Ossuary burial of cremated human remains from Copa�n, Honduras

Date

1986

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Abstract

An osteological analysis of the Gordon Cave Site population from Copan, Honduras is the first one conducted on an ossuary of cremated bone. Analysis has revealed the presence of a minimum of twenty-two adults and forty-six juveniles. All age cohorts and both sexes are present indicating that this is a representative sample of the population. No evidence of ranking was found in the sample. Cremation is practiced on all adults and all juveniles over age five. The demographic profile has the characteristics of a total population. Although the relationship of Gordon Cave to Copan is unclear, the health status of Gordon Cave was better than that of Copan. Individuals exhibit none of the effects of crowding or nutritional stress. There are indications that this was either a very early or a very late pre-columbian population. Two types of cremation exist in the sample, dry bone and whole body, signifying that some of the bodies were curated before burning.

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Keywords

Burials, Honduras, Copán Site, Cremation, Mayas, Funeral customs and rites, Human remains (Archaeology)

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