Sunday, September 15, 2013

Jaded jaw

"Some of them had jade inserts in their teeth, which we think means they were high-status members of the ruling class," says German archaeologist Nicolaus Seefeld of the remains of 24 people who had been decapitated and dismembered 1,400 years ago in the Maya city of Uxul in Campeche, Mexico. The skeletons were excavated over the last 5 years from under 6.6' (2 m) within a 344 sq. ft. (32 sq m) chamber that had been used as a water reservoir. The international team of scientists, led by Nikolai Grube of the University of Bonn, plan to test the bones for isotopes to determine whether the dead were prisoners of war from another Mayan city or deposed nobles from Uxul itself. But one thing is certain, says Dr. Grube: "[T]he discovery of the mass grave proves that the dismemberment of prisoners of war and opponents often represented in Maya art was in fact practiced."

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