While cultivating citrus field in the community of Hidalgo Amajac, Veracruz, on the Gulf Coast, local farmers discovered an ancient female sculpture almost six feet tall.
After arriving at the site and checking the finding, archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico (INAH) confirmed that it is pre-Hispanic.
Due to its features, the sculpture is linked to the Huasteca culture and could date back to the late postclassic period (1450-1521 AD).
The woman is depicted with her mouth and eyes open, a lush hairstyle and clothes typical of the ruling class.
According to the researcher María Eugenia Maldonado Vite, the work represents a young elite woman, “possibly a ruler because of her posture and attire, rather than a deity as almost all Huastec feminine sculptures have been interpreted, to which she is linked with the goddess Tlazoltéotl”.
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As highlighted by the INAH, it is the first pre-Hispanic female sculpture of its kind found in the Huasteca of Veracruz.
The sculpture was found relatively close to El Tahin, the center of the classical culture of Veracruz and one of the largest cities in western Mesoamerica. But the sculpture shows rather signs of influence from the culture of the Aztecs.
In Aztec documents of the colonial era, ruling women were mentioned. In the pre-Hispanic era, women were highly valued in Mesoamerican cultures. They lost their status drastically only after the Spanish conquest, researchers say.