Photo: Discovered skulls in Mexico City (INAH)
Four skulls that formed part of an altar made of human bones from the Late Post-Classical period (1350-1521) were found during the construction of a new Mexico City metro line, authorities said.
The skulls are from two men, one woman and a dog, Mexico’s National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said in a communique.
The two men were estimated to be between 25-35 years of age and less than 35, respectively, at the time of their deaths, and the woman was estimated to be between 18-22 years old, the latter skull having been intentionally deformed, INAH said.
The finds were made between October 2008 and August 2012 along a 24.5-km (15-mile) stretch of Metro Line 12’s route, where other archaeological objects were also found, INAH added.
Much evidence of pre-Columbian settlement in the region has been detected during various construction work, and the archaeological items uncovered to date includes houses, stone- and slab-lined canals, sculptures, much ceramic material and about 100 graves, most of them of infants.
The skulls each show perforations of the temples, which indicates that they were probably placed on a rod or stick to be displayed on a “tzompantli,” or skull rack, where the skulls of sacrificial victims were commonly mounted. However, ultimately they were removed from there and were not part of a rack when unearthed, INAH said.
With regard to the dog skull, INAH said that it might be that dogs were connected with funerary rites, perhaps to accompany the souls of the dead to the underworld, but this is the first time that such a dog skull has been found with perforations showing that it was, at one time, displayed on a skull rack.