Though we may never know for sure, Huichol legend seems to support the theory that La Quemada was built by a local ruling class. There was an evil priest, the story runs, who lived on a rock surrounded by walls and covered with buildings, with eagles and jaguars under his command to oppress the population. The people appealed to their gods, who destroyed the priest and his followers with “great heat”, warning the people not to go near the rock again. Quemada was probably destroyed by fire around 1300 AD and was never reoccupied; even today, the Huichol, in their annual pilgrimage from the Sierra Madre to collect peyote around Real de Catorce to the east, take a long detour to bypass this area.

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