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They record twelve tombs between 6,000 and 1,300 years old

Argentine researchers who study burial methodologies in pre-Hispanic populations, recorded twelve tombs between 6,000 and 1,300 years old in the Cajon Valley, in the province of Catamarca, which belong to communities that inhabited more than 2,000 years in that region.

“We registered twelve tombs in total, of which the majority correspond to fortuitous finds, so the residents who find the remains notify us so that we carry out the archaeological rescue, which usually happens after the rainy season, when they arrive bones to the surface, « he explained Leticia Cortés, Doctor in Archeology.

The recorded tombs present various chronologies, from 6,000 years to about 1,300informed Cortés, who studies burial methodologies in the prehispanic populations, of which no written record is known.

The expert explained that « there was a great variability of ways of burying, in individual or collective graves » and also argued that « the posture of the bodies varies: there are some who are ‘hyperflexed’, such as squatting, with the shoulders touching the knees, some are extended and others disjointed and mixed ”.

The researcher specified that “Many times people lived with their dead in everyday life”, noting that « they were buried in the same courtyard where they cooked, made pots or carved stones. »

One of the tombs found gained popularity because in it “a copper mask was found, which is the oldest copper-made object of all Andes, is 3,000 years old and was found in that town of The Quebrada, of Cajon Valley”, Highlighted Cortés.

This anthropomorphic mask (that is, in the shape of a human face) was found in a collective burial of at least fourteen people between adults of both sexes and children, whose remains were totally disarticulated and mixed in a tomb that had only a wall of flat stones arranged on one side.

Through analysis of Ancient DNA, in charge of the doctor Maria Laura Parolin (Cenpat-Conicet), were able to corroborate that two of the individuals found share genetic material, which “could support us that they buried a community of people who perhaps
they were related, ”the researchers pointed out.

The study was started more than fifteen years ago by a team of Conicet researchers, directed by the doctor in Archeology María Cristina Scattolin, who carries out excavation tasks in that Catamarca locality to learn about the modes of burial and death ceremonies, in tombs that are up to 6,000 years old.