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More unmarked graves … good

26 May 2011

Fox News Latino:

Mexican experts have discovered seven new Mayan archaeological sites and an “important concentration” of pre-Columbian graves in the southeastern state of Yucatan, the National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, said.

The new sites were found in an area covering roughly 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) and are known as Oxmul, Polok Ceh, Cuzam, Chan Much, Nichak, Tzakan and Chankiuik.

According to INAH, Oxmul is an especially important archaeological site where 75 pre-Columbian graves were found containing the remains of Indians buried with polychromatic vessels and other ceramic pieces “never before seen in this Maya region.”

Archaeologist Luis Raul Pantoja Diaz, coordinator of the Merida Region Archaeological Project, said in a statement that these finds of “earlier, well-organized populations with an elaborate social stratification” have altered the previous chronology of the ancient Maya culture.

For example, archaeologists have corroborated their hypothesis that Yucatan’s northern region had been populated as far back as 400 B.C. – rather than only starting in the Classic period (200 A.D.-600 A.D.) as had been previously believed.

“These are areas of the municipality of Merida that were thought not to have been populated by such remote pre-Columbian groups because these are lands that weren’t productive,” Pantoja said.

Pantoja said archaeologists have found architectural structures made from materials that show evidence of “intense social and economic development.”

“We now know that in the space where Merida now sits there’s an early architecture, ceramic pieces, lithic fragments and human graves, basic elements that will serve to complete the history of this region of northern Yucatan,” he said.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. "craig" permalink
    26 May 2011 11:12 pm

    Good thing they are keeping the artifacts “back at the office.” Some non-Yucatecans think nothing of bulldozing centuries- or milennia-old Mayan sites to use “for pasture.”

    http://www.antiquitylives.com/2010/12/preclassic-mayan-ruins-illegally.html

    He claims “he didn’t realize” it was an archeological site, despite Mayan arches over 3 meters high. And the irony is, he is a member and founder of a group of Monterrey TEC alumni trying to “fight apathy” and “encourage good citizenship.” iow: the irony runs deep, the capacity to hold cognitive dissonance runs high.

    Also toppled and cleared away were seven structures and two altars that stood in the main square. The largest building was more than 3 meters (10 feet) tall.

    Though at first the owner of the premises, Ricardo Ascencio Maldonado, denied what had happened, he later admitted that the work was done to level the ground for pastureland, the reason he used heavy earthmoving machinery, the newspaper said.

    He said that he bought the land three months ago and no one ever told him it was an archaeological site……

  2. "craig" permalink
    27 May 2011 12:14 am

    More reading about our, ahem, hero, Maldonado:

    EXATEC and “good intentions”: http://www.yucatan.com.mx/20110516/nota-9/43898-intentan-traer-el-tec-de-monterrey-.htm

    Correa Arce afirmó que como egresados del Tecnológico no puede ser indiferentes ante las desigualdades e injusticias que imperan en la sociedad.

    “Si somos empresarios podemos ser actores de cambio. Lo podemos hacer bien y con responsabilidad social. Si somos gobierno debemos actuar con transparencia y comprometidos con los ciudadanos”, subrayó.

    “…cannot be indifferent to inequalities and injustices in our society… we businessmen can be actors of change. We can do good(works) with social responsibility. (we) should act with transparency and be committed to (the) citizens”

    Meanwhile, bulldozing priceless ruins, by a member and ex-president of this group:

    http://www.yucatannoticias.com/2011/02/mas-pruebas-contra-empresario-que-arraso-con-zona-arqueologica-multa-de-tres-millones-y-denuncia-federal-en-la-pgr/

    El Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) solicitó al empresario Ricardo Ascencio Maldonado un monto por tres millones, como presupuesto base para resarcir los daños causados a la Zona Arqueológica Número 15, la cual destruyó con el objetivo de crear un potrero.

    http://www.yucatanahora.com/noticias/inah-gestiona-recursos-para-rescatar-zona-arqueologica-devastada-10803/

    Al lugar de los hechos acudió personal de la empresa Axis International Lost Adjusters and Surveyors, quienes evaluaron los daños causados a esta zona arqueológica, que data del Preclásico, 300 aC, la cual fue destruida con dolo por el presidente de la Asociación ex Alumnos del Tecnológico de Monterrey (Exatec).

    That last part reads:

    which was destroyed intentionally by the president of the Alumni Association Tecnológico de Monterrey (Exatec).

    Jeez, fellers, I didn’t know it was ruins and all. Stones just naturally stack themselves three meters high, with formed arches, perfect square bases, and columns with carvings. It wasn’t like I KNEW they were ruins when I hired BULLDOZERS to smash it all to bits and pile it up for a pasture wall for my cattle.

    The site was believed to be 2300 years old. Field workers reported that countless articles uncovered during the bulldozing of mounds, buildings and temples were looted – pottery, carved stones, artifacts. Nearly 1 square kilometer of the city center was bulldozed, including seven structures, two altars, raised platforms…. (all translated from the links provided)

    And there are many sources:
    http://www.revista-contacto.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7088:inah-ratifica-denuncia-por-dano-en-yucatan&catid=112:cultura&Itemid=587

    http://www.revistaemet.net/new_emet/noticia.php?id=10914

    English: http://www.theyucatantimes.com/2011/02/the-complete-destruction-of-archeological-site-15-case-continues/

  3. kwallek permalink
    27 May 2011 5:48 am

    My understanding is that Dzibilchaltun dates to 600BC as an established town or city, I read that fact or theory many years ago. It is always clumped into the early Mayan sites in the text books. I was a little taken aback at the news release that they were setting back the clock.

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