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MEXICO CITY, May 18, 2010

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-10 04:09 AM
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MEXICO CITY, May 18, 2010
MEXICO CITY, May 18, 2010
Oldest Mesoamerican Pyramid Tomb Found In Mexico
Pyramid Tomb Found In Southern Mexico Probably Oldest In Mesoamerica, Archaeologists Say

(AP) Archaeologists in southern Mexico announced Monday they have discovered a 2,700-year-old tomb of a dignitary inside a pyramid that may be the oldest such burial documented in Mesoamerica.

The tomb held a man aged around 50, who was buried with jade collars, pyrite and obsidian artifacts and ceramic vessels. Archaeologist Emiliano Gallaga said the tomb dates to between 500 and 700 B.C.

Based on the layers in which it was found and the tomb's unusual wooden construction, "we think this is one of the earliest discoveries of the use of a pyramid as a tomb, not only as a religious site or temple," Gallaga said.

Pre-Hispanic cultures built pyramids mainly as representations of the levels leading from the underworld to the sky; the highest point usually held a temple.

The tomb was found at a site built by Zoque Indians in Chiapa de Corzo, in southern Chiapas state. It may be almost 1,000 years older than the better-known pyramid tomb of the Mayan ruler Pakal at the Palenque archaeological site, also in Chiapas.

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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 03:27 PM
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1. Cool!
I can't wait to see more. I'd better renew my Archaeology subscription.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-24-10 04:10 AM
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2. Zoque pyramid burial - the oldest in Mexico?
24 May 2010

Zoque pyramid burial - the oldest in Mexico?

A team of archaeologists lead by Bruce Bachand of Brigham Young University have excavated what may be the oldest pyramid burial in Mesoamerica at Chiapa de Corzo, southern Mexico. According to archaeologist Emiliano Gallaga, the tomb dates between 700 and 500 BCE, and may be "One of the earliest discoveries of the use of a pyramid as a tomb, not only as a religious site or a temple."

Their investigation began in April as a study of the internal structure of the three-story pyramid, which were often built in layers over earlier constructions. While excavating, they noticed finished stones facing inwards, and soon after uncovered a 4m by 3m tomb some 6-7m below the top of the pyramid. In the tomb, they found the body of a man aged around 50, dressed in a pearl-beaded loincloth, and a female of similar age, whose bodies were covered with sacred red pigment. The male wore a funeral mask with obsidian eyes, and they were buried with jade and amber collars, jade beads in the shape of howler monkeys, crocodiles and gourds, and other ornaments. Around the bodies there were offerings including ceramics, ritual axes, iron pyrite mirrors and a red-painted stucco mask. Some of the objects were imported from as far away as Guatemala and central Mexico, while some of the ceramics show Olmec influence. Bachand stated that "these people were at the top of society, there is no doubt about it."

Accompanying these burials were two other bodies, apparently human sacrifices. The body of a one-year-old child was placed carefully over the body of the male, while that of a 20-year-old male was perhaps thrown in, resulting in its awkward posture against the wall of the tomb, with one arm awkwardly positioned over the head.

The burial in the Zoque culture area also aroused some speculation as to how it fits into the wider pattern of cultural influences in Mesoamerica. Bachand suggests that the tomb offers insight into the emergence of of unique cultures from the Olmec culture, long regarded as the regional 'mother culture', since it displays both Olmec and Zoque features, and Maya scholar Lisa Lucero of the University of Illinois also sees a relation with the Olmec. While no Olmec pyramids have been excavated owing partly to difficult local environmental conditions, they may also have contained elite burials. Lynneth Lowe of Mexico's National Autonomous University suggested "It is possible that this type of tomb existed at La Venta."

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