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14 November 2003
Olmec bones found in Honduras?

Human bones found in southeastern Honduras may provide the first evidence that the ancient Olmec civilisation extended beyond the ‘Mesoamerican Corridor’ that reaches from Mexico to central Honduras, covering a larger area than previously thought. Olmec pottery has been discovered in the north of Honduras, within the Mesoamerican zone, dating back to 1600 BCE, but not human remains, according to Carmen Fajardo, of the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History. The latest find comprises four skulls, various bones and 10 plates dating back to 1500 BCE. The bones show a deformity of the skull that was characteristic of the Olmecs, who considered it a sign of beauty. The site, Cerro de las Cuevas de las Campanas mountain, 90 miles east of the capital Tegucigalpa and close to the border with Nicaragua, is outside of the Mesoamerican corridor and the main Olmec sphere of influence.
     Olmec culture is known as the mother culture of Mesoamerica. Originating in Mexico, it spread to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and parts of Honduras and provided the roots of many of the cultural and religious elements of the Aztecs, Mayans and other ancient civilisations. Southeastern Honduras was considered part of an intermediate area that included Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, which was influenced by the Andean culture. But: “It could be that there is a third cultural area we haven’t identified where the Mesoamerican and intermediate meet,” said Fajardo. “Our conclusions are so far preliminary. We still have to do carbon and DNA tests.”

Sources: Reuters via Yahoo News (11 November 2003)

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