February 13, 2018

A 2000 Year Old Mummified Macaw Uncovered in Northern Mexico

INAH has uncovered a 2000 year old mummified macaw at a cave at Avendaños ejido in San Francisco de Borja, in Chihuahua. This is the oldest example of this type of macaw ever found in Northern Mexico or the Southwest. INAH is joined in ancient macaw research by Penn State University and the University of Oklahoma. Strontium and DNA research is being done on all the ancient macaws in the Southwest, and now the Avendanos Cave, to determine how many of the macaws came from Paquime and how many from the rest of Mesoamerica.

So far, 670 skeletal remains of macaws have been found along with feathers of macaws. 504 came from Paquime as trade items. The rest were from the ancient Southwest sites of Chaco, Grasshopper, Turkey Creek, Salado, Gila Cliff, Kiet Siel, Sinagua-Wupatki, Pueblo Grande and Snaketown, among others. 90% are red macaws and 10% are military macaws. The newly discovered macaw is the first to be found in Mexico outside of Paquime. The macaw trade spanned 800 CE-1400 CE. The newly discovered macaw may be 800 years earlier than any ancient trade macaws that have been found in the Southwest or Mexico, if confirmed by carbon-14 dating.

INAH has the report here (in Spanish) with a great slide show of the cave, and the artifacts in the cave (click on the small green camera icon to see the slides).

Mike Ruggeri’s Aztlan World

Mike Ruggeri’s Casas Grandes World Magazine

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