Skeletons in ancient grave arranged in odd spiral formation

Scientists have uncovered a grave in Mexico filled with 10 skeletons arranged in a unique circular pattern.
By Joseph Scalise | Feb 06, 2018
Archaeologists working in Mexico have unearthed a peculiar ancient grave that has 10 ancient skeletons arranged in a spiral formation with their bodies interlocked.

Modern-day Mexico City is constructed over centuries of previous settlements. As a result, ancient tombs are often found beneath the buildings. Researchers from the National Institute of Anthropology and History found the recently discovered site while exploring an ancient village beneath the campus of the Pontifical University.

The 2,400-year-old burial is one of the most interesting discoveries made at the site since researchers first began excavating in 2006. Not only is the spiral pattern odd, but scientists have never found a grave in the region with so many individuals from the Preclassic period.

"We have different anatomical depositions: ventral flexion, hyperflexion with the lower limbs bent towards the pelvis, dorsal decubitus with the limbs towards the abdomen, and extended ventral decubitus," explains Luca Lpez Meja, a researcher fromNational Institute of Anthropology and History, according"The bodies were buried 'interacting' between them, that's why we talked about the same event."

The odd grave is circular in shape and measures 6.5 feet across. The skeletons are of mostly young people, as well as an infant and a toddler.

Though researchers are not sure how the individuals died, they found signs of body modification, including skull deformation and tooth mutilation. Such practices -- which could have involved binding children's growing skulls with cloth and filing teeth into different shapes -- may seem strange, but they were quite common among several cultures in Mesoamerica.

Scientists think the unusual burial layout was part of an ancient ritual. The age range of the bodies could symbolizes the different stages of life.

"There was one individual over the other, for example: The head of the individual on the chest of the other, the hands of one individual under the other's back, the baby on the body of another," said Jimena Rivera Jimena, the archaeologist who found the skeletons, according to International Business Times.

Archaeologists plan to continue excavating the site to see if they can find out any more about the skeletons. They also think the discovery could help them gain more research intohuman settlements dating back to Mexico's pre-classical period.


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