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Advisory body of UNESCO warns Teotihuacán could lose its World Heritage status

Teotihuacán, Mexico — The International Council of Monuments and Sites (Icomos) of Mexico, an advisory body of UNESCO, has warned that the archaeological zone of Teotihuacán is at risk of losing its World Heritage status. The UNESCO consulting body warned that Teotihuacán could lose its status due to construction.

The construction they refer to is unauthorized work with heavy machinery occurring in Teotihuacán near the Oztoyahualco area.

Through a letter addressed to the Secretary of Culture, Alejandra Frausto and to the director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), Diego Prieto, Icomos de México urged the governor of the state, Alfredo del Mazo as well as state and municipal authorities, to protect Oztoyahualco, which is part of Teotihuacán.

“The excavation work with heavy machinery that we are now dealing with threatens to affect up to seven hectares of the protected area, an area in which there are residential and monumental archaeological remains, which are also being looted,” Icomos said in the letter.

“Icomos Mexicano expresses its enormous concern because it acts accordingly, appealing to the various orders of government, in order to stop the destruction, allow the evaluation of the effects by the authorized professional bodies and, where appropriate, prosecute who are responsible for the destruction and looting of vestiges of the national heritage,” adds the letter signed by Saúl Alcántara Onofre, president of the organization.

Teotihuacán was considered a protected area and World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988.

Two months ago, the INAH received a complaint about the excavation work, in addition to requesting the arrest of those responsible in the Oztoyahualco area on properties of approximately seven hectares located in Area B of the protected area of the Archaeological Monuments Zone of Teotihuacan.

Federal inspectors deemed the work irregular and proceeded to close it, however, at the end of March, the closure seals were removed and the work continued. Those responsible for the excavation have not been named, nor has the government officially said what is being done.