Aticama Museum of Archaeology and History

The Santa Cruz Complex
(1300 A.D. 1600 A.D.)

(Written by Archaeologist Joseph B. Mountjoy, Museologist)

Around 1200 A.D. the Aztatlan hegemony began to break up, possibly due in large part to a 19-year-long drought in northwestern Mexico that occurred around 1150 A.D. and weakened the subsistence base of Aztatlan society.

The large settlement at Santa Cruz at this time covered a total of approximately 143 acres, and the extensive although much smaller settlement at Aticama, plus 26 other settlements in the municipality of San Blas are good examples of this local independence. This is seen above all in the local production of two special types of pottery: Santa Cruz Brown on Buff and Santa Cruz Bichrome. The other common type of Santa Cruz Complex pottery has incised decoration. It is not known where this pottery was made, but similar pottery is found in many other areas of the Nayarit coast.

The use of stone stelae continues during this time. The Aticama stela is an excellent example. The stelas are sometimes pecked with sun symbols and sometimes they functioned as rudimentary sun dials.

Visit the Aticama Museum of Archaeology and History to read the rest of this story and view the artifacts from this period!!