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Southern Highlands

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altThe southern highlands lie in an area that rises between 1000 to 14,000 feet above sea level. It extends from southeastern Chiapas through Guatemala, El Salvador and far to the south into Nicaragua.

These cordilleras contain numerous active and inactive volcanoes and were the sources of important raw materials to the ancient people of Mesoamerica. Obsidian, a volcanic stone, was a principal export of those who lived in this sub-region. It was used for producing knives, weapons, and sacrificial blades.

The highlands were also the sources for jade, Quetzal bird feathers, granite, and hematite. Important cities in this sub-region include Kaminaljuyu (on the outskirts of Guatemala City), Utatlan, Iximche, El Baul, and Chalchuapa (El Salvador).