Friday, December 11, 2009

Sort of Interesting Sort of News about 426 AD

It seems clear from the deciphered texts that the king who founded the most successful dynasty of Copan, one of the greatest Maya cities, came from Teotihuacan in Mexico. The art of Copan also shows a decided Mexican influence, and the kings are depicted in costumes like those worn by the elite of Teotihuacan. Now trace element analysis of the bones of king K’inich Yax K’uk’ Mo’ shows that, what do you know, he grew up near Teotihuacan. This is a great new archaeological trick. The soil of every part of the world has differing amounts of rare minerals like selenium and germanium. If you eat a lot of plants when you are growing up, or animals that eat plants, the soil chemistry of the place those plants are grown is implanted in your bones for as long as those bones survive. Seawater has a different mix of elements, so if you live mostly on seafood that gets imprinted in your bones, too. It happens that the Mayan lands of southern Mexico have a recognizably different elemental signature than the highlands, so this kind of comparison can be done. I'm not sure why this is being put out as news, though, since we already knew this. I guess the inscriptions could have been a lie, but why would a Mayan king falsely claim to be from Teotihuacan?

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