Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

The Zultépec-Tecoaque dig in Tlaxcala.

The Zultépec-Tecoaque dig in Tlaxcala.


Original Article:


Mexico News Daily | Thursday, November 19, 2015

We learn something every day; I didn’t know that,  Pulque is [an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant].


The Zultépec-Tecoaque archaeological site in Tlaxcala, an active dig for almost 25 years, keeps surprising archaeologists with its formerly hidden secrets and treasures, offering a unique glimpse into the life and times of the people of the region — the Acolhua — immediately before the Spanish conquest.

Just last Wednesday, a surprising and special discovery was made: the skeleton of a high-ranking Acolhua citizen buried in a cistern, along with countless significant objects.

Archaeologists also found a full-size throne built of tezontle, a volcanic rock used widely in construction and ornamentation in pre-hispanic and colonial Mexico, and a “spectacular” cylindrical carved stone that displays the glyph, or pictograph, of the Aztec god Ometochtli, or “Two Rabbit.”

The finding is puzzling for specialists due to its location 100 meters away from the ceremonial center in a residential area of the small town, which was inhabited between 1200 and 1521 BC. Traditionally, prominent citizens have been found buried in what were considered at the time to be sacred places.

“The Acolhua used these kinds of cisterns, 130 centimeters in diameter, for rainwater storage as other sources of water were scarce,” said archaeologist Enrique Martínez Vargas, director of the Zultepec-Tecoaque project. “To date we’ve dug 13 cisterns, but this is the first time we have found such an important figure buried in one of them. This particular character was identified with the Ometochtli glyph, associated with the pulque and drunkenness deity, represented by a rabbit.

“It should be noted that this zone was renowned for its high production of pulque [an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant]. Ometochtli is one of the 400 rabbit-gods, but in the area we had only found Mayahuel, the deity of maguey.”

Now, he said, “We have managed to locate evidence of a pulque god.”

The person buried in the cistern was a 25-year-old, 1.6-meter-tall male, and studies will enable specialists to learn more about him, particularly the cause of death.

It “is the most important public figure unearthed in the zone,” said Martínez, adding that “this discovery modifies our conception of these kinds of burials in pre-hispanic Mexico.”

Other objects, such as pulque carafes, have been found inside what specialists have begun calling the “funerary cistern,” but none as disconcerting as the vertebrae and ribs “of at least three different infants, one of them with clear signs of being cooked or boiled, and possibly consumed,” said archaeologist Bertha Flores.

Flores said they can’t be 100% certain that the infant “was a victim of cannibalism in this particular town, as the remains could have been brought from some other place. We’ll be able to determine this after analyzing the bones.”

Since the first excavations in 1992, the Zultépec-Tecoaque zone has offered priceless remains, such as the recently discovered evidence of 550 Spanish conquistadors and their African and American slaves, imprisoned and sacrificed in that town.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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There’s a new mega-mammal on the menu of America’s first hunters.

On a ranch in northwestern Sonora, Mexico, archaeologists have discovered 13,400-year-old weapons mingled with bones from an extinct elephant relative called the gomphothere. The animal was smaller than mastodons and mammoths, but most had four sharp tusks for defense.

The new evidence puts the gomphothere in North America at the same time as a prehistoric group of paleo-Indians known as the Clovis culture, whose beautifully crafted projectile points helped bring down giant Ice Age mammals, including mammoths. This is the first time gomphothere fossils have been discovered with Clovis artifacts.

“The Clovis stereotypically went out and hunted mammoth, and now there’s another elephant on the menu,” said Vance Holliday, a co-author on the new study, published today (July 14) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The archeological site, named “El Fin del Mundo” (the End of the Earth), marks two new extremes for both the Clovis and the gomphotheres. It is one of the oldest Clovis sites ever found, and the bones are the youngest gomphotheres ever discovered in North America. Until now, researchers thought gomphotheres vanished before humans reached North America. [In Photos: New Clovis site in Sonora]

“The implications are pretty simple, although certainly not trivial — early human explorers of interior North America opportunistically targeted the largest Pleistocene animals as part of their cultural pattern, and this pattern probably started almost as soon as people had made their way south into the lower 48 states,” said Gary Haynes, an archaeologist at the University of Nevada, Reno, who was not involved in the study. The Pleistocene epoch spans from about 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago.

An amazing find

The Sonora Clovis site is now scrubby desert, but it was once a spring-fed swamp that probably offered up a steady supply of fresh water. Nearby hills provided high-quality rock for the distinctive Clovis weapons, including spectacular quartz blades. “They are just mind-bogglingly beautiful,” said Holliday, an archaeologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “There is definitely an aesthetic component to them.”

The blade makers also shaped chalcedony, chert, quartzite and rhyolite into blades and scrapers. However, four of the blades from the ranch are basalt, which is locally rare but looks remarkably similar to rocks at a Clovis site called El Bajio, about 112 miles (180 kilometers) to the east, the researchers reported.

The gomphothere remains are from two juveniles, probably each younger than 12 years old when they died, the researchers said. The scientists also found two bone ornaments, and a piece of burned bone.

The team, led by Guadalupe Sanchez, of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Hermosillo, Mexico, excavated the cream-colored rock at the behest of the rancher who owns the land. He had noticed the bones and artifacts eroding from a small cliff, and invited the researchers to dig, Holliday said.

The scientists determined the site’s age through radiocarbon dating on charcoal. The researchers dated charcoal in layers with bone and Clovis weapons to 11,550 radiocarbon years ago, which doesn’t match up precisely with calendar dates. It’s equivalent to 13,390 years ago. (The discrepancy is because of changes in global radiocarbon concentrations over time.)

That age suggests the Clovis people were hunting large mammals in the Southwest for a span of several hundred years, Holliday said. [See Images of the Baby Woolly Mammoths]

The youngest Clovis sites are about 125 miles (200 km) to the north, along the San Pedro River (Rio San Pedro) in Arizona, Holliday said. “These hunters were around for a long time, at least 500 years,” he said. “It seems they were coming and going as they pleased, going from water source to water source and learning the land.”

However, other scientists said they would like to see more carbon dates from the site before reaching broad conclusions about the origins of the Clovis. “The Achilles’ heel is that there’s just one radiocarbon age,” said Michael Waters, director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M University in College Station, who was not involved in the study. “I think this is a very interesting and exciting archaeological discovery, but the age needs to be confirmed.”

America’s first culture

Though the Clovis people were not the very first settlers of the New World, they were probably North America’s first homegrown culture. Their trademark stone blades were the era’s equivalent of the iPhone — an innovative, disruptive technology — and rapidly replaced earlier bone and antler tools. “There are really no other artifacts like it on any other continents,” Holliday said. “This amazing technology just spread.”

Clovis points were so popular and widespread that they still litter the ground in many places, especially in the Southwest and Southeast, including Mexico.

But scientists do not agree on where the technology first emerged, or why the Clovis people invented it. The Sonoran site’s early age, combined with a similar age from a Clovis dig in Texas, suggests the culture may have risen in the South, Holliday said.

“This site opens up some new possibilities that the Clovis originated in the Southwest corner of North America or the southern half of North America,” Holliday said.

Earlier this year, a genetic analysis of a Clovis-era skeleton revealed that 80 percent of today’s Native Americans, including indigenous people in Mexico and South America, share direct genetic links with this single known Clovis ancestor.

Original article:



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  Topic: Early agriculture evidence in Mexico

Ancient corn husks

Ancient corn husks


The first evidence of proto-agricultural activity in what is now the state of Nuevo Leon in northeastern Mexico, is estimated to date from 3500-3000 BC, based on new research by archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). This proto-agriculture was practised by hunter-gatherers who collected wild variants of what later became the staple domesticated crops of the region. The evidence for this activity comes from seeds, corn cobs and husks found at the small rock shelter site of El Morro. “In Nuevo Leon archaeologists have never before identified any site with this type of evidence. After two seasons in El Morro , Municipality of Aramberri, we recovered approximately a thousand cobs and fragments, ” said Dr. Araceli Rivera Estrada, an INAH researcher for the region. Exploring various rock shelters Araceli Rivera, who in recent years has been devoted to exploring the various rock shelters in the area, highlighted the relevance of this finding saying, “evidence that hunter-gatherers of the region had already begun the initial process of farming from the Archaic period will lead us to reassess the categories to denote indigenous groups in the south of the state. ” The researcher explained that the oldest records of the three major crops domesticated in Mexico (corn, squash and beans) come from only five caves which were excavated in the 1950s and 60s – Romero and Valenzuela near Ocampo (Tamaulipas); Coxcatlán and San Marcos, in the Tehuacan Valley (Puebla) and Guilá Naquitz (Oaxaca), with dates ranging from 7000 to 3000 years BC. A small rock shelter The INAH specialist reported that the recent investigation was conducted in the rock shelter which also contained a large amount of rock art representing human and animal figures. “Inside, systematic excavations have recovered a large quantity of seeds, leaves, stems, fruits and even flowers as well as various species of corn ” said Rivera. The archaeologists also found fragments of basketry and cordage. Middle Archaic period Rivera said “charcoal samples obtained at different stratigraphic levels of the El Morro deposit are in the process of being dated at the Laboratory of the Division of Studies and Academic Support INAH “. He added that by association with two lithics that were recovered in the earlier layers, the agricultural material could be dated to the Middle Archaic period (3000-1500 BC). Original article: Past Horizons November 28, 2013


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Photo Reuters

Topic:Petroglyphs of ancient hunter-gathers

Archaeologists in Mexico have catalogued thousands of etchings carved into stones that they believe were made by hunter-gatherers 6,000 years ago.

The carvings, known as petroglyphs, mostly consist of wavy lines and concentric circles, with some images representing deer tracks.

Some 8,000 images were found at the site in Narigua in northern Mexico.

Experts say the etchings may be part of hunter-gatherer initiation rites, or representations of stars.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) says it is now preparing to allow tourists into the site, some 100km (60 miles) west of the city of Monterrey.

INAH archaeologist Gerardo Rivas said there was evidence of hunter-gatherer tribes having lived in the area.

He said many of their settlements were temporary, but evidence of cooking implements and stoves still remained.

He said the petroglyphs may reveal clues as to the level of sophistication of the tribes, and the kinds of tools they were able to manufacture.
Original article:
July 9, 2013

Read. Related article below:

Cave paintings in Mexico: Carvings uncovered in Burgos

Archaeologists in Mexico have found 4,926 well-preserved cave paintings in the north-eastern region of Burgos.

The images in red, yellow, black and white depict humans, animals and insects, as well as skyscapes and abstract scenes.

The paintings were found in 11 different sites – but the walls of one cave were covered with 1,550 scenes.

The area in which they were found was previously thought not to have been inhabited by ancient cultures.

The paintings suggest that at least three groups of hunter-gatherers dwelled in the San Carlos mountain range.

Experts have not yet been able to date the paintings, but hope to chemically analyse their paint to find out their approximate age.

‘No objects’
“We have not found any ancient objects linked to the context, and because the paintings are on ravine walls and in the rainy season the sediments are washed away, all we have is gravel,” said archaeologist Gustavo Ramirez, from the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History (Inah).

In one of the caves, the experts found depictions of the atlatl, a pre-Hispanic hunting weapon that had not yet been seen in other paintings in the Tamaulipas state.

The paintings are being considered an important find because they document the presence of pre-Hispanic peoples in a region where “before it was said that nothing was there”, Mr Ramirez said.

Another archaeologist involved in the Inah study, Martha Garcia Sanchez, said that very little is known about the cultures who dwelled in Tamaulipas.

“These groups escaped the Spanish rule for 200 years because they fled to the Sierra de San Carlos where they had water, plants and animals to feed themselves,” she said.

The findings were presented during the second meeting of Historic Archaeology, in Mexico’s National History Museum.
Original article:
May 22, 2013

Photo Reuters
Archaeologists found more than 1,500 paintings in one cave of the Burgos region

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Topic: Cave find, ancient campfire

Mexican Archaeologists Discover Items From Mezcala, Olmec Cultures in Abandoned Cave

Mexican archaeologists have found traces of the Mezcala and Olmec cultures, as well as human remains, in a cave in the southern state of Guerrero, indicating that the site was inhabited at different times and served as a funerary center, the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.

Specialists found a Mezcala-type figure and campfire remnants dating to 700 A.D. in a cave in Cocula, a city in Guerrero, the INAH said in a statement.

The figure is complete and important because of the limited number of finds of this type, INAH-Guerrero Center archaeologist Miguel Perez Negrete said.

The Mezcala culture is one of the civilizations that developed along the Balsas River and is mainly identified on the basis of its architectural style and anthropomorphic figures.

The discovery was made during construction of a road in Oxtotenco, a hamlet outside the community of Atzcala, Perez Negrete said.

“The most surprising thing was that when we started digging, we also found Olmec ceramics estimaed to date to the year 1000 before our era, as well as pre-Olmec (1200 B.C.), that is, it is more than 3,000 years old,” the archaeologist said.

The human remains consist of fragments and have not been dated yet, but they could be Olmec because of the ceramics associated with them, Perez Negrete said.

Original article:
hispanically speaking
June 5, 2013

Mezcala culture:

The Mezcala culture (sometimes referred to as the Balsas culture) is the name given to a Mesoamerican culture that was based in the Guerrero state of southwestern Mexico,[1] in the upper Balsas River region.[2] The culture is poorly understood but is believed to have developed during the Middle and Late Preclassic periods of Mesoamerican chronology,[1] between 700 and 200 BC.[2] The culture continued into the Classic period (c.250-650 AD) when it coexisted with the great metropolis of Teotihuacan.[3]
Archaeologists have studied the culture through limited controlled excavations, the examination of looted artifacts, and the study of Mezcala sculptures found as dedicatory offerings at the Aztec complex of Tenochtitlan.


Mezcala Mask

Olmec Culture

The Olmec were the first major civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco.
The Olmec flourished during Mesoamerica’s Formative period, dating roughly from as early as 1500 BCE to about 400 BCE. Pre-Olmec cultures had flourished in the area since about 2500 BCE, but by 1600–1500 BCE Early Olmec culture had emerged centered around the San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán site near the coast in southeast Veracruz.[1] They were the first Mesoamerican civilization and laid many of the foundations for the civilizations that followed.[2] Among other “firsts”, the Olmec appeared to practice ritual bloodletting and played the Mesoamerican ballgame, hallmarks of nearly all subsequent Mesoamerican societies.
The most familiar aspect of the Olmecs is their artwork, particularly the aptly named “colossal heads”.[3] The Olmec civilization was first defined through artifacts which collectors purchased on the pre-Columbian art market in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Olmec artworks are considered among ancient America’s most striking.[4]



Olmec Head

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Español: Kabah, Yucatán México. El llamado Cod...

Image via Wikipedia

Topic: Myan Kitchen

Mexico City – Archaeologists on Thursday were still  digesting this week’s announcement of the discovery of a royal  kitchen from the time of the Mayas in the Kabah archaeological area,  in the south-eastern Mexican state of Yucatan.

Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH),  which announced the finding late Wednesday, said a large number of  pots, stone artifacts and other materials were found in the area,  along with evidence of fires.

The kitchen is believed to have been 40 metres long and 14 metres  wide, and researchers date it at 750-950 AD, when the pre-Hispanic  town of Kabah was in its prime. There is however evidence of a human  presence in the area as early as 300 BC, the INAH said.

The Codz-Poop (or Palace of Masks);



The kitchen is believed to have been part of a palace.

‘We think large quantities of food were cooked in palaces, which  is why utensils were larger, there were more of them and they had  varied shapes for different uses,’ said archaeologist Lourdes  Toscano.

Toscano said researchers were struck by the absence of animal  bones at the site, which led them to believe that waste was taken  elsewhere. Archaeologists plan to study the traces of organic matter  they did find, however, to find out what food was eaten by the  community.

Original article:


Nov 17, 2011


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Topic: Early tools

201110227432 | 9,000 Year Old Tools Found in Mexico.

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Topic:Aztec God of rain


Monotith of the Aztec God of Rain



Archaeologists in Mexico made a dramatic discovery in the state of Morelos when they uncovered an 8th century monolith featuring an Aztec God weighing 60 tonnes.

With agricultural images engraved on its side, the massive stone is believed to have been used by the Aztecs to call on the god of rain.

“These signs on the rock are fundamentally associated with agriculture and water. We think it’s highly probable that it (the monolith) was used during rituals to ask for rain and it was placed in a position facing Popocatepetl,” said archaeologist Raul Gonzalez.

With the ritual stone also bearing the image of the Aztec god Tlaloc, experts are connecting the massive monolith to the nearby archaeological site of Xochicalco.

We have numbered them (hieroglyphics) all and those we have been able to decipher include a corn figure and one of Tlaloc,” added Gonzalez. “We also have others which are anthropomorphous and others which are amorphous, which are four-legged animals. We don’t know the exact definition or what they represent but they are there.”

Reforma newspaper reports that construction workers building a shopping centre in the area first encountered the priceless artefact and notified authorities.

Further investigations by Mexico’s Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) unearthed the massive monolith near a highway connecting to the nearby city Cuautla. The scientists hope the 60-tonne monolith will have its final resting place at the UNESCO-listed Xochicalco zone.

The Aztecs, a warlike and deeply religious people who built monumental works, ruled an empire stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean – encompassing much of modern-day central Mexico.

Their often bloody reign ended when they were subjugated in 1521 by the Spanish, led by Hernan Cortes.

Original article:


July 11, 2011

For those who follow my blogs-since I was on vacation I am postponing my post of the Mead bottling until next week-Just a little behind!

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