Of the many archaeological sites in the state of Oaxaca this is one of my favourites. It lies about 20km from the city of Oaxaca at the base of a defensible hill with a fabulous view out over the Tlacolula valley. The name Dainz˙ is derived from the Zapotec danni (meaning hill) and zu (meaning organ cactus). It was occupied from approximatetly 700 B.C. to 1000 A.D. Many stone carvings depicting ballplayers were found at this site and it is thought that the game may have had some special significance at Dainz˙.

Ball games may have been played there earlier than in other parts of the Oaxaca valley. It is also possible that these early games used a square court with marker stones rather than an I-shaped court. Excavated I-shaped ball courts in the Oaxaca valley usually date from 100 B.C. to 200 A.D. In spite of the fact that a variety of the ball game was played here early, the I-shaped ballcourt at Dainz˙ seems to have been built very late, approximately 900-1000 A.D.

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