Archaeologists in Mexico have discovered sets of human remains from the early ancestors of the Mayan civilization that could be as much as 7,000 years old; officials reported Tuesday.
According to archaeologists at a Mexico City news conference, three sets of human remains were unearthed at the Puyil cave located in the Tacotalpa municipality of Tabasco state, located in southern Mexico. One of the collections of the human remains reportedly goes as far back as the pre-classical era of the Mayan civilization, putting it at up to 7,000 years old. The other two skeletons are estimated to be about 4,000 years old.
"Seven thousand years old is what we've just placed it (remains), which is the period of transition from being hunters to sedentarism. 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 to dispose of remains of people," said Archaeologist, Alberto Martos.
"For the Mayans, it was a cave of ancestors. The Mayans used this cave, 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."
These ancient Mayan remains are on show in the capital's Anthropology Museum for the "Puyil: the Cave of Ancestors" exhibition. People can see the remains as well as find other artifacts discovered in the region such as ceramics and pieces of jade.
The Maya were among the great ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica, building cities with elaborate ceremonial centers and soaring stone pyramids from modern-day Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
They dominated the region for some 2,000 years before the ancient civilization mysteriously abandoned its cities around 900 A.C.E.