In 2012, authorities in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas entered a dark cave and encountered a horrific spot: about 150 skulls were scattered on the ground, all missing teeth and broken bones.
Police have launched an investigation, believing it was a crime scene of immigrants killed near the Guatemalan border, where gangs Violence Is normal.
It was, in fact, a crime scene. Not the only one that has happened recently.
Last week, 10 years after the discovery, authorities said one Statement They determined that the skulls had killed between 900 and 1,200 victims.
“We’ve already got a lot of information,” archaeologist Javier Montes de Paz told a news conference on April 11.
Researchers at the National Institute of Anthropology and History analyzed the markings on the bones and determined that the deaths occurred centuries ago. Mr Montes de Paz said such signs would only appear “after a long time”.
Mr Montes de Paz said investigators found that the victims had been beheaded, most of the bones belonged to the affected women, and all the teeth were missing, although it was not clear if they had been removed before or after death.
Researchers also found skeletal remains of three infants.
Mr Montes de Paz said the pre-Spanish pile of bones in the Cumalapa Cave was probably a zompantli – an altar to the gods that would look like a modern-day trophy rack, with a wooden skeleton aligned. I am placed on a stick, “said Mr. Montes de Paz. Similar practices were common in the Maya, Aztec, and other Mesoamerican civilizations. Smithsonian Magazine.
Mr Montes de Paz added that the wood material “disappeared over time and could have knocked down skulls.”
Investigators also found aligned wooden sticks in the cave, another symbol of zoompantli. Statement From the National Institute of Anthropology and History.
While researchers have yet to conclude their study, Mr. Montes de Paz said it is likely that several Mesoamerican communities used the cave. The two entrances were so steep that researchers had to use a ladder to enter.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. Authorities said in a statement that a “complaint” had informed them of the discovery in the town of Carizel in the municipality of Frontera Komalapa. The National Institute of Anthropology and History did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
Anthropologists studying the skulls found other pieces of bone at the site, including a femur and arm fragments. Mr Montes de Paz said the bodies had not been found.
The Spanish invasion took place in the 1500’s. According to Smithsonian Magazine, when the Spaniards arrived, they were terrified of the rituals.
But sacrifices seem to have been common in Chiapas. Of National Institute of Anthropology and History In the 1980s, he said, anthropologists discovered a cave, Cueva de las Banquetas, and discovered 124 skulls without teeth. In 1993, Mexican and French explorers traveled to the Cuva Tapesco del Diablo in Okozuquatla, another cave containing five skulls.
Mr Montes de Paz said his team was looking forward to further exploring Komalapa Cave soon.
“If people visit such sites in the future and see skulls, they should not touch or lift anything,” he said. Otherwise, they could affect the archeological integrity of the site. He said people who found skulls in Chiapas in 2012 accidentally touched some of the bones. “You influence history,” he said. “And a lot of information has been lost.”
Still, he believed that after further analysis, the story of the skulls could soon be fully told.