Archaeologists in Mexico City have discovered 26 graves dating back 2,700 years.
The 360-square-meter/3,875-square-foot site, which sits next to a contemporary cemetery, contains skeletons and bones just 1.2 and 3.3 meters below street level. About 20 of them are in a perfect state.
Of 26 graves, 11 are in the form of a truncated cone, while the archaeologists have also found vestiges of walls from pre-Hispanic structures.
“We’ve made a series of discoveries that have revolutionized the knowledge we had about graves in the pre-classic period. The context suggests to us that we are at a village where they carried out specialized activities. The height [of the site and] its geographical and strategic position indicates to us that the people [who lived on] this hill may have had greater control over certain resources compared to the village of Copilco,” said Antonio Balcorta Yépez, an INAH archaeologist.
Truncated cone graves were not only used for funeral purposes but also to store grains, artifacts and waste materials, he said.
Other evidence indicates that at least two of the graves may have been used by women for everyday child care, which could have included giving an herbal steam bath to a newborn baby. Of more than 130 figurines in the graves, most represent pregnant women, while a smaller number are of infants.
INAH has extracted samples from different parts of the graves for analysis.
The archaeologists have also made discoveries from more recent times including remnants of ammunition used in the Mexican revolution and parts of adobe bricks and other building materials that formed part of a house that stood on the site at the end of the 19th century.
Because it is 2,296 meters above sea level, it is believed that the site was not affected by lava flows following the eruption of the Xitle Volcano between 245 and 315 AD and for that reason it has remained in well-conserved condition.
Sources: Milenio, Mexico News Daily