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Teotihuacan-style farmhouse discovered in Mexico's Chapultepec Forest


The remains of a farmhouse more than 1,500 years old, whose elements are similar to the Classic Teotihuacan style, resurfaced in work carried out by archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in an area of approximately one hectare in the Second Section of the Chapultepec Forest.

Teotihuacan-style farmhouse discovered in Mexico's Chapultepec Forest
Credit: Melitón Tapia/INAH
Registered within the Bosque, Cerro y Castillo de Chapultepec Project, and coordinated by archaeologist Lourdes López Camacho, the rescue work began in mid-January with the aim of surveying the areas where the National Water Commission (Conagua) will introduce new automated irrigation systems in order to guarantee the proper investigation and protection of any cultural objects that may be found.

Teotihuacan-style farmhouse discovered in Mexico's Chapultepec Forest
Credit: Melitón Tapia/INAH
According to the researcher from the National History Museum (MNH) of Chapultepec Castle, numerous surface surveys have been carried out in the three sections of the forest since 2009, when the project began, which have resulted in the registration of several areas with high archaeological potential in the urban park.

Teotihuacan-style farmhouse discovered in Mexico's Chapultepec Forest
Credit: Melitón Tapia/INAH
During the course of these surveys archaeologists located the remains of a series of pre-Hispanic dwellings in Teotihuacan style, whose construction dates to the Tlamimilolpa (225 to 350 AD) and Xolalpan (350 to 550 AD) cultures.

Teotihuacan-style farmhouse discovered in Mexico's Chapultepec Forest
Credit: Melitón Tapia/INAH
The two phases of occupation were differentiated and numerous artefacts discovered, including ceramic, obsidian and stone tools, as well as 11 human burials (nine adults and two infants).

Teotihuacan-style farmhouse discovered in Mexico's Chapultepec Forest
Credit: Melitón Tapia/INAH
A smaller amount of materials, mainly figurines and ceramic remains, have been dated to the Pre-Classic period (1500 BC to 300 AD). According to archaeologist Lourdes López the scarcity of material from this earlier period is probably due to the fact that when the inhabitants of the Classic period (300 to 950 AD) arrived at the site, they removed most of the objects that had preceded them and were foreign to their culture.

Teotihuacan-style farmhouse discovered in Mexico's Chapultepec Forest
Credit: Melitón Tapia/INAH
With regards the skeletal remains, anthropologist Ivonne Cruz pointed out that nine of them correspond to adults and most of them have been placed in a lateral (side) recumbent position in the corners of the rooms. In some cases, such as an adult (aged 25 to 50 years at the time of death), there are indications of cranial elongation.

Teotihuacan-style farmhouse discovered in Mexico's Chapultepec Forest
Credit: Melitón Tapia/INAH
The largest collection of offerings discovered so far was located in the corner of an old room, northeast of the site. The exploration was carried out by Natalia Vázquez, who found more than 17 objects, including obsidian fragments, a small circular-shaped bone, and stone tools that were placed alongside the remains of an individual in a foetal position.

Teotihuacan-style farmhouse discovered in Mexico's Chapultepec Forest
Credit: Melitón Tapia/INAH
To the north of this burial other bone fragments were found suggesting that the occupant of the primary burial was accompanied by a companion. Both skeletons will be examined in a lab to determine sex, age and other characteristics that could not be ascertained in the field due to the lack and fragility of the earth matrix.

Teotihuacan-style farmhouse discovered in Mexico's Chapultepec Forest
Credit: Melitón Tapia/INAH
The other human remains found correspond to newborn babies, located inside a pair of fragmented vessels, and that of a male adult who was found incomplete and without any association with an architectural structure; the latter also stands out for having stone tools, rhyolite axes (or green axes) and other materials from the Pre-Classic period, and which have similarities with artefacts from the Warrior tradition.

Teotihuacan-style farmhouse discovered in Mexico's Chapultepec Forest
Credit: Lourdes López/INAH
Archaeologists stressed that despite the age of the objects and the fact that some were located less than 30 centimetres from the surface, most of them are in good condition. This is partly due to the fact that the area did not change much over time.

Teotihuacan-style farmhouse discovered in Mexico's Chapultepec Forest
Credit: Lourdes López/INAH
"In the case of the burials, one problem we found was that the soil matrix of this section of the forest and some trees used the minerals in the bones as nutrients, a factor that caused their deterioration," said Lourdes Lopez.


It should be noted that once the rescue work is completed, the area will be covered again for future research and conservation projects.

Source: INAH [June 06, 2018]

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