Art and Archeology

My longing for travel continues.

I’ve been remembering past trips in an effort to soothe my travel pangs. Yagul is one of my favorite places visited in the past few years. This abandoned historical site is in the State of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Exploring an abandoned historical site gives you the quiet and freedom to wonder, what happened here hundreds of years ago?

Yagul was a former city-state associated with the Zapotec civilization of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. The site is smaller than the more well-known Monte Alban, but should not be missed if you are a fan of archeological sites. Most of the excavated areas within the site date from the Post-Classic period (ca. a.d. 900–1521). It’s interesting to think about the context of world history and this community, which was was occupied at the time of the Spanish conquest.

Yagul is situated on a hill looking over the Tlacolula Valley and if you have the fortitude to walk up to the highest hill, you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the valley that surrounds this site. It’s rare to encounter other visitors at Yagul. The silence seems to magnify the sound of your steps and you become aware of the wind as you walk along the paths.

If you look down as you walk the paths you can see shards of broken pottery on the ground – some with faded glaze or scribed decorations. I would pick them up and hold them, thinking of the human hand that made this centuries ago. And then I would put the shard back on the ground where I found it.

Vestiges of red oxide paint decorates walls of the structures, along with some mosaics. Tombs are decorated with hieroglyphic inscriptions.

This must have been a beautiful place to live at that time.

All photos by Linda Marston-Reid 2020.

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