In 2016, Ernesto Vargas was digging the foundations for a drainage ditch when he came across a discovery that could rewrite history.
Beneath his shovel was the preserved skeleton of a woolly mammoth. Mexican archaeologists believe the remains are about 14,000 years old.
“There were always rumors that mammoth bones were around here, but we rarely saw any,” said Vargas.
“But when you see some for real, it’s amazing. You say “wow, they really did exist!”
The remains of the woolly mammoth were scattered, a vital element in the find according to Luis Córdoba, who led the excavations.
“When we look at how the bones were found, we can surmise that the animal was butchered by primitive hunters of that age,” said Córdoba.
“This makes it an important find because even though they are not human remains, the human activity is reflected and it tells us that 14,000 years ago, people were living in this region.”
The earliest human remains to have been found in North America currently date to 13,000 years ago and although the mammoth’s dismemberment demonstrates the presence of humans, academics believe people may have been here for as long as 25,000 years.
As thousands of Central Americans travel north in caravans toward the U.S. border, several of the travellers explained that they’re having trouble getting a job in their home country or that they want a better one.
For that reason, they’re willing to go to great lengths to apply for asylum in the United States.
“People come with the hope of breaking the wall [at the border], and they are going to break it, through faith in God,” said Moises Esu Vidal Sanchez, 24, (pictured above).
He worked as a taxi driver in the Honduran capital of San Pedro Sula, but embarked on the journey to escape personal issues.
“My mother passed away and there is nothing there for me now,” he said.
Traveling with a group of five male friends, he said he was willing to settle in Mexico.
“I like Mexico and I’m pleased to be here,” he said. “Everywhere, there is work—if you search for it, there is work.”
That doesn’t mean, however, he agrees with the United States limiting immigration.
“He [President Donald Trump] has to open the border, so all the world can pass,” Sanchez said.
A year on from a devastating earthquake that struck Mexico City and killed dozens of people, hundreds of buildings in the capital are still uninhabitable and many of their former residents remain homeless.
At 1.14 p.m. on Sept. 19, 2017, the anniversary of another devastating quake in 1985 that claimed tens of thousands of lives in Mexico City, a 7.1 magnitude tremor shook the center of the country, killing about 370 people.
In the capital more than 430 buildings either collapsed or have been demolished in the 12 months since, according to Plataforma CDMX, a government body set up to survey and categorize structures following the quake.
More than 1,000 buildings that are still standing remain at high risk of collapse according to data gleaned through reports and structural analyses filed on the Mexico City government portal by affected residents, many of whom have been forced to abandon their homes.
Movements in support of “los damnificados”—”the victims” or “the people who have suffered a harm,” as those made homeless by the quake call themselves—have sprung up across the capital.
One of the most prominent are the damnificados of Multifamiliar Tlalpan, a housing development in the south of the city which was once home to 500 families, according to citizen watchdog group Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity.
During the earthquake, housing block 1C of the development collapsed completely, killing nine people and trapping 18 others who had to be rescued.
A number of the 2,000 people who once lived in Multifamiliar Tlalpan haven’t been able to find permanent housing, surviving under tarpaulins in a makeshift camp at the edge of the development.
With the rest of the blocks declared uninhabitable, residents are still waiting for work to be carried out in order to make them safe.
A demonstration to call attention to the plight of the damnificados on Sept. 19 stopped all five lanes of traffic northbound on Tlalpan, one of the busiest roads in Mexico City.
Pictured at the top of this post, firefighters and demonstrators link hands at a demonstration at Multifamiliar Tlalpan in Mexico City on the first anniversary of the devastating 19S earthquake, 19.09.18 (Tim MacFarlan)
After the announcement on September 6 that Maradona would be taking over as Los Dorados’ technical director, the state is also home to one of the greatest footballers to have ever graced the game but also one of the sports’ most divisive figures.
In his homeland of Argentina, the 57-year-old is still revered as a hero for his performances in the country’s 1986 World Cup-winning team, which won the tournament hosted by Mexico.
The diminutive forward is credited with inspiring an unfancied group of players to glory with his brilliance, culminating in victory over West Germany in the final at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
“His reputation in Mexico is generally good,” said Tom Marshall, a journalist based in Guadalajara who has covered Mexican football for eight years.
“Mexico is where he crowned his career, playing in 1986 like he did….Even at the recent World Cup he was saying he loved Mexican football and Mexico was his favourite team and that he was a Mexico fan.”
But that great victory in 1986 also showed Maradona’s dark side when he deliberately used his hand to score a goal in a quarter final game against England.
The man himself later dubbed it the “Mano de Dios,” or “Hand of God” goal, and it remains probably the most infamous example of cheating in the history of sport.
It may have been a daunting task, but the group of a dozen or so students seemed determined to scrub the graffiti off the side of the most famous building on the main campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), while wearing surgical-style masks to avoid inhaling the pungent mix of water and paint thinner.
“We are for freedom of expression, but not like this,” said Karen Aketzali García Miranda, who joined the clean-up group on Sept. 7 at the end of a tumultuous week at the largest and most storied university in Latin America.
Earlier that week, on Sept. 3, a group of students from one of UNAM’s many affiliated schools and colleges held a demonstration in front of the rectory at UNAM’s main campus.
The gathering in the south of Mexico City was small, with the students intending to present a petition with a list of seven demands to UNAM Rector Enrique Graue Wiechers.
According to reports, about 40 people arrived at the protest site in cars and proceeded to attack the students with sharp weapons, large sticks, stones, firecrackers, and Molotov cocktails.
Fourteen protestors were injured, including two who sustained serious injuries—one of whom is thought to have been stabbed.
The attacks were carried out by members of so-called “porros,” mercenary groups also known as “grupos de choque,” or “shock groups.”
These gangs of young men are often officially registered as students but have a darker purpose than getting a degree.
They are heirs to a long history of attackers, allegedly acting with the tacit approval of authorities intending to crack down on protests.