Relations maintained between Western Mexico and Northwest/North-center Mexico regions between 900 and 1100 AD created a “new tradition” from which Tolteca Culture would derive. This cultural tradition is being studied by several researchers, among them, archaeologists Otto Schondube, Patricia Corot and Marie-Areti Hers.


The 12th Conference of Northern Frontier Archaeology, celebrated in Paquime Cultural Center, Casas Grandes, Chihuahua on regard of Western and Northern Mexico regions relations, specialists brought in new data about the long association between both areas.

Otto Schondube, researcher at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Jalisco, declared that “normally it has been accepted that there was colonization from Mesoamerica towards the North; for some authors, it happened through diffusion of ideas”.

For some decades now, similarities between Southwestern USA/Northwest Mexico and Western Cultures have been studied; “these movements used 2 routes: from Zacatecas/Durango/Northern Jalisco, through the oriental border of Sierra Madre Occidental, and through Sinaloa/Sonora Coast”.
 
“These Mesoamerican ideas that traveled to the North in the first centuries of the Common Era (3rd-4th centuries), mainly with agricultural peoples, produced what I call “the garment change”. They arrived with a Mesoamerican structure that adapted to the more hostile northern environment”.

“When some Mesoamerican power centers declined, among them Teotihuacan, groups from the north returned to their original places with Mesoamerican ideas. This cultural exchange was captured in different archaeological elements, mainly ceramics iconography”.

At the academic gathering organized by INAH, Schondube –who has explored several archaeological sites in Jalisco-, explained that from the northern tradition by the Coast, naturalistic zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures were retaken, while from the Mountain Range side, geometric expressions were brought from Chupicuaro and Chalchihuites traditions, integrating a “new tradition”.
    
“Hostility from the North generated strong human sacrifice ideas that reflected in the cult to skulls and sacrifice knives. This would be retaken later at Sinaloa Coast originating Aztatlan Tradition, which arrives to Central Mexico later. It was believed that these “New Tradition” manifestations came from Tula, but I think that Tolteca Tradition was formed in the confluence region between Northern High Plateau and Western Coast”.

Dr. Patricia Corot, from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Institute of Esthetic Investigations, presented data obtained from explorations at Cienaga de Zacapu, an archaeological site in Michoacan, conducted jointly with Dr. Marie-Areti Hers.

Ceramic vestiges from a tradition denominated “Loma Alta” have been located there; vessels and plates reveal an iconography associated with Southwest USA.
 
The expert mentioned that this tradition developed in the first centuries of the Common Era, moving to Zacatecas and Durango near 550 AD, interacting with Chalchihuites Culture between 600 and 900 AD. This culture would extend until reaching Northwest Mexico and Southwest USA, exchanging ideas and styles with peoples like Hohokam.

This cultural process happened between 500 and 1200 AD approximately. Ceramics of the mentioned site in Michoacan demonstrates that groups that originally left from there returned with an iconography merged with the Northern one.