When archaeologists excavated the ancient burial site “El Cementerio,” near the Mexican village of Onavas, they made a shocking discovery. They unearthed 25 skulls, 13 of which were elongated and pointy at the back and did not look entirely human.
The burial site was first discovered by residents of the small village of Onavas back in 1999 when work was being carried out to build an irrigation system. It is the first pre-Hispanic cemetery found in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, and dates back around 1,000 years.
Out of the 25 individuals unearthed, 17 of them were children between 5 months and 16 years of age and only 1 was female. The children had no signs of disease or trauma indicating a cause of death.
Experts have theorized that the deformity of the skulls were intentionally produced through the ritual of head flattening, otherwise called cranial deformation, in which the skull is compressed between two wooden boards from childhood. Although the practice was common among pre-Hispanic populations of Mesoamerica and western Mexico, it is the first time that elongated skulls have been found in north of Mexico.
The earliest examples of cranial deformation extend back to the Neolithic Era approximately 10,000 years ago, and the practice has existed among many cultures around the world. The reason for the practice, however, is less clear. Some tribes have reported that they believe that those with elongated heads have greater intelligence. Other reasons have included enhanced beauty, increased social standing, or making them look fierce in war.
Brien Foerster, author and expert on elongated skulls, has presented some of the most spectacular research on the subject. He has found that while most skulls show clear signs of deliberate cranial deformation, there are a percentage of skulls – those found in Paracus, Peru – which are anatomically different and which cannot be explained by practices of head flattening. These skulls, he said, have a cranial volume that is 25% larger than conventional human skulls (cranial deformation does not increase volume), and which weigh 60% more. Brien Foerster outlines further differences: “they contain two small holes in the back of the skull, perpendicular to the cranial suture present in the parietal plate of the skull. Every normal human skull is composed of 3 major bone plates; the frontal plate, which ends at the upper part of the forehead, and the 2 parietal plates which lie behind this, intersecting the frontal plate making a “T” shape. The holes are thought by Lloyd to be natural; every human jaw has a small hole on either side which is for nerves and blood vessels to exit and feed the tissue there; these 2 holes at the back of the skull may perform the same function for the elongated skull. The other factor is that there is only one parietal plate, where there should be two.”
These findings are quite dramatic, yet strangely unreported in mainstream publications and media reports.
By April Holloway