Two Dozen Corpses, Beheaded Around 1,400 Years Ago, Found in a Cave in Mexico | Smart News | Smithsonian
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Two Dozen Corpses, Beheaded Around 1,400 Years Ago, Found in a Cave in Mexico

In a cave in Mexico, the disembodied corpses of dozens of people

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Disembodied heads and dislocated jaws fill an old reservoir, the remains of the unknown victims of a bloody clash. Photo: Nicolaus Seefeld / Uni Bonn

War is awful. It’s always been so. But in case you needed a reminder, archaeologists have just unearthed the remains of two dozen people who were dismembered and beheaded after clashing with the ancient Maya 1400 years ago. The bodies were found in a cave, a hollowed out room originally used as a water reservoir.

“The observed hatchet marks on the cervical vertebra are a clear indication of decapitation,” say the scientists in a release.

The researchers don’t really know who the victims were, says National Geographic, but because the bodies were so well preserved, they know that it was both men and women who had lost their heads. The researchers float two theories, says Nat Geo: “The victims were likely rulers of nearby towns at war with Uxul, located in southern Mexico, or the dethroned rulers of the town itself.”

Though, “ome of them had jade inserts in their teeth, which we think means they were high-status members of the ruling class,” say the researchers.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Hankie Coated in Beheaded Louis XVI’s Blood Found in Dried Squash
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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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