Human Remains in Mexico Pyramid
By The Associated Press
Mexico (AP) -- Archaeologists have found a human
skeleton and many artifacts inside the Pyramid of the Moon, once the
biggest ceremonial center of pre-Colombian Mexico.
was discovered in a structure buried by the later
construction of the pyramid, which served as a platform for a high altar --
not as a tomb in the Egyptian style.
since June showed that the step-type pyramids, made
most of tamped earth, loose rocks and an outer layer of mortared stone,
may have been built over an earlier civilization before the mysterious
``It could be
very important, once we find out more,'' Saburu Sugiyama, a
Japanese-born archaeologist from Arizona State University, said
Tuesday. ``The skeleton -- bones, but in a very good condition -- was
found buried in a sitting position, facing south.''
the skeleton is still half buried. Its gender and age have not
been determined, but he estimated it could date to 100 A.D. to 150
``It must have
belonged to somebody important, because of the amount
and quality of funeral offerings surrounding it,'' he said. Around 150
artifacts have been found in the tomb -- figurines, ceramics, statuettes,
jade carvings, and obsidian.
objects included arrow and spear heads and very finely
ground, small obsidian knives that could have been used to sew cloth.
Sugiyama is one
of an international team of archeologists exploring and
mapping the pyramid. Involved are the University of Tokyo, the National
Autonomous University of Mexico, the University of the Americas in
Mexico and the National Institute of History and Anthropology.
They are also
financing the project jointly, together with the National
Science Foundation of the United States, Ruben Cabrera Castro,
coordinator of the project, told a news conference.
the tomb was discovered by accident about 10 days ago.
The team is digging low tunnels at the bottom of the pyramid from north to
south and from west to east to find out what is inside the structure.
The Pyramid of
the Moon is located at the upper end of the Avenue of
the Dead, which runs north-to-south in Teotihuacan. Further south, on the
eastern edge the avenue, is the much taller Pyramid of the Sun.
And at the lower
tip of the avenue is the temple of Quetzalcoatl, the
sacred plumed serpent. To one side of it, decorated with elaborate stone
carvings, is a cluster of low buildings known as the ``Great Complex.''
in the valley of the same name 30 miles north of Mexico
City, was a thriving city and ceremonial center that predated the Aztecs
by several centuries.
But very little
is known about it. Investigators have found the pyramids
and buildings close by, artifacts, a few pictographs, but no hieroglyphs or
other writings of any kind.
declining sharply around 650 AD, and was completely
deserted by around 750 AD. No one yet knows why.