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Tecoaque

Date of Submission: 06/12/2004
Criteria: (ii)(iii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
World Heritage Office (INAH) Mexico's National Commission for UNESCO (CONALMEX) Puebla 95, Col. R
Coordinates: 19° 27’ 10” N 19° 38’ 00” W
Ref.: 1968
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Description

According to several archeological studies, at present the site is know as Tecoaque; exploration carried out in that zone has provided detailed information on some specific areas. The settlement is defined by a series of topographical levels that were overcome building big platforms; the ceremonial center was built on three of them, and others that cover 30 hectares were used for housing. Separated from the religious area by walls, the housing area consists of a group of chambers isolated by patios and joined by narrow corridors that measure 1,900 square meters. To the east of this area is the most important building complex distributed around big plazas that covers a rectangular area of approximately 2,800 meters and which constitutes the focal point of the area. Built over the remains of the most ancient constructions that correspond to the Classic Period, about 1400 A.C., the ceremonial center shows on part of its structures the use of some architectonical details from such period and it is designed as a series of buildings with different architectonical characteristics. The central platform stands out, on its west end, as a special feature is the main temple consisting of a basement of four round wings with a mixed floor plan. The temple is devoted to the god of wind Ehécatl-Quetzalcóatl, governing deity of this settlement, whose characteristics correspond to the mythical principles that ruled his worship in the central high plateau. The housing area is outstanding because of the distribution of its chambers and free spaces joined by patios and corridors that place each group at different levels, the location of water storage fountains or tanks in its interior, the presence of monoztlis or circular altars, in addition to the hydraulic systems defined by canals associated to a temporary nearby stream. Among these elements the presence of a water tank shaped like a bell for every two housing groups in which rainwater was collected to be used during the dry season should be mentioned. Considering its geographic location, Tecoaque was an important point in trade routes and in agricultural production, that is reflected in the archeological objects that have been recuperated and that are related to the production and exploitation of the maguey plant; it distributed pulque, the sacred drink of the ancient Mexicans, in the region. From June 1520 to March 1521, this settlement played a very important role during the contact between two races and the conquest of Tenochtitlan. During this period the members of a caravan integrated by Europeans, Africans, mulattos, Tainos and mestizos, together with their indigenous allies that were moving from the Gulf to the great Tenochtitlan were captured and sacrificed; the first domestic animals brought into the continent were also traveling with them. This event was recorded in several Spanish chronicles and in indigenous sources of the XVI century. During the exploration of the ancient settlement of Tecoaque, material evidence of the historical events recorded on such sources was found, and with the help of specialists such as physical anthropologists and archeo-zoologists the presence of an ethnic diversity and of European fauna is ratified. This makes it, up to date, the only archeological site in the central area of Mexico where material remains and archeological monuments are found; physical and material evidence of the contact between the European conquerors and their indigenous allies, in addition to the perspective within which both groups lived the events and their aftermath.