Twenty two years ago, Monte Alban, Oaxaca Archaeological Zone was declared World Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). As part of the commemorations, an agreement was signed by the archaeological zone and Universidad Autonoma “Benito Juarez” de Oaxaca (UABJO) that contemplates the participation of UABJO students in tasks carried on by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

The agreement favors professional practices of students at the last semesters of Archaeology and Anthropology bachelor degrees imparted at the UABJO Institute of Sociological Investigations.

Dr. Nelly Robles Garcia, director of Monte Alban Archaeological Zone, announced that students’ participations will take place in projects coordinated by the archaeological zone direction at Santa Maria Atzompa, Mitla, Yagul and Lambityeco.

Regarding archaeological initiatives where UABJO students will collaborate, Dr. Robles mentioned Santa Maria Atzompa exploration, site to be open to public before 2012; “we have been working here for 3 years, exploring the northern location of Monte Alban Prehispanic city”.

Other project directed by ZAMA is the one related to Yagul Prehistoric Caves, which includes covering broad extensions of terrain to locate other caves, rocky shelters and rupestrian paintings that bring in information regarding earliest stages of culture.

Students can collaborate in Mitla integral conservation plan, which includes architectural restoration work as well as landscape architecture tasks. In Lambityeco, labors focus on preservation of its earthen architecture, which represents a different challenge regarding constructive system rehabilitation, based in adobe and lime-sand flattening.

Celebrations at Monte Alban

As part of commemorations of the 22nd anniversary of the inscription of Monte Alban to the UNESCO World Heritage List, the exhibition Tapetes de Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca (Rugs from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca) will be open at the site museum until February 2010. The Scout Group Number 8 was acknowledged for its participation as volunteer custodians at Monte Alban for 15 years.

The book Los monumentos arqueologicos de Monte Alban ante los desastres naturales: el sismo de 1999 (Monte Alban Archaeological Monuments Facing Natural Disasters: The 1999 Earthquake) was presented, written by INAH architects and archaeologists and from the Mexican Section of ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites).

Dr. Nelly Robles, also president of INAH Council of Archaeology, recalled that in September 1999, 20 Prehispanic monuments were affected by an earthquake of 7.4 Richter magnitude.

“At the time, recovering work was financed by Natural Disasters Fund, applying a rigorous conservation methodology and implementing a prevention plan that includes continuous monitoring of structures”, she declared.

Monte Alban was the capital of ancient Zapoteca Culture, which developed between 500 BC and 800 AD. It was constructed on the hills of Oaxaca Valleys and reached in its apogee 35,000 inhabitants.

This archaeological zone outstands by its architecture esthetic features, the form of its ballgame court, its stelae and carved reliefs.