They find the remains of a Purépecha cemetery in Michoacán

They find the remains of a Purépecha cemetery in Michoacán

In the Mexican state of Michoacán there is Angamuco, an ancient city of the purepecha culture. This settlement has been the subject of a large-scale investigation, which has lasted for seven years and has produced interesting results.

Among the most recent is a cemetery with the remains of 37 individuals, both children and adults and of both sexes. Chris Fisher, professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado, highlights the importance of discovery when it comes to a culture about which there has traditionally been little information.

The discovery of this mortuary complex gives us a unique perspective through which to examine changes in health, status and well-being during a period of rapid social change.Fisher says. This period coincides with the formation of the Purépecha Empire.

The key is to have discovered remains of a representative sample of society which can be dated; in this way, researchers will greatly expand our knowledge of this civilization. In addition, among the objects found in the cemetery are copper and bronze rattles, ceramic pots and other artifacts. It is estimated that the cemetery dates from the year 1,000-1,500.

The discovery also hints at the funeral practices of the Purépecha. The graves were found in a large square, where the traditional pyramid of this culture and large altars are also located. Many of the graves were not the appropriate size for a lying human, so the skeletons were bent at the waist or knees.

Cinthya Cárdenas, a bioarchaeologist at the Autonomous University of Yucatán (UADY), affirms that the remains show signs of trauma and pathologies, sometimes violent. This could indicate a situation of environmental change and social stratification.

The Purepecha lived in Mexico at the same time as the Aztecs and rivaled them; their culture is considered to be more advanced than that of the Aztecs in aspects such as metallurgy. Like these, the culture was destroyed after the Spanish conquest.

The study is a joint project of the University of Colorado and the Center for Mexican and Central American Studies (CEMCA), with the name “Legacies of Resilience: Archaeological Project of the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin", Or simply "Legacies”. The project began investigating Angamuco in 2007 and has already has documented more than 7,000 buildings. It is a city of great size and complexity, covering an area of ​​12 square kilometers.