La Quemada, the mysterious Mesoamerican complex located on a small central mountain in the Malpaso Valley of central Zacatecas, Mexico

La Quemada, the mysterious Mesoamerican complex located on a small central mountain in the Malpaso Valley of central Zacatecas, Mexico, has been the subject of various interpretations and speculations due to its unique features and complex history.
Dating primarily to the Epiclassic period (AD 600-900), La Quemada consists of three main complexes with notable structures such as the Salón de las Columnas, Juego de Pelota, El Cuartel, Ciudadela, Pirámide de los Sacrificios, and the 12-meter-high Pirámide Votiva. Surrounding the site is the defensive Muralla, a 4-meter-high, 3-meter-thick perimeter wall constructed towards the end of its occupation.
Excavations at La Quemada have revealed extensive human skeletal deposits, disarticulated and burned bones, suspended skulls, and sub-floor burials. These findings suggest complex burial practices, including reverence for ancestors and symbolic displays of social order rooted in violence.
The site experienced periods of destruction by fire around AD 854-968 and AD 1018-1163, coinciding with the rise of the Toltec civilization. This suggests that La Quemada may have faced conflicts and upheaval during these times, leading to its eventual abandonment or decline.
Constructed using local rhyolite and granite, the architectural elements of La Quemada showcase the technological capabilities and cultural practices of its inhabitants. The site’s enigmatic nature, diverse interpretations, and intriguing archaeological discoveries continue to spark interest and research into the ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica.

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