Marcelo, a graphic designer in his late thirties when I first met him in 2005, is one of the founders of the Calpulli Macoyolotzin, a group of residents from San Miguel Coatlinchan who are interested in their town’s pre-Hispanic heritage. A few years earlier he had come across a facsimile of Coatlinchan’s oldest cartographic representation displayed in a bookstore window: a sixteenth-century painted manuscript known as the Mapa de Coatlinchan (also spelled Coatlichan) (fig. 1). He later described his find to me as oro molido (powdered gold), a metaphor that anticipated the ways in which the document has been activated by the Calpulli as a kind of treasure map.1 Using its own research methodologies, the group has repurposed the colonial document to explore the town’s territory, uncovering and reinstating hidden forms of knowledge and value...

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