Cañada de la Virgen: A Refuge of the Forefathers

Paige Mitchell


Cañada de la Virgen is the first book of a collection of four. The remaining three will explore other archaeological sites located within the State of Guanajuato: Plazuelas, Peralta and El Cóporo.

Unlike other Mexican states, such as the Yucatán or the Federal District, where we find Chichén Itzá and Teotihuacán respectively, Guanajuato is rarely associated with archaeology. However, in recent years, the government has been funding projects to unearth these sites in an attempt to learn more about the region's pre-Hispanic past. Cañada de la Virgen is one of these projects, and was only officially opened to the public this year.

The book explores the findings made by prominent archaeologists, who propose theories based on the evidence found. We learn about the importance of ancestral worship and associated rituals. We also discover the important connection between the architecture of the site and the stars, producing a type of calendar connected to agriculture. For instance, the moment the sun and the full moon both enter the pyramidal base of Cañada de la Virgen's ceremonial center marks the beginning this society's year and thus the start of the farming season. Read excerpt