for National Geographic News
April 9, 2008
An ancient burial site in Mexico contains evidence that Mixtec Indians conducted funerary rituals involving cremation as far back as 3,000 years ago.
The find represents the earliest known hints that Mixtecs used this burial practice, which was later reserved for Mixtec kings and Aztec emperors, according to researchers who excavated the site.
Evidence from the site also suggests that a class of elite leaders emerged among the Mixtecs as early as 1100 B.C.
(Related news: “Aztec Pyramid, Elite Graves Unearthed in Mexico City”[January 4, 2008].)
In addition, the burials hold clues that dogs were an important part of the diet of Mixtec elite.
“The Mixtec area is one area where civilization emerged,” said lead study author William Duncan, an anthropologist at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York. “This [burial ceremony] is one part of that emergence.”
Read the entire story here:http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080409-cremations.html