Archaeologists may have discovered lost settlement of Apancalecan

In an announcement by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), archaeologists may have discovered the lost settlement of Apancalecan in Mexico’s Costa Grande of Guerrero region.

The discovery was made following an inspection carried out on communal land by the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Mexico in the municipality of Tecpan de Galeana.

- Advertisement -

Archaeologists have found a large pre-Hispanic settlement spread over an area of 71.6 acres, which contains an arrangement of 26 mounds centred on a large central mound up to 25 metres in height with a base of 73.5 metres by 60 metres.

Excavations have also found adjacent plazas where altars and two smooth stelae were recorded, in addition to residential areas, ball courts, and elongated structures possibly associated with the storage of water. A study of the ceramic material recovered on the surface suggests that the site was first inhabited during the Classic period around AD 200 to 650.

Based on a comparison with historical sources from the 16th century, the researchers suggest that the settlement could correspond with the settlement of Apancalecan, referred to on Plate 18 of the Codex Matrícula de Tributos, a pre-Hispanic document that recorded the tribute paid to the Aztec empire by conquered towns.

At the time, Apancalecan was part of the region of Cihuatlan, which was annexed into the Aztec territories between AD 1497 and AD 1502 by Ahuitzotl, the eighth Aztec ruler. During his reign, Ahuitzotl conquered the Mixtec, Zapotec, and other peoples from Pacific Coast of Mexico down to the western part of Guatemala, more than doubling the lands under Aztec dominance.

- Advertisement -

Regarding the Nahua meaning of Apancalecan, the word is made up of apan (apantli, ditch water channel), calli (house) and can (locative), which is loosely translated as “Place of the house with water channels”.

Following the Spanish conquest, Apancalecan was renamed to Tequepa, as recorded on a map in AD 1570 by cartographer Abraham Ortelius, however, the location of the settlement was lost until now.


Header Image Credit : INAH

- Advertisement -
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 8,000 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

Mobile Application


Related Articles

LiDAR identifies lost settlements in the forests of Campeche

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have identified ancient settlements in the forests of Campeche using LiDAR.

Greco-Roman era tombs found west of Aswan

Archaeologists have discovered 33 tombs dating from the Greco-Roman period during excavations in the area of the Aga Khan mausoleum, west of Aswan, Egypt.

Golden primrose among new discoveries at Auckland Castle

Archaeologists from the Auckland Project are conducting excavations at Auckland Castle to unearth the home of Sir Arthur Haselrig, a leader of the Parliamentary opposition to Charles I.

Archaeologists search for lost world beneath the Gulf of Mexico

A multinational team, including researchers from the University of Bradford, is conducting a study in the Gulf of Mexico to identify submerged landscapes from the last Ice Age.

Archaeologists discover giant monumental structure

Archaeologists from the University of Hradec Králové have discovered a giant mound structure during preliminary archaeological investigations along the route of the D35 Plotiště-Sadová highway in Czechia.

Viking ship discovered at Jarlsberg Hovedgård

Archaeologists have discovered a Viking ship burial northwest of Tønsberg in Vestfold county, Norway.

Update : Ming Dynasty shipwrecks

The State Administration of Cultural Heritage has released an update on the current recovery efforts of two Ming Dynasty shipwrecks in the South China Sea.

Study reveals new insights into life at “German Stonehenge”

Excavations of the Ringheiligtum Pömmelte, nicknamed the “German Stonehenge”, has revealed new insights into domestic life from prehistory.