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Mexican archaeologists find what may possibly be a pre-hispanic dock in Veracruz
In the northeastern section of the excavation area they found a wall joined firmly with a sidewalk, stuccoed and built with a base of huge stones and conglomerated with ground shells. Photo: Maria Eugenia Maldonado/ INAH.

Translated by: Cristina Perez Ayala

TUXPAN.- A containment wall, four worship rooms, a circular structure and stucco floors, of almost 1,000 years of age, were recently found by archaeologists of the National Institute of Anthropology and History at the pre Hispanic site of Tabuco, Veracruz. The importance of the finding resides in the possibility of it being an antecedent of the Tuxpan port.

According to Maria Eugenia Maldonado Vite, who is responsible for the archaeological salvage, these vestiges correspond most likely to an ancient wharf or pier where merchandise and marine traffic where controlled. If this is confirmed, it would be the first of its kind in the Gulf Coast.

This Huastecan site was explored in the 40’s by Gordon Ekholm, who made some soundings and determined that the site’s occupation dated back to the Protoclassic (100 BC through 250 AD) and the Early Postclassic (900 – 1200 AD) periods. Currently, the civic ceremonial monument, or C Compound, is at the far most east of an artificial platform (550 meters [1804.46 feet] long and 170 meters [557.743] wide) over which they situated the main buildings.

“The exploration in this site is part of the Southern Archaeological Project of the Huastecan Veracruz, whose objective is to understand the organization of the political system in this frontier zone since the Tuxpan River was considered as the ethnic divider between huastecans and totonacans, which is the reason why this investigation is so important.

“The archaeological salvage in Tabuco started in October 2012, in order to free some property located at the lowest point in the area (an area that had previously been very near to a lagoon) which had no archaeological buildings on the surface, however, during the soundings they found some structures that are currently being liberated and protected”, the INAH specialist claimed.

The first thing that came to light in the excavation area –60 meters [196.85] long by 40 meters [131.23] wide– was a huge dumping site with ceramic and animal remains, obsidian pieces and great quantities of shells and oysters.

In the northeastern section of the excavation area they found a wall joined firmly with a sidewalk, stuccoed and built with a base of huge stones and conglomerated with ground shells. The wall (approximately 60 centimeters [23.62 inches] tall and 60 centimeters [23.62 inches] wide) was found at the shore of the property; this wall is over 15 meters [49.21 feet] long and it continues underground.

Parallel to the wall, the INAH specialist said, we found three round worship rooms with the same building system –3 cms [1.18 inches] in diameter– located in what could have been one of the entrances to the ceremonial center from the lagoon. Adjacent to these structures they discovered four pre Hispanic skeletons and one cranium from a later epoch.

In the west side of the excavation they found a circular structure of 15 meters [49.21 feet] in diameter and 60 centimeters [23.62 inches] height. This structure is thought to have been a housing spot for the elite because they found a hearth in the topmost part. They also found a small staircase and a ramp on the southern part of the structure. This ramp leads to a stucco floor which, judging by its location could be part of a pre Hispanic pier.

Also, a layer of organic material can be found in the surface of the top floors, a sign of an ancient flood, this possibly being the motive of the abandonment of the lower zone and the adaptation of the pier spaces.

Also, they found 50 burials of men, women and children, some are placed in an extended manner and others are flexed; the corresponding analysis are yet to be made in order to determine cultural filiations, cause of death, among others.

The precise dating of all the elements found is not yet known, however they are situated in different moments of the Early Postclassic (900-1200 AD) and with very short periods between the objects, maybe with a variation less than 100 years.

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