7,000-year-old Mayan civilization remains unearthed and on display

Genetic and archaeological studies reveal the prehistoric and Mayan past of the cave of Puyil, in Tabasco. Courtesy Luis Alberto Martos / INAH
  • Genetic and archaeological studies reveal the prehistoric and Mayan past of the cave of Puyil, in Tabasco. Courtesy Luis Alberto Martos / INAH

Archaeologists have discovered sets of human remains that could date back as far as the Mayan pre-classical era.

According to archaeologists at a Mexico City news conference on Tuesday, three sets of human remains were unearthed at the Puyil cave in Tacotalpa, Tabasco.

Another set of other skeletons are estimated to be about 4,000 years old.

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“Seven thousand years old is what we’ve just placed it, which is the period of transition from being hunters to sedentarism,” said archaeologist Alberto Martos.

“There were different groups during this time that used the caves, clearly it wasn’t a domestic cave,” he also said. “In prehistoric times it was probably used for rituals and cemeteries so as to dispose of remains of people.”

The Maya throughout time “respected the remains that were already there and left their own remains inside,” Martos told reporters.

The ancient Mayan remains are on display in the Mexico City’s Anthropology Museum in an exhibit, “Puyil: the Cave of Ancestors,” which also includes artifacts such as ceramics and pieces of jade, also found in the area.

The Maya were among the great ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica, building cities with elaborate ceremonial centers and soaring stone pyramids in modern-day Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

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They dominated the region for some 2,000 years before the ancient civilization mysteriously abandoned its cities around AD 900.

Sources: Reuters, INAH

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