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

A MIRACLE? Virgin Mary statue with single red tear sparks mass pilgrimage Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Images of a Virgin Mary statue with a single red 'tear' streaming down her face has spread rampant through social media prompting hundreds of pilgrims to visit the statue in Columbia. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The statue located in Floridablanca, Columbia is ... continue reading


Venezuela's collapse is a warning to Americans enamored with socialism Watch

Image of Socialism is a quick way to go hungry.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The world is hardly paying attention, but the nation of Venezuela is in full-collapse. Its economy has imploded, and its politics are in turmoil. The nation is beset with shortages of critical goods, and the beer supply has run out. Soldiers patrol the streets, tasked ... continue reading


EQUALITY: Sex-crazed Olympians will receive and use 350,000 male condoms and 100,000 female condoms! Watch

Image of Olympic athletes have been encouraged to practice safe sex in Rio de Janeiro (Sify).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In a shocking move, Olympic organizers have decided to distribute 450,000 condoms to athletes participating in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics this year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Under the ruse of "equality," the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has decided ... continue reading


Prayer and hugging banned in Colombia Watch

Image of Colombia stuns the world when it announces a prayer and hugging ban (docakilah/Wordpress).

By Walter SŠnchez Silva (CNA)

In what's been labeled an "absurd" move, a judge in Colombia has banned prayer and "fraternal hugs" at the start of Cartagena city council sessions as well as local educational institutions. Cartagena, Colombia (CNA) - The ban on civic prayer - as well as the baffling ... continue reading


Student discovers lost Mayan city, but archaeologists insist it's not there. Isn't that the point of a lost city? Watch

Image of William Gadoury, thought he discovered a lost Mayan city, but archaeologists say no.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The story of a teen who found a lost Maya city may not be so remarkable after all, as experts studying the claim find that it doesn't hold up under scrutiny. While the teen certainly had good intentions, his lost city may be nothing more than fallow fields. LOS ... continue reading


'El Chapo' transferred - Will he escape again? Watch

Image of El Chapo has been transferred to a prison in Juarez, near the US border (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Notorious drug lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán has been transferred from Altiplano, a maximum-security prison in Central Mexico, to a prison in Ciudad Juarez. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to CNN, a senior Mexican law enforcement source stated, "Due to ... continue reading


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 Fern√°ndez de Kirchner has been accused of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars into oversea accounts. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Former president Fern√°ndez 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


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

  • :-D MILLENNIALS REJOICE! New emoji Bible translation is coming!
  • $3,600,000,000,000: the price to repair America
  • States revolt, 11 sue to block disruptive Obama restroom edict, ...
  • Daily Reading for Saturday, May 28th, 2016 HD Video
  • Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta HD Video
  • St. Augustine of Canterbury: Saint of the Day for Friday, May 27, 2016
  • Daily Readings for Friday, May 27, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 14:18-20
18 Melchizedek king of Salem brought bread and wine; he was a priest of ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 110:1, 2, 3, 4
1 [Of David Psalm] Yahweh declared to my Lord, 'Take your seat at my ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:11-17
11 But the crowds got to know and they went after him. He made them ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 11:23-26
23 For the tradition I received from the Lord and also handed on to you ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 26th, 2016 Image

St. Philip Neri
May 26: If one had to choose one saint who showed the ... Read More