Oaxaca's Tourist Guide
Oaxaca's Tourist Guide


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Archaeological Sites

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The vestiges
The Cocijo God


Lambityeco means "Lambi", a Zapotec corruption of the word "alambique" [still], which most probably refers to containers where salt water was boiled. "Pityec" means hillocks. So therefore, it is safe to say that Lambityeco is Zapotec for "Hillocks Where Stills Are Found.

The few vestiges discovered, indicate that Lambityeco was occupied between 600 BC and 800 AD., reaching its peak from 700 to 750 AD, which coincides with the eventual desertion of Monte Albn. Because of its high salt production, Lambityeco was considered an important centre within the Zapotec trade market.

The few traces found beside the highway are the only discoveries that have been explored in this area. It is a very small part of what was once a settlement covering an area of approximately 63.75 hectares. More than 200 mounds of salt have been discovered, not counting those that were buried beneath the town of Tlacolula.

The ruins of explored manors and palaces are a minimal portion of this ancient city. The oldest are the Chieftain's and the Priest's Palaces.

Palace of the Chieftains: Is on the pyramid known as M-195. It has two courtyards, surrounded by four chambers. An altar in the middle of one of the courtyards features two friezes on the side walls. These friezes represent the leaders: a man face down, in a horizontal position, with a pointed beard and ears is dressed native attire called "maxtlatl" and holding a human femur in his hand. The other figure is a woman in the same position, with a Zapotec hairdo interwoven with ribbons. She has large earrings and necklaces with round beads, and is dressed in a native attire. She is wearing earrings and necklaces with round beads, and is dressed in a "quechqumitl". Two sculptures on the north wall frieze are the "Seor 4 cara humana" (Lord 4 Human Face) and "Seora 10 mono" (Lady 10 Monkey), who occupied the oldest palace between 600-625 AD. On the southern frieze, are two more sculptures of "Seor 8 bho" (Lord 8 Owl) and "Seora 3 turquesa" (Lady 3 Turquoise), who dwelled in the second palace from 625 AD to 650 AD. Access to tomb No. 6 is under the altar frieze. On its facade are masks of "Seor 1 temblor de tierra" (Lord 1 Earthquake) and "Seora 10 caa" (Lady 10 Sugarcane), the last Lambityeco chieftains.

Palace of the Priests: Located behind pyramid M-195 and on top of pyramid M-190. There are two enormous stucco busts of "Cocijo", the Zapotec god of rain. They are identical, and wear a native head-dress adorned with what seems to be long feathers and a glyph with a stylised jaguar face in the centre. It holds the power of lightning and wind in its hands.

Lambityeco was thought to be an important Zapotec commercial centre, because of its trade of salt from sea and soil, called "tequesquite".

Lambityeco: Is located 17 miles (28 kilometres) Southeast of the City of Oaxaca via highway 190 to the Isthmus. The archaeological site is located to one side of the highway, close to the 28 km. sign. Approximate travel time: [0:25]