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  • Originally published 08/20/2013

    Face of individual who lived 700 years ago to be reconstructed by Mexican archaeologists

    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....

  • Originally published 08/15/2013

    Search for centuries-old galleon off Oregon coast begins anew near Manzanita

    MANZANITA -- Somewhere off the coast of Manzanita rest the bones of a galleon from the Philippines, wrecked on the rocks around 1700 as it left Manila laden with goods destined for Mexico.That's the legend told here for centuries, but the saga isn't just empty words. For as long as the tale's circulated, Native Americans, settlers and even modern-day beachcombers have found the beeswax and porcelain to prove it.Now, a volunteer group of students, archaeologists and historians calling themselves the Beeswax Wreck Research Project is hoping to get one step closer to finding the ship when they set out to sea later this month with equipment that may zero in on the galleon's location....

  • Originally published 08/07/2013

    Tourists to Mexico still drawn by peyote trips

    REAL DE CATORCE, MEXICO – Gisele Beker, a 26-year-old Argentine, trudged for hours in scorching sun to the sprawling Wirikuta desert craving peyote, the hallucinogenic cactus that Mexicans deem sacred.Joined by three Mexican friends, Beker was living her dream as part of a new wave of tourists taking a trip for a trip — in this case to see where Lophophora williamsii takes her.“Did you strike gold yet?” she asked her Mexican friends anxiously after a 700-km trip as they searched the desert floor for the small, spineless cactus full of psychoactive alkaloids, particularly mescaline.The drug is technically illegal, but for centuries it has played a role in indigenous culture in northern Mexico and Texas, where it is part of transcendence and meditation for cultures such as the Wixarika, or Huicholes in Spanish — so much so that this remote corner of San Luis Potosi state has become a bit of a promised land for those who have trekked here to try peyote, despite the logistic challenges, since the 1960s....

  • Originally published 07/30/2013

    Obama's Lost War on Drugs

    Rather than relying on our hopeless forty-fourth president and an even more hopeless Republican-controlled Congress, citizen groups need to mobilize together to oppose the waste of their hard earned taxpayer dollars in the War on Drugs. 

  • Originally published 05/21/2013

    The Maya meet the Internet

    Researchers began decoding the glyphic language of the ancient Maya long ago, but the Internet is helping them finish the job and write the history of this enigmatic Mesoamerican civilization.For centuries, scholars understood little about Maya script beyond its elegant astronomical calculations and calendar. The Maya had dominated much of Central America and southern Mexico for 1,000 years before their civilization collapsed about 600 years before the Spaniards reached the New World....

  • Originally published 05/01/2013

    New clues on origins of Maya civilization

    The Maya civilization is well-known for its elaborate temples, sophisticated writing system, and mathematical and astronomical developments, yet the civilization's origins remain something of a mystery.A new University of Arizona study to be published in the journal Science challenges the two prevailing theories on how the ancient civilization began, suggesting its origins are more complex than previously thought.Anthropologists typically fall into one of two competing camps with regard to the origins of Maya civilization. The first camp believes that it developed almost entirely on its own in the jungles of what is now Guatemala and southern Mexico. The second believes that the Maya civilization developed as the result of direct influences from the older Olmec civilization and its center of La Venta....

  • Originally published 04/23/2013

    Oaxaca temple complex hints at archaic Mexican state

    Much of what we know about past civilizations in Mexico comes from the writings of colonial Europeans -- Spanish conquerors and priests -- who arrived in the Americas in the 1500s. But archaeological evidence from recent excavations at a site called El Palenque in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, shows that temple precincts similar to the ones the Europeans encountered had existed in the region some 1,500 years earlier.Married archaeologists Elsa Redmond and Charles Spencer, both of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, reported the discoveries Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

  • Originally published 04/15/2013

    Maya Long Count calendar and European calendar linked using carbon-14 dating

    The Maya are famous for their complex, intertwined calendric systems, and now one calendar, the Maya Long Count, is empirically calibrated to the modern European calendar, according to an international team of researchers. "The Long Count calendar fell into disuse before European contact in the Maya area," said Douglas J. Kennett, professor of environmental archaeology, Penn State. "Methods of tying the Long Count to the modern European calendar used known historical and astronomical events, but when looking at how climate affects the rise and fall of the Maya, I began to question how accurately the two calendars correlated using those methods."...

  • Originally published 04/11/2013

    Mammoth discovered in Mexico

    Picture a 30-year-old male, wandering the wilderness alone, far from his friends, seeking love. Let's call him Manny.Picture him trudging from lake to lake in the Mexican mountains, having climbed nearly half a mile from his pals into the hills to the picturesque watering holes, in search of a mate.Now flash forward some 12,000 years to modern day Mexico City, where residents of the suburb of Milpa Alto recently stumbled across the most complete mammoth skeleton ever found in the country, the National Institute of Anthropology and History announced Monday.... 

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    LiDAR survey reveals ancient playing fields in Mexico

    Archaeologists in Mexico say they have uncovered three ancient playing fields at a pre-Hispanic site in the eastern state of Veracruz.They found the courts, dating back some 1,000 years, at the Tajin World Heritage site by using laser scanners (LiDAR). They believe the fields would have been used to play pelota, a game in which players used their hips to propel a rubber ball through stone hoops. The sport was widely played by Mayan and other pre-Columbian people. Experts from the National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH) said the use of aerial photography, remote sensors and laser scanners had made it possible to find the ancient structures, hidden by layers of soil and dense vegetation....

  • Originally published 02/27/2013

    Mexican archaeologists reveal studies made on sacrificial stone found at Templo Mayor

    Some months ago, a stone where human sacrifices were performed was found as part of the archaeological salvage work that has been made by the Program of Urban Archaeology (PAU) from the Great Temple Museum. Today, thanks to numerous studies, we know that the location where the monolith was discovered was not the place where it had been used 500 years ago. It was removed from its original place back in the pre Hispanic era.According to specialists, this kind of stone was used, in pre Hispanic times, to place a person lying on his back (with an eastern or western direction). Once they were laid down they were sacrificed; their thoracic cage was opened and their heart was pulled out.... 

  • Originally published 02/19/2013

    Mexican archaeologists discover two burials estimated to be over 500 years old

    In a pharmaceutical company’s premises, located in the municipal district of Miguel Hidalgo of Mexico City, specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH-Conaculta) recovered two burials that are over 500 years old, as well as other ceramic remains. Given the possibility that there could be more pre Hispanic element findings in the area, INAH elaborated an archaeological salvage project that will take place in said area.... 

  • Originally published 02/15/2013

    Mexico finds fire-god figure at top of Pyramid of the Sun

    Did the rulers of the ancient city of Teotihuacan dedicate their largest pyramid to the god of fire, the so-called old god with a signature beard and fire atop his head? Mexican archaeologists announced this week that a figure of the god, called Huehueteotl, was found in a covered pit at the apex of the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, a popular archaeological site north of Mexico City.

  • Originally published 01/31/2013

    Aztec conquest altered Mexican genetics

    AUSTIN, Texas — For centuries, the fate of the original Otomí inhabitants of Xaltocan, the capital of a pre-Aztec Mexican city-state, has remained unknown. Researchers have long wondered whether they assimilated with the Aztecs or abandoned the town altogether.According to new anthropological research from The University of Texas at Austin, Wichita State University and Washington State University, the answers may lie in DNA. Following this line of evidence, the researchers theorize that some original Otomies, possibly elite rulers, may have fled the town. Their exodus may have led to the reorganization of the original residents within Xaltocan, or to the influx of new residents, who may have intermarried with the Otomí population.Using ancient DNA (aDNA) sampling, Jaime Mata-Míguez, an anthropology graduate student and lead author of the study, tracked the biological comings and goings of the Otomí people following the incorporation of Xaltocan into the Aztec empire. The study, published in American Journal of Physical Anthropology, is the first to provide genetic evidence for the anthropological cold case....

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    Petroglyphs on the Ledge of Souls

    Mexican archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) recently located and recorded a rock panel covered in  petroglyphs that may have been carved between 850 and 1350 CE.The site named “Cantil de las animas” [Ledge of Souls] is near the town of Jesus Maria Cortes in Tepic, Nayarit, Western Mexico.The carved symbolic representations, which are attributed to the ancient Aztlan culture, were located in a new archaeological  zone within the region’s mountainous zone, and they cover a south facing surface of vertical rock about 4 metres long and 2 metres high....

  • Originally published 01/24/2013

    Ancient petroglyphs found in Mexico

    Mexico City, Jan 23 (IANS/EFE) Mexican archaeologists have discovered in the western state of Nayarit a series of petroglyphs estimated to have been carved between 850 and 1350 A.D., the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.The bas relief carvings have a symbolic character and are attributed to ancient groups from the Aztatlan cultural complex, and they were found at a site called "Cantil de las animas" (Cliff of the souls), in the mountainous portion of Nayarit's southern high plateau, an area where archaeological finds have been practically unknown....