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Decapitated and dismembered bodies found at Maya pyramid



Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have uncovered burials containing decapitated and dismembered bodies at the stairway of a pyramid in the Maya city of Moral Reforma.

Moral Reforma is a Maya city from the Classic period, located in the municipality of Balancán in the Mexican state of Tabasco.

Occupation of the site dates from around AD 300, emerging into an important centre of trade along the San Pedro Mártir River. The city reached its peak during the years of AD 622 to 756, covering an area of 215 acres that contains palaces, plazas, and several pyramid complexes.

Recent excavations of a pyramid temple called Structure 18 in the city’s eastern plaza, has revealed two groups of burials at the stairway, one dating from between 300 BC to AD 250 during the Late Preclassic, and the other from AD 600 to AD 900 during the Late Classic.

Image Credit : INAH

The Late Preclassic group contains up to 12 individuals, some of which were arranged in a seated and lateral right position at the time of death, while the Late Classic group contains up to 13 burials.

Several of the burials from the Late Classic group were decapitated or dismembered, with skulls found in both groups showing signs of tabular oblique deformation, a form of artificial cranial modification to indicate an elevated social status.

The Late Preclassic group also contained 567 artefacts placed as offerings, consisting of shell and jade beads, shell rings, projectile points, vessels and bone needles.

Based on the depth and manner of the burials, the researchers have suggested that they were placed as sacrifices to a deity of the Mayan underworld in consecration of the temple.


Header Image Credit : INAH

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Trove of Roman objects linked to feasting found at Ostia antica




Archaeologists have uncovered a trove of Roman objects linked to ritual feasting at Ostia antica.

Ostia Antica is an ancient harbour town located at the mouth of the Tiber River. The harbour served as the main port for Rome, transporting goods and people from the coast along the Via Ostiensis.

Archaeologists recently excavated the area of Regio I – Insula XV, a “sacred area” or precinct housing several temples and sanctuaries. At the centre is the temple of Hercules,  a 31 x 16 metre monument which dates from the Republican Era.

Excavations have revealed a substantial well situated at the base of the temple of Hercules. Upon draining the well, it was discovered to hold a significant collection of objects dating from the 1st to 2nd century AD.

Among the objects are various ceramics, miniatures, lamps, glass containers, fragments of marble, and burnt animal bones (pigs and cattle). According to the archaeologists, the trove corresponds with ritual feasting associated with cult at the temple.

In a press statement by the Ministry of Culture: “The discovery of burnt bones confirms that animal sacrifices were carried out in the sanctuary, while the common ceramics, also bearing traces of fire, indicate that the meat was cooked and consumed during banquets in honour of divinity. The remains of one or more ritual meals were thrown into the well, the last ones probably when their function had ceased.”

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Culture

Sources : Ministry of Culture

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Labyrinthine structure discovered from the Minoan civilisation




Archaeologists have discovered a monumental labyrinthine structure on the summit of Papoura Hill in Crete.

The discovery was made during the installation of a radar system in preparation for the construction of a new airport in the area.

According to experts, the structure dates from between 2000 to 1700 BC shortly before or at the start of the palaeopalatial Minoan period.

The Minoan civilisation was a Bronze Age culture that emerged on the island of Crete around 3100 BC. The culture is known for the monumental architecture and energetic art, and is often regarded as the first civilisation in Europe.

Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Culture

The chronology of the Minoans is characterised into three distinct phases – Early Minoan (EM), Middle Minoan (MM), and Late Minoan (LM).

The palaeopalatial structure is part of the MMI – II grouping in the Middle Minoan, a period in which the first palaces were built and saw the development of the Minoan writing systems, Cretan hieroglyphic and Linear A.

The structure comprises of 8 concentric stone rings that converge on a central circular building. The entire diameter of the complex measures 48 metres and covers an area of approximately 1800 square metres.

Within the central structure are four designated zones in which radial walls intersect vertically and form a labyrinthine structure. Zones A and B appear to be have the main concentration of human activity, evidenced by the presence of large amounts of animals bones.

According to the experts, this residential area likely had a truncated cone or vaulted appearance and is the first monument of this type excavated in Crete. It can perhaps be paralleled with the elliptical MM building of the Chamezi Archaeological Site, as well as with the so-called circular proto-Hellenic cyclopean building of Tiryns.

The Minister of Culture, said: “This is a unique and highly significant find. Solutions are in place to ensure the completion of the archaeological research and the protection of the monument.”

Header Image Credit : Greek Ministry of Culture

Sources : Greek Ministry of Culture

This content was originally published on – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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