During the excavation for a new airport around Mexico city a cemetery with the remains of 60 mammoth has been found, ancient proof of a natural event which exterminated the examples in a mass killing. Besides the animals there were also the rests of 15 men dating back to the pre-Colombian age, buried in the construction of the stopover nearby the giant animals.

Pedro Francisco Sánchez Nava, national coordinator for the Archaeological Science at INAH, explains that in that area, at the time in which the mammoth were still alive, there was the Xaltocan lake. Probably these animals got stuck in the mud, for some reason, and the hunters took advantage of the situation to slaughter them right on the spot.

The remains belong to Colombian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi), a species which existed through all the North America during the Pleistocene, starting from 2.6 millions of years ago all the way to 11,700 years ago. The discovery could allow the scientists to study the conditions of life of these animals, including details such as what they were eating, their bone diseases and their exact date of death.

The 15 human burials belong most likely to some farmers, hypothesis which comes from the funeral goods with which they were buried which include: pots,bowls and clay figures, from which the one of a dog stands out. The ceramic products found along with the skeletons suggest they were from a period included within 750 and 950 AD.

Around 10 km away from the excavation (6.2 miles) from the new airport there is another Pleistocenic treasure: two big wells full of mammoth bones dating back to 15,000 years ago, discovered by the archaeologist in November 2019.

Matteo Rubboli

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