Ancient Mexican race conducted funerary rituals as far back as 3,000 years ago

April 10th, 2008 - 2:40 pm ICT by admin  

National Geographic

Washington, April 10 (ANI): Archaeologists have discovered an ancient burial site in Mexico which contains evidence that Mixtec Indians conducted funerary rituals involving cremation as far back as 3,000 years ago.

According to a report in National Geographic News, the find represents the earliest known hints that Mixtecs used this burial practice, which was later reserved for Mixtec kings and Aztec emperors.

The Mixtec area is one area where civilization emerged, said lead study author William Duncan, an anthropologist at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. This burial ceremony is one part of that emergence, he added.

The team excavated two graves in the ancient Mixtec village of Tayata, which is in the state of Oaxaca along Mexico’s southern Pacific coast.

The corpses were placed into the graves, burned, and then buried near a dwelling that was probably their home.

One set of remains is thought to belong to a young woman who was between 18 and 25 years old.

The team was unable to determine the gender of the other person, but they think that this individual could have been between 15 and 25 years old.

According to co-author Andrew Balkansky, also of Southern Illinois, the Mixtecs may have believed that ritual cremation of bodies would release the souls of the deceased.

The idea was that, basically, youd have someones soul ascend to the heavens in the smoke, said Balkansky. The cremation also could have been part of the ritual belief that elite dead are transformed into gods, he added.

Co-author Heather Lapham, a zooarchaeologist at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, said the team also found bones of dogs, deer, and fishindications that the residents ate well and thus probably were of a higher social status.

This find also suggests that a class of elite leaders emerged among the Mixtecs as early as 1100 B.C. and that dogs were an important part of their diet. (ANI)

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