Journal of Cave and Karst Studies - ISSN 0146-9517
Volume 59 Number 1: 22-25 - April 1997

A publication of the National Speleological Society

Las Ruinas Cave, Cerro Rabon, Oaxaca, Mexico: A Mazatec Postclassic Funerary and Ritual Site
Roman Hapka and Fabienne Rouvinez


Some 48 different caves and rock shelters were surveyed in a karstic region of the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. A brief discussion of the morphological variation encountered and methods of underground archaeological survey is presented. The cave of Las Ruinas has been chosen for detailed examination in this paper. This cave best illustrates a typology for the considerable number and variety of funerary and other structures documented in the cave; and, different aspects of the relationship between human society and the subterranean environment. The pottery found in the archaeological survey has allowed relative chronological dating of all 48 studied sites. All belong to the Postclassic Period (900-1521 A.D.). The pottery also facilitated an evaluation of external contacts and influences on this region.

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