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48 human remains — some with sharpened teeth and modified skulls — found in Mexico

A massive gravesite — dating back at least 1,300 years — was unearthed in central Mexico, offering a glimpse into the cultural practices of the region’s pre-Hispanic occupants.

The remains of 48 individuals were found buried beneath tombstones in Tula, located about 75 miles northwest of Mexico City, according to a Dec. 21 news release from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Many of the individuals were buried in a seated position and oriented toward the sunrise or sunset, and some of them displayed signs of body modification, officials said.

For example, the incisors of one individual were filed down to have sharpened points, while the individual’s canines contained holes.

Some of the skulls showed evidence of cranial modification, a practice once carried out by various pre-Hispanic groups.

Also found at the gravesite was a cache of various artifacts — likely offerings — including ceramic pipes, seashell earrings and weapons, officials said.

A young male was buried wearing a necklace fashioned from 29 snails, which resembled the fangs of a carnivorous animal, officials said. Also located with his remains were two obsidian knives, which were likely placed inside of a bag.

Over a dozen hearths unearthed nearby allowed researchers to conclude the site was used by Pueblito and Huasteca groups between 250 and 650 A.D. — well before the Spanish conquest of Mexico in the 16th century.

This time frame encompasses the Early and Middle Classic periods, which saw the flourishing of various indigenous communities in Mexico, including the Mayan in Teotihuacán, according to the American Museum of Natural History.

Google Translate was used to translate a news release from INAH.

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