The incredible ‘alien’ skull discovered in a Mexican cemetery

The incredible ‘alien’ skull discovered in a Mexican cemetery

One of the 13 individuals with cranial deformation discovered in the cemetery in Mexico

It is an astonishing image that could have  come straight from the plot of a Ridley Scott movie.

Archaeologists in Mexico today revealed the  astonishing skull of a person suffering from a cranial  disfiguration.

Believed to be 1,000 years old, the find was  made near the small Mexican village of Onavas.

One of the 13 individuals with cranial deformation discovered in the cemetery in Mexico

One of the 13 individuals with cranial deformation  discovered in the cemetery in Mexico

The find is eerily similar to the Alien in Ridley Scott's film of the same name

The find is eerily similar to the Alien in Ridley  Scott’s film of the same name

The find is believed to be the first in the  region showing the practice of binding a skull to change its shape.

‘Cranial deformation in Mesoamerican cultures  was used to differentiate  one social group from another and for ritual  purposes,’ said  archaeologist Cristina Garcia Moreno, director of the research  project.

The burial ground consists of 25 individuals;  13 have intentional cranial deformation and five also have dental  mutilation.

‘This unique find shows a mix of traditions  from different groups of northern Mexico,’ said Moreno.

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,” she said in a video posted to  YouTube.

Some of the individuals were wearing  ornaments such as as bangles, nose  rings, earrings, pendants made from shells  found in the Gulf of  California, and one burial contained a turtle shell,  carefully placed  over the abdomen, according to Past Horizons.

The burial ground contained 25 individuals, and 13 of them have what researchers describe as 'intentional cranial deformation

The burial ground contained 25 individuals, and 13 of  them have what researchers describe as ‘intentional cranial  deformation

 

Dental disfigurements were also found is several of the skulls, which was believed to be a rite of passage

Dental disfigurements were also found is several of the  skulls, which was believed to be a rite of passage

Garcia Moreno has been conducting work on  behalf of Arizona State University with approval of the National Institute of  Anthropology and History (INAH).

The dental mutiliations discovered are  believed to be a rite of passage.

‘The dental mutilation in cultures such as  the Nayarit was seen as a rite of passage into adolescence,’ said  Moreno.

‘This is confirmed by the findings at the  Sonora cemetery where the five bodies with dental mutilation are all over 12  years in age.’

SKULL BINDING THROUGH  HISTORY

Painting by Paul Kane, showing a Chinookan child in the process of having its head flattened, and an adult after the process

Painting by Paul Kane, showing a Chinookan child in the  process of having its head flattened, and an adult after the process

Also known as head binding or head  flattening, the practice was usually done to signify group affiliation or as a  way to demonstrate social status.

The earliest written record of cranial  deformation dates to 400 BC in Hippocrates’ description of the Macrocephali or  Long-heads, although it is believed the Neanderthals may also have used the  technique.

It was typically carried out on infants as  their skulls could be easily moulded.

To create the effect, wooden boards were  applied to the skull with pressure, typically starting at the age of about one  month, and then for the next six months.

However, the method was extremely risky, and  in the latest find, researchers believe the fact many of those with disfigured  skulls died young show just how dangerous it was.

Three drawings of methods that were used by Maya peoples to shape a child's head

Three drawings of methods that were used by Maya peoples  to shape a child’s head

However, she continued,’In this case, you  cannot recognise any social differences because all the burials seem to have the  same characteristics.

‘Nor have we been able to determine why some  were wearing ornaments and others not, or why of the 25 skeletons only one was  female. “

The team say the number of infants and  pre-pubescents could show the high risks involved in the cranial deformation,  which can kill from the excessive force squeezing the skull.

The find has been dated to the year 943 CE  from samples taken from one of the individuals.

Many of the skulls showed signs of cranial or dental mutiliation

Many of the skulls showed signs of cranial or dental  mutiliation

 

Experts at the site, where 25 bodies were discovered

Experts at the site, where 25 bodies were  discovered

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Believed to be 1,000  years old, the find was made near the small Mexican village of  Onava

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