Recently, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) discovered archaeological remains on the shores of Janitzio Island, in the state of Michoacán in Mexico, consisting of a series of materials of great historical and cultural value.

The most notable discovery so far is a tepari (traditional boat) that measures 14.80 meters in length. This vessel was found submerged with its cargo, mainly firewood, which is presumed to have been transported from Erongarícuaro to Janitzio Island. This finding occurred in early May 2024 and has been considered of great importance due to the boat’s dimensions and state of conservation.

Given the magnitude of the discovery, the INAH and the authorities of Janitzio have launched various strategies for the conservation of the found materials. These strategies include archaeological rescue work and the investigation of the discovered remains. Additionally, support from the Secretary of the Environment of the Government of the State of Michoacán has been enlisted to carry out these efforts.

Tepari, or traditional boat, found in Michoacan
Tepari, or traditional boat, found in Michoacan. Credit: CINAH Michoacán

Among the recovered materials is also a notable collection of worked human bones, mainly femurs, distinguished by their excellent state of conservation. Numerous ceramic and stone objects believed to have been thrown into the lake during pre-Hispanic times as offerings were also found. These findings provide valuable information about the cultural and ritual practices of the ancient civilizations that inhabited the region.

In conjunction with the community of Janitzio, tasks are being carried out to conserve the movable archaeological materials, as well as other tepari that have been identified. There is a perspective to create a community museum on Janitzio Island, which would allow residents and visitors to learn more about the rich history of the region.

The INAH has been continuously working with the communities settled on the shores of Lake Pátzcuaro to promote a culture of conservation of cultural heritage. A call is made to the inhabitants of this region to report any findings to the INAH Michoacán Center to protect and preserve these valuable remains.

The creation of a community museum in Janitzio will not only benefit the community in terms of tourism and education but will also serve as a constant reminder of the importance of preserving cultural heritage. This project could become a model for other communities in Mexico seeking to preserve and share their historical heritage.

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