Ancient remains of three individuals from as far back as 7,000 years ago were discovered in Mexico.
Archaeologists at a Mexico City news conference revealed that the remains of ancestors of the Mayan civilization were discovered in a cave. The remains were discovered in the Puyil cave in Tacotalpa, in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco and could be 7,000 years old.
“For the Mayans, it was a cave of ancestors. This cave was used by the Mayans, they respected the remains that were already there and left their own remains inside. So this has an extended period of occupation of the cave of up to 7,000 years until today,” said archaeologist Alberto Martos, of The National Institute of Anthropology and History, during the conference.
Scientists put the skeletons, skulls, teeth, and other remains of the ancient Mayans on display.
“Seven thousand years old is what we’ve just placed it (remains), which is the period of transition from being hunters to sedentarism,” said Martos. “There were different groups during this time that used the caves. Clearly it wasn’t a domestic cave. In prehistoric times it was probably used for rituals and cemeteries so as to dispose of remains of people.”
The Mayans took up residence in Mesoamerica, what is now Mexico and Central America at around 1800 B.C., Mayan civilization reached its pinnacle around 250 A.D. The Mayan population may have reached 2 million, and the Mayan civilization extended to about 40 cities.
By around 900 A.D. the Mayans mysteriously disappeared from their cities, after around 200 years of regional dominance. Scientists are still perplexed on how a thriving civilization suddenly abandoned itself. By the time the Spanish arrived, the Mayan civilization was buried under rainforests, and Mayans were living in scattered agricultural villages.