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Oaxaca’s Tehuacan valley named UN mixed heritage site

The U.N. world heritage committee has designated Mexico’s Tehuacan-Cuicatlan Valley as a mixed site, meaning it has human and natural features worthy of note and preservation.

The oldest evidence of corn domestication has been found in caves in the Tehuacan valley, in the southern state of Oaxaca.


Researchers have found evidence farmers were domesticating corn ancestor plants about 5,000 years ago. It is also one of the main diversification centers for cactus species.

With the “Valle de Tehuacán-Cuicatlán: Habitat Originario de Mesoamérica”, Mexico reaffirms its position as the first country in North America and the seventh in the world with the highest number of locations in the list, with a total of 35 registered sites: 27 cultural, six natural and two mixed.

This place is located in the semi-arid zone with the greatest biodiversity in the Americas, and has an invaluable and irreplaceable heritage value, he said in a statement.

It is recognized as the cradle of agriculture and Mesoamerican irrigation, through water systems, domestication of plants, as well as various political, religious and linguistic systems, evidencing the adaptation of the human being over a period of more than 14,000 years.

The Foreign Ministry highlighted the collaboration of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (Conanp), the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), experts and researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and the Autonomous Metropolitan University (UAM), with the governments of Oaxaca and Puebla.


About the author

This article was written by Ian Hayden Parker, Oaxaca Life staff writer, the leading source for English news in Oaxaca, Mexico.

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