After 15 years of exploration and restoration work, the Zacatecas archaeological site Las Ventanas will finally open on August 2.
Located in the municipality of Juchipila, the site was occupied by the Caxcán people from about 100 AD until the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century.
Archaeologists from the National Institute of Archaeology and History (INAH) uncovered nine structures during their long exploration of Las Ventanas, which means “The Windows” in English.
The name comes from the window-like openings in the stone structures. Archaeologists also identified 25 hillocks of varying sizes and shapes, which provide evidence that the site was used for religious ceremonies.
Las Ventanas was scheduled to open towards the end of the previous government’s term but only now is ready to receive visitors.
Juchipila Mayor Rafael Jiménez told the newspaper Milenio that the inauguration of the site will be the culmination of a years-long dream.
Restoring the site and preparing it for opening “has been a very big effort,” Jiménez said, adding that around 150 people per day are expected to visit.
The increase in tourism to the municipality, located around 130 kilometers northeast of Guadalajara in the south of Zacatecas, will provide a boost for the local economy, he said.
“It’s good luck for us that despite budget cuts we’ve managed to open it . . . The three levels of government will collaborate for the operation [of the site] and security of the area,” Jiménez said.
Marco Antonio Santos Ramírez, an INAH archeologist who led the restoration project between 2012 and 2014, said the region where Las Ventanas is located was conquered later than other parts of the country.
“. . . Upon the arrival of the Spanish, there was an indigenous uprising that developed into the famous Mixtón war between 1541 and 1542. In Las Ventanas, which is an elevated point with pre-Hispanic structures . . . they [the Caxcán people] entrenched themselves to resist . . .” he said.
Santos added that excavations at the site uncovered the graves of children.
“That means that they preferred to sacrifice their children rather than have them fall into the hands of the Spanish,” he said.
The INAH archaeologist agreed with the Juchipila mayor that the opening of Las Ventanas will boost tourism.
“It’s a region that needs it because for a long time it’s been under the control of drug cartels . . . The archaeological zone will definitely create a lot of jobs and the peace we all want will resume,” Santos said.
Las Ventanas will be the newest addition to an archaeological tourism route in Zacatecas.
Other pre-Hispanic sites in the northern state include the recently-opened Cerro del Teúl, La Quemada and Altavista.
Source: Milenio (sp)