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Thursday, March 21, 2019

2019 SMA Tour: Cañada de la Virgen and Museo Astronomia

The main pyramid at the Cañada de la Virgen archaeological site, This is the underworld square in front of the main structure. Only the selected individuals could climb up the stairs close to the sun.

Cañada de la Virgen archaeological site is located some 25 km outside San Miguel. This ceremonial site was occupied between 540 and 1050 CE, when it was abandoned like many other sites in the region, likely because of the severe drought that lasted for an extended period of time. It covers about 16 hectares on a private land but is now government property. We could see three complexes of the existing five: A, B, C. The Complex A, House of the Thirteen Heavens (or Skies) served as an observatory and a burial site for the elite. The complex is aligned to the rising and setting sun, and the movements of Jupiter and Venus. All these movements were related to the Otomi calendar. Complex B is called The House of the Longest Night; and Complex C The House of the Wind. 
Several bodies have been discovered and C-14 dated about 1000 years older than the site itself. The DNA analysis is showing that one of the bodies was a Mayan male. The bodies were likely kept as relics among the Otomi people. We had an exceptional tour led by Alberto Aveleyra, anthropologist by the National School of Anthropology and History. He is specialized in the interpretation of the ancient Otomi codex and the history of pre-columbian cultures related to the San Miguel De Allende surroundings. 
After the pyramids, we visited the Museo Astronomia Prehispanica and had a gastronomic experience of astrnomic proportions. We were served a precolombian meal. Dr. Rossana Quiroz Ennisas gave us an excellent presentation about the importance of the moon cycle in the prephispanic culture.The day was filled with outstanding information about the past cultures and an overall very pleasant experience.
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