Thursday, August 27, 2009

What I did this week....

This is the burial that we came across in one of our excavation units. Don't know if it's male or female because the pelvis is missing, and can't estimate age because the skull with teeth weren't intact. This poor person's been through a lot though. The entire lower half of the body is missing (possibly cut by a large pit that was dug later), and there was a lot of compaction and fracturing of the bones. All that remains is part of the skull, an arm and hand, and several fractured ribs. There is also an animal burrow that runs underneath the body, and in the wall of this burrow we found a femur and several finger or toe bones, which may belong to the same individual.

Early Valdivia burial with shell inside the skull cavity (upper left of photo).

One interesting thing to note is the shell located inside the cranium (or where the cranium would have been if not for the actions of our neighborhood looter). It's impossible to know for sure, due to the damage done to the skull, but it's possible that this shell was inserted into the individual's mouth prior to burial.

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