Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/19/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Skull flattening and dental mutilation practiced by ancient tribes showed status

Whenever they turn up in an archaeological dig in Mexico, it's an almost alien, other-worldly occurrence. The skulls of prehistoric denizens who practiced the rite of "skull flattening" make today's tattoo and piercing enthusiasts look like shrinking violets in comparison.

Skull binding was typically carried out on infants as their skulls could be easily molded.

Skull binding was typically carried out on infants as their skulls could be easily molded.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/19/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: Mexico, skull flattening, body modification, binding, body art, status


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - One of these skulls, believed to be 1,000 years old, was discovered near the small Mexican village of Onavas. The discovery is believed to be the first in the region showing the practice of binding a skull.

"Cranial deformation in Mesoamerican cultures was used to differentiate one social group from another and for ritual purposes,' archaeologist director Cristina Garcia Moreno says.

Twenty-five individuals have been found in the burial ground; 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," Moreno says.

"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 YouTube video.

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

The dental mutilations 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," Moreno says.

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

The technique, also called "head binding" or "head flattening," the practice was usually done to signify group affiliation, or as a way to demonstrate social status.

The earliest account of cranial deformation dates to 400 B.C. in Hippocrates' description of the Macrocephali -- or "Long-heads." Neanderthals are also believed to have used the technique.

It was typically carried out on infants as their skulls could be easily molded. Wooden boards were applied to the infant's skull with pressure, typically starting at the age of about one month. The method was then repeated for the next six months.

The method was highly risky. Many of those with disfigured skulls apparently died young, proving just how dangerous it was.

"In this case, you cannot recognize any social differences because all the burials seem to have the same characteristics," Moreno says. "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."

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More Americas

Cinco de Mayo - What is the day really about? Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Cinco de Mayo is upon us, and while many believe it is Mexico's Independence Day, it actually is not. So, what is Cinco de Mayo and why has it become so biculturally popular? LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - "The significance of Cinco de Mayo is that it ... continue reading


Ecuador quake survivors share powerful stories of survival Watch

Image of The quake was the worst the Andean nation had seen in ten years (Paul Ochoa/Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated sections of Ecuador and left the death count at over 300 people. Over 2,000 destroyed buildings and ruined roads have been reported - and now survivors are sharing their harrowing experiences. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - As ... continue reading


Previous Argentina President accused of money laundering Watch

Image of Former President of Argentina accused of money laundering (1meee).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

After serving her country for eight years, former Argentina President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has been accused of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars into oversea accounts. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Former president Fernández de Kirchner has ... continue reading


Virgin Mary statue considered in notoriously secular Uruguay Watch

Image of Secular Uruguay debates whether to erect a Virgin Mary statue in a park (Shutterstock).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Uruguay is considered a secular country and is known for its refusal to condone religious beliefs of any kind - yet there exists a debate concerning the erection of a Virgin Mary statue. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Many in Uruguay stand on the country's ... continue reading


You won't believe what archaeologists recently uncovered in North America! Watch

Image of Were vikings in America before Columbus (Alamy)?

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Sarah Parcak and her team set off on a journey to North America, where they expected to uncover Viking relics beneath over 1,000 years' of soil. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Parcak used satellite images to search Northern America for irregularities in soil, each ... continue reading


Cuban paper accuses 'Negro Obama' of being dumb Watch

Image of Obama's visit to Cuba was a miserable failure and has been blasted in state media.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Cuban state media has criticized Obama, calling him a "negro" and accusing him of attempting to incite rebellion and disorder in the communist state. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The Cuban paper, Havana Tribune, has published a scathing article criticizing ... continue reading


Obama embarrasses nation, himself, in front of kids after suggesting communism is same as capitalism Watch

Image of If Obama really believes communism and capitalism are rational choices, then he should be kept at home until he's out of office to spare the rest of us national embarrassment.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

President Obama has made a downright dumb and embarrassing statement to Argentine youth during his visit to that country last week. The President claimed there was no difference between communism and capitalism. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - In a bizarre ... continue reading


SHOCKING: 'El Chapo' visited USA TWICE while hiding from authorities Watch

Image of Despite being hunted, 'El Chapo' Guzman allegedly made two visits to the United States in late 2015.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Mexican drug lord, "El Chapo" visited the USA twice following his escape from a Mexican prison last July. According to his daughter, Rosa Guzman Ortiz, the cartel leader used the opportunity to visit family members living in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


All Immigrants Welcome: 'It's a double standard for sure': America favors Cuba Watch

Image of United States shows favoritism toward Cubans (Jim Wyss).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

While the United States fights to keep migrants from entering its borders illegally, the Obama administration has pledged $1 million to provide Cubans trapped in Costa Rica with water, food, sanitation kits and temporary housing. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - One ... continue reading


Desperate parents seek help for 'possessed' teenage daughter Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A 15-year-old Honduran girl is being referred to as "possessed by the Devil" by her family and friends after she threatened to kill her mother and suffered from severely violent convulsions in church. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The unnamed girl was filmed on ... continue reading


All Americas News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Historical Jubilee documents on display!
  • 'The doctors were shocked': Conjoined twins share unusual bond
  • Daily Readings for Friday, May 06, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Monday, May 9th, 2016 HD Video
  • The gruesome way scientists are killing unborn babies in school ...
  • Daily Reading for Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 HD Video
  • Bl. Edward Jones: Saint of the Day for Friday, May 06, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 1:1-11
1 In my earlier work, Theophilus, I dealt with everything Jesus had done ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9
2 For Yahweh, the Most High, is glorious, the great king over all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:46-53
46 and he said to them, 'So it is written that the Christ would suffer ... Read More

Reading 2, Ephesians 1:17-23
17 May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 5th, 2016 Image

St. Hilary of Arles
May 5: Bishop of Arles, France, and friend and relative ... Read More