Ancient Civilizations of the Americas
Culture History of West Mexico
West Mexican Shaft Tombs
Early Preclassic to Classic: 1500 BC – 300 AD
•Best known and most elaborate shaft tombs date to 0 –
•Shaft Tombs were constructed by a number of different ethnic groups, most probably being segmentary societies.
The most hierarchical societies of these were located in the Tequila Valley of Michoacán.
•Shafts range in depth from 1-21 meters. Tombs contain shell and obsidian jewelry, and hollow figurines.
•The anthropologist Peter Furst thought that an understanding of the significance of the figurines might be gained by studying the local indigenous populations of the area that still made figurines, such as the Huichol.
West Mexican Chiefdoms
First signs of the appearance of more complex societies in West Mexico: Circular burial structures of Teuchitlán tradition appear during Early Tabachines phase of
Michoacán 0-200 AD ( Late Preclassic ) .
Late Tabachines Phase (400AD – 600 AD)
( Classic Period )
•Appearance of Guachimontón and Santa Quiteria.
•Tequila Valley population reaches 40,000 – 50,000.
•Shaft tomb tradition declines.
Guachimonton – site in the Tequila Valley, Mich.
Excavations began in 1988 by Phil Weigand and Efraín
Cárdenas of the Colegio de Michoacán
Major period of building 0-150 AD (Late Preclassic).
Evidence found that figurines were used to furnish pyramids.
Earliest copper objects found.
South American contact theory.