Archaeologists in Mexico City have discovered the burial of 10 of skeletons arranged in a spiral, with two of the skeletons show of intentional deformation of the skull. Credit: INAH
Today Mexico City is built on top of the centuries of previous settlements, so it is not unusual for ancient tombs to be discovered under the streets of the city. It is, however, strange 10 old skeletons arranged in a spiral with their body, as archaeologists recently did.
The 2,400-year-old cemetery was discovered during salvage excavations of an old village under the campus of the Pontifical University of Mexico, in the south of Mexico City, the National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH) announced.
The archaeologists said the burial is the “most striking finding” they have made since they began with the unearthing of the ancient settlement of Tlalpan in 2006. There has never been a tomb with so many people of this era (the Preclassic period) were discovered in the region, according to the statement from INAH.
Video footage of the excavation of the trench showed how the archaeologists the collection of human bones. Arranged in a circular grave, 6.5 feet (2 meters) in diameter, the bodies had been buried with several grave goods, including stone and ceramic jars and bowls. The 10 persons, males and females, mostly young people, just like a baby and a toddler. [25 Grisly Archaeological Discoveries]
The researchers have not yet determined the cause of the death of the individual or how they can be related to each other, but they have observed signs of body modification: deliberate skull deformationin two cases, and tooth mutilation in a few others. These practices, which may be involved are binding for children growing skulls with a cloth and the submission of teeth in different forms, often between the different cultures in middle america. [Photos: Deformed Skulls Reveal Odd, Ancient Tradition]
The archaeologists think that the unusual burial lay-out is perhaps part of an ancient ritual. The age of the deceased are signals that the scheme would symbolize the stages of life, the director of the excavations, Jimena Rivera, told the news channel Televisa.
The village of Tlalpan was one of the earliest settlements emerge in the Basin of Mexico (also known as the Valley of Mexico, INAH researchers said. Close to the old shore of Xochimilco Lake, the village would have had abundance of fresh water, trees for building and fertile soil for agriculture. This settlement was situated to the east of Cuicuilco, an important urban center in the time, known for its pyramids. These sites dates back to prior to Teotihuacan, one of the greatest cities of the ancient world, which rose to the peak in the Basin of Mexico, a few centuries later, during the Classical period.
Original article on Live Science.