More than 130 burials, most likely from the 16th century, were found at the Great Base of Tlatelolco Archaeological Zone, in Mexico City, during the recent exploration season. The remains are being analyzed to determine their age.
First traces of this unprecedented funerary complex were registered between 2008 and 2009. The group of skeletons was found placed parting from the center of the Prehispanic structure, from where 126 of 131 registered skeletons were recovered by archaeologists of the National Institute of Anthropology and History
(INAH); the rest were left in site for conservation reasons.
Archaeologist Salvador Guilliem Arroyo, director of the archaeological project, commented that in order to determine temporality and ethnic affiliation of individuals, the phase of analysis continues, studying the skeletons, associated material (Prehispanic and Colonial ceramics, wood fragments, textile rests and metal) and the funerary context.
We have observed that the funerary complex is integrated by six entombment levels, most of them oriented from north to south. Under the skeletons´ deposit, a Prehispanic stucco floor was identified and its samples are also being analyzed.
Excavations have shown a great amount of archaeological evidence that need further interpretation before being published, mentioned Gulliem, who also heads the INAH National Coordination of Archaeology.
He recalled that 131 skeletons of different age and gender were found, some of them associated to wood fragments, which indicates they were buried in coffins, in the Christian custom.
Besides identification of wood types, Carbon 14 and soil analysis conducted at the INAH Direction of Archaeological Studies laboratories, restoration of metal pieces such as nails and earrings has concluded. The Geophysics Institute of UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) collaborates dating the stuccoes located at the funerary complex.
Work finished in late 2009 at the Prehispanic site of Tlatelolco includes the research and excavation performed at Caja de Agua (water deposit) and Stage 2 of Main Temple; hypotheses raised will be reconsidered or reaffirmed in 2010.
The funerary complex was registered as part of research performed by INAH archaeologists during 2008, with the aim of getting more evidence to confirm the construction date of Stage I of Main Temple of Tlatelolco, which would determine the moment of foundation.