Visiting Los Guachimontones Pyramids


Guachimontones Archaeological Center – Circular Pyramids

Unlike the great triangular pyramids, the archaeological zone of Los Guachimontones is characterized by including several constructions with a peculiar architectural style, among them several stepped conical burial mounds or pyramids surrounded by circular patios, a ball court, an amphitheater and some terraces and buildings

Visiting Los Guachimontones Pyramids

Just an hour or so from the city of Guadalajara, this area is a representation of the pre-Hispanic cultures of the West, especially the tradition of Tehuchitlán, which is believed to have had its splendor from 300 BC to 900 AD

Visiting Los Guachimontones Pyramids

Guachimontones Concentric Circles Pyramids CircularIt is worth mentioning that it was named a cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2006, although it was discovered in 1970. During the tour, you will visit a museum in the area, as well as the area itself.

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Visit Los Guachimontones Archaeological Zone

To visit the Guachimontones archaeological zone, it is located in the town of Teuchitlán in the state of Jalisco.

To the north of the town, on the hill called Guachimontón, vestiges of what is believed to have been a ceremonial center have been found. Such ruins consist of a pile of stones that show a singular arrangement.

This archaeological center has been recently excavated (1999-2012), studied and partially restored by a mixed team of local and foreign archaeologists.

This archaeological zone (Guachimontones) is one of the 32 ceremonial centers located around the Tequila volcano.

visit Guachimontones Archaeological Zone

UNESCO World Heritage Site. On July 12, 2006, the area that includes Teuchitlán, 34,658 hectares between the foot of the Tequila Volcano and the deep canyon of the Río Grande, and its cultural place Guachimontones, has become part of the World Heritage List together with other parts of the world by a decision of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, at its headquarters in Vilnius (Lithuania) at the 2006 annual meeting.

Territorial area of ​​19 hectares.
The archaeological zone has:
10 concentric circles or mounds
86 platforms
3 sets of balls
1 circle or circular building
1 amphitheater

Only 25% of the 19 hectares have been restored

One of the most representative mounds of the place is the mound of the Iguana (the so-called Circle II), it is the second-largest and the best preserved. Its spectacular diameter reaches 115 m. and has a perimeter of 360 m. In his case, he is surrounded by 10 platforms, and three of them are grouped on a common base. Other smaller pyramids had a pole at the top for the ceremony of the “flyers.”


called boxes of honor It is said that each family living in the area had its own platform, that is why there are several levels (height) and areas since the more important the family, the bigger and higher its platform. These were used to observe and participate in rituals, that is why they are located around the mounds.

How were problems solved between groups?

Through a game in which whoever won was “right”. The game began at night representing evil and ended at dawn representing good.

How was it played? The teams were from 1 to 7 people (per team), the game is like soccer but instead of moving the ball with their feet (kicking it), they had to move it with their hips; Another difference is that the ball was a kind of stone made of rubber; the judge (referee) was the priest who always stood at the head (behind the goal)

In the event of a political problem, the winner was awarded all of the loser’s belongings and the loser was sacrificed. Example: people A and B argue because they both say that X tree
belongs to him, and to solve it they play, suppose that person A wins, then not only is he given the tree, but also everything that belonged to person B, including his family, and person B was sacrificed.

In the case of a religious problem, the winner was sacrificed and the loser was fired from the village since he lost his honor and that was so bad that he never had to return to the area.

The sacrifices were dedicated to their god (Ehecatl ); The sacrifice consists of separating the head and extremities from the body, then they spread the blood of the sacrificed man on the court. One in front of the other. In the circle the news, the messages were given. Only the priest could climb it. The amphitheater was the place of the audience, of the people. This place was chosen for the acoustics; In fact, nowadays the groups of tourists are separated in two, and a group is climbed on each side so that they can check that despite the fact that the circle and the amphitheater are 100 meters away but everything is heard perfectly.

Ball Game in Ancient Pre-Hispanic Mexico

The game of ball in Ancient Pre-Hispanic Mexico could be considered a sport, a game, a religious, commercial, power-seeking affair and more. In Los Guachimontones we have the remains of the largest and most important ball game of its time.

Guachimontes Pyramids

A bit of context

Among all the games and sports the most popular and known is the “Sacred ball game”, the ancient game of the gods, called Tlachtli in the central highlands (Teotihuacanos, Toltecs, and Aztecas), Pokyab or Pok-ta-Pok among the Mayas and Taladazi in the Zapotec language, this game also constitutes one of the most significant elements in the religious and social structure of pre-Hispanic cultures.

The ball game was called by the Mayans “pok-ta-pok” or “pokolpok”, its practice dates back some 3,500 years in the past and it was known from the Olmecs, the mother culture, and perhaps from before until the arrival of the Spaniards, which was prohibited by the inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada, without thereby completely disappearing, since it is still practiced in Mexico and


Rescuing the ball game in schools

Although in San Lorenzo in Veracruz a court built for the practice of this ritual has been discovered, the most important evidence comes from the artistic production of the bearers of the aforementioned mother culture.

Ball Game in Ancient Pre-Hispanic Mexico

In the ball game in pre-Hispanic Ancient Mexico, the game courts were built in the shape of a capital “I” with two uniform walls 7 and a half meters high that formed the sides. It was a playing field with a stone ring located on the side walls. On entry or exit if the ball passed the side walls, it was considered out of place. The walls were covered with enjare, also the floor and the walls had drawings of gods. At the top were two rings, one on each wall. The Dominican father Diego Durán who lived in New Spain from 1545 to 1588 described the fields in this way: The height of the walls were between two and three and a half meters high, extending around. By native customs, they planted palms and trees that released red seed, which wood was soft and light, the surrounding walls were decorated with murals or stone statues. The field was filled with sand when the ruling elite played.

The Mayans played because it was a performance of their story of the creation of the universe. In the Popol Vuh known as the Mayan Bible, the twin gods go down to hell to play the ball game against the gods of the underworld. They come down because they want to collect people’s bones, to create a new race of humans. The twins win the match and the gods of the underworld give them the bones. According to legend this is how the Mayans were created. The ball game for the Mayans was then the symbol of life, death and reincarnation.

In 15th century Mexico, although Mesoamerican centers such as Tula, El Tajín, or those of Yucatán have known a notable fondness for tlachtli, or ball game.

Tlachtli is played on a court in the form of a double T, with two teams whose respective fields are delimited by the dividing line, and their objective is to pass a heavy rubber ball from one side to the other without touching it with their hands or feet. until some team dropped it, if the ball were to pass through some stone rings fixed to the side walls it was a bad omen and the whole town would need to protect themselves. Despite being protected with clothes already described, they receive impacts that cause bleeding and even cause death. However, everything seems to indicate that the cosmological symbolism that this game originally had has passed into second place among Mexicans, in relation to the bets that are generated around it.


Feathers, gold or slaves are the most common, but it should be remembered that, according to it is said, the Aztec Tlatoani Axayácatl came to bet the Mexico-Tenochtitlán market in one of these sets. Like other materials, rubber was considered sacred in nature, which is why it was used in the worship of the gods. In the different archaeological settlements located in the Mesoamerican region, rubber objects have been found, along with other offerings to the gods, such as in the Sacred Cenote of Chichén Itzá. Our ancestors obtained the latex or rubber, from the “Olcuáhuitl or Ulcáhutl” tree, which means “Rubber Tree”. This is found in different regions of what is now the Mexican Republic; and its name varies from culture to culture.

The rubber thus acquired great religious importance, coming to be used in the Nahuatl language, as synonyms for “movement”, the words ollin and olli, which mean respectively, movement and rubber. Likewise, a sacred link arose between the tree’s sap and the blood; since from the religious point of view they had the same meaning. Even with this importance, it was also used for non-religious purposes, such as the manufacture of the heads of the mallets to strike the “teponaxtles”, as medicine, for diseases of the eyes, stomach and intestines, to harden the shields used in the war. However, its use culminates, with the manufacture of the balls, used in the Sacred Game. The oldest known representations of players are the figurines of “El Opeño”, (Michoacán), dated around 1000 BC. Similarly, in the central Antiplano, (Ticomán, Tlatilco and Cuicuilco), figurines of ball players have been recovered, dating from 600 BC. We have that the gigantic, Olmec heads, dated around 1000 BC, have been interpreted as decapitated heads, associated with the ritual ball game. Said practice was staged on courts, (Talxchtlis), with a form, as already mentioned, as a double T or also as a Latin I, whose measurements varied according to the geographical area in which it was practiced, some already indicated. associated with the ritual ball game. Said practice was staged on courts, (Talxchtlis), with a form, as already mentioned, of a double T or also a Latin I, whose measurements varied according to the geographical area in which it was practiced, some already indicated. associated with the ritual ball game. Said practice was staged on courts, (Talxchtlis), with a form, as already mentioned, as a double T or also as a Latin I, whose measurements varied according to the geographical area in which it was practiced, some already indicated.

According to several historians, there were at least 4 game variants, one of them, on the courts with perforated markers or rings, called Tlachtemalacatl, which also served to divide the court, and its maximum score consisted of introducing the ball through the perforation of the ring held on the walls. The second modality, without Tlachtemalacatl, being used as markers and dividers, circular altars or rodelas like that of chincultick in Chiapas. In the third variant, a shovel or club was used to bounce the ball as in western Mexico and the Purepecha area, where in addition, a ball covered with fabric and fiber was used, which was lit to perform a night game. A fourth modality is the game with mittens and gloves, known today as “Mixtec Ball”, which was played in the valley of Oaxaca.

Although we know that in the times close to the Spanish conquest, ball was also played with a secular character and was directly linked to the confrontation of the opposite elements of the universe, especially with the eternal struggle of light and darkness. Thus, the space, court or patio where it was played had a connotation similar to the celestial planes, in such a way that the players were transformed into luminous or dark beings such as the Sun, the Moon and the Stars. The argument of the game consists in that the members of the luminous team will hit the ball with their hips or with their forearms, seeking to make plays that are impossible for the opposing team to respond to, and thereby achieve the triumph of light and the birth of the Sun. while the other team will seek the dominance of darkness.

The ballgame, in its endless succession, as a life and death ceremony, was one of the most important elements in the fabric that men and gods had woven together. During the night before the game, homage was paid at the altars of the gods, in order to win their favor and thereby obtain the magic power necessary to win the tlachtli. The entrance of the players to the tlachco was accompanied by the rhythmic sounds of the teponaxtli and the bells, the flutes and rattles. Dances and music were mixed in this magical ritual in which the gods were revered to deserve their favors and achieve victory.

The courts, where ritual games were held, were located within the periphery of the important temples. In fact, the ball game is also related to fertility rites, it is an initiatory ceremonial for the warrior, it is a means to resolve conflicts, it is related to the universe, it is a game of honor, it is a divine practice and it was always played only. by men, among whom the sacrificed were both losing and winning players, some victims. They thought that the cosmos was older than the sun, it awakens life with the creation of fire and exists only thanks to sacrifice. In the celestial war, the sun ensues thanks to the fact that it devours the stars (400) after defeating them; man is the terrestrial representative of the cosmos.

It is necessary to clarify that the ball game also maintains a fairly marked duality and that, in addition to its religious integration, it had a very mundane context. In this situation we find that devotion or fanaticism for one or more players reached its climax, when privately between “powerful lords” or with the general public, bets were crossed, which indicates a clear desacralization of the game, by giving it a recreational and profane character.

How to get to Guachimontones


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