Collection of Ancient Toothless Skulls Analyzed in Mexico

Mexico Chiapas SkullsCHIAPAS, MEXICO—According to a statement released by Mexico’s Ministry of Culture, researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have analyzed some 150 skulls and other bones discovered about 10 years ago in southeastern Mexico’s Comalapa Cave, which is located near the border with Guatemala. Police in the region had initially thought the remains could represent people killed in recent violence and collected the remains. But the examination of the bones indicates that the people had been ritually decapitated between A.D. 900 and 1200, and the heads may have been displayed on poles as part of an altar known as a tzompantli, explained INAH researcher Montes de Paz. “Many of these structures were made of wood, a material that disappeared over time and could have collapsed all the skulls,” he said. The researchers also noted that none of the skulls had any teeth, as has been found in other caves in Chiapas, and there were more women than men among the victims. Archaeologists plan to visit Comalapa Cave to look for additional information. To read about the discovery of a long-lost Maya city in Chiapas, go to “Around the World: Mexico.”


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