In Pre-Columbian times the Huastec were part of the MesoAmerican cultures. From archaeological remains, they are thought to date back to approximately the 10th century BC, although their most productive period of civilization is usually considered to be the Post-Classic era between the fall of Teotihuacan and the rise of the Aztec Empire. The Pre-Columbian Huastec constructed temples on step-pyramids, carved independent standing sculptures, and produced elaborately painted pottery. The Huastec were unusual as one of the few cultures that attained civilization and built cities yet usually wore no clothing. They were admired for their abilities as musicians by other MesoAmerican peoples.
The Huastec language is still spoken, especially in rural areas, and the people retain traditions of characteristic music and dance. As of the late 20th century the Huastec population in Mexico was approximately 80,000 people.