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Burials and fragmented walls have been brought to light at the Historical Center of Mexico City
Inside this recipient they also found a pair of obsidian earflaps in perfect state of conservation, and a small winch as well as a fractured zoomorphic figure (maybe a lizard) that was possibly exposed to fire during the cremation, Belem Beltran Alarcon elaborated. Photo: DMC INAH. M. TAPIA.

Translated by: Cristina Perez Ayala

MEXICO CITY.- Three burials, offerings and floor remains with more than 500 years of antiquity, the remains of canals that date back to the XVIII and early XX century, and fragments of colonial walls, have been brought to light at the Historical Center of the City of Mexico. These artifacts, derived from the renovation of the electrical network system in that area, supervised by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Said infrastructure labors by the Federal Commission of Electricity (CFE) have taken place since 2010 with the objective of renovating the electrical infrastructure, which is more than 50 years old, while a team of between seven and twelve archaeologists from the Archaeological Salvage Direction (DSA) inspect the area. The team’s objective is to prevent the buried cultural patrimony to be damaged, as well as to recover vast historical information that each vestige holds.

“This labor is about to be completed (95%) and we have made more than a thousand archaeological surveys. The excavations rate from 30 centimeters [11.81 inches], up to 3 meters deep [9.84 feet], and from 1.20 meters [3.93 feet] to 5 meters [16.4 feet] long”, informed Belem Beltran Alarcon, responsible for the Electrical Network Modernization of the Historical Center in Mexico City CFE-INAH.

Through this labor, which takes place at night in order to leave traffic unaffected, archaeologists have registered diverse findings: burials, offerings, pre Hispanic floors corresponding to the Late Post Classic period (1325 – 1521 AD), a diversity of draining channels of more than a hundred years old, and concentrations of ceramic material and wall remains from buildings dating back to the XVI through XX centuries.

From the before mentioned, there is one finding that stands out the most: a children’s burial recovered in September 2012 in Nezahualcoyotl street, at a depth of 1.75 meters [5.74 feet] above sea level. This burial has a fragmented cranium, large bones and the vertebras of a six year old individual. His remains’ original position couldn’t be determined because it had been previously altered.

Associated to this skeleton we found a monochromatic fragmented base –approximately 30 centimeters [11.81 inches] tall– inside they found human cremated remains of an individual of about 15 and 17 years of age, of yet unidentified sex.

According to physical anthropologist Thanya Hernandez Torres “the bones in the vase have an irregular exposure to fire with black and white colorations, which reveals the fact that different body parts had been burnt in different temperatures.

Inside this recipient they also found a pair of obsidian earflaps in perfect state of conservation, and a small winch as well as a fractured zoomorphic figure (maybe a lizard) that was possibly exposed to fire during the cremation, Belem Beltran Alarcon elaborated.

The characteristics and elements of this burial, although simple, are very interesting. The obsidian earflaps, for example, point to the fact that this character wasn’t ordinary. However, there are still many analyses that need to be conducted, the DSA specialist pointed out.

At the same time, archaeologist Julio César Cruzalta indicated that in February 2011, in Miguel Aleman’s street corner with Mixcalco they found two semi complete burials. The one closest to the surface —at 1.15 meters [3.77 feet] deep— corresponds to the skeleton of a woman of about 30 years of age; the finding involved her complete cranium, mandible, vertebrae, cervical, femurs, fibula, clavicles and ribs, which were deposited under a stucco floor.

“Said skeleton is accompanied by an offering integrated by ceramic vestiges (of a principally Aztec style, and Texcoco Red), small obsidian knives and a fragmented perfuming pot, its handle has the shape of a serpent. This burial represented alteration, which is inferred because the floor is broken and among the pre Hispanic materials they found few colonial objects.

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