The Heat of the Night: Ritual Purification and Curing in Mesoamerica

Author(s): Jan Olson

Year: 2017


While daytime is often reserved for fairly mundane activities, most archaeological questions have focused on this time period. A wide variety of activities though cross the day into the nighttime, or occur only after dark. It is during the night when Mesoamericans recreated much of their mythology in ritualistic acts. This paper explores the use of household temazcales as nightly ritual spaces. These saunas were not only found in large communal spaces, but also in households. For what were the household temazcales used? Which goddesses added meaning to their practices? Interpretations from ethnohistoric and archaeological sources brimming with images and statements will help to elucidate these questions; fieldwork will add observational data.

Cite this Record

The Heat of the Night: Ritual Purification and Curing in Mesoamerica. Jan Olson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431045)


Household Night Ritual

Geographic Keywords
Central America

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.702; min lat: 6.665 ; max long: -76.685; max lat: 18.813 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14777