The looting of archaeological pieces and vestiges at the El Ancon archaeological site in San Felipe, Guanajuato does not stop and no authority has intervened to try to do something and preserve this important part of Mexico’s ancient history.
The destruction and looting in this area protected by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have been a constant for about 10 years, said a resident of the El Ancon community.
“The arguments between land owners in the region where the site is located have slowed down its exploration and conservation. In addition, the alleged owners do not approve that the place becomes a tourist attraction”, said the delegate of the community, Ofelia Pérez Prado.
“In Guanajuato, the INAH has identified more than a 1,496 archaeological sites in 43 of the 46 municipalities, among them El Ancón”, said archaeologist Luis Humberto Carlín Vargas, a member of the León Prehispanic Civil Association Cultural Project.
Only four archaeological zones are open to the public in the state of Guanajuato: Plazuelas in Pénjamo; Cañada de la Virgen in San Miguel de Allende; Peralta in Abasolo, and El Cóporo in Ocampo.
In a tour guided by Ofelia Pérez and members of the ejido, it was observed that this site boasts seven pyramids, at the foot of Cerro del Águila, and in all seven cases signs of looting were visible.
El Ancón is located 22 kilometers from the municipal seat of San Felipe and 70 kilometers from Guanajuato’s state capital.
The archaeological site is divided in two parts. The first is located less than one kilometer from the community, in the upper part of Cerro del Aguila that borders the river.
In this place, ruins can still be seen, mostly stone structures and part of what appears to be the foundation of buildings. Even in satellite images of Google Maps, the shape of a polygon can be clearly observed.
Near this area was placed a storage tank for drinking water that supplies the rancherías of La Cantera and El Ancón; a rustic fence with barbed wire was placed around the ruins.
However, the site with the greatest archaeological wealth is located in the foothills of the Cerro del Águila, and to get there, visitors have to travel a three-kilometer stretch in a car, and then walk another three kilometers, up the hill.
At the foot of a huge rock known as Piedra del Águila, among abundant vegetation, sits the first settlement, the most affected of the seven. An excavation at the top of the structure is evidence that the archaeologic thieves have stolen artifacts from this building.
“Here is the evidence, this hole was not here one week ago, this site was just recently looted” said Martín Prado, a resident of El Ancon.
Pieces of clay from what were apparently pots, plates, pitchers and other utensils used by the ancestors were found scattered on the ground.
The ruins of seven pyramids were found inside El Ancon by INAH specialists. And recently, as heavy machinery broke ground for the constuction of a new road to the water tank, archaeological remains and prehispanic objects were clearly exposed just a few feet deep.