A disturbing find… but not that unusual it seems.
The burial ground consists of 25 individuals; 13 have intentional cranial deformation and five also have dental mutilation, cultural practices which are similar to those of pre-Hispanic groups in southern Sinaloa and northern Nayarit, but until now, have not been seen in Sonora.
For archaeologists, the discovery is exciting new evidence of cranial deformation, something which has not been recorded before in the Sonora cultural groups.
“This unique find shows a mix of traditions from different groups of northern Mexico. The use of ornaments made from sea shells from the Gulf of California had never been found before in Sonoran territory and this discovery extends the limit of influence of Mesoamerican peoples farther north than has been previously recorded,” said archaeologist Cristina Garcia Moreno, director of the research project.
The archaeologist said that, “Cranial deformation in Mesoamerican cultures was used to differentiate one social group from another and for ritual purposes, while the dental mutilation in cultures such as the Nayarit was seen as a rite of passage into adolescence. This is confirmed by the findings at the Sonora cemetery where the five bodies with dental mutilation are all over 12 years in age.”
The absolutely horrendous conspiracy-mongering site beforeitsnews.com titles this an “Mass Alien Grave?” (Yeah, they don’t even do grammar correctly.)
But cranial deformation was achieved by restricting children’s heads while they were still growing. Weird as it looks to us now, it was an aesthetic process, and can be seen in many pieces of Classic Maya art.
I checked with Dr. Jeb Card, Mesoamerican archaeologist, Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Miami University, who said this is a reputable story. The INAH is the Instituto Nacional de Historia y Arqueologia, a federal department in Mexico. The main point of this news story, he noted, is how far north it is. “Mesoamerica is generally defined as ending at the southern edge of Mexico’s great northern desert. This means the northern third or more of the country is considered something else culturally. Finding not just random artifacts, but either aesthetic practices or actual Mesoamericans this far north, is interesting. Cranial deformation was big in Peru too, especially in the south near Nazca. It was also practiced, but not as commonly or as extremely, in parts of North America.”