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4,000 year old projectile points found in Mexico

Fifty kilometers north of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, near the beach where a group of rocks with more than 600 petroglyphs, known as Las Labradas, Mexican investigators discovered an archaeological site of the archaic epoch. In this site, they found 60 arrow and spear heads estimated to be from between 2500 – 1000 BC, this means they were made more than 4000 years ago.

4,000 year old projectile points found in Mexico
Archaeologists have found 60 projectile points and other stone artifacts in northwest Mexico, particularly in the north of Nayarit, whose antiquity is estimated to be between 2500-1000 BC [Credit: INAH]
This site is the one with the eldest human presence found in Sinaloa, the objects found in the site are of great importance to Mexican archaeology because “they will change the chronology of man’s occupations in the northwestern part of the country”, informed archaeologist Joel Santos Ramirez, from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH-Conaculta).

Joel Santos Ramirez, director of the investigation project in Las Labradas, indicated that part of the investigation (started since 2009) is to determine where the authors of the petroglyph lived. To date, they have registered 22 places close to the group of rocks with evidence of human presence. Archaeologists studied four of these places between 2010 and 2012: La Flor del Oceano, La Puntilla, Lomas del Mar and Arrollo La Lomita.

Before these discoveries, they had only found tools belonging to the Archaic Middle in the northwest of Mexico, particularly in the north of Nayarit, in a site that was excavated by Joseph Mountjoy in 1972, who dated the tools to 2000 BC.

Joel Santos said the Archaic period – which is divided into three great epochs: Early, Middle and Late– has been studied, basically, by the arrow and spear heads found in the surface, rocks, caves or the desert: however “it’s very difficult to find them in earth’s stratum, in archaeological excavations, like finding a needle in the hay, now we have discovered sufficient material to confirm that the archaic tools in La Flor del Oceano are worthwile”.

In addition to the remains of the Middle Archaic, Santos Ramirez and his team discovered in La Flor del Oceano pre Hispanic remains of the Aztatlan era (750 – 1250 AD), consistent with the remains of ceramic objects and a multiple burial of five individuals: two male adults, two young adults (female and male) and a seemingly female infant. All of them, except for the infant have “V” shaped dental deformations and two of them have cranium deformations, these are cultural practices that were common among the pre Hispanic people of Sinaloa.

Because of the physical and spatial characteristics of the burial, Joel Santos proposes that the finding is a collective burial made by a local pre Hispanic culture located chronologically in west Aztatlan and the north of Mexico, between the years 750 to 1250 AD, contemporary to the Post Classic Mesoamerican period. This culture has been denominated Chicayota given its proximity to a stream that bears the same name.

Among the ceramic pieces discovered, Joel Santos emphasized a partially complete piece, decorated with concentric circles which are one of the symbolic elements present in the petroglyphs of Las Labradas, these rocks being the starting point for the investigations in Flor del Oceano and the other 21 sites.

However, it’s still difficult to associate the petroglyphs of Las Labradas with the settlements that are being investigated and the Chicayota culture or other elder settlers of Sinaloa, which is why there must be a scientific relation amongst these.

Another site that was excavated between 2010 and 2012 was La Puntilla. La Puntilla is located in front of La Flor del Oceano, around an estuary; there they found archaeological evidence from the Aztatlan period (750-1250 AD), mainly ceramic pieces.

In Lomas del Mar they discovered ceramic pieces and shell waste, also from the Aztatlan period; meanwhile in Arroyo La Lomita, they discovered ceramic pieces in the surface associated to petroglyphs whose antiquity has not yet been defined. The excavations here will continue all through December.

Source: INAH via Art Daily [December 30, 2012]

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