Archaeological Area Altavista - Chalchihuites
ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA ALTAVISTA-CHALCHIHUITES
The name of this archeological area comes from it being found in the grounds of an old ranch called Alta Vista or Buena Vista, very close to Chalchihuites, the mining town that inspired its second name. The word originates from chalchihuitl, Nahuatl for ‘green stone’.
This pre-Hispanic city was a ceremonial and astronomical center for the Chalchihuites culture, which lasted from years 200 through 1100 AD, in the northwest of the State of Zacatecas and the south of Durango, over the valleys bordering the eastern flank of the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountain Range. Archaeological and astronomical studies on the site indicate that the location of Alta Vista-Chalchihuites was chosed due to its proximity to the Tropic of Cancer; it has also been proven that the city was designed and built using precise triangulation with the landscape, starting from the Chalchihuites Mountain Range: Picacho Pelón Summit 11 km to the east; Chapín Hill 7 km to the southwest and Pedregoso Hill located 5 km to the northeast, thus allowing the annual shift of the sun to be observed and anticipating changes in seasons over the course of the agricultural cycle. At the top of Chapín Hill there are two stone engravings of crosses and circles with very similar calendar calculations to those found in the metropolis of Teotihuacán and its surroundings.
Federal Highway 45 to Sombrerete. From this municipality follow the state road that leads to Jiménez Teúl (50 kilometers) to the town of Chalchihuites. From this point on follow the dirt road heading west for about six kilometers, through the town of El Refugio, continue onward and cross the Colorado River. The site is located one more kilometer ahead.
Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm.
General admission: $40 pesos.
INAH Centre Zacatecas 01 (492) 9 22 50 85 and 9 22 04 03
La Quemada Archaeological Area
LA QUEMADA ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA
The term refers to the burnt remains found at the site while extracting stone for the construction of the hacienda.
The former inhabitants of La Quemada settled in the Malpaso Valley, now the territory of the municipality of Villanueva in the south central part of the State of Zacatecas. The pre-Hispanic occupation occurred from years 350/400 through 1150 AD, peaking between 600 and 850 AD. It became a beacon that managed to concentrate 220 settlements in its surroundings, all of them with different sizes, as well as functions. La Quemada represents the most relevant monumental settlement in north-central Mexico due to its architecture. The place has a large Column Hall at the town square, a large court for the large ball game in its traditional "I" shape and a pyramidal base called votive pyramid. The rest of the hill was adapted with sizeable terraces to level the ground and build several squares and big halls. The network of pre-Hispanic roads that connects it with the smaller neighboring settlements is a sign of their power and control; tributes and resources for the population were transported on them and processions followed them to honor their deities.
The archaeological area of La Quemada is located 56 kilometers south of the city of Zacatecas. Starting from there, take federal highway 54 –Mexico-Guadalajara– towards the town of Villanueva, stay on the highway at the Zacatecas-Villanueva-Jerez intersection and past the community of Felipe Ángeles. On the road from Zacatecas to Villanueva you will find the junction to La Quemada (announced as Ruinas de Chicomoztoc). The gatehouse to the archeological site is located 2.5 kilometers from this crossing.
The archaeological area has parking, restrooms, La Quemada Archaeological Museum (Managed by the State Government of Zacatecas), a visitor service booth and free tour guides called "Tenanches".
Monday to Sunday, from 9 am to 6 pm.
General admission: $55 pesos.
Carlos Alberto Torreblanca Padilla.
Coordinator of La Quemada Archaeological Monument Area.
Wear a hat and suitable clothing and footwear to climb the hill, as the route is long and there are steep stairs.