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Mexican Archaeologists Report Finding Prehispanic Objects at Nevado de Toluca
INAH started a second exploration of the Nevado de Toluca Submerged Archaeology Project. Photo: DMC.INAH. M MARAT.

MEXICO CITY.- Diverse Prehispanic objects, mainly ceramic fragments and greenstone beads, 1,300 years old, were found in the crater of Nevado de Toluca Volcano, Estado de Mexico, by researchers from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

The material found dates from the Late Classic period (650-900 AD) and Early Post Classic (900-1200 AD), representing the earliest ritual objects found to present at the high mountain ceremonial space.

After a fruitful exploration season in 2007, research focused in the analysis of material found; during the last week of November and the first of December 2010, 30 specialists conducted a second in-site research season, in charge of archaeologist Roberto Junco.

The specialist explained that 3 environments were prepared for the integral season: excavation, surface covering as well as sub aquatic sounding at the Moon and Sun Lagoons, found in the crater of the volcano also known as Xinantecatl, 4,300 meters over the sea level.

Roberto Junco, part of the INAH Underwater Archaeology Sub Direction (INAH), mentioned that during the 3 weeks of exploration, there were immersions in both lagoons, as well as surface covering at the woods’ limit and excavation at the border of the crater.

The most important discoveries of this season were fragments of ceramic figurines and greenstone beads found on the surface. “In 2007 we located material from Late Post Classic (1200-1521 AD), particularly in the depths of the Moon Lagoon. In 2010 we were able to further regarding temporality”, he pointed out.

Junco, head of the second phase of the Nevado de Toluca Submerged Archaeology Project, remarked that besides the new findings, it is being established that other groups other than Mexica used this site as a ceremonial space.

“Several groups ascended the Xinantecatl with cult purposes; this has been deduced parting from the ceramic features: we have found crude fragments of Otomi and Matlazinca origin”, added Roberto Junco.

The most recent SAS project counted on with the participation of experts that also collaborated in the 2007 season, among them, the National Geographic Society high-mountain archaeologist, Johan Reinhard; archaeologist Victor Arribalzaga, from INAH, and archaeologist Arturo Montero, from Universidad Iberoamericana.

Arribalzaga, with the support of archaeology students from the Autonomous University of Estado de Mexico (UAEM), conducted excavation at the northern border of the Laguna de la Luna, while Arturo Montero directed students from the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) who explored a site at the limits of the woods and another in a site known as El Mirador, at the border of the crater.

“The integral season had the aim of understanding the mountain as a whole, considering the importance it has for multiple peoples of the Valley of Toluca until now. We included landscape archaeology studies conducted by Silvina Vigliani.

“As a result of excavations, the heap of the Nevado de Toluca collection has been enriched, since we have now turquoise in great amounts, greenstone, slate and other material beads that account for the ritual relevance that Nevado de Toluca had in the Prehispanic and early Colonial age”, declared Roberto Junco.

A group of divers from the Science Faculty of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) helped locating objects at the Sun Lagoon, such as the face of a watch.

According to Junco, “the objective of sounding at Laguna del Sol was to verify legends that refer to a treasure deposited here by Spanish Republicans. Other divers had found watches and reliquaries before, and the face of the watch we just found was probably manufactured in the early 20th century.

Research regarding this subject in different archives will be in charge of archaeologist Flor Trejo, also part of INAH-SAS, while restorer Maria Luisa Mainou Cervantes, from the INAH National Coordination for Conservation of Cultural Heritage (CNCPC) will restore the face of the watch.

Regarding the sounding at the Moon Lagoon, material such as Tlaloc scepters and copal, was found, similar to those found in 2007, and for conservation reasons, it was not extracted.

National Institute of Anthropology and History | Roberto Junco | Nevado de Toluca | Mexico |

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