Discover the Enigmatic Petroglyphs of Mascota Valley: A Thousand-Year-Old Treasure

Jorge Chávez
Mar. 26, 2024

In the depths of the Sierra Madre Occidental of Jalisco lies an archaeological treasure that captivates those who dare to explore its secrets: Mascota Valley, a paradise located just two hours by car from the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta. It is home to more than 30 archaeological sites, including nearly 550 petroglyphs, invaluable testimony to Mexico’s pre-Hispanic past.

The petroglyphs, low relief drawings carved in basalt rock, tell stories of the ancient civilizations that inhabited these lands between 1 and 1600 AD. Representations of animals such as deer, dogs, and birds dominate the engravings and provide a glimpse into the symbolic world of cultures such as the Huichol.

The archaeological site of El Bordo II, located in a former village, is a prominent focal point with nearly 120 engraved stones, making it the area with the highest concentration of petroglyphs in the region. Here, traces of houses, terraces and ceramics take us back to ancient times and reveal the daily life of the people who once called these lands home.

Other points with significant representations include La Mesa Colorada, Cañón del Ocotillo, El Refugio, and La Zapatera, among others.

However, accessing these treasures can prove challenging, as many are located on private property or in hard-to-reach places. But for history and archaeology buffs, there is a solution: the Mascota Archaeological Museum.

Opened in August 2011, this museum houses over 600 pieces found in regional excavations, ranging from ceramics to bone remains, offering a fascinating insight into the life and funerary practices of Mascota’s ancient cultures. Among the most outstanding pieces is a high-purity quartz rock crystal, approximately 2800 years old, a true archaeological gem.

The museum is not only an educational experience, but also a cultural one, with an auditorium, a library, and a large outdoor area where artistic activities and temporary exhibitions are held for the enjoyment of all visitors.

Photograph from the book Los Petroglifos del Valle de Mascota by Joseph B. Mountjoy.

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