Back in 2013 a group of German researchers found the remains of about 20 human bodies shattered in a 6th century water reservoir in the Mayan city of Uxul, Mexico… 6 years later this is what they say:
MEXICO (Antropohistoria) – A group of researchers at the University of Bonn believe it is likely that the remains of about 20 dismembered and decapitated people who were found in 2013 in a water deposit of the Mayan city of Uxul, Mexico, were actually prisoners of war
After the discovery, the scientists doubted whether the bodies belonged to people from that locality or came from another Mayan region. To shed light on the issue, strontium isotope analyses of the dental enamel of 13 of them – with the help of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) – revealed that most had grown to a distance of up to 150 kilometers south of Uxal, in a territory that today corresponds to Guatemala. Despite this, the results revealed that an adult and a baby were born in the locality where the prisoners were held.
“As the development of dental enamel is completed in early childhood, the proportion of strontium isotopes indicates the region where a person grew up,” explained Nicolaus Seefeld, director of the project and a specialist in rituals in Mayan societies. He also explained that the victims had a high social status, given that eight of them had elaborate jewellery like teeth.
No cannibalism was found
The remains belonged to at least 14 men, one woman, several teenagers and an 18-month-old baby. Almost all of the bones showed marks of cuts and wounds from stone blades. According to experts, their distribution indicated that the individuals had been systematically and deliberately dismembered before being burned and their parts thrown to the bottom of the tank. However, as far as we know, no marks of cannibalism have been found.
The researchers also detailed that the parts of the dismembered bodies were intentionally placed as far apart as possible. “This clearly demonstrates the desire to destroy the physical unity of the individuals,” Seefeld said.
The lead author of the research detailed that, thanks to pictorial representations of ritual violence by the Mayas, it is known that they practiced decapitation and dismemberment of human beings, especially during armed conflicts. Specifically, in the images that show victorious rulers capturing the elites of the places they had just conquered and then humiliating them and murdering them in public.
The Yucatan Times