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1,500 year-old human and animal burials discovered in Colima

During the last 27 years, more than 80 archaeological salvages made in the metropolitan area of the Colima valley, have led archaeologists to discover a human occupation that took place during three thousand years in the pre-Hispanic era; during recent weeks, archaeologists have found a series of burials approximately 1500 years old in the municipality of Valle de Alvarez that have been added to the aforementioned salvages.

1,500 year-old human and animal burials discovered in Colima
Bones of an infant less than one year of age [Credit: Marco Zaveleta/INAH]
Specialist Marco Zavaleta Lucido has explained that from the 160 wells that have been excavated in the premises, only 13 were widened to enable a deeper excavation, with only five that remain unexplored as of yet.

A pair of these excavated areas allowed the greatest recovery of materials, with human burials standing out among the salvaged objects, some of these accompanied by dog skeletons.

Although the abundance of ceramic materials corresponds to the period known as Ortices (from 600 BC through 100 AD) there are burial units demonstrating that the valley area was reoccupied three centuries later during the Colima phase (400 – 600 AD).

“It is difficult to unearth well-conserved archaeological vestiges of these early stages of sedentary occupation; some burial contexts such as interments allow archaeologists to approach the everyday life of the ancient settlers of the Colima valley”.

1,500 year-old human and animal burials discovered in Colima
The remains of eight adult individuals were located [Credit: Marco Zaveleta/INAH]
In one of the units experts had excavated, they located stone alignments (remnants of a house), and near these the osseous remains of three dogs which were accompanied by some human burials.

As the exploration of this archaeological context continued, they discovered the skeletons of eight individuals in fetal or flexed positions, as well as the spread osseous remains of other human skeletons, meaning this space had been reused for funerary purposes.

Marco Zavaleta detailed that the burial forms during the Colima phase consisted in the elaboration of stone caskets inside of which the remains of the diseased where placed and covered with metates (mortars) and stones.

1,500 year-old human and animal burials discovered in Colima
The burials are throught to be about 1,500 years old [Credit: Marco Zaveleta/INAH]
Up to this moment, and because of the bad preservation of the majority of the burials given the ground’s acidity, they have only identified two female skeletons and one male, around 30 and 40 years of age at the time of passing.

In another unit of excavation, also associated to a housing building, archaeologists found various interments in stone caskets, but in this case they found five children.

One of these minors had a 13 fang necklace (presumably belonging to a wild boar) and shell beads, while another infant’s surroundings had been adorned with red mineral stones.

Source: INAH via ArtDaily [February 14, 2014]

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