Maya suffered after Spanish invasion

2012-11-15 09:00
This image shows a ceramic piece found in the royal tomb of Queen K'abel with her funerary regalia, at El Peru-Waka archaeological site in The Lagoon of the Tiger national park in the Mayan biosphere of the Peten department. (Proyecto Arqueologico El

This image shows a ceramic piece found in the royal tomb of Queen K'abel with her funerary regalia, at El Peru-Waka archaeological site in The Lagoon of the Tiger national park in the Mayan biosphere of the Peten department. (Proyecto Arqueologico El

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Cancún - Mexican archaeologists have unearthed 47 human bones that showed the hunger and misery that the Maya endured after the arrival of Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century.

The discovery in the resort town of Cancún included 30 bones belonging to children aged 3 to 6, with signs of malnutrition and acute anaemia, according to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

"The study indicates that there was a high level of infant mortality, probably deriving from the bad health and nutrition of a very impoverished population in the 16th century," said archaeologists Sandra Elizalde.

The bones were found in 11 residential-type structures found in the San Miguelito archaeological site.

Some of the offerings found next to the children's bones were very humble, including poorly-made pottery representative of an impoverished community, said Elizalde, who led the site's investigation.

The research confirmed that San Miguelito was the most important Maya settlement in the Cancún area, extending across 3km. The nearby archaeological site of El Rey was part of the same community.

Its location, at the entrance of a lagoon, made it an important trade centre for vessels carrying goods across the Yucatán peninsula. The population fished and farmed there, but a period of crisis followed the Spanish invasion.

The Spaniards settled in the west of the peninsula, cutting off vital trade routes to the eastern settlement of San Miguelito-El Rey, the archaeologists said.
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