Earthquake uncovers prehistoric paintings in Oaxaca, Mexico

EL UNIVERSAL (July 4, 2020).- The 7.4 magnitude earthquake that struck Mexico on June 23, revealed in Oaxaca a part of the ancient history of Santa María Mixtequilla, a Zapotec municipality located at the Tehuantepec Isthmus.

Rockfalls at the Passion Hill uncovered two drawings made hundreds of years ago in the rocks moved by the earthquake.

One of the paintings, which is 60 cm, is comprised of two spirals that connect a single line with two parallel streaks.

The other, of approximately 40 cm, looks like a standing person holding what seems to be plants or a scepter in one of its hands.

According to the mayor of Santa María Mixtequilla, Uryel Bautista Vàzquez, staff from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) visited the place of the discovery one day after the earthquake and, although they did not reveal more information, they knew the exact measures of each painting and verified their authenticity.

Although the earthquake left significant material damages in different communities of Oaxaca’s Sierra Sur, Santa María Mixtequilla was left with a discovery of the origins of the municipality, which is commonly known as “The Venice of the Isthmus” because of its abundant water.

This community shares this particular characteristic with the prehistoric caves of Yagul, located in the central region of Oaxaca, 220 km away from Mixtequilla, and which were recognized by the UNESCO in September 2010 for the Discovery of pre-Columbian cave art that is similar in design and shape to those found last month.

For instance, the painting of the area known as Caballito Blanco in Yagul seems to match the 40-centimeter figure found in Mixtequilla because of its lines that start at the center.

The paintings of Caballito Blanco date from 500 B.C. to 200 A.D.

At Yagul, INAH experts informed in 2010 that the authors of these ancient paintings lived in high caves in a period when the Oaxaca valley was covered by water.

The rockfalls in Mixtequilla did not cause damages in the community and authorities hope the INAH will soon share the information revealed by its investigation.

The earthquake that struck Mexico last week left 10 people dead. At first, the magnitude of the earthquake was set to 7.5 but then it was adjusted to 7.4.



more recommended stories