500-year-old indigenous cemetery found in Amazon

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A collection of 500-year-old urns is rocking Brazil’s science communities after experts discovered traces left behind from Amazonian Polychrome Tradition, a first in Brazilian archaeological achievements.

500-year-old indigenous cemetery found in Amazon
Credit: Archaeological Laboratory of the Mamiraua Institute

Decorated in shades of red and black, nine urns buried 40 centimeters below the surface in the Amazonian community of Tauary were found by archaeologists last month, the Archaeological Laboratory Mamiraua Institute announced Friday.




A researcher with the institute, Eduardo Kazuo Tamanaha, said, “We discovered more than one per day, first came one, we started to clean, there was another next, they were appearing like a domino effect.”

Though similar discoveries have been made in both Peru and Ecuador, for scientists to encounter pre-Hispanic Amazonian funeral urns in Brazil is unheard-of, Kazuo explained

500-year-old indigenous cemetery found in Amazon
Credit: Archaeological Laboratory of the Mamiraua Institute

“Researchers often receive them from locals, who actually find the artifacts and pull them out of the ground. Now to dig and find a grave with the urns from that culture, the way they were, and to the whole record is unprecedented,” said Kazuo.




Paintings of animals and human faces adorned the collection, which scientists say were found carefully placed with their designs facing away from each other.

“If an urn was buried face up, the urn beside it was ‘looking’ down…it was as if they did not want to look at each other. Clearly they were buried that way and it was intentional,” the researcher said.

500-year-old indigenous cemetery found in Amazon
Credit: Archaeological Laboratory of the Mamiraua Institute

The Mamiraua staff also say they believe the vessels were buried at the same time due to the fact that all nine urns were found at equal depths.




“If it were different moments of burial, the urns would be at different heights. It is as if they had excavated a single grave and deposited one urn next to the other,” said Kazuo.

Shards of pottery were also found buried among the urns which seem to be from an older group that also once inhabited the same region.

“The Tauary urns are close to the year 1500 AD. But this other pottery found appears to be much older, with a difference of 49 centimeters deep compared to the period of the polls which indicates a greater passage of time,” Kazuo said.

The team of scientists hopes the recent discovery can lead to a deeper understanding of the ancient civilization’s traditions, beliefs, and morphology.

Source: TeleSur [September 02, 2018]

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