26 ancient Maya burials were discovered between the municipalities of Calakmul and Escárcega, in Campeche.

138

At various points along the mentioned distance, human burials were recorded, most of them individual, arranged in different positions: dorsal and lateral decubitus, extended, flexed, seated; 10 of which were accompanied by offerings.

The archaeological salvage derived from the construction of the Maya Train allowed for exploration into little-explored areas of ancient Maya culture, an example of which are the just over 36 kilometers separating the current towns of Constitución, municipality of Calakmul, and Lechugal, in Escárcega, to the south of Campeche, where 26 pre-Hispanic human burials were recovered, a tenth of which were inside cists.

Between October 2022 and February 2023, the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Mexico, through a team of specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), surveyed 20 meters on each side of the axis road, to clear areas proposed by the Ministry of National Defense.

Once the prospecting work, initially led by archaeologist Eric Saloma García and later by archaeologist Alejandro Cañas Ortiz, was completed, the excavation of the previously registered archaeological monuments proceeded. During this stage of the project, archaeologist Gustavo Alejandro Cool Argüelles, along with his colleague Armida del Rosario Bolaños, carried out much of the tasks in the so-called front 6 of Section 7.

At different points along the mentioned distance, human burials were recorded, most of them individual, arranged in different positions: dorsal and lateral decubitus, extended, flexed, seated; 10 of which were accompanied by offerings.

“Unlike fronts such as 4 and 5, which are close to large cities, like Xpujil or Becán, in the first case, or Balamkú and Calakmul, in the second; in this front, we do not have a governing site, only small concentrations of plazas, some terraces, and modest housing units, in which many of the burials were found.

“Of the 26 burials, 59% were located on bases, and another 35% on foundations. In certain monuments, three or four funerary contexts were recovered,” Cool Argüelles points out, detailing that, based on the ceramic types recovered, it is likely that these sites were inhabited between the Early and Late Classic periods (250-900 AD).

Regarding the cists, which consist of an arrangement of rough stones, he said that almost all contained the skeletal remains of individuals who were offered to these buildings, except for one, which contained a ceramic bowl, “hence we are in the discussion about whether the context could have been funerary or not.”

A singular example was four burials – recorded in the remains of a dwelling – two of which were in cists, in a flexed position and with ceramic objects placed at the height of the foot bones and ribs. The vestiges of the construction, located between the communities of Centenario and Silvituc, were excavated and deconstructed, that is, dismantled in a controlled manner.

Another striking burial was discovered at a depth of 1.5 meters, in the center of a plaza, “which indicates the dedication of the individual to this monument.” Cool Argüelles indicates that, around this space, which is part of a pre-Hispanic site near the locality Justicia Social, in Escárcega, there is a series of monuments, of which the one on its south side was excavated.

At different points along the mentioned distance, human burials were recorded, most of them individual, arranged in various forms: dorsal and lateral decubitus, extended, flexed, seated; 10 of them accompanied by offerings.

They were recovered in one of the fronts of Section 7 of the Maya Train; 10 were inside cists. Also noteworthy is the discovery of three slabs with anthropomorphic representations, possible lintels or part of the facade of a monument. The archaeological salvage derived from the construction of the Maya Train allowed for exploration into little-explored areas of ancient Maya culture, an example being the just over 36 kilometers separating the current towns of Constitución, municipality of Calakmul, and Lechugal, in Escárcega, to the south of Campeche, where 26 pre-Hispanic human burials were recovered, a tenth of which were inside cists.

Although much osseous material was found in poor conservation conditions researcher considers it can provide important information about diet origin these ancient Maya populations through analysis stable isotopes trace elements.

Finally study settlement pattern indicates adaptation environmental conditions because “unlike other places settled around water sources this portion southern Campeche only notable Silvituc lagoon they did high part hills although also had aguadas chultunes obtaining liquid was complicated but they could overcome this problem.”

Source: Press Release