Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Zoque Pyramid

In Mexico, archaeologists are excavating the oldest pyramid tomb yet found in central America. The main burial was accompanied by jade beads and other extraordinary artifacts, along with two human sacrifices. All those Mayan pyramids were tombs; there is always a founding tomb near the base, and every time the pyramid was enlarged, more tombs were added. So the discovery of the tomb at Chiapa de Corzo, dating to about 700 BC, sheds some light on the origin of the practice. And, interestingly, Chiapa de Corzo is not a Mayan site, nor does it seem to have been part of the Olmec culture, which was the richest and most influential of the time. Archaeologists call this culture Zoque, but nobody knows quite who these people were or how they were related to the Maya.

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