Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH-Conaculta) have recently discovered a complex panel of petroglyphs, which must have been carved between AD 850 and 1350, at a site called «Cantil de las Ánimas»Near the city of Jesús María Cortés in Nayarit (Mexico).
These symbolic representations in bas-relief have been attributed to the ancient peoples of the Aztlán culture, and are located in a practically virgin archaeological zone in archaeological studies of the mountainous part of the Nayarit region. The engravings are oriented towards the south and cover an area of about 4 meters long and 2 meters wide.
It is precisely this analytical ignorance in the region of «Cantil of Las Ánimas«, What the discovery of the petroglyph so relevant. And it is that apparently since the rescue work in the 90s to the basins of the Santiago and Huaynamota rivers, systematic exploration work had not been carried out in the valleys and lands of the nearby hills.
The archeologist Manuel Garduño Ambriz, who works at the INAH, has divided the symbolic content of the panel into two distinct parts: «In the eastern half we find designs related to fertility, fecundity: rain clouds, sectioned snail shells and female vulvas. On the other hand, in the western half, we can observe skull profiles that point to the east, precisely, towards the sunrise«.
Garduño pointed out that this characteristic iconography of the petroglyphs is linked to the pictorial tradition of the ancient groups of the Aztlán culture, who, during the years 850-900 A.D. until AD 1350, they were the main settlement of the low coastal regions north of Nayarit, and also from the South of Sinaloa.
Inside of the group of petroglyphs Located in the «Cantil de Las Ánimas», it has also been possible to recognize two different pictorial styles of Aztlan iconography, on the one hand there are realistic or figurative representations of curved lines, and on the other schematic designs have been carved, which are distinguished by their angular and rigid lines.
One aspect that should be investigated is if these petroglyphs fulfilled an astronomical function, as a kind of temporal indicator related to the Earth's rotation. This is how the researcher explained it: «Over time, it will be necessary to make astronomical and archaeological observations to determine the exact date on which the sun passes through this panel, and also to determine the role of the place in the annual ritual cycle and in Aztlan's sphere of cultural interaction. , in relation to the communities of the sierra and the altiplano«.
Mauricio Garduño considers that archaeological investigations in Nayarit they must be studied further to determine if the symbolic regionalization of space is connected with settlement patterns. However, we must acknowledge the contributions of ethnologists, who, since the nineteenth century, have been studying the indigenous communities of the cultural region called Gran Nayar.
In the coming months it will be officially registered «Song of souls»In the directory of the Public Registry of Monuments and Archaeological Zones of the INAH. We will also proceed to the analysis of the detail of all the designs, which allow the integral interpretation of them.