Cacatxla & Xochitecatl, Mexico (November 1-7, 2006)

in the Department of Tlaxcala, ca. 117 km. southwest of Mexico City & ca. 19 km north of Puebla.

Xochitecatl was discovered in 1969, but the pyramids weren't excavated until 1994. There are 3 pyramids: Spiral, Serpent, and Flowers. The complex, which some say was dedicated to women was erected between 1000 and 800 B.C.

Cacatxla is a huge pyramid to the west, about 20 minutes walk. It was discovered in the 1975 because grave robbers were happily at work there. Its murals rival those at Bonampak. It is currently covered by the 2nd largest archaeological roof system in the world.  It is NOT a Heritage site because the committee decided the roof was too ugly (!?)

Not much is known about the people who constructed Cacatxla. They may have been Olmecs or Mayans. The pyramid was constructed over and over again, beginning around 650 BC; it was abandoned around 1000 B.C.

The murals use Mayan blues, but contain Highland symbolism.  No one really knows what to make of this.  Most of the scenes depict warriors. However, there is a set that show a male and female somehow connected with Venus. Our guide said she was looking toward Venus and also Xochitecatl. The murals were painted around 750 B.C.

View of the valley around Puebla. There are 2 volcanoes off in the distance.

Spiral Pyramid at
Xochitecatl - as viewed from Cacatxla looking east

Small pyramid in front of Cacatxcla

Inside the pyramid no flash is allowed

There are many "rooms" in this pyramid.  More excavations cannot be done because the deeper one goes, the more likely the walls will collapse.

This may have been a ball court.

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