1,600-Year-Old Elongated Skull with Stone-Encrusted Teeth Found in Mexico Ruins
The 1600-year-old skeleton of an upper-class woman whose skull was purposely deformed and teeth encrusted with mineral stones was found by archeologists near ancient Teotihuacan ruins of Mexico.
When she died, between the ages of 35 and 40, the woman was buried with 19 jars that served as offerings, the National Anthropology and History Institute said.
The institute said in a statement that her cranium had been elongated by being compressed in a “very extreme” manner, a technique commonly used in the southern part of Mesoamerica, not the central region where she was found.
Her teeth contained two round pyrite stones, which were encrusted in her top front teeth.
This was a practice that was used among the nobility in Maya regions in southern Mexico and Central America.
The Maya are credited with being the masters of cosmetic dentistry as they were known to decorate teeth by embedding them with precious stones or by carving notches and grooves into them.
Tiny holes were chipped out of teeth and ornamental stones—including jade—were attached with an adhesive made out of natural resins, such as plant sap, which was mixed with other chemicals and crushed bones.
The dentists likely had a sophisticated knowledge of tooth anatomy because they knew how to drill into teeth without hitting the pulp inside.
Last year, archaeologists discovered liquid mercury in a subterranean tunnel beneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent in Teotihuacan, which may represent an underworld river that leads the way to a Royal tomb or tombs.
The remains of the kings of Teotihuacan, some of the most powerful rulers of the pre-Hispanic world, have never been found.
Such a discovery would be monumental as it would unravel many of the mysteries surrounding this ancient civilization.
The enigmatic pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan, some 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Mexico City, thrived between the first and eighth centuries, after which its civilization vanished.
Its two majestic Sun and Moon pyramids are major tourist attractions.