Archeologists in Mexico have made a gem of a discovery: a 1,600-year-old skeleton of what seems to have been a woman of means, whose apparently deformed skull held teeth encrusted with mineral stones.
The find was made near Mexico’s ancient ruins of Teotihuacán.
The skull is believed to be that of a woman between 35 and 40 years old. Near the bones were also 19 jars of “offerings,” according to Mexico's National Anthropology and History Institute.
In a statement, the Institute said the cranium had been elongated by compression, in a “very extreme manner” – a practice that was commonly employed in the southern part of Mexico, but not in the central region where the skeleton was found.
The scientists have nicknamed the skeleton “The Woman of Tlailotlacán,” after the area where it was discovered.
Encrusted in the skull’s top front teeth were two round pyrite stones, a technique used in Mayan regions of southern and Central America, and indicating she was probably a foreigner in Teotihuacán.
She additionally had a prosthetic lower tooth made of a serpentine stone.
The holy city of Teotihuacán ('the place where the gods were created') is located some 30 miles northeast of Mexico City. Built between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D., it is characterized by the vast size of its monuments – in particular, the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon – laid out on geometric and symbolic principles.