Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations






Prehispanic potter burial discovered near Tula

Category: News reports

INAH, june, 2009. A Prehispanic burial with 2 skeletons, 7 vases, casts and polishers was found 700 meters away from Tula Archaeological Zone, in Hidalgo, while municipal public work was carried out. The discovery dated between 900 and 1100 AD, could reinforce the hypothesis of potters’ neighborhoods around the Tolteca ceremonial center. Luis Gamboa Cabezas, archaeologist at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in charge of the salvage, declared that the Tolteca affiliation skeletons were found in an approximately one meter depth during municipal civil work. The remains were placed in fetal position, oriented to the east.

Ceramic pieces found in the offering are 7 hump-type vessels, flat bowl pieces, as well as a shell necklace, casts, polishers, crushers, burnt and twisted ceramic fragments; these objects may confirm there were potters’ settlements around the sacred precinct. The archaeologist informed that one of the recovered skulls presents 4 orifices, information that could be linked to Prehispanic health or cultural practices. Some of the 24 children skeletons found in April 2007, 50 meters away from this new discovery, presented the same orifices. With the new finding, there are 8 individuals that presented this kind of mutilation, called trepanation (performed to heal blood clots or strong headaches).

Archaeologist Gamboa commented that the finding could open a new research line to confirm if such trepanations were a cultural practice performed among Tolteca artisans to distinguish them from the rest. Such confirmation would require physic and forensic anthropology studies, to find out if the orifices were made by rubbing a sharp tool, probably made out of obsidian, as Maya did, that might have been used as an emblem of potters. Gamboa Cabezas declared that human remains and ceramic pieces found present a good conservation state, and are kept in the Tula Archaeological Zone laboratories.

Tula Archaeological Zone is located 85 kilometers to the north of Mexico City, in Hidalgo State; it was one of the great urban centers at the Central High Plateau (Altiplano Central). The city reached its peak from 900 to 1000 AD, becoming the greatest city of Mesoamerica, measuring almost 16 square kilometers.

Source: INAH.


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