1.700-year-old Spider Monkey Remains and Evidence of Diplomacy

Annual Spider Monkey Remains and Diplomatic Evidence
Annual Spider Monkey Remains and Diplomatic Evidence

Researchers now have new insights into the social-political ties between Teotihuacán and Mayan Native rulers, two historical powerhouses often thought of as exotic curiosities in pre-Hispanic Mexico.

Anthropological archaeologist Nawa Sugiyama of UC Riverside and a group of archaeologists and anthropologists working since 2015 at the Plaza of Columns Complex in Teotihuacán, Mexico, made the discovery. The carcasses of other creatures were found, along with thousands of Mayan-style fresco fragments and more than 14.000 pottery from a luxurious banquet. These artifacts date back more than 1.700 years.

The spider monkey is the earliest example of primate relocation, gift diplomacy, and incarceration between Teotihuacán and the Mayans. The journal PNAS published the details of the discovery. According to the study's lead author, Sugiyama, this discovery refutes earlier theories that the Mayan presence at Teotihuacán was limited to migrating communities and allows scholars to piece together evidence of high diplomatic interactions.

“People were traveling to Teotihuacán from all over the world to trade in goods, real estate and ideas.

It was a center of invention,” says Sugiyama, working with other scientists, including Professor Saburo Sugiyama, co-director of the project and professor at Arizona State University, and Courtney A. Hofman, a molecular anthropologist at the University of Oklahoma.

“Because we found the spider monkey, we were able to reassess the ties between Teotihuacán and the Maya elite. As seen in the mural, this dynamic space was brought to life by the spider monkey. It is exciting to reconstruct this living history.”

The life of this female spider monkey was studied using a multi-method archaeometric methodology that included radiocarbon dating, isotopes, ancient DNA, paleobotany and zooarchaeology. The animal was probably between five and eight years old when it died.

Along with the skeletal remains, a golden eagle and several rattlesnakes have been discovered, including unusual artifacts such as elegant green stone figurines carved from jade from Guatemala's Motagua Valley, numerous artifacts of seashells and snails, and ostentatious obsidian items such as knives and bullet points. surrounded. According to the study's authors, this is in line with evidence of live animal sacrifices used in state ceremonies found in votive caches of the Pyramid of the Moon and the Sun.

The upper and lower canines of the two teeth examined revealed that the spider monkey from Teotihuacán consumed corn and chili peppers, among other foods. The chemistry of the bones, which provides information about nutrition and habitat, indicates that it was in captivity for at least two years.

Before coming to Teotihuacán, it lived in a moist habitat and mostly consumed plants and roots.

According to Sugiyama, this discovery enables larger narratives to be reconstructed and an understanding of how these powerful, advanced societies cope with the social and political stresses that greatly reflect the world today. This is in addition to studying ancient rituals and unearthing historical fragments.

According to Sugiyama, this helps us understand diplomatic ideas and how urbanism flourished and failed. “Teotihuacán was an effective system for over 500 years; It is important in modern society to know its strengths and shortcomings as well as its past resilience. There are many parallels between then and now. Lessons from previous societies can be observed and imitated; They give us direction as we move forward.”

Source: phys.org/news




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