Zona Arqueológica

Archaeological Site in Zaachila

Ancient Zaachila, rather like Mitla, was a post-Classic Zapotec city that took root after the demise of Monte Albán. It was later conquered by the Mixtecs. The rough date of its establishment is sketchy, but it probably reached its apogee in the 1300s. The Zona Arqueológica sits behind the village church overlooking the main plaza and consists of a small assortment of mounds where you can enter two small tombs used by the ancient Mixtecs.

Tumba 1 retains sculptures of owls, a turtle-man figure and various long-nosed skull-like masks. Tumba 2 has no decoration, but in it was found a Mixtec treasure hoard that’s now in the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City.

When Mexican archaeologists first tried to excavate these tombs in the 1940s and 1950s, they were run off by irate Zaachilans. The tombs were finally excavated under armed guard in 1962. You can see photos of some of the objects that were carted off.

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