Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have unearthed the remains of a young human sacrifice adorned with a precious jade ring, in the ancient Maya city of El Tigre, located in the Mexican state of Campeche near the Rio Candelaria.
This significant discovery was made possible through ongoing excavations in collaboration with the Mayan Train Project for the Improvement of Archaeological Zones by the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Mexico.
El Tigre, also known as Itzamkanac, was a bustling city with trading and ceremonial significance. Its history dates back to the Middle Preclassic period, and it remained occupied until around 1557 CE following the Spanish conquest.
Diego Prieto Hernández, the head of the INAH, shared that El Tigre served as the political capital of the province of Acalán, attracting traders and playing a vital role in the region’s dynamics.
The recent discovery was found within Structure 1 of the El Tigre Archaeological Zone, situated west of the main pyramid temple. Inside a sacred vessel, archaeologists unearthed the remains of a young individual, positioned in a flexed posture, accompanied by a well-preserved and striking jade ring.
Jade held immense cultural and symbolic significance within Mesoamerican societies, representing religious beliefs, social hierarchy, and the cosmos. Its vibrant green hue was associated with life, death, and transcendence.
Diego Prieto Hernández emphasized that the jade ring found in the burial was likely worn by the young individual during the Late Classic period, which spans between CE 600 and 800. The findings deepen our understanding of the Mayan civilization’s intricate rituals and their connection to the spiritual world. The archaeological research at El Tigre contributes to a growing collection of 177 pre-Hispanic human burials across different areas.
The El Tigre Archaeological Zone boasts 15 large structures and numerous smaller ones, holding insights into the social structures, religious practices, and daily lives of ancient Mesoamerican communities. Plans are underway to welcome tourists and provide interpretation panels and signage to enrich visitors’ experience.
As the excavations continue, experts aim to extract precise details about the physical characteristics of the remains and uncover any associated items that could offer further information about Mesoamerican practices.