March 7th, 2012 by ejalbright
A artist’s reconstruction of a 13,000-year-old skeleton, via Vanguardia
A reconstructed skeleton believed to be 13,000 years old that was found in a sinkhole on the Yucatan Peninsula will be put on display at the new museum under construction near Chichen Itza.
Yucatan Governor Ivonne Ortega Pacheco announced yesterday that the skeleton known as “Mujer de las Palmas” (“Women of the Palms”) that was discovered in 2002 in an underwater cave near the town of Tulum on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula will become the centerpiece of the new Palacio de la Civilizacion Maya museum under construction near Chichen Itza.
According to physical anthropologists, the “Woman of the Palms” does not resemble the Maya, the indigenous people who populated Yucatan when the Spanish arrived more than 500 years ago. Nor does the reconstructed face from the skeleton appear to be a descendant of peoples from northeast Asia who are believed to have arrived in the Americas in ancient times over the Bering Strait land bridge. Instead the skeleton most closely resembles a woman Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, which could indicate aboriginal peoples may have arrived by boats or other means.
Governor Ortega Pacheco, who was in Berlin to promote tourism to Yucatan, said two other skeletons found on the Yucatan Peninsula will also be on display in the new museum, one of a man from 7,000 years ago, and another of a child believed to have died 1,600 years ago.
The museum, currently under construction in Yaxcaba, a few kilometers southwest from the ancient city of Chichen Itza, is scheduled to open in September. Another museum related to the Maya is under construction in Merida and will open around the same time.
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