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Leicester, United Kingdom
January 9, 2006
Somewhere around 500 BC civilization of Zapotecas came here. 10 000 people moved here, flatted the hill and built many temples and palaces. This period of building is called phase I - ends in 200 BC. After that phase II starts. Until 300 AD (Official start of Classical Period of Mexican history) Zapotecas continued building stone houses and dominated a whole area of Oaxaca valley. Culture flourished in the phase III (300AD-700AD). 25 000 people lived here and were organized dominated by priests. The buildings were painted in red (influence of Teotihuacan-I will tell you about it later, OK? Patient darling!) All these people had to be buried somewhere – which partly explains the excavation of 180 undergrounds tombs. Why just 180? Well some people are more equal than others. But it never works-so it did not work back then either. People starter abandoning this place in 700AD and the last really persistent ones left in 950AD.
In the phase V there is no activity at this place-well apart from good neighbours Mixtecs who decided to reuse the Zapotecas tombs. And why not? Death Mixtec or death Zapotec-same same (Until 1521 when the explores came, dig around and started all this ever lasting differentiation).
If you come here, you will not be disappointed. There are lots of pyramids, palaces, tombs and buildings well conserved. There is no shade here so don’t forget your hat. Also there are no stalls with refreshment so bring your own water. This is the only place where you can buy unique original craft. Locals sometimes find some bits of sculptures in their fields and sell them here. It sounds unbelievable but few months later I have met one English priest, who works with locals and he confirmed that it is quite common to find these ancient artefacts. So if you want to get home something proper and not just some tourist crap, buy it here.
From journal Ruinful Letters
October 21, 2000
From journal Oaxaca, crafts paradise