Human burials found in Mexico linked to 19th century French invasion

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Mexican archaeologists have found human burials associated with the French invasion and the Hapsburg empire of Maximilian in the mid-19th century, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) announced on Tuesday.

Human burials found in Mexico linked to 19th century French invasion
Credit: Manuel Melgarejo/INAH

The find was made at the San Francisco Javier Church located in the historic center of the city of Puebla in central Mexico, where Mexican experts are working to save archaeological sites.

“A group of human burials has been found, most of which are related to the 19th century epidemics and, especially, to the epoch of the French invasion and empire of Maximilian of Hapsburg between 1862 and 1867,” said INAH in a bulletin released on Tuesday.

Human burials found in Mexico linked to 19th century French invasion
Credit: Manuel Melgarejo/INAH

Authorities deduced that the human burial sites were related to that epoch because one of the finds was of a male who had a bullet hold in his left iliac bone, which is part of the pelvis. “Because of the (type of) projectile that caused this (hole), the theory is that the man died in the middle of the war against France,” the institute said.

In addition, archaeologists found other items like shoe soles, buttons from clothing and a metal cross that a woman probably wore, all of “which are estimated to correspond to the second half of the 19th century.”

Human burials found in Mexico linked to 19th century French invasion
Credit: Manuel Melgarejo/INAH

The team of specialists, including archaeologists Mariana Navarro Rosales and Raymundo Ramirez Marcos, along with scientific illustrator Selene Bagatella, so far have identified six primary burials and two secondary ones, one of the latter containing six individuals and the other 14.

In addition, the investigators concluded that the people whose remains were in the primary burials were all over 25 years of age at the time of their deaths.

Human burials found in Mexico linked to 19th century French invasion
Credit: Manuel Melgarejo/INAH

For the experts, the discovery provides an opportunity to learn more about the funerary practices in the mid-19th century since, although most of the burials were found in an anatomical position – that is, presumably lying on their backs – suggesting that they could have been made in coffins, others could have used other funerary techniques.

Finally, archaeologist Manuel Melgarejo Perez said that authorities are considering setting up a laboratory inside the San Francisco Javier Church to be able to undertake measures to preserve the human remains and other materials found there.

Source: EFE [March 22, 2022]

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