Spanish archaeologists have helped discover a skeleton thought to belong to a pre-Columbian indigenous hunter-gatherer society of which very little is known because they were nomads.
The find, which has been described as unique, took place after the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History (Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia; INAH) was told by a local that there was a skeleton in the Huizachal Canyon, located to the west of Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas.
The footage shows the archaeologists uncovering the human remains, said to belong to a “Janambre” person.
The Janambre were an indigenous people of Tamaulipas in north-eastern Mexico, with the INAH archaeologist saying: “There has been the discovery of a ‘subject’, which would allow us to know some of the physical characteristics, as well as part of the material culture of the janambres […].”
They said very little is known about the Janambre people because “as hunter-gatherer nomads, they used to use perishable goods on their way through the Sierra Madre Oriental.”
The Sierra Madre Oriental is a mountain range in north-eastern Mexico that is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges that form a nearly continuous chain of mountain ranges that form the north-to-south backbone of America.
Newsflash obtained a statement from the INAH on Wednesday, 3rd May, saying: “In a rocky shelter in the Huizachal Canyon, 30 kilometres [18.6 miles] from this city, a team of specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), a dependency of the Federal Ministry of Culture, rescued a skeleton that apparently corresponds to a ‘janambre’ individual, an ethnic group referred to in historical sources as a brave opponent of the colonisation of the northeast of New Spain, between the 17th and 18th centuries.”
The statement also said: “The experts from the INAH’s Tamaulipas Centre, Jesus Ernesto Velasco Gonzalez, Carlos Vanueth Perez Silva, Esteban Avalos Beltran and Hugo Fernandez Ramirez, carried out the archaeological rescue in the canyon, 800 metres long, in the vicinity of the Juan Capitan stream.”
They said that it was the first time they had found an individual who “could allow us to know some of the physical characteristics, as well as part of the material culture of the janambres, of whom very little is known archaeologically, because as nomadic hunters -gatherers used to use perishable goods on their way through the Sierra Madre Oriental.”
The INAH said the discovery was made after a local reported the skeleton to the authorities, with the statement saying: “A citizen report alerted the state representation of the INAH about the presence of an ancient skeleton in that site.
“The call demonstrates the responsibility that the population of Tamaulipas has been assuming in the care of their cultural heritage, which is also distributed in ecological niches such as El Huizachal, a protected natural area that represents a great paleontological, prehistoric and archaeological legacy of Mexico.”
Physical anthropologist Ernesto Velasco Gonzalez said that the human skeleton, found 18 centimetres (7 inches) below ground in the middle part of a natural shelter, is in relatively good condition.
The skeleton is thought to have belonged to “an adult male individual, between 35 and 40 years of age”.
The experts said the body, which belonged to a strong individual with big muscles and worn-out teeth, was most likely “covered with a bundle made of vegetable fibres and flexible wooden rods.”
They also reportedly found three arrowheads and the remains of carved items, indicating that the individual might have had a high social status.
The rocky shelter where the skeleton was found is located in an area of valleys between mountains that was reportedly a war frontier between native populations and the forces of Spanish Count Jose de Escandon y Helguera, the founder and first governor of the colony of Nuevo Santander.
Nuevo Santander extended from the Panuco River in the modern-day Mexican state of Tamaulipas to the Guadalupe River in the modern-day US state of Texas.