Skip to comments.Colgate Anthropologist Discovers Ancient Tomb In Honduras
Posted on 05/30/2007 4:56:48 PM PDT by blam
Colgate anthropologist discovers ancient tomb in Honduras
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Colgate anthropology professor Allan Maca peers into a section of a tomb in Copan, Honduras, that dates back to the 7th century A.D. (Photo by Raul Mejia)
Colgate anthropology professor Allan Maca and a team of researchers have found a previously unknown tomb in Copán, Honduras, dating back to the 7th century A.D. that contained the skeleton of an elite member of ancient Maya society in the city.
The unusual characteristics of the tombs construction, the human remains, and the artifacts found near the body, according to Maca, paint a picture of an urban state that was more politically complex and culturally diverse than was previously thought.
As reported this month by National Geographic News and the Honduran press, Maca and his group which includes Kristin Landau, who graduated this May from Colgate discovered the tomb in 2005 in Copán, an ancient city near the western edge of Honduras where the country borders Guatemala.
These are some of the artifacts discovered in the tomb by researchers. (Photo by Raul Mejia)
Over the past two years, they have excavated and studied the tomb and its contents, with funding support from the National Geographic Society and Colgate.
While Copán, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site, is well known for grand, carved and inscribed monuments, a hieroglyphic stairway with the longest text in the Americas, and other famed discoveries in the ceremonial center of the city and its Acropolis, Macas teams find was unexpected because it comes from beyond the administrative heart of Copán, in an area that has not yet been well studied.
Combined with other characteristics, it is becoming clear that this discovery provides unprecedented evidence for political complexity and cultural diversity at Copán during the early part of the Late Classic period [A.D. 600 to 750], said Maca.
Some of the most unusual elements of the find included the positioning or seating of the interred individual, the artifacts found with the body, and design of the tomb itself.
All in all, the discovery provides an unusual archaeological context that helps expand our knowledge of the sociopolitical and cultural complexity of the ancient city and of the funerary and ritual landscape of the Copán Valley during the seventh century A.D., he said.
Dario Euraque, director of the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History, agreed that Macas findings were significant.
Mainly, this is the first tomb to be found outside the principal monuments where all funeral sites are located, he said.
We never thought we would find any in the Bosque, which is along the periphery of Copán.
He also believes that the artifacts and tomb characteristics were not representative of the Maya culture.
This goes against theories that all populations in the Copán Valley were uniquely Mayan, he said. There appears to have been a cultural mix.
The 2005 discovery was announced this month in conjunction with the Honduras Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Sports and the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History.
Due to its location in an area with poor security, the tomb will be reburied later this summer once consolidation and preliminary restoration have been completed.
There appears to have been a cultural mix.
Other tribes came over the border illegally.
This innocent tomb inhabitant died because of Bush!
How do they get the colors to swirl coming out of the tube of toothpaste? Or is that Crest?
Undoubtedly, but in those days the Mayan leadership elite was courageous enough to admit it was an act of war.
Very cool story. I’m going to Copan in a few months, so I’ll try to see if they let you near the new finds (though I doubt it).
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)
This sentence is getting to be a boilerplate insert into any article on finds.
... when you put the sod back, remember “Green side up !”
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.