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Burials, sculptures and ancient cities most relevant archaeological finds in 2023

Mexico City, Mexico — The INAH has reported on discoveries that include burials, sculptures and ancient cities being among the most relevant archaeological finds of 2023.

During 2023, the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Mexico, through the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), reported various discoveries, the result of inter-institutional and multidisciplinary projects which contribute and will continue to provide novel information about the future of the Mexican territory.

The excavations of the Landscape, Rock Art and Occupation initiative in the Prehistoric Caves of the Valley of Oaxaca revealed that more than 9,000 years ago, between 7516 to 2455 BC, groups of hunter-gatherers seasonally occupied the Cueva de la Paloma, in the Valley of Oaxaca.

More than 3,500 years later, the site was occupied by Zapotec groups to deposit offerings.

In Álamo Temapache, Veracruz, a second sculpture of the Young ruler of Amajac appeared The discovery of the limestone figure, 1.54 meters high, was recorded during paving work. In a subsequent excavation, six burials were located, one of them below the place where the monolithic carving lay with three vessels as an offering.

Derived from a chance discovery, INAH personnel recovered within a construction work in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, the representation of a Chac Mool which dates from the Late Postclassic period (1350-1521 AD). The relevance of this piece of basalt – 90 centimeters long, 80 high and 200 kilos – is that it is the first located in context.

The Chapultepec, Nature and Culture project, led by the federal Ministry of Culture, with the collaboration of the Government of Mexico City, has allowed the recovery of unknown contexts.

This was the case of a cemetery from the early viceregal period in the area of the Garden and Scenic Pavilion, from which 45 complete skeletons and skeletal remains of another 16 individuals were recovered, both of indigenous origin—probably Mexica—and of European origin, which were buried at three different times during the first century after the invasion of Mexico-Tenochtitlan (1521-1620 AD).

In the Third Section of this forest, the archaeological rescue that accompanies the work of Line 3 of the Cablebús recorded a series of pre-Hispanic funerary graves, among which 10 truncated conical or bell tombs stand out.

The tombs are approximately three and a half millennia old, the half of them with human burials. The discovery refers to a large village that must have existed in this area close to Constituciónntes Avenue around the Early and Middle Preclassic periods (2500-400 BC).

Going 60 km through logging alleys, with data obtained through laser scanning (LiDAR), a monumental site was located within the Balamkú ecological reserve, south of Campeche: Ocomtún.

Its core covers more than 50 hectares and has several large buildings, as well as several pyramidal structures more than 15 meters high. The site served as an important regional center, probably during the Classic period (250-1000 AD).

In the same vein, the Lyobaa Project observed irregularities or anomalies that could correspond to tunnels under the church of San Pablo Apóstol, in Mitla , Oaxaca. Geophysical methods were applied in two areas of the site: the Church Group and the Column Group. The results allow us to infer the existence of structures and features that are of archaeological interest.

The richness of the paleontological site of Santa Lucía, in the State of Mexico, continues to provide surprises. The international paleobiology journal Historical Biology released the results of the study of a fossil flamingo egg, between 12,000 and 8,000 years BC discovered in an exceptional state of conservation during the construction of the “Felipe Ángeles” International Airport.

This is the first of this biological family to be located in America and the second discovery worldwide.

Another archaeological rescue was the one that accompanied the work of the Chalco-Santa Martha Trolleybus from which outstanding pieces were obtained: a ceramic mask from the Late Postclassic period (1400-1521 AD), which could be associated with funerary rituals, two burials of complete individuals with cranial modification, from the Late Preclassic (2500-400 BC) and wooden remains that could have belonged to a boat that sailed the waters of Lake Chalco more than 400 years ago.

Also, as part of an archaeological rescue project, on land in the El Salitre neighborhood in Tula de Allende, in Hidalgo, the vestiges of a residential unit of Toltec origin were found whose age is estimated between the years 900 to 1150 AD, which, in pre-Hispanic times, was located next to a swamp, southeast of the ceremonial site of Tula Grande or Tollan-Xicocotitlan.

Likewise, in a rock shelter in the Huizachal Canyon in the municipality of Victoria, Tamaulipas, a skeleton was rescued that would correspond to a “Janambre” individual, an ethnic group referred to as a brave opponent of the colonization of the northeast of New Spain between the 17th and 17th centuries. XVIII.

Archaeological work is one of the fundamental tasks carried out by the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Mexico, through the INAH, throughout the country, and in turn represents a window of knowledge to the rich history of Mexico.