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At early 20th century, Porfirio Diaz selected examples of Prehispanic architecture greatness to show them to the world in the occasion of the Centennial of the Independence. These sites were Teotihuacan, Estado de Mexico; Xochicalco, Morelos; La Quemada, Zacatecas, and Mitla, Oaxaca, all of them explored by Leopoldo Batres.


A century later, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) conducts an integral conservation project at Mitla Archaeological Zone, the second most visited in Oaxaca, which ancient buildings are characterized by profuse ornaments based on frets.

Zapoteca city of Mitla, located 42 kilometers south of Oaxaca City, was inhabited when Spaniards arrived; many buildings were looted and destroyed. Several vestiges were used to raise Catholic constructions, but others kept standing.

Architect Aciel Sanchez from INAH, announced that Mitla project is part of Oaxaca Valley Archaeological Corridor (CAVO) program, which includes buildings maintenance and restoration as well as rising awareness among community to avoid vandalism on original stuccos.

Until now, covers have been installed in 4 rooms with frets; 2 of them, part of El Palacio conjunct, were roofed recently using traditional techniques.           

A 17th century wall, added up to a Prehispanic room is being restored; the 17th century Aljibe or cistern will be intervened as well, which is the last vestige of the hydraulic system installed in Mitla during Colonial age.

Other tasks to be conducted are lime floor collocation at Salon de las Columnas and Patio E, archaeological exploration to define architectural elements, sealing at platforms and batters, developing green areas, and infrastructure for the physically challenged installation.

“Mitla represents a lesson of architecture since, with basic technology, stone cutting was made very precisely” mentioned Aciel Sanchez; two years ago, drawn registration of each fret module, which designs do not repeat, began.

“We are looking forward to continue this labor with laser technology, which would allow us to have detailed information of the conjuncts”, he commented.

Since 1980’s decade, constant work has been conducted at Mitla to adapt it. During late 1999 and early 2000, an important intervention was made in the North Group that included the Church, since it was affected by an earthquake in September 30th 1999.