Archaeologists have uncovered a Pre-Aztec grave containing ten human skeletons that were laying arranged on their sides in a circle with their arms linked. The archaeologists unearthed them in an ancient burial pit, located to the south of Mexico City. The bones are believed to be roughly 2,400-years old. This discovery marks the first time anything of this sort has been discovered, according to a statement from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH.)
Researchers determined two of the skeletons to be female and one is male, while the rest of the skeletons from the Pre-Aztec grave are still being studied. Most of the skeletons belonged to adolescents, although there was a skeleton of a child who was from three to five years old, and one of a baby who was about one month old, the INAH statement said. The causes of death remain unclear, although their death could be linked to rituals given the careful positioning of the skeletons.
“There was one individual over the other, for example: The head of the individual on the chest of the other, the hands of one individual under the other’s back, the baby on the body of another,” Jimena Rivera, director of the Project of Excavation and Archaeological Salvage at the Pontifical University of Mexico, told Noticieros Televisa. “So they were related,” adding that there was no previous record of “a burial with that arrangement.”
Archaeologists discovered the grave on the lands of the Pontifical University of Mexico or UPM. According to the statement by the institute, the “spiral of human bones” was the most uncommon discovery of any that INAH archaeologists had seen since the field work in the area started more than a decade ago.
Cajetes and tecomates, earthenware bowls and pots of different sizes, were among the bodies. In some cases, the bodies “held” stones or ceramic tools. There was evidence of ritualistic deformation of the skull and teeth shape in some skeletons, which is a known practice in a number of indigenous cultures, the BBC reports. Members of some ancient empires would elongate their skulls with the help of wooden boards in order to flatten the forehead of an infant since their skulls were relatively soft, according to Atlas Obscura.
The bones found in the Pre-Aztec grave associate with Mexico’s Pre-Classical period, which was before the Aztec Empire, according to National Geographic. Tlalpan, which is the ancient village connected with the burial, existed roughly 500 years according to the statement.
Jimena Rivera Escamilla, INAH archaeologist, believes that the discovery will result in more understanding of the indigenous inhabitants who habituated the Basin of Mexico at the time of the Middle and Late Formative period, which occurred between 700 B.C. and 200 B.C. the INAH statement reports.
If this timeline is correct, the grave containing the skeletons in a spiral formation was made much before the Aztec Empire, which is one of the most well-known pre-Columbian civilizations. The Aztec Empire didn’t come to power until approximately the 16th century, National Geographic reports.