Lambityeco Archaeological Zones -- Central Valley


Lambityeco is a Zapotec name that translates as "Still" and "Mound". "Lambi" is the Zapotec version of the word alambique (still) which apparently refers to the ovens where salty water is boiled. "Pityec" means "mound" in Zapotec.

The small amount of evidence discovered to date indicates that Lambityeco was first occupied between 600 and 800 DC. Its apex was between 700 and 750 DC, coinciding with the abandonment of Monte Alban. Because of its production of and trade in sea salt, the city was considered to have been important in the Zapotec market system.

arc41.jpg - 24,92 K The buildings which have been discovered border the highway, and archaeologists are currently exploring other parts of the site. Approximately 63.75 hectares of this large side have been uncovered. To date, this includes over 200 mounds. No one knows how many more might be buried under the town of Tlacolula.

The remainder of the houses and palaces that have been discovered constitute a small part of the city. The Palacio de los Caciques (Palace of the Political Leaders) and Palacio de los Sacerdotes (Palace of the Priests) are the oldest palaces that have been found. The Palace of the Caciques is located inside a pyramid. Its two patios are surrounded by four rooms. An altar in the center of these patios contains two murals of Lambityeco's rulers. The one on the north, known as "Sir 4 Human Face" and "Lady 10 Monkey", depicts both a reclining man with a pointed beard, wearing a maxtlatl and carrying a human femur in his hand, and a woman in the same position who wears earrings and necklaces, a quechquemitl, and whose hair is in a Zapotec style. This couple occupied the older palace between 600 and 625 DC. The mural on the southern wall is known as "Sir Owl" and "Lady Turquoise", who lived in the second palace between 625 and 650 DC.

arc42.jpg - 32,59 K The entrance to Tomb No 6 is below the fresco on the altar. Its facade contains masks of "Sir I Earthquake" and "Lady 10 Cane", the last rulers of Lambityeco.

The Palace of the Sacerdotes (Priests) is located behind pyramid M-195 and contains two stucco sculptures with two enormous busts of the Zapotec rain god, "Cocijo". These two busts are mascarones are equal and are adorned with what appear to be crests of two large plumes with a central glyph with a stylized jaguar face. Each statue holds in its hands the forces of lightening and wind.


The archaeological site Lambityeco is located in the Tlacolula Valley 27 km. from Oaxaca City. Travelling on Federal Highway 190, the estimated time of arrival is 30 minutes.