Ancient Massacre Discovered in New Mexico — Was It Genocide?
Seven skeletons discovered in a remote New Mexico canyon were victims of a brutal massacre that may have been part of an ancient campaign of genocide, archaeologists say. The victims—five adults, one child, and one infant—were members of an obscure native culture known as the Gallina, which occupied a small region of northwestern New Mexico around A.D. 1100 (see New Mexico map).
The culture suddenly vanished around 1275, as the last of its members either left the region or were “wiped out,” archaeologists say.
The newfound skeletons could provide crucial clues to the people’s mysterious fate, since scarcely more than a hundred Gallina remains have ever been found, said Tony Largaespada, an archaeologist with the U.S. Forest Service who made the discovery in 2005.
“Almost all of [the Gallina ever found] were murdered,” he said. “[Someone] was just killing them, case after case, every single time.”
Greg Nelson, a physical anthropologist at the University of Oregon, studied the newly unearthed skeletons and said they paint a macabre picture of violence inflicted on both sexes and all age groups.
“It’s pretty obvious that they were killed—they’re people who were wiped out,” he said.
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