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Not only females? Ancient DNA reveals unexpected details of Mayan sacrifices

Anastasia KakunNews
Unexpected details of Mayan sacrifices. Source: pexels.com

The ancient Maya people, who inhabited the southern part of Mexico, have long been known for a large number of sacrifices. Recent archaeological research in the underground cave of Chichen Itza, one of the tribe's settlements, has uncovered a new burial site that resulted from traditional rituals. The main victims of the rituals were boys with family ties.

According to Rodrigo Barquera, a researcher at the Department of Archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, one of the most unexpected aspects of the discovery was the presence of identical twins in the burial. This destroyed the long-standing myth that the main victims of the rituals were girls, CNN writes.

Not only females? Ancient DNA reveals unexpected details of Mayan sacrifices

Archaeologists have found the remains of Mayan people in a water storage cave in the village of Chichen Itza. Using DNA, researchers were able to determine the gender and approximate age of 64 people, most of whom were boys. Vera Tiesler, a bioarchaeologist and professor at the Autonomous University of Yucatán, noted that almost all the children who became victims of the rituals were between 3 and 6 years old, and a quarter of them were related.

In addition, the archaeologists found the remains of four twins in the burial site, which could have a special spiritual significance. This is because there was a legend among the Maya about the The Hero Twins who descended into the underworld on their own to avenge their father's death.

"It's strange for me to see family members here, given the enormous duration of the deposit, which, as confirmed by radiocarbon dating, was used for about 500 years, during which these bodies were slowly accumulated," Vera said.

Not only females? Ancient DNA reveals unexpected details of Mayan sacrifices

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology found no evidence of ritual sacrifice as there was no visible damage to the remains. However, additional analysis of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in the bones showed that most people had the same diet for a long time.

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