Peak between 600 and 900 A.D.
This area is surrounded by deep ravines (cañadas) whose main pre-Hispanic settlement structures were used to make celestial observations. Sacred religious exercises were performed, cycles were studied to control the agriculture and structures were erected carefully reflecting the cosmic cycles.
The site construction was planned in a place where they could defend themselves as they can see the central basin of the Laja River,
The site is built on a plateau filled artificially and the surrounding hills served as asex in their urban planning and as a reference of the cosmic geography linked to the agricultural cycle. The axis of the site is aimed at the rising and setting of the sun and moon.
The main structures are;
- Complex A or House of the Thirteen Heavens – Ceremonial Complex for celestial observation contains the Sunken Courtyard, the Pyramid Basement of more than 15 m./50 ft., and several platforms. Grave finds have encountered cranial deformation.
At the top of the Red Temple is an abstract mural with a background with red and black horizontal stripes which is interpreted as a reference to the day and night and to the Mesoamerican pantheon deities.
Complex B or House of the Longest Night – An architectural group with several structures with a pyramidal base, sunken patio and platforms. The pyramid base is not symmetrical and has on its south side several rooms.The investigator Dehmian Barrales says that this architectural type, has only been documented in the Maya area (Yucatan Puuc Style) and Cañada de la Virgen.
Complex D, or House of the Wind, is a circular structure with an access ramp.
The Burial 14 is associated with the second stage of construction and was linked to ritual sacrifice because of the abundance of “ceramics killed” (broken ceramic), a cultural practice to seal the funeral event.
Complex C has not yet been excavated but has a smaller sunken courtyard with platforms that surround it. It is believed that it had a commercial use.
Jagiiey – Amanalli – or Water Mirror provides water in the rainy season.
On site there are other areas and housing estates that are still unexplored. South of the Complex A there are several rooms with an open courtyard that was probably a housing complex with a palace.
The only access road to the site is over 900 ft m./2952 ft..
The predominant colors are red, yellow, orange and green. The flattened interior was decorated in red, black and ochre.
The spacious layout of the rooms, with support pillars of the roof and the use of controlled access stairways reflect a complex and stratified organization.
State Archaeological Sites
- Plazuelas, Municipio de Pénjamo
- Peralta, in Abasolo
- El Cóporo, in Ocampo
- Comonfort with the site of Cerro de los Remedios
- Victoria with Arroyo Seco
Plazuelas, Barajas and the societies inhabiting the Bajío Region were nomadic, fish and hunter-gatherers and although there is very little known about these societies inhabiting the region, they are thought to have been members of some Chichimeca groups. There were also traders between central Mexico with northern and western Mesoamerica.
The Chupícuarios were the oldest group that dominated the center of the Bajío (lower) area between 800 BCE and 300 CE. Their largest city is Chupícuaro and their influence is found in Zacatecas, Querétaro, Colima, Nayarit, Hidalgo, State of Mexico, Michoacán and Guerrero. The Chupícuaro were associated with the Toltec and a prolonged drought cause these cities to be abandoned between the 10th and 11th centuries with only the Guamares left. Then the Chichimeca composed of a variety of ethnicities such as the Guachichiles, Pames and Zacatecos came to the area. They were warriors and semi nomadic and were considered barbarians by the Aztec. Part of the state was inhabited by the Otomí but they were displaced by the Purhépecha in the southwest and the Chichimeca.
Plazuelas, Guanajuato, Mexico – Prehispanic archaeological site
The principal structures are:
- Large rectangular plaza with several pyramidal structures and platforms with a massive ball court.
- Boulders with thousands of glyphs carved into them.
- The original settlement was considerably larger, with a large circular structure called El Cajete.
The site is located 2.7 Km./1.57 mi. north of San Juan el Alto – north of federal highway 90 (Pénjamo-Guadalajara), and 11 Km./6.8 mi. west of of Pénjamo.
The site remains confirm the influence of many cultures merging on this site however we are still not certain who constructed this city. The Chichimecas, a hunter-gatherer group inhabited the region at the end of the postclassical period but there is no mention in the site.
Plazuelas is located in the same Municipality as the Barajas Archaeological site and some 46 Km./28.6 mi. west of Peralta. It is possible that these three cities shared religion, governments and traded.
In addition to Plazuelas, there were other five known important cities in the region; Tzchté, now San Bartolomé; San Miguel Viejo, Tepozán, Loza Los Padres and Peralta. Circular structures are found in the sites.