Herodotus Returns

Skeleton discovered beneath Mayan temple
January 12, 2010, 8:06 am
Filed under: Mayan, Skeletons | Tags: ,

A 1,300-year-old skeleton, along with jadeite and ceramic ornaments has been discovered beneath the Templo de las Pinturas (Temple of the Paintings) at the Mayan site of Bonampak.

The unknown character’s rests could correspond to a war captive such as those represented in La Batalla mural, or a relative of Chaan Muan II, who ruled Bonampak from 776 to 792 of the Common Era.

The burial has been dated towards the end of 8th century, during the government of Chaan Muan II, identified as the last ruler of Bonampak. He ordered the creation of the Temple of the Paintings, integrated by 3 rooms completely decorated with paintings over the throne, walls and vaults….

Inside were found osseous rests of a man with the skull missing: only jawbone was located. At his feet, 2 polychrome dishes were placed, and next to the place of the skull, a perforated alabaster vase was found. According to preliminary studies conducted by physical anthropologist Javier Montes, this man would have been 1.70 meters high and between 35 and 42 years old at the time of death.

Regarding the identity of the buried person, Tovalin specified that none of the objects of the offering have hieroglyphs that provide information, but archaeological material has allowed formulation of 2 hypothesis: The first one indicates he might have been a war captive sacrificed as an offering, which supported by the absence of skull, and the perforated alabaster associated to the knife. The second hypothesis points out to a close relative of Chaan Muan II…

More on the Mayan skeleton discovery here.


Decapitated skeletons of Vanuatu
December 28, 2009, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Skeletons | Tags: , ,

Three-thousand-year-old cemetery unearthed in coral reef of Pacific Ocean archipelago Vanuatu reveals many skeletons, few of them with heads.

When a team of archaeologists began excavating an old coral reef in Vanuatu in 2008 and 2009, they soon discovered it had served as a cemetery in ancient times. So far, 71 buried individuals have been recorded, giving new information on the islands’ inhabitants and their funeral rites.

“This is a groundbreaking discovery, as it is the oldest and biggest skeleton find ever in the Pacific Ocean; bigger cemeteries found further east are much younger,” says Mads Ravn, head of research at the University of Stavanger’s Museum of Archaeology in Norway.

Relatives did not treat their dead gently. Besides being headless, some of them had had their arms and legs broken, in order to fit into the coral reef cavities. Ravn suggests they may have been left to rot first, and buried later as skeletons.

More on headless skeletons at Vanautu.