Friday, June 21, 2024

Zacatecas archaeological site was inhabited for 18 centuries

After years of restoration work an archeological site in Zacatecas is expected to open to the public before the end of the year.

Cerro del Teúl (Hill of Teúl) was a ceremonial center for the Caxcan people and was occupied for 18 centuries, much longer than other pre-Hispanic sites such as Teotihuacán in the state of México and Monte Albán in Oaxaca.

Located in the southern municipality of Teúl near the state’s border with Jalisco, the site features pyramids, a circular altar, two plazas and a ball court.

The Zacatecas delegate for the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) told the newspaper Milenio that Cerro del Teúl will be the third archaeological site to open in the state.

“It’s very important to appreciate the archaeological heritage . . .” Carlos Augusto Torres Pérez said. “We have two archaeological zones open to the public: La Quemada and Altavista . . . we believe the opening of this site will complement the cultural offering,” he said.

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“In addition to research and the restoration of the pyramids, we’re also working on the presentation of the site with the aim of providing safe conditions so that people can walk through without any problems,” Torres explained.

He added that municipal and state authorities have contributed resources for the construction of a visitors’ center, the creation of rest areas and to improve access to the site.

“We want to have the infrastructure and the basic spaces necessary to attend to the public” so as to open soon, Torres said.

In pre-Hispanic times, the main activity of the Caxcan people is believed to have been agriculture but there is also evidence that the Cerro del Teúl site was an industrial center, where copper was smelted and ceramics were made.

Excavations have uncovered bells, rings, ceramic artifacts and jewelry made out of shells and green stone.

Some of the relics show influences of cultures from other parts of the country, Torres said.

Peter Jiménez Betts, an archaeologist contributing to the restoration project, said that Cerro del Teúl is one of very few pre-Hispanic sites in the Americas with such a long uninterrupted period of occupation, one that went right up to contact with the colonizing Spanish.

The site was inhabited between 200 B.C. and 1531, he said.

It is located about 215 kilometers southwest of Zacatecas city and 130 kilometers north of Guadalajara.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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