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Cañada de la Virgen

The Road Leading to Cañada Square Surrounded by Wall

These ruins were discovered very recently, in 1998. The Otomi civilization raised here pyramidal structures, “sunken patios” and built the road about 1 km long. Astronomical knowledge of this culture was reflected in the location and the shapes of the structures. They are directed to observe the sun and moon in times of equinoxes and solstices. Around year 900 CE, Otomi civilization began to collapse, the city was soon abandoned, to be discovered again a thousand years later. Archaeological excavations are located entirely on private land. Over the years, ruins were not plundered. Thanks to this, archaeologists here could make some interesting discoveries here.


Pyramid in Complex B Various Colors of Quarry The Stairway, Complex A

Cañada de la Virgen (the Canyon of the Virgin) is one of northernmost archaeological sites in Mesoamerica. It is still only partially excavated; as we were told there are many more unexcavated ruins nearby. Archeologists believe that Cañada was a ritual and ceremonial center that represented a position of authority in its region. The smaller of pyramidal structures, complex B, was built to express Otomi's belief in duality of the heaven and earth, male and female, or Sun and Moon. At that site, archeologists discovered remains of a 7 years old girl placed ritually in a circle of stones and accompanied by the offerings of pottery, a fragment of a seashell and a small coyote. She was wearing a necklace. It must have been an important body to Otomi people because she received special funeral treatment. Her remains were interred prior to disarticulation of the body, when the decomposition was sufficiently advanced for the body to be compressed in to tight funeral bundle.


Channel Carved Out of Stone Complex B Complex D

Larger and more impressive structure in Cañada (complex A) has westward orientation and was used for celestial observations. Deep, submerged patio is accessible by climbing many steep stairs up and down. Various colors of quarry, such as green, red, orange, and yellow, were used here for the construction. The pyramid is topped with a small temple. It is a place where another body was discovered. The tomb located under the floor was probably the burial place of the ruler. His remains wrapped in a funeral shroud had an ax wounds in the head, his jaw and ribs were broken. The legs were amputated below the knee. As you can see, this man has been sacrificed. The ceremony took place, when he had 52 years. This number had magical meaning for Otomi, it marked the end of the cycle. Due to location, a man called el Jerarca or the Hierarch was buried with a dog and pieces of pottery.