The Huastec civilization developed along the Gulf of Mexico coast over a period of 6,000 years and flourished along river systems in parts of the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz, and Hidalgo for some 2,500 years (1000 B.C. – 1500 A.D.). The Huastecs may have been the first agriculturalists in Mexico. Their art and social organization reached its apex between 300 B.C. and 900 A.D., an era known as the Classic Period.
Recently uncovered Huastec archaeological sites give evidence to their cultural traits, including their preference of brightly-colored clothes, jewelry and even coiffures. One such site was just discovered and inaugurated in late 2006, about 25 km from Ciudad Valles.
Today, approximately 91,000 Huastecs still live in the region of their ancestors. Modern Huastecs hold fast to tradition by living in simple, thatched-roof homes in isolated rural communities where they can farm, hunt and practice their own customs.These customs include the making of traditional arts and crafts, music and dance, and food.
Archeology in San Luis Potosi offers rich discoveries. For example, the vestiges of the Huastec culture are preserved in urban areas in the form of pyramidal mounds and also in the depths of a lake. The important site known as Tamtoc, in the municipality of Tamun, had its apogee between 900 and 1,000 AD. This political and religious center has various structures such as plazas for commerce, religious ceremonies, and for gatherings of political leaders.
Archeology tells us that the inhabitants of Tamtoc were farmers, fishermen, and hunters who caught animals for their skin and birds for their plumage, and the archeologists in San Luis Potosi and the surrounding area keep turning up finds. In 2009, thirty-eight skeletons were uncovered in the La Noria area, and in early 2011 bones and vessels were found with possible traces of food, hence the continuing research into the ancient Huastecs.
La Media Luna is a magical place in the central part of San Luis Potosí. It is full of history and pre-Hispanic traditions connected to the Pame, Macolia, and Guachichil ethnic groups, part of the Chichemec nation, who established themselves in the areas neighboring the site of La Media Luna to use it as a center for the worship of Mother Earth.
For this reason, underwater archeologists continually carry out field work, finding offerings of pottery idols, vessels, and obsidian arrow tips, even the head of a mammoth head and many bones, plus turtle shells and fossils from the Quaternary Period.