miércoles, 30 de julio de 2014

Unique mortuary bundle found in Hidalgo (México)

A wrapped bundle found in a rock shelter in the Sierra Gorda, municipality of Zimapan, Hidalgo (Mexico), contains the skeletal remains of an adult, and represents a unique type of burial for this area. Local people notified The National Institute of Anthropology and History INAH on this finding, which likely dates to pre-Hispanic times.
Specialists have been carefully examining the individual, who is wrapped in a coloured textile and reed matting. Although the body has not been mummified (no soft tissue survives), its hair still adheres to its skull. The skeleton appears to be complete, but the archaeologists will not know for sure until they can open the bundle. 

Good conditions for preservation
The semi-desert ecosystem in the eastern part of the Sierra Gorda with its dry weather conditions, coupled with soil properties have contributed to the preservation of the skeletal remains and plant fibre in which it is wrapped.
“The characteristics of the parcel, the position of the bones on a seated flexed shape, type of burial wrapping and space in which it was deposited indicate that this is a pre-Hispanic burial,” said a specialist at the Hidalgo INAH Centre.
He added that it is the only one found so far in this region, which makes it quite a unique find. “It is known that within the Mesoamerican world view that caves and rock shelters were considered entrances to the underworld and homes for the deities of death, which explains their use as burial spaces.”
Currently the archaeologists are basing the age of between 16 and 24 years on the condition of the molars. Currently however, it is unclear if the burial is that of a male or female.

Origin unclear

The place where the body was found, was an area where both sedentary and nomadic groups merged, so more studies are required to decide on the origin of the individual. However, there may be a clue in the small set of cave paintings with abstract symbols only 500 metres away and within the rock shelter itself a layer of vegetable matter consisting of palm leaves and stalks as well as agave cactus was found by the archaeologists.

Source: Past Horizons: http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/07/2014/unique-mortuary-bundle-found-in-hidalgo

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