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Guachimontones

The Circular Complex Ancient Ball Court

Platforms for the Court

Ancient excavations called Los Guachimontones located are in the northern region of Mesoamerica and once belonged to a society called today the Teuchitlan. The pre-Hispanic community existed from 300 BCE to probably 900 CE. Guachimontones was the ritual center. This is a unique place among the archaeological ruins in the region because of well-preserved circular pyramids surrounded by a circular complex of other stone structures. It was a sacred arrangement; design was inspired by the wind flow, movement of the stars and the position of the cardinal points in the sky. Located in the center of such arrangement, the step pyramid had only a single pole on its top. It was intended for the priests to perform rituals to the wind deity, the Ehecatl. To simulate the bird shaman rocked in trance climbing high up on a pole. Around the year 900 CE, under the influence of the neighboring cultures, circular pyramids began to be replaced by rectangular structures, so common in Mesoamerica.


The Base of the Circular Pyramid Circular Pyramid #2

Similarly, to other Mesoamerica cultures, Teuchitlan people had their own version of ball game commonly called Ulama. It was more a ritual ceremony than an amusement. In large field, two teams held a game to resolve conflicts between communities. This was a preparation for war, or sometimes a way to avoid military conflicts as a substitute for war. Only hips could touch the heavy rubber ball in order to break it through to the opponent side. The strangest for us, may be the fact that often the winning team in the game, or at least their captain was killed. Death of winners was a sacrifice and it was an act of liberation of positive energy, which was returned to the gods. This way the gods could reciprocate helping people in creation of life by favorable weather conditions, good harvest, etc.

Circular Pyramid #1