During an archaeological survey in the municipality of San Pedro Mártir Quiechapa, Oaxaca, Mexico, archaeologists from the Proyecto Arqueológico de Quiechapa (PAQuie) encountered and documented a number of carved stone elements. Of particular interest are the 30 representations of ballcourts carved into natural rock outcrops at two sites in the region. This is the highest density in which this type of ballcourt representation occurs throughout Mesoamerica. After their initial discovery, members of PAQuie documented the carved stone ballcourts using structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry, a quick and affordable technique to collect 3D spatial, quantitative, and visual data of stone carvings.
In this article, I report on the carved stone ballcourt representations documented in the Quiechapa region and offer some preliminary interpretations. I first provide some description of the broader archaeological context in which the carvings were found. Then I describe the methods used to record the stone carvings, followed by a presentation of the data. Finally, in dialogue with extant literature, I explore some possibilities as to why these carved stone ballcourt representations were created, how they may have been used, and what they may symbolize.