The person in charge of the area said that the owner was “completely impunity” in areas where construction is prohibited.
Just outside the towering pyramids that were once the largest cities in the Americas, an illegal construction project could cause irreparable damage to temple ruins and about two dozen other ancient buildings.
The owner of this land has been ignoring the INAH legal order to stop the construction of the Mexican Antiquities Institute for the past two months, which has triggered anger at the authorities’ failure to protect the Teotihuacan site, one of Mexico’s largest tourist attractions.
Reuters could not find or query the owner, whose name has not been disclosed.
Rogelio Rivero Chong, director of the Teotihuacan Archaeological Zone, said in an interview that the failure of the police to intervene indicated that the owner was “completely at large.”
In late April, INAH filed a criminal lawsuit against the owner against federal prosecutors, accusing him of “destroying the archaeological heritage”. This week, according to a statement from the Mexican Ministry of Culture, the institute recorded about 60 workers who continued the heavy construction on site.
The prosecutor’s office that submitted the complaint did not respond to Reuters’ questions about the status of the complaint.
Teotihuacan is located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) northeast of Mexico City. It used to have a population of at least 100,000 people. Most of them lived in stone multifamily apartments, many of which were elaborately decorated with colorful murals.
This multi-ethnic city is a contemporary city in the Mayan city center of the classical era, but is famous for its unique art and architecture. It became rich from 100 BC to 550 AD, thanks to its extensive trade network and a prosperous handicraft economy. The products produced include ceramics, clothing, and especially sharp obsidian blades.
Rivero Chong said that for many years, the authorities have been working hard to stop illegal constructions, which are usually carried out at night or on weekends. He said that local government investigators often came too late to verify the loss.
A tall cinder block wall surrounds the illegal building on two plots in the Oztoyahualco area, which is considered to be one of the oldest areas in the ancient city.
Past archaeological investigations have shown that there is a ritual complex there, with at least three temples and about 25 independent buildings.
Rivero Chong pointed out that Teotihuacan was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1987. This designation requires the government to continue to protect the site.
In recent days, some well-known scholars have also begged the government to take action.
“It’s really painful for me,” said Linda Manzanilla, a senior Teotihuacan archaeologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, referring to the latest illegal construction.
During an excavation in Teotihuacan in the 1980s, she discovered a residential area in Oztoyahualco where stucco workers once lived, next to a major obsidian workshop , Not far from the three temples currently under threat.
She said that the latest illegal construction occurred in an area west of the Pyramid of the Moon. Other excavations nearby found that in this densely populated area of the ancient metropolis, carefully decorated buildings built around the square.
“There is probably a very large complex there,” she said.