A Visit To Zihuatanejo’s Archaeological Museum

Like most of Mexico, Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and the state of Guerrero are rich in ancient culture and history.  Indeed, there are several archeological sites close to Ixtapa still waiting to be uncovered.  Our history is important to us and the government has worked to preserve it for locals and visitors alike.  One way this is accomplished is in the creation and upkeep of Zihuatanejo’s Archaeological Museum.

Last weekend I visited the museum, known as Museo Arqueológico de la Costa Grande, a place where the government has been collecting and classifying hundreds of ancient local artifacts discovered in the area, as well as extensive maps and documentation of the first cultures that established in the coast of Guerrero.  The museum is located on Olaf Palme Plaza in the lively downtown of Zihuatanejo.

Entering the museum, the origin of the word Zihuatanejo is explained: Zihuatanejo comes from “Cihuatlan” or place of women, which refers to the western paradise of the Nahuatl universe, home of the Goddess Woman.  The Nahuatl legends say the goddess woman rose in the afternoon to lead the sun to the dusk where the sun entered Mictlan, the world of the dead, to give a dim light to the dead.

In the museum I was able to appreciate many artifacts from settlements established on the coasts of Jalisco, Nayarit, Colima and of course from Guerrero.  The ceramics and carvings that have been discovered in the Zihuatanejo area amazed me.  Despite their age, the colors and detailed ornamentation has been well preserved, giving a peek into the artisan skill from past civilizations.

One of the most interesting objects I discovered was a stone water filter.  It was made about 300 years ago in what is now Tecpan, and weighs over 200 kilograms (440 pounds).  How it works: The water is placed in the bowl and slowly seeps through the rock, leaving impurities behind.  Amazing!

Another interesting discovery was a cannon that dated back to 1762.  Originally from pirate William Draper’s vessel, which burned and sank in Zihuatanejo Bay, the cannon enticed my imagination of pirates coming to the area in search for treasures!  The cannon was discovered by local divers and donated to the museum.

These are just a few of the artifacts that can be seen at Zihuatanejo’s Archaeological Museum.  For those interested in learning more about the history of the region, I recommend a visit to the Museum next time you are at Capella Ixtapa.  It is a great resource of local knowledge and culture!

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