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[an error occurred while processing this directive]Prehistoric Caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico

[an error occurred while processing this directive][an error occurred while processing this directive] Prehistoric Caves of Yagul and Mitla are today a World Heritage Site in the Central Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico. The sites are located on the northern slopes of the Tlcolula Valley and comprise two archaeologial sites and a series of caves.

Archaeologists have discovered remains of ten-thousand-year-old seeds in one cave, Guilá Naquitz, which provides evidence of domesticated plants in the Americas. The knowledge of plant domestication enabled the Mesoamerican civilizations to rise.


Guilá Naquitz cave in Oaxaca, Mexico
Guilá Naquitz cave in Oaxaca, Mexico
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Guila_Naquitz_cave.jpg
authorshipJerry Friedman
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Discoveries at the prehistoric caves of Yagul and Mitla show the gradual shift of ancient people from hunting to farming, which led to agricultural settlement and eventually civilizations. Evidence gathered at Guilá Naquitz show that the ancient people grew different plants including squash, gourds and beans. The consequence of this early farming is that it provided the platform for the Zapotec civilizations to appear in Yagul and Mitla.

The Yagul archaeological site is associated with the Zapotec civilization. It was first occupied as early as 500 BC, reaching its peak around AD 500-700. Although it was already in decline, the most visible remains at the site today date from a later period, between 1250 and 1521 AD. Yagul was made one of Mexico's first four National Monuments in 1998.

Remains at Yagul include cliff paintings dating back as early as 3,000 BC. The site is said to have been repopulated around AD 800 by the inhabitants who abandoned the Mesoamerican city of Monte Albán.


Mitla archaeological site, Oaxaca, Mexico
Mitla archaeological site, Oaxaca, Mexico
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:P7010354.jpg" rel="nofollow">Carlos Meade
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The Mitla archaeological site is another important site of the Zapotec culture. The name comes from the Nahuatl word Mictlán, which means a place of the dead or underworld. The site has been well preserved by the arid climate. The Zapotec people developed their clture in this site to a sophisticated level. Despite its relative isolation, the Zapotec were not entirely cut off from other Mesoamerican peoples, and evidence of trade and exchanges between groups was apparent.

The Mitla area was first inhabited as early as 900 BC, but only reached its height between 750 and 1521 AD, when it grew into a great city. The Mitla people are noted for their attitude towards death, and this is represented by their culture and architecture.


Ruins in Yagul, Oaxaca, Mexico
Ruins in Yagul, Oaxaca, Mexico
photo sourcehttp://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CornerFortalezaYagul.JPG" rel="nofollow">AlejandroLinaresGarcia
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Prehistoric Caves of Yagul and Mitla in the Central Valley of Oaxaca was inscribed as a World Heritage Site during the 34th session of the World Heritage Committee in Brasilia, Brazil, 25 July - 3 August, 2010.

World Heritage Site Inscription Details

Location: N16 57 3 W96 25 16 in Mexico.
Inscription Year: 2010
Type of Site: Cultural
Inscription Criteria: III
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