An Interpretation of the Rock Art in La Cueva de la Huachiza, Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán

Author(s): Cinthia M. Campos; José Luis Punzo-Diaz

Year: 2017


The Cueva de la Huachizca is a tectonic cave formed within a basaltic flow in the municipio of Salvador Escalante just south of Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacán. The cave was initially recorded in 2014 by Dr. Jose Luis Punzo-Diaz as part of Proyecto Arqueología y Paisaje del Area Centro Sur de Michoacán (PAPACSM). An investigation of the cave conducted this summer recorded pecked petroglyphs of a man facing an eagle, above a spiral motif. These motifs resemble those from contact period Codice de Carapan. In front of the petroglyphs a feather and burnt wood were recovered that are described in La Relación de Michoacán as sacred items. This paper will combine archaeology, ethnography, ethnohistory, and epigraphy to interpret the cave. The inscriptions and artifacts found within offer insights into Tarascan customs, ceremonies, and beliefs. The evidence suggests La Cueva de la Huachizca was a perceived as landmark in the sacred landscape and as having connections with Cumiechuquaro, the underworld. It is evident that this cave was an important religious site for the Tarascans, and future explorations will produce a better understanding of the use of caves in this largely understudied region.

Cite this Record

An Interpretation of the Rock Art in La Cueva de la Huachiza, Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán. Cinthia M. Campos, José Luis Punzo-Diaz. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430299)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14520