College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

CPP Professor Digs for Clues to Early Classic Societies in Mexico

Claudia Garcia-Des Lauriers excavating Offering 1, Los Horcones, Chiapas, Mexico (Photo by Mikael Ohlsen)

Since 2005, Dr. Claudia García-Des Lauriers has been investigating the importance of the local regional center of Los Horcones, Chiapas and its relationship to other important polities in Mesoamerica, namely Teotihuacan in Central Mexico.  Teotihuacan was the largest city in the New World during the Early Classic (AD 200-650) and had extensive networks throughout Mesoamerica.  These networks extended clear to the Pacific coast of Chiapas and beyond as evinced by archaeological materials from Los Horcones. 

The site of Los Horcones is situated on the north side of Cerro Bernal, the tallest point on a small mountain located on the southern side of the Pacific coastal plain of Chiapas Mexico.


Los Horcones Site 



Cerro Bernal is a large granite rock outcrop that runs perpendicular to the Sierra Madre de Chiapas, with its piedmont extending to the estuaries and lagoons (Figure 2). The specific physiographic characteristics of Cerro Bernal make it a unique feature on the landscape of the Pacific coastal plain, and Los Horcones likely controlled trade routes into the Soconusco region of Chiapas where cacao, jaguars, precious bird feathers.

The evidence of connections to Teotihuacan includes sculpted monuments, green obsidian, architectural citations and emulation of ceramic forms .  However, Los Horcones was not completely dominated by the central Mexican metropolis, it was a quite possibly a pluri-ethnic community with strong local traditions like the ballgame as shown by the six prominent ballcourts.  Future research at Los Horcones will seek to further investigate its prominent role in the Tonalá region of Chiapas, the extent and importance of trade and interaction, and the dynamics of living in a pluri-ethnic community during the Early Classic in Mesoamerica. 


For more information about Proyecto Arqueologico Los Horcones (PALH) and to get involved contact me at