Your guide to Mexican shopping and destinations


Site of the Teuchitláns

This tour, which lasts at least four hours, visits an important pre-Hispanic archaeological site near the Mexican town of Teuchitlán in the state of Jalisco. The tour begins with a stop at the tourism office to watch a 30-minute video in English about these unusual concentric circular pyramids. You also may visit a small museum with artifacts found mostly in this area.  After a very short drive, we arrive at Guachimontones to explore the site ourselves. The tour ends at a place where a very refreshing pre-Hispanic drink is prepared.

Guachimontones (sometimes “Huachimontones”) is the major site of the so-called Teuchitlán tradition, a complex society that existed from about 300 BCE until around 900 CE.

The dominant features at Guachimontones are circular, stepped pyramids in the middle of circular building complexes. The 60-foot (18 m) tall Great Pyramid at Circle 2 has 13 high steps that lead to an upper level, which is topped with four more high steps. A post was located at the very highest level, most likely for volador ceremonies.  The pyramids may also have supported small temples.

Sunken circular plazas surround each pyramid, and in turn a series of smaller mounds surround the plazas. On top of the mounds are platforms that once supported wooden buildings made of wood and clay. The site has 10 circular complexes, four rectangular plazas, and two ballcourts. The excavation of the site has been the focus of archaeologists from the Colegio de Michoacán under the direction of U.S. archaeologist Phil Weigand and his wife Celia Garcia de Weigand. The research project has been underway at the site since 1998.