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Mexican Artist Hands Over Aztatlan Archaeological Pieces to Mexican Government
Collection of almost 300 archaeological pieces dated between 200 and 1350 AD. Photo: Archaeologist Mauricio Garduño/INAH.

MEXICO CITY.- A collection of almost 300 archaeological pieces dated between 200 and 1350 AD, considered one of the most important collections of Aztatlan Culture, developed in the lowlands of Nayarit, was received by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) from the artist Vladimir Cora.

Throughout 25 years, Vladimir Cora integrated and conserved the archaeological collection in Acaponeta, Nayarit, keeping it from trafficking; he recently handed it over to the Nation, through the INAH Delegation in the Mexican state, where registration, study and conservation of the 287 objects will take place.

The collection of Prehispanic objects will allow specialists to deepen in the knowledge of ceremonial practices of Aztatlan civilization, and is integrated by ceramic pieces such as vessels decorated with ritual sacrifice and solar cult designs, as well as copper rattles, shell and greenstone beads, and travertine zoomorphic urns.

Seals, simple and decorated spindles, projectile heads and figurines, some of them of Mazapa style, anthropomorphic still conserve pigment residues.

Archaeologist Mauricio Garduño Ambriz, from Nayarit INAH Center, specialized in archaeology at the coastal nucleus of Aztatlan, pointed out that the delivery of the collection is important for regional archaeology since it “constitutes an exceptional sample of the material culture of these ancient civilizations through time”.

“This heap reflects social experience accumulated throughout 15 centuries of continued occupation at the fertile alluvial plain throughout a long span of adaptation and transformation of the environment, from Late Formative period (0-150/200 AD) to Late Post Classic (1350-1530 AD)”.

Among symbolic designs identified at the Aztatlan complex vessels, which date from Post Classic period (850/900-1350 AD) are celestial belts, sacrificial knives, feather bundles, sea shells, rattlesnakes, fire snakes and stepped frets.

High rank characters are represented with rich attires, carrying Tlaloc masks and several skulls associated to grass balls with bones and prickles (zacatapayolli) used for self sacrifice. These elements, as well as the Venus planet glyph, have been identified for the first time in the Aztatlan iconographic repertoire.

“This information will allow completing the scheme about religious conceptions and ritual practices linked to the Aztatlan ceremonial complex of the Post Classic period”, expressed the expert Mauricio Garduño.

The preliminary inventory and packing of the Prehispanic pieces were in charge of restorer Paula Garcia Reyes and archaeologist Geylu Valderrama. It is worth to mention that transportation of the pieces underwent in the strictest security measures thanks to the support of Policia Federal de Caminos from Acaponeta to Tepic, the capital city of Nayarit.

Currently, the archaeological collection is safeguarded in the warehouse of the Nayarit Regional Museum, and after its registration and restoration, a temporary exhibition will be opened in late 2012 at the museum.

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