Finding hidden graves is hardly news anymore in Mexico — unless they’re more than two centuries old.
The remains of at least 10 people who died about 2,400 years ago and were intertwined before burial have been found in the south of Mexico City.
Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) made the discovery Monday on the grounds of the Pontifical University of Mexico (UPM) in the borough of Tlalpan, located about 20 kilometers south of the capital’s historic center.
The remains, which included a baby and a small child, were laid out in a spiral shape in a grave two meters diameter and 1.5 meters below the site where chapel once stood. Archaeologists believe that all the individuals were buried at the same time.
The news agency Notimex described the discovery as the most peculiar find INAH has made since it started salvage work in the so-called pre-classical village of Tlalpan two years ago.
The settlement is believed to date back to around 800 BC and was likely one of the earliest in the Valley of Mexico.
Anthropologists have so far determined that two of the 10 skeletons are female and one is male. The sex of the other skeletal remains is not yet known.
Eight are believed to have been young adults and one a child aged between three and five at the time of death. The other remains are from a baby believed to be just a few months old.
At least two of the skulls show signs that they had been subjected to intentional harm while dental mutilation was detected in several other cranial remains. The bodies were buried with earthenware pots and bowls and some of them had ceramics and stones placed in their hands.
It is the first time that archaeologists have discovered a grave in the area containing such a large number of people, INAH said in a prepared statement.
The archaeologist who heads the INAH team said the discovery and ongoing excavation of the site could be of equal importance to the study of the pre-classical period in the Valley of Mexico as digs that were completed between 1960 and 1990 at sites including Tlatilco and Temamatla.
Jimena Rivera Escamilla said that her team has found more than 20 graves at the UPM site, of which six contained the remains of a single person.
She explained that the graves were dug as perfect circles, with diameters of up to 2.3 meters.
Source: Notimex (sp)