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Circular structure used for healing rites found in Tecacahuaco

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Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have found a pre-Hispanic structure used by locals for healing rites in Tecacahuaco, a town in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico.

According to oral legends recounted by the town’s elders, a priest ordered the destruction of monuments and idols in the area, considering them immoral remnants of paganism.

Despite the destruction, healers continued to visit a small hill regarded as sacred, making ceremonial offerings of liquor, bread, or zacahuil to cure the sick. This practice represents a blend of Catholic rituals and pre-Hispanic sacred traditions.

Following agricultural works by a local farmer, the hill was revealed to contain architectural remains of a monumental structure. Further excavations by INAH archaeologists have uncovered a pre-Hispanic building with a circular base, originally measuring 15 metres in diameter.

The structure stands 3.5 metres tall and features a central staircase flanked by two alfardas. Preliminary dating, based on surface finds of obsidian fragments, suggests that the structure dates from around AD 900 to 1521 during the Post Classic Period.

The latter end of the Post Classic Period saw the subjugation of the Mesoamerican cultures and civilisations, and the start of the Colonial Period under Spanish rule.

According to the researchers, the purpose of the structure is unknown, and the lack of any major pre-Hispanic settlements in the Huasteca region makes it more of a mystery. The team speculates that the structure was likely under the control of the Metztitlán, a powerful, independent Otomi state that resisted conquest by the Aztec Empire.

According to Osvaldo José Sterpone from INAH, “This is the first project that the INAH has undertaken in Tecacahuaco, a town in the Huasteca region of Hidalgo.” The town’s Nahuatl name translates to “place of hollow stone.”

A survey of the surrounding area has also revealed other nearby architectural remains, including a ball court that measures 18 metres in length.

“We have begun the work of photogrammetry and analysis that will allow us to document the characteristics of the buildings in the records of the Public Registry of Monuments and Archaeological and Historical Zones, in order to give certainty and identity to this area of ​​monuments,” said Sterpone.

Header Image Credit : Gerardo Peña

Sources : INAH

 

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Elite Petén style structures found near Kohunlich

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Construction works for a road in Section 7 of the Mayan Train have uncovered elite Petén style structures near Kohunlich in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Kohunlich is a large Maya polity that served as a regional centre along the trade routes through the southern Yucatán.

The site was first settled around 200 BC, with the majority of its monuments being built between AD 250 to AD 600 during the Early Classic Period.

The city features elevated platforms, plazas, pyramids, and citadels, all enclosed by palace platforms. The layout of Kohunlich was carefully arranged to direct drainage into a network of cisterns and a massive reservoir for rainwater collection.

Construction works for a road on the periphery of Kohunlich have resulted in the discovery of elite structures in the Petén style, a distinct type of Maya architecture and inscription style.

Archaeologists have identified seven structures in total, interpreted to be elite homesteads of a domestic nature that were used for agricultural activities.

Most of the structures have a rectangular plan and vaulted rooms adorned with decorative Petén style elements.

Given their archaeological importance, experts from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have registered the monuments for protection.

Consequently, the planned route of the road has been redirected to preserve the structures in situ, where they will be preserved and open to the public in the near future.

Excavations also unearthed various archaeological materials, including ceramics, shells, fragments of human bone, and objects intentionally buried as offerings likely during the construction of the homesteads for protection.

Header Image Credit : Maya Train

Sources : National Institute of Anthropology and History

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Gold foils discovered in Ancient Egyptian tombs

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Archaeologists from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities have discovered rare gold foils during excavations at Tel El-Dir.

Tel El-Dir is a burial complex in the area of Egypt’s Damietta Governorate. The site contains various burials and tombs from the 26th Dynasty (664 BC to 525 BC), the last native dynasty of ancient Egypt before the Persian conquest in 525 BC.

Excavations of 63 mud brick tombs and pit burials have revealed a large collection of funerary offerings, including rare gold foils depicting Ancient Egyptian deities, and foils shaped like symbols associated with good fortune and protection.

The team also found foils in the shape of tongues, a tradition that enabled the deceased to speak before the court of Osiris in the afterlife.

Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

The discovery follows on from a previous haul in 2022, where archaeologists excavating at Tel El-Dir found gold foils depicting Isis, Bastet and Horus (in the form of a winged falcon), as well as foils in various shapes.

According to a press statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, many of the tombs contained funeral pyres, imported and local ceramics, and Ushabti statues (figurines placed with the deceased to serve them in the afterlife).

The excavation has also yielded a large number of funerary offerings, such as protective amulets, figurines, coins, and a mirror.

Speaking on the finds, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities explained that the objects confirm that Damietta was a centre of trade during ancient times, and provides new insights into the burial practices during the 26th Dynasty.

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Sources : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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