After the recent acquisition of more than 9 hectares of terrain where Chalcatzingo Archaeological Zone, Morelos, is located, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) retook work at areas with cultural vestiges, starting elaboration of an architectonic covers project to protect the Olmeca reliefs, considered the earliest of the Central High Plateau.

Archaeologist Mario Cordova Tello informed that parting from the acquisition of the terrain achieved with the jointed efforts of INAH and Morelos State Government, and the will of ejido members, the archaeological project that began in 2004 advances in an important way; in this moment, nearly 100 persons work in a simultaneous way in cleaning, restoration and investigation tasks.

“Labors take place with the support of Temporary Employment Program (PET), propelled by the federal government, resulting in contracting 68 persons of Chalcatzingo, who carry on the general cleaning tasks. Other work conducted by INAH is remodeling of the community museum safeguarded by ejido members.

On regard of investigation, he informed that excavations at Olmeca pyramidal bases and platforms, financed with INAH special resources, are being conducted by 30 persons at the command of archaeologist Carolina Meza Rodriguez.

Regarding conservation, Cordova Tello remarked that the priority of the project is to take preservation measures to protect the site’s reliefs, considered the earliest at Central High Plateau and the only dated in the Medium Pre Classic period (800-300 AD) in the region.

To present, “we elaborate a project with specialists in architecture, restoration and design, to generate ideal conditions that allow adequate conservation of archaeological monuments exhibited”.

University of Florida will participate in a digitalization project that will register the designs that appear in the reliefs, using state-of-the-art technology.

Cordova referred that occupation at Chalcatzingo occurred in an early age; “according to its chronology, we can affirm that humans inhabited the caves, since in on of them, there is a painting of group of nomads dated before 1,500 BC.

Near 800 BC, there were sculptures at the sides of Ancho Mount, and within a 20 hectares area, where Chalcas established, great platforms with palaces, religious and dwelling areas were found.

There was a hypothesis that pointed out that Teotihuacan people have lived here, but analyses practiced to ceramics and part of architecture show it as not like that, remarked Cordova Tello, adding that a pyramid was located to the south, which helped determine that in Post Classic period (900-1200 AD) the site was still occupied by different groups, continuing until 1400 AD.     

The next step is to create infrastructure that provides services to visitors, such as restrooms, access and ticket office, as well as limiting the polygonal protection area with posts. We need to protect reliefs from weathering before continuing other excavations. This work is programmed to start in 2010”, concluded the archaeologist.