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has an additional protection in the form of a ditch
eleven feet wide and five and a half feet deep, exca-
vated in the solid rock, the position of which is shown
by the dotted line a, a?"^

Beyond the narrow fortified pass that has been

■22 The views given by Gondra and Sartorius are of the pyramid A, from
the east, and of the terrace walls at B, from the west. The latter also
gives a view of the small pyramid b, from the north. The plan given by
Gondra bears no resemblance to the other. It may represent ruins in other
paits of the plateau; it may be a faulty representation made up from the
explorer's description of the works that have been described; or, what is,
I think, more probable, it may refer to some other group of ruins in the
vicinity. It represents a collection of pyramids and buildings, bounded
on both the east and west by walls, one of which has an entrance close to
the brink of the precipice, while the other had no opening tUl one "Bias
made by the modern settlers.



described, the southern ravine again diverges and
forms a semicircle before joining that on the north,
forming thus a peninsular plateau a mile and a half
lono-, and somewhat less than three quarters of a mile
wide, covered with soil of great fertility, and divided
in two parts by the waters of a spring, whose waters
flow through the centre. Since its discovery this fer-
tile table has been settled and cultivated by modern
farmers, some twenty families of whom — whether
native or Spanish is not stated — were living here in
1832. The whole surface was covered with traces of
its former inhabitants, but most of the monuments in
the cultivated portions have been destroyed by the
settlers, who used the stones for buildings and fences.
In other parts, covered with a forest at the time of
exploration, extensive remains were found in good
preservation, besides the fortresses at the entrance.
Pyramids of different dimensions, standing singly and
in groups, together with foundations of houses and
sculptured fragments, were scattered in every direc-
tion enveloped in the forest growth.

The pyramids are all built of rough stones, clay,
and earth, faced on the outside with hewn blocks
from eighteen inches to two feet long, laid in mortar.
The stone seems to have been brought from the bot-
tom of the ravines, and it is said that no lime is pro-
curable within a distance of fifteen or twenty miles.
Sartorius gives a plate representing one of the pyra-
mids, which he states to be a type of all those at
Centla, and indeed of all in this region, and which is
copied in the cut. The stairways are generally on

Type of Pyramids at Centla.



the west, and the niches at the sides are represented
as having arched tops and as occupied by idols.
Some of the smaller mounds have been found to con-
tain human skeletons lying north and south, and from
one of them a farmer claimed to have dug a number
of green stone beads. Sartorius claims to have found
in connection with one of the pyramids an altar hav-
ing a concavity on the top, and a canal leading to a
receptacle at the foot of the mound ; he also mentions
a very elegant vase, six by four inches, found under
a stone flag, near the altar. Gondra speaks of a large
square or court, level and covered with a coat of hard
polished cement; he also claims that six columns of
stone and mortar were seen, twelve feet high, stand-
ing at the bottom of a ravine.

Dupaix in his first exploring tour visited Huatusco,
and states that at a distance of half a league down
the river from the modern town was found a group of
ruins known as the Pueblo Viejo. These ruins were
on the slope of a hill, and on the summit stood the
pyramid shown in the cut, known as El Castillo. The

El Castillo at Huatusco.

height of this Castle is about sixty-six feet, and ac-
cording to Dupaix's text the base is two hundred and


twenty-one feet square, but, according to Castaneda's
drawing, copied above, each side is not over seventy-
five feet.^'^ The foundation, or pyramid proper, is
built in three stories, being about thirty-seven feet
hic^h. A broad stairway, with soUd balustrade, leads
up the western front. On the summit platform stands
a building in three stories, with walls about eight feet
thick, which, at least on the exterior, are not perpen-
dicular but slope inward. The lower story has but
one doorway, that at the head of the stairway; it
forms a single hall, in the centre of which are three
pillars, which sustained the beams of the floor above,
pieces of the beams being yet visible. The two upper
stories seem to have had no doors or windows. Du-
paix says that on the summit was a platform three
feet thick, yet as the roof was fallen, he probably had
little or no authority for the statement. The interior
of the whole structure was a rubble of stone and mor-
tar, and the facing of hewn blocks regularly laid.
The whole exterior surface, at least of the superim-
posed structure, was covered with a polished coating
of plaster, and a peculiar ornament is seen in each
side of the second story, in the form of a large panel,
containing regular rows of round stones imbedded in
the wall. El Castillo, if we may credit Dupaix's ac-
count of it, must be regarded as a very important
monument of Nahua antiquity, by reason of the edi-
fice, in a tolerable state of preservation, found on the
summit of the pyramid. These upper structures with
interior apartments have in most instances entirely
disappeared. In connection with these ruins Dupaix
found a coiled serpent carved from hard stone ; a frag-
ment of terra-cotta with decorations in relief; and a
fancifully modeled skull, the material of which is not

23 'Oehenta varas en cuadro.' Perhaps it should re&d feet instead of
varas. The plate makes the front slightly over 24 varas.

21 Dupaix, 1st exped., pp. 8-9, pi. ix-xi., fig. 9-12; Kingsboroitgh, vol.
v., pp. 215-16, vol. vi., pp. 425-6, vol. iv., pi. v-vi., fig. 11-15. The skull
is mentioned and sketched only in Kingsborough's edition. Lenoir, pp. 23,


Sartorius mentions a * castle,' with towers and teo-
callis, situated on a frightful cliff between two barran-
cas, three leagues from Huatusco, distinct from Centla,
and some leagues further southward. ^^ Clavigero says
that in his time the ancient fortress of Quauhtochco,
or Guatusco, was still standing, surrounded with lofty
walls of solid stone, which could only be entered by
means of many high and narrow steps.^® Sr Iberri
applies the name El Castillo to the ruins visited by
him in 1826, but it is evident from his slight descrip-
tion that he refers to Centla.^'' It is clear that at
least two and probably more groups of remains are
indicated by the different authorities cited.

The following are mentioned as the localities of
undescribed ruins, several of them belonging to what
seems to be a line of ancient fortifications extending
northward from the vicinity of Huatusco: Cotastla,
Matlaluca, Capulapa, Tlapala, Poxtla, Xicuintla, and
Chistla.^^ The fortress of Tlacotepec is located four
leao-ues east of Jolutla, between the Kio de la An-
tigua and Paso de Ovejas, six thousand varas west of
and a quarter of a league above the houses of the
hacienda of Mirador, separated by a deep ravine
from San Martin on the south — a location which
might possibly be clear enough with the aid of a
good map, or to a person perfectly familiar with the
topography of the country. The position of the
fortified plateau is similar to that of Centla, and a
ditch, generally fourteen feet deep and from six-
teen to eighteen feet wide, leads over the hills for
several leagues to the entrance of the plateau. This

29. Slight mention of these ruins from Dupaix, in Mosaico Mex., tom. ii., pp.
373-4; Klemm, Cultur-Geschichte, tom. v., p. 157; Warden, in Antiq. Mex.,
tom. ii., pp. 67-8.

25 Soc. Mex. Geog., Boletin, 2da dpoca, tom. i., p. 821.

26 Storia Ant. del Messico, tom. ii., p. 150; Bradford's Amer. Antiq., p.

27 Museo Mex., tom. iii., p. 23.

28 Soc. Mex. Geog., Boletin, 2da ^poca, tom. i., p. 822; Mosaico Mex., tom.
iL, pp. 368, 372; Smithsonian Bept., 1870, p. 374.


ditch, however, seems only to be excavated in the
earth, and disappears in several places where the
solid rock is encountered.'^^ At the terminus, towards
the fortifications, the ditch widens into a rectan-
gular excavation, one hundred and eight by two
hundred and seventy-six feet, surrounded with an
embankment formed of the earth thrown out. The
defensive works which guard the passage between
the ravines, and the extensive ruins of temples and
dwellings on the plateau beyond, are described only
by Sartorius, and his text, plan, and sketch, all fail
to convey any clear notion respecting the arrange-
ment and details of these remains. The following,
however, are the principal features noted: — A wall
twenty-eight feet high across the entrance to the
plateau; two small towers in pyramidal form on the
narrow pass; a building called the castle, apparently
somewhat similar to the fortifications at Centla; a
line of pyramids, serving as a second line of defense;
a ditch excavated in the solid rock; another group of
pyramids protected by a semicircular w^all ; an exca-
vation apparently intended as a reservoir for water,
covering two thousand square yards, the bottom of
which is literally covered with fragments of pottery,
and on the banks of which are the foundations of
many dwellings; a number of temple pyramids, like
the type at Centla shown in a preceding cut, one of
them having the so-called blood-canal; an earthen
receptacle at the foot of the altar, filled with earth,
in which were found two human skulls; the founda-
tions of an edifice two hundred yards long, having
along its whole length "a corridor of cement with
hewn stone at its sides, forming one or two steps;" a
small pyramid formed from the living rock of the
cliff, at the very edge of the precipice where the ra-
vines meet ; and finally, arrow-heads, lance-heads, and
knives of obsidian, which are found at every step,

29 This may possibly be the ditch referred to by Gondra in his account
of Centla.


and are even dug up from under the roots of large

trees. ^

A few leagues eastward from Tlacotepec on the
same barranca, are two forts known as Palmillas, sep-
arated by a deep ravine. One of them was used by
the Mexican forces under General Victoria in the war
of independence; the other has the remains of an
aqueduct which brought water from a point over a
league distant. ^^ At Zacuapan, near Mirador, and
five leagues from Huatusco, according to Heller, are
remains of the ordinary type, including terraced walls,
parapets with loopholes, a plaza with plastered pave-
ment in the centre of which stands a pyramid, a
cubical structure or altar on the very verge of the
precipice, and the usual scattered pottery and imple-
ments. Six miles south of Mirador the same traveler
mentions some baths, on a rock near which is the in-
scription shown in the cut.^^ Also in the vicinity of


+ /^?J^f^

Rock Inscription at Atliaca.

Mirador, at the junction of two tributaries of the
Santa Maria, is the fortress of Consoquitla, similar to
the others. A line of plastered pyramidal structures
is mentioned, in one of the smallest of which was a tomb

^0 Sartorhis, in Soc. Mex. Geog., Boletin, 2da ^poca, torn, i., pp. 822-4,
with plan and view, the latter giving no information.
3'M, p. 824.
32 Helkr, Beisen, pp. 61, 72-3, 76-7, with cut.


three by six feet lying north and south and covered
with large stone flags. Within the tomb was a skel-
eton, together with earthen boxes filled with arrow-
heads and bird-bones. Some large idols are also said
to have been found here, and on the summit platform
of some of the pyramids were the marks of upright
beams, which seem to have supported wooden build-
ings.^^ Calcahualco, 'ruined houses,' is also on one of
the tributaries of the Santa Maria. A paraj^eted
wall fifty-five feet long protects the entrance, and
could only be crossed by the aid of ropes or ladders.
The wall seems to stand in an excavation, so that its
top is about on a level with the original surface of the
plateau. Within the fortifications is a large pyramid
surrounded by smaller ones and by the foundations of
houses ; and another excavation, a hundred yards long
and twenty-five in Avidth, is vaguely mentioned as of
unknown use. A mile and a half further south-east
are some ruins in the bottom of a ravine. A wall
nine feet high rises from the water's edge, and on it
stand a row of round monolithic columns, which seem
to have supported a stone architrave.^ Mr Tylor no-
ticed some remains by the roadside, at the eastern foot
of Orizava, as he was traveling towards San Antonio
de Abajo.^^

Northward from the triangular area, the remains
of which I have described, ruins seem to be no less
abundant, and accounts of them no less unsatisfactory.
The remains known by the name of Misantla, from
a modern pueblo near by, are located some twenty-
five or thirty miles north-eastward of Jalapa, near the
headwaters of the Rio Bobos. They are sometimes
called Monte Real, from the name of one of the hills
in the vicinity. They were discovered accidentally
by men searching for lost goats, and visited by Ma-

33 Sartorius, in Soc. Mex. Geog., Boletin, 2da ^poca, torn, i., pp. 825-6.
3* Id., pp. 821, 824-5, with a sketch which amounts to nothing.
35 Anahitac, p. 297.


riano Jaimes in 1836; in October of the same year, I.
R. Gondra, from information furnished by the discov-
erers and Jaimes, and from certain newspaper ac-
counts, wrote and published a very perplexing descrip-
tion, illustrated with a plan and two views. In the
same or the following year J. I. Iberri made an official
exploration of Misantla, or Monte Real, and his re-
port, also illustrated with many plates, and rivaling
that of Gondra in its unsatisfactory nature, was pub-
lished in 1844. Not only are the two accounts indi-
vidually to a great extent unintelligible, but neither
they nor their accompanying illustrations seem to have
any well-defined resemblance to each other. ^^

The site of the ruins seems to be a ravine-bounded
plateau, somewhat similar to those already described,
the approach to which is guarded by a wall. This
wall extends not only across the pass, but down one
of the slopes, which is not so steep as to be naturally
inaccessible to an enemy. According to Iberri the
wall is a natural vein of porphyry, artificially cut
down in some parts, and built up by the addition of
blocks of stone in others, measuring three yards high

36 Mosaico Mex., torn, i., pp. 102-5. Gondra's account of the location
is as follows : ' En la serrania al Norte de Jalapa, y distante de aquella ciu-
dad de diez a once leguas, se encuentra en el canton de Misantla el cerro
llamado del Estillero, d. cuya falda se descubre una montafia terminada por
una meseta niuy angosta, de cerca de legua y media de largo, y aislada por
barrancos profundos y acantilados, y por despeiiaderos inaccessibles; rode-
ada por los cerros del Estillero, Magdalenilla, el Chamuscado, el Camaron
y el Conejo por la parte del Oeste; por el Monte Real acia el Este, y lo
restante por la elevada cuesta de Misantla. . . .La linica parte algo accesible

{)ara subir d la meseta de la niontana donde se hallan las ruinas, esta dcia
a falda del Estillero . . . . Al comenzar la meseta, bajando por la falda del
cerro del Estillero, lo primero que se observa es un paredon demolido
hecho de gruesas piedras,' etc. Gondra's account Avas reprinted in the Soc.
Mtjc. Geog., Boletin, torn, ii., p. 220-3. Iberri's account is found in the
Museo Mex., torn, iii., pp. 21-4. Respecting the location he says: — 'El
cerro conocido de la Magdalena, degradando su altura en picos porfiriticos
que afectan figuras conicas 6 piramidales, . . . .forma un grupo de montanas
sumamente escabrosas, que se dividen como rddios en ramas estrechadas
por barrancas prof undas y escarpadas de porfido .... En una de estas ramas
se hallan las referidas ruinas, cuya entrada estd. cerrada por un muro,' etc.
Account made up from Gondra, Avith cut probably from same source in
Mayer's Mex. Aztec, vol. ii., pp. 200-3; Id., Mex. as it Was, pp. 250-1.
Slight mention by MUhlenpfordt, Mej., torn, ii., p. 88, who thinks the ruin
may be identical with that of Tusapan. Same account in Mexicanische
Zustdnde, tom. i., p. 142.
Vol. IV. 29


and two in width. The same explorer, after passing
the wall and climbing with much difficulty to a point
about two hundred and fifty feet higher, found a
pyramid standing on a terraced hill, on the terraces
of which were various traces of houses and fortifica-
tions. The pyramid was built of porphyry and basalt
in blocks of different sizes, laid in mortar, was thirty-
three feet square at the base and seventeen feet high,
and had a narrow stairway on one side at least. On
the summit platform were traces of apartments of
rough stones and mortar; also a canal nine inches
square, leading to the exterior. The first wall men-
tioned by Gondra in the approach to the ruins, was
one of large stones in poor mortar, mostly fallen; it
seemed to form a part of walls that bounded a plaza
of nearly circular form, in the centre of which stood
the pyramid. This edifice was forty-seven by forty-
one feet at the base, twenty-eight feet high, and
was built in three stories; the lower story had a cen-
tral stairway on the front, the second had stairways
on the sides, while on the third story the steps were
in the rear. There are also some traces of a stairway
on the front of the second story. The whole surface
is covered with trees, one of which is described as
being about fourteen feet high, and over eight feet in
diameter. The only resemblance in the two views of
this pyramid, is the representation of a tree on the
summit in each; between the two plans there is not
the slightest likeness; and so far as Iberri's third
figure is concerned, it seems to resemble nothing in
heaven above, the earth beneath, or the waters un-
der the earth. Both authors agree on the exist-
ence of many house-foundations of stone without
mortar, extending the whole length of the plateau.
According to Iberri these houses were eleven by
twenty-two feet, some of them divided in several
apartments, standing on the terraces of the hill, only
a foot and a half apart, along regular streets about
six feet wide. The walls are of hewn stone without


mortar, and none remained standing over three feet
high. Gondra represents the houses as extending in
three and four straight and parallel rows for over two
miles on the plateau, with a wall of masonry running
the whole length on the south. At various points on
the summit and slopes of the hill tombs are found,
containing seated skeletons and relics of obsidian and
pottery. One of these tombs, as represented by
Gondra, is shown in the cut, in which the arched
doorway has a very suspicious look.

t T ' " ' r"" i " " 'I ' I ' I I r

Tomb at Misantla.

The miscellaneous relics found in connection with
the ruins and in the tombs include pottery, metates,
slabs with sculptured grecques, hieroglyphics, and
human figures in relief, stone images of different
sizes up to eighteen inches, representing human
figures seated with elbows on the knees, and head
raised; and finally an obsidian tube, a foot in diam-
eter and eighteen inches long, very perfectly turned,
together with similar earthen tubes with interior
compartments. Such is all the information I am
able to glean from the published accounts and plates
respecting Misantla, in the vicinity of which town
other groups of ruins are very vaguely mentioned.

In the same range of mountains, in the district of
Jalancingo, walls of hewn stone, with well-preserved
subterranean structures containing household idols,
are mentioned as existing at Mescalteco; also some
remains at Pueblo Viejo and Jorse, those of the
latter including a remarkable stone statue of marble.
This reported relic is said to have represented a



naked woman clasping a bird In her arms. The
lower parts of the woman are missing, and the bird
much mutilated, but the prefect of Jalancingo says
in his report, "it would be easy to complete the
figure into Jupiter-swan fondling Leda."^

About a hundred and fifty miles north-westward
from Vera Cruz, fifty miles in the same direction
from the ruins of Misantla, forty-five miles from the
coast, and four or five miles south-west from the
pueblo of Papantla, stands the pyramid shown In
the cut, known to the world by the name of the

Pyramid of Papantla.

pueblo, Papantla, but called by the Totonac natives
of the region, El Tajin, the 'thunderbolt.' It was
accidentally discovered in March, 1785, by one Diego
Ruiz, who was exploring this part of the county in
an official capacity, with a view to prevent the illegal
raising of tobacco ; and from his report a description
and copper-plate engraving were prepared and pub-

37 Miihlenjufordt, Mej., torn, ii., pp. 88-9j Mexikanische Zustdnde, torn,
i., pp. 142-3.


lished In the Gaceta de Mexico.^ Humboldt de-
scribed but did not visit the pyramid. He states
that Dupaix and Castaneda explored and made draw-
ings of it, but neither description nor plates ap-
pear in the work of these travelers.^^ The German
artist Nebel visited Papantla about 1831, and made
a fine and doubtless perfectly accurate drawing, from
which the cut which I have given has been copied.**
The pyramid stands in a dense forest, apparently
not on a naturally or artificially fortified plateau like
the remains further south. Its base is square, meas-
uring a little over ninety feet on each side, and the
height is about fifty-four feet; the whole structure
was built in seven stories, the upper story being par-
tially in ruins.*^ Except the upper story, which seems

38 Gaceta de Mexico, July 12, 1785, torn, i., pp. 349-51. Location 'per
el ruinbo del Poniente de este pueblo, a dos le^uas de distancia, entre un
espeso bosque.' This original account was printed later in Diccionario
Univ. Geog., torn, x., pp. 120-1; it was also translated into Italian, and
printed in Murquez, Due Antichi Monmnenti, Rome, 1804, p. 3, also ac-
companied by the plate.

39 Humboldt, Vues, torn, i., pp. 102-3; Id., Essai Pol., p. 274; Id., in
Antiq. Mex., torn, i., div. ii., p. 12. Humboldt's account translated by
Gondra, in Prescott, Hist. Conq. Mex., torn, iii., pp. 39-40, says it is the
forest that is called Taj in, that the ruin was discovered by hunters, and
pronounces the plate in the Gaceta very faulty.

4" Nebel, Viage Pintoresco. The drawing is geometric rather than in
in perspective, and the author's descriptive text in a few details fails to
agree exactly with it. Jose M. Bausa gives a slight description in Soc.
Mex. Geog., Boletin, tom. v., p. 411, without stating the source of his in-
formation. He locates the ruin 2^ leagues south-west of the pueblo. This
author states that Carlos M. Bustamante published a good account of the
ruin in 1828, in his Revoltijo de Nopalitos. Other accounts of Papantla
made up from the preceding sources, are as follows: — Mayer^s Mex. Aztec,
vol. ii., pp. 196-7, with cut after Nebel; Id., Mex. as it Was, pp. 248-9;
Id., in SchoolcrafVs Arch., vol. vi. , p. 583, pi. xi. ; Baldiviii's Anc. Amer.,
pp. 91-2; Conder's Mex. Guat., torn, i., p. 227; Fosscy, Mex., pp. 317-18;
Hassel, Mex. Guat., pp. 238-9; Larenaudicre, Mex. Guat., p. 45; De
Bercy, Travels, tom. ii., p. 237; Bradford's Amer. Antiq., pp. 79-80;
Milhlcnpfordt, Mejico, tom. ii. , p. 88; Mexicanische Zustdnde, p. 142;
Biiigley's Trav., pp. 259-60; Amer. Antiq. Soc, Transact., vol. i., p.
256; Armin, Heutige Mex., pp. 96-7, with cut; Malte-Brun, Precis de
la G6og., tom. vi., p. 462; Midler, Anierikanische Urreligionen, p. 459;
PriesVs Amer. Antiq., pp. 276-8; Wappdus, Geog. Stat., p. 154; Wilson's
Mex. and its Religion, pp. 246-7.

*i The dimensions in Nebel's text are, 120 feet square and 85 feet high,
which must be an error, since the author says that the stairway in the plate
may be used as a scale, each step being a foot ; and measuring the struct-

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