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Prehistoric Caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: Prehistoric
Date of Inscription: 2010
Location: North America, Mexico, Oaxaca
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Description: The Prehistoric Caves of Yagul and Mitla are located in central Oaxaca on the northern slopes of the Tlacolula Valley, and include two pre-Hispanic archeological complexes, pre-historic caves and rock shelters. The cave of Guilá Naquitz contains ten thousand-year-old Cucurbitaceae seeds, the earliest known evidence of domesticated plants on the continent; corn cob fragments found there are the earliest documented evidence of the domestication of maize. The site not only provides archeological and rock-art evidence for the shift from nomadic hunter-gatherers to farmers, it also shows the link between man and nature which gave rise to the domestication of plants in North America, allowing the rise of Mesoamerican civilizations. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  Yagul is an archaeological site and former city-state associated with the Zapotec civilization of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, located in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The site was declared one of the country's four Natural Monuments on 13 October 1998.The site is also known locally as Pueblo Viejo (Old Village) and was occupied at the time of the Spanish Conquest. After the Conquest the population was relocated to the nearby modern town of Tlacolula where their descendants still live. Yagul was first occupied around 500-100 BC. Around 500-700 AD, residential, civic and ceremonial structures were built at the site. However, most of the visible remains date to 1250-1521 AD, when the site functioned as the capital of a Postclassic city-state. The site was excavated in the 1950s and 60s by archaeologists Ignacio Bernal and John Paddock. Vestiges of human habitation in the area, namely cliff paintings at Caballito Blanco, date to at least 3000 BCE. After the abandonment of Monte Albán about 800 CE, the region's inhabitants established themselves in various small centers such as Lambityeco, Mitla and Yagul. Mitla is the second most important archeological site in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, and the most important of the Zapotec culture. The site is located 44km from the city of Oaxaca. in the upper end of the Tlacolula Valley, one of the three that form the Central Valleys Region of the state. The archeological site is within the modern municipality of San Pablo Villa de Mitla. While Monte Albán was most important as the political center, Mitla was the main religious center. The name Mitla is derived from the Nahuatl name Mictlán, which was the place of the dead or underworld. Its Zapotec name is Lyobaa, which means “place of rest.” The name Mictlán was Hispanicized to Mitla by the Spanish. However, what makes Mitla unique among Mesoamerican sites is the elaborate and intricate mosaic fretwork and geometric designs that cover tombs, panels, friezes and even entire walls. These mosaics are made with small, finely cut and polished stone pieces which have been fitted together without the use of mortar. No other site in Mexico has this. --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center ( 2. Wikipedia.
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