Neither Chichén Itzá nor Teotihuacán, the largest archaeological site is near the CDMX


You may not have imagined it, but the largest archaeological site in Mexico is located in Puebla, and very few people know it.

Just three and a half hours from the CDMX is Cantona, one of the most impressive and least known archaeological sites in the state of Puebla. Its name comes from the Nahuatl word caltonal, which means ‘house of the sun’, and it is one of the oldest pre-Hispanic cities in Mexico. The most impressive thing about this place is undoubtedly its imposing size, as with 453 hectares that included houses, roads, courtyards, ball games and temples, it is the largest archaeological site in Mexico.

Because of its location and size, it is thought that this dazzling pre-Hispanic city was one of the key points for the control of the trade route between the Altiplano and the Gulf of Mexico, especially for the trade of obsidian, which was traded to the south and southeast between 700 BC and until 900 AD. For this same reason, it is known that the artisans of Cantona were skilled in handling this precious stone. These and other objects, especially goldsmithing, can be seen in the Cantona Site Museum.

Cantona is a place where every structure is a cause of admiration: the acropolis, the squares, the obsidian workshops, the neighborhoods and the complex system of streets and roads that communicated the whole city. In addition to being the largest archaeological site in Mexico, it is also the pre-Hispanic city with the most ball games in the country, as it has 27 courts that show different structures, some very close to the conventions of the ball games of all Mesoamerica, and others with certain peculiarities that have led archaeologists to classify them as ‘type Cantona’ courts.

The researcher Yadira Martínez Calleja suggests that Cantona had a particular development, different from that of other civilizations during that time, and reached a population of more than 90 thousand inhabitants. Due in part to its strategic location, in what is today the largest archaeological site in Mexico, remains have been found that attest to the influence of different cultures in the aesthetic development of Cantona, among which groups from the lowlands and the Gulf coast stand out, and even from regions south of what is today Oaxaca.

Source: Food and Pleasure