Cuauhtocho, an archaeological site in Veracruz that received no visitors last year. Cuauhtocho, an archaeological site in Veracruz that received no visitors last year.

Graffiti and garbage mark some of Mexico’s forgotten archaeological sites

Four sites saw no visitors last year, 16 received fewer than 1,000

Some of Mexico’s archaeological sites are littered with garbage, defaced with graffiti and in various states of deterioration, which probably explains in part why they see few visitors.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), which has 171 sites in its care, has reported that four significant sites received no visitors last year and that 16 others saw fewer than 1,000.

For the fourth year in a row, Cuauhtochco in Veracruz, a thriving city 1,400 years ago, received no visitors. Ocoyoacac in México state, an important ceremonial center between the years 450 and 650 AD, was similarly unpopular last year.

Teopanzolco in Morelos, a site with a large pyramid topped with a temple dedicated to Tláloc and Huitzilopochtli, the Mexica gods of rain and war respectively, remained closed to the public in 2018 because of damage sustained to the site during the September 2017 earthquake and the discovery of a new temple.

Chiapa de Corzo in Chiapas, a site with structures from several pre-Columbian cultures dating as far back as 750 BC, including temples, terraces and what archaeologists think might be Mesoamerica’s oldest tomb, also went unvisited in 2018.

Lack of personnel may be the reason for many sites being virtually abandoned, suggested a report in the newspaper El Universal.

INAH director Diego Prieto acknowledged last month that the institute, rather than creating new jobs, has terminated 850 positions in the last 15 years.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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