Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Archaeologists unveil calendar of pre-Colombia cultures

London, Nov 11: The oldest and largest known Mexican moon calendar was shown to the public by archaeologists and authorities on Monday (November 6) at the ruins of Tamtoc in San Luis Potosi near the Gulf of Mexico.

The massive 27-tonnes stone calendar is a product of the Huasteca culture, dating back to 600 B.C. Mexican archaeologist Guillermo Ahuja came across the artefact in February 2005 and he spent 19 months cleaning and restoring it with a crews before showing it to a general audience.

The seven-metre long, 4.2 metre tall find is adorned with pre-Colombian figures representing fertility, water, life, nature and death. Feminine figures with water flowing from their heads represent the beliefs of a culture that considered water the essence of life.

The importance of the discovery lies in its age because it means that the Huastecas may have been a contemporary of the Olmecs, considered until now the oldest group in the region and the predecessor of all the important Mesoamerican cultures such as Mayas or the Aztecs.

It is now thought that this culture that lived near the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico had a close relationship with the Olmecas, who lived 600 miles to the south. An intense flow of migration is thought to have linked the cultures.

Further studies in the northern Atlantic Coast and southern Texas are expected to reveal more about the development of the Huasteca culture, their influence on subsequent cultures and on the whole cultural construction of Mesoamerica.

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