Discovery confirms partial use of bricks in ancient Maya settlements

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Washington, August 12 (ANI): Archaeologists have discovered remains of prehispanic domestic architecture and an offering of ceramic and marine elements at Jonuta Archaeological Zone, in Tabasco, Mexico, a discovery that confirms partial use of bricks in ancient Maya settlements at Tabasco plain near 850 AD.

According to a report in www.artdaily.org, the exploration that lead to the finding was conducted by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) as part of the first field season of Jonuta Archaeological Project 2009.

Four parallel masonry walls were found on the site located at the right bank of Usumacinta River, built with little thin bricks, as well as 2 small slabs placed vertically in front of the last wall, as a kind of stelae, made out of powdered shell mortar.

"These slabs are peculiar because they were not manufactured with clay and are not stone-carved; they are blocks made out of shell mortar, unique in their context," said Miriam Gallegos Gomora, Tabasco INAH Center researcher in charge of the project.

"This finding shows that Jonuta population was in initial phases of brick use in architecture, unlike sites as Comalcalco, where well-achieved masonry was used during the last stage," she added.

There was no information about local architecture, and the discovery will allow studying special distribution in Maya constructions at low flood terrains, pointed out the archaeologist.

Sea shells and other marine objects, bone awls, obsidian knives and small animals' bones were found around architectural vestiges, which suggest a ritual was practiced in front of the building.

Five figurines and 2 vessels were found as well, associated to an eroded soil monticule.

"Only 2 figurines were complete, both represent female supplicants by the arms up position and clothing," said Gomora.

The important ceramic collection recovered will allow redefining the sequence established in 1979, which will enrich knowledge regarding local earthenware manufacture process. (ANI)

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