Five Prehispanic burials of high rank personages, accompanied by rich offerings, were discovered recently at Tamtoc Archaeological Zone, in San Luis Potosi, by researchers from the National Institute of Anthropology and History
(INAH). The finding dated between 900 and 1521 of the Common Era will bring in new information regarding funerary traditions and diet of the inhabitants of this Teneek or Huasteca site.
The conjunct of burials presents remains of bones of at least 7 persons that were placed seated and were buried with attires; the textile fragments used to wrap the bodies, which still conserves red, blue, yellow and white pigments, as well as copper, greenstone and shell beads, stand out.
Offerings consist of dishes and zoomorphic and anthropomorphic vessels that contain residues of food of animal origin, such as fish, birds, armadillos and turkey eggs.
Archaeologist Estela Martinez Mora, co-responsible of the Origin and Development of Urban Landscape of Tamtoc with Guillermo Cordova Tello, informed that this is the first time that burials with evidence of edible material are found in the Teneek Prehispanic site, which will bring in new information that will help deepening the knowledge of funerary customs and the diet of ancient Huasteca people.
She explained that the entombments were located in the building known as Structure 1, at the area where the elite residences were built during the Post Classic period (900 to 1521 AD), being these individuals from the ruling class with a social role not yet specified.
Martinez declared that other evidence that confirms the high rank of the individuals is their funerary attire, integrated by beads made out of marine shells from the Pacific Ocean and greenstone from deposits in Guatemala, precious raw material due to the remoteness of their origin.
Archaeologist Martinez commented that excavations at Structure 1 began during the last field season at Tamtoc, during which the Prehispanic building was restored; research was conducted to know the features of the elite dwelling area, since only ceremonial areas at this archaeological site have been studied.
She added that resulting from studies conducted by archaeologist Cordova in 2010 at Laguna de Los Patos, a workshop area where sculpture and other stone crafts were created was discovered, as well as early dwelling areas (600 BC) where craftspeople lived.
A fragment of a stele created in sandstone was found in the workshop context with a zoomorphic personage carved, representing the legs of a human being with claws. Evidence at the stone crafts workshop reveals that high quality sculpture was created by specialized artisans, mentioned Estela Martinez.
Other work conducted by Cordova was the exploration of Structure C3 adapted so public can visit it and admire Los Patos Lagoon from there. This pyramid is located to the north of the ceremonial area, in the limit of the water body. Exploration revealed it has 2 constructive stages, one from the Classic period (200-900 AD) and another from the Post Classic (900-1350 AD).
Patricia Hernandez Espinoza, Physical Anthropology postgraduate researcher at the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH), conducts studies on the 38 skeletons found in 2009 at the burial mounds at La Noria; according to analyses, the remains present 2 kinds of diseases: vertebral tuberculosis and yaws or frambesia tropica.
Finally, archaeologist Martinez declared that studies will continue in 2011 at La Noria, where remaining mounds will be excavated.