Joseph B. Mountjoy
In 1996 I began doing archaeological research in several valleys located in the western highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. This research was focused on the registration of rocks with petroglyphs and the location of shaft-and-chamber tomb burial sites. Several spectacular petroglyphs sites were registered, including one canyon (the photograph) that appears to record the kind of sacred deer hunt carried out by the nearby Huichol Indians in the 19th century. Also, excavations were conducted in one ceremonial site where a copper/bronze bell in the form of Mictlantecuhtli (an Aztec god of death) had been unearthed by looters in 1961.
In 2000 I began conducting excavations in the Mascota Valley at a burial site dated to ca. 800 B.C. with funds provided by the National Geographic Society. Excavations in that site were completed in 2005, and by that time we had excavated approximately 39 Middle Formative burial pits which contained the remains of about 175 individuals and some 500 burial offerings, some of which show distant relationships with places such as Guatemala and the border area of Peru and Ecuador. In 2004-2005 funding by the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. enabled us to conduct excavations in two more Middle Formative cemeteries (ca. 800 B.C. to 1000 B.C.) where we discovered and excavated human remains and burial offerings from several shaft-and-chamber tombs.
At present, 500 of these Middle Formative burial items are on display in three rooms in the Archaeology Museum of Mascota, and a fourth room, with 35 color photographs and 4 petroglyph rocks, is dedicated to presenting an interpretation of the designs pecked or painted onto rocks in this area of Jalisco.
There are 8 included publications by Joseph B. Mountjoy :