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Yesterday’s trip to Zaachila began with the archaeological site, located right above the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Natividad.

View of Church of Nuestra Señora de la Natividad from Zaachila archaeological site

Zaachila, named for the pre-Columbian Zapotec king, Zaachila Yoo, was the last Zapotec capital, following the demise of Monte Alban.  It was eventually conquered by the Mixtecs, who were still there when the Spanish conquistadors appeared on the scene.

Entrance to Zaachila archaeological site

First excavated by archaeologist Roberto Gallegos in 1962, only a small fraction of the site has been uncovered.  However, visitors have access to two small tombs in mound A.

Facade of Tomb 2

Tomb 2 is the much less decorative of the two, though it apparently once held jewelry and other valuable offerings, many, of which can be found in the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia in Mexico City.

Interior of Tomb 2

According to the brochure available for purchase (10 pesos), Tomb 1 was constructed in the epoch III-A (250-650 CE) and reused in the Post-classic era (950-1521 CE).

Facade of Tomb 1

Seven figures adorn the walls of Tomb 1.

Figure of Yahui on far wall of Tomb 1

Figure of Búho (owl) on left wall of Tomb 1

Figure of Bújo (owl) on right wall of Tomb 1.

Figure on right wall of Tomb 1

Figure of Bezelao (a supreme god) on left wall of Tomb 1

Figures of 5 Flower and 9 Flower are also depicted but I couldn’t lean far enough over the barrier to photograph them.

The site recently reopened after being closed for several months.  Work continues…

Piles of stones under trees

The site is open Monday through Sunday from 8 AM to 6 PM.  A small museum collects the 31 peso admission fee, displays photos of many of artifacts removed from the site and on display in Mexico City, reproduction of parts of the Codex Zouche-Nuttall (housed in the British Museum), and photographs from other archaeological sites in Oaxaca.

For more information on the Mixtec Group Codices, take a look at the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies website.

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