TEOTIHUACÁN, ESTADO DE MEXICO (May 26, 2021).- The Mexican government says a private building project is destroying a part of the outskirts of the pre-Hispanic ruin site of Teotihuacan, just north of Mexico City.
The Culture Department says it has repeatedly issued stop-work orders but building crews have ignored them. The department said Tuesday that 25 ancient structures are threatened, and said it has filed a criminal complaint.
The U.N. council on monuments says bulldozers threaten to raze as many as 17 acres (7 hectares) at the site, which is a protected area. Teotihuacan is best known for its twin Temples of the Sun and Moon.
La Secretaría de Cultura y el @INAHmx condenamos enérgicamente las obras no autorizadas que implican la destrucción de Monumentos Arqueológicos en las Parcelas 23 y 19 de Oztoyahualco, municipio de Teotihuacan, Estado de México.— Secretaría de Cultura (@cultura_mx) May 26, 2021
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“The federal Ministry of Culture and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) strongly condemn the unauthorized works that involve the destruction of Archaeological Monuments” in the protected area, the agency said in a statement in which it estimates that the works with heavy machinery put 25 archaeological structures and caves with pre-Hispanic remains at risk.
Apparently, the owners of the agricultural plots surrounding the ruins are trying to turn the land into a kind of amusement park.
The authorities had ordered the suspension of works and placed stamps that were violated on two occasions, for which the government filed a criminal complaint against those responsible.
The works raise questions about Mexico’s ability to protect its archaeological sites. The ruins of Teotihuacán are the most visited in the country with more than 2.6 million people a year. If Mexico cannot protect an area so recognized and close to the capital, questions arise about what could happen to smaller, remote and often unexplored sites or with fewer resources.
With information from Reporte Indigo