Category: World / December 19, 2012 3:33 PM EST
Archaeologists digging in a pre-Hispanic burial ground in the north-western Mexican state of Sonora have discovered over a dozen skeletons with signs of skull binding, indicating the reach of ancient Mesoamerican cultures across the country was more prominent than previously believed.
Excavators unearthed 25 sets of skeletons at the 1,000-year-old burial ground. Thirteen of the skeletons showed signs of cranial deformations, and another five revealed signs of dental deformation.
According to some experts, the skeletons are evidence of the ancient practice of skull binding, a ritual performed on Mesoamerican youth as a right of passage into adulthood. The majority of skeletons buried at the site were minors, indicating that the tradition may have killed many.
The skeletons are believed to date back to Epiclassic period of the Mesoamerican people from 900 to 1200 C.E. and is the first pre-Hispanic burial ground to be found in Mexico's Sonora region.
Investigations at the site are ongoing to determine the precise ethnic origins of the remains.