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Face of individual who lived 700 years ago to be reconstructed by Mexican archaeologists
The skeleton of a man who allegedly lived 700 years ago and which was found in Michoacan state, Mexico. Experts of the INAH and the National Autonomous University of Mexico announced on August 12, 2013 they will use the skull to reconstruct the face of the pre-Hispanic young man whom they believe was part of the elite. AFP PHOTO/ INAH.

Translated by: Cristina Perez Ayala

MEXICO CITY.- The face of a Pre-Hispanic skeleton, recovered in Michohacán 35 years ago by archeologist Roman Piña Chan, is to be reconstructed by specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and support from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), as part of the preservation and conservation job of an individual’s skeleton remains who belonged to Occidental Cultures, over 700 years ago, and was apparently a member of the elite.

Restorer Luisa Mainou, a member of the National Cultural Heritage Preservation Coordination (CNCPC) from the INAH, explained that the skeleton was found in a cornfield within the township of Ario de Rayon and then moved to the Regional Museum of Michohacan.

The specialist, who leads the Organic Material Conservation and Restoration Workshop of the CNPC, clarified that as part of such treatment, a layer of glue that covered each of the skeletal remains, had to be removed.

Subsequently, the skeleton was re-mineralized and bioconsolidated to enhance its resistance, hardness, flexibility, and elasticity.

The restorer made clear that a replica was made of the cranium, with which forensic anthropologist Lilia Escorcial will create a facial approximation of the character. Later, visual artist Irwing Minero will add expression to it.

Mainou indicated that the idea behind this reconstruction is to obtain additional data on this individual from Occidental Cultures who lived during the late Post-Classic period (1300-1500 AD).

“Before the unburrowing, photographic registry by grid was taken of each bone, due to the fact that bone positioning is, in many cases, indicative of the time and region to which the studied individual belonged”, she explained.

After the image registry, specialists placed each bone in an anatomical position to go over a superficial cleaning, re-mineralization and bioconsolidation of each bone piece.

Physicist Jorge Gómez determined that the skeleton belonged to a man who died between the age of 22 and 24. He had a slim constitution, was around 5’3 tall and from the way his bones developed, did no physical labor.

The analysis also shows that he lived an extremely healthy life and was most likely sacrificed, a hypothesis that might be confirmed or denied later in the process.

Restorers Arcadio Marin, Gabriela Mazon, and Carlos Molina were also part of the preservation and conservation process.

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August 15, 2013

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