UNESCO has awarded the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH a medal for its work "on behalf of research and conservation of the cultural richness" of Mexico, the Mexican government agency said.

The institute helps Mexicans learn about their origins, identity and reason for being "across many disciplines, via archaeology, anthropology and history," INAH director Alfonso de Maria y Campos said.

The INAH, created in 1939 by President Lazaro Cardenas, helps protect Mexico's archaeological heritage, providing educational and monitoring programs at archaeological sites across the country, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, official Nuria Sanz said.

INAH officials accepted the medal, which was created by the United Nations in 1948, during a ceremony at Mexico City's iconic Chapultepec Castle on Tuesday.

The U.N. cultural agency also presented medals to University of Texas at Austin researcher David Stuart, Arqueologia Mexicana magazine and, posthumously, to Spanish archaeologist Enrique Nalda, who was based in Mexico and died in 2010. EFE