen stones”


Rio Bec

Río Bec is a Pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site located in what is now southern portion of the Mexican state of Campeche. The name also refers to an architectural style (Río Bec Style) that first appeared at Río Bec and subsequently spread to other nearby sites. The Río Bec Style is closely related to the Chenes architectural style found northwest of the Río Bec region.

The archaeological site

The Río Bec site was first mentioned by Austrian explorer Teoberto Maler at the end of the 19th century, though he never visited the site. The French explorer Maurice de Perigny was the first European to visit and report on the Río Bec. The site is now being excavated and restored by a group of French archaeologists from the CNRS headed by Dominique Michelet. They have located several architectural groups and their surveys and maps of several square kilometers give us a better understanding of the ancient settlement. Excavation of the principal building at Río Bec A, a building with three towers and several rooms, is now underway.

The Rio Bec architectural style

Río Bec temple pyramids are located in the central Maya lowlands. The temple-pyramids are characterized by a unique architectural style that began to appear during the seventh century A.D. and continued into the early twelfth century A.D. The temple-pyramids consist of a range-type building with typically two nonfunctional solid masonry towers on both ends of the range-type building. The twin-towers narrow with ascension in order to give an illusion of greater height. The twin-towers appear to have stairs along their faces leading to the temple that rests atop them. However, the steps are only a design motif that creates the illusion of functional stairs. Even if the steps were functional, the towers rise at steep vertical angles that would make ascending them difficult. The temples, which are located on the platform at the top of the Río Bec towers are inoperative as well. The temples are solid masses with no interior rooms. Pseudo-doorways, which have been built into niches in the fronts of the temples, give the appearance of a functional door. Despite their nonfunctional components, the Río Bec towers hold the typical decorations of a pyramid and its upper temple and at first glance are taken as functional pyramids. The purpose of the Río Bec temple-pyramids is unknown, but they do resemble the twin-tower complexes of Tikal.