In his survey of El Pital, Mr. Wilkerson said he found many Teotihuacan-style ceramics. But local styles, particularly in figurines and vessels, were also strong, he said, indicating that El Pital "is likely to have had a far more complicated role than that of a trade way station or Teotihuacan outpost."
Mr. Wilkerson noted that some murals in Teotihuacan depict a riverside scene of raised agricultural fields, a farming practice at El Pital, and dense tropical flora. Since nothing like that could be found in the semi-arid plain of Teotihuacan, he said, this could be an image of El Pital "as a sort of Eden," reflecting its apparent role as a major center for food production.
El Pital is significant, Mr. Wilkerson said, "because it appears to be the principal end point of an ancient cultural corridor that linked the north-central Gulf Coast with the cities of central Mexico." One research goal will be to determine the city's importance as a seaport and the extent of its coastal reach in trade. Some scholars have even suggested that corn and some cultural practices traveled from central Mexico to the Mississippi River valley about this time, either by overland or sea trade.