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Maya remains from 2,000 years ago found in southeast Mexico

Maya remains from 2,000 years ago found in southeast Mexico

Mexico City, Dec 3, 2011 (EFE via COMTEX) —

Mexican archaeologists have discovered human remains of pre-Columbian Mayas from 2,000 years ago in the Yucatan peninsula, the Nationa Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.

The institute said in a communique Friday that archaeologists found two burial sites several days be found in the Yucatan state capital and possibly dating back to an ancient Mayan settlement in the Yucatan state capital and possibly dating back to an ancient Mayan settlement in the region known as Joo.

Archaeologist Angel Gongora Salas said that other skeletal remains previously found in Merida belong to the colonial period and later times, “which gives special importance to these two human graves found recently in Hidalgo Park,” since they probably date to the Middle and Late Preclassic periods (600 B.C.- 250 A.D.) He said that in one of the graves a complete skeleton was found surrounded by ceramics, while in the second were found burned bones and ashes in a vessel, possible evidence of a cremation With these discoveries, the researchers have the first elements for a study of “Mayan funerary customs in the area,” the expert said, adding that the tombs were were found a little more than 2 meters (6 1/2 feet) down while excavations were being done to install an underground wiring system.

Gongora, supervisor of archaeological work in Merida’s historic downtown area, said that the complete skeleton was found well preserved in a squatting position with its hands on its head. The second burial, he said, was in an almost whole vessel and the human remains deposited inside it were apparently cremated. “We have a hypothesis that this was a second burial, in other words, the individual was first buried tradition,” he said. Nonetheless, he said it would be necessary to wait for the physical anthropologists’ report to determine whether “this was indeed a second funeral and in which chronological period the burials were performed.” The specialist recalled that Merida was built in colonial times over a pre-Columbian settlement in the Maya region of Joo, so that these remains undoubtedly belong to that indigenous settlement.

Discovered in the same park was a quantity of mixed ceramic fragments from the 16th-19th centuries, which apparently “formed part of a landfill to level the ground in order to build on top of it,” he said.

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