Two constructive levels of the Great Base at Cacaxtla Archaeological Zone, in Tlaxcala, were uncovered during the recent field season conducted by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) specialists. Architectural elements might date from the period of the Prehispanic city’s peak, between 600 and 950 AD.


The Great Base that outstands by its volume and dimensions (200 meters long, 110 wide and 25 high), is product of several juxtapositions built through its history, being this an artificial elevation where dwelling units and palaces were constructed.

“When the first 2 bodies were hidden, people thought that the Great Base parted from a monticule; now that they are uncovered, it is evident that it was built on  plain ground and that it is bigger than thought”, informed Dr. Guillermo Goñi Motilla, director of the archaeological site.

Cacaxtla is a clear example of the constructive system that raised a new stage above the old one, raised on a north-south oriented monticule, over a first building, a new one covered the last constructed, such as an onion.

The objective of the field season carried out from June to December 2009 was to determine what could be recovered from the first and second levels. Slopes were elevated and completed; excavation was conducted in 2 by 2 meters wells”.

Exploration at the east façade of the base extended for 150 meters; foreseeing deterioration than weathering might cause on architectonic elements, built mostly with caliche and adobe, sand and lime layers were added as well as vegetal covers on the remains of some walls and bodies.

Budget assigned by the institute for this task was almost 3 million MXP, 70 per cent of which was destined to pay 60 workers. Excavations produced 3,843 cubic meters of debris.

Goñi Motilla declared that Cacaxtla had its apogee during the Epi Classic period (600-950 AD), after Teotihuacan fell and before Tula appearance; nevertheless, some of the Great Base inferior levels are contemporary to the first phases of Teotihuacan, between 200 and 300 AD.

Contemporary of Xochicalco, Cholula and El Tajin, Cacaxtla was occupied by groups from the south, known as Olmecas-Xicalancas, who established in this region to raise a city, taking advantage of its strategic position in the route from the Gulf Coast to the Central High Plateau.

Although few Prehispanic pieces were found during the last field season, an urn outstands, which will be included in the archaeological collection that will be at display at the renewed Cacaxtla Site Museum, to be reinaugurated in the first months of 2010.

Other projects at the archaeological zone are related to maintenance: a vegetal cover is being installed on eroded areas to retain humidity and avoid wearing away of the surface. Studies regarding Templo Rojo are being conducted to determine the best way to preserve it.