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L.I.S.A. Redaktion | 12/26/2018 | 501 Views | Movies by the Gerda Henkel Foundation |
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The Mass Grave of the Maya

The Forensic Scientist | Episode 4

Research into the Mayan mass grave also addresses the question of how the victims died. Which weapons were used for the violent ritual of decapitation? What indications do we get here from the bones that Dr. Nicolaus Seefeld is investigating? In order to gain greater clarity, he brings forensic anthropologist Ricardo Ruiz to see his charnel house in Campeche. What do the traces on the bones indicate? It is meticulous, detailed work…

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The project
Although Mayan art of the classic period (250-900 C.E.) frequently includes explicit depictions of ritual violence (e.g. humiliations of prisoners and sacrifices), there has so far been almost no documentation of any physical evidence of these practices from archaeological findings. Many investigations prove that the classic Maya applied ritual violence most frequently in the context of martial conflicts. As part of the research project presented, Dr. Nicolaus Seefeld examines both the political and religious function of ritual violence in classic Mayan society. The key point of reference for this overriding question is the mass grave of Uxul, which he discovered, documented archaeologically, and analyzed from the physical-anthropological perspective in 2013 and 2014. This grave lies in a manmade hollow and contains the remains of 27 individuals. Examination of the bone material showed that virtually all the individuals were decapitated and dismembered. Furthermore, most of the long bones showed characteristic traces of cuts, which indicate that the flesh was scraped from the body parts before the remains were deposited in the grave.

Projektleitung
Dr. Nicolaus Seefeld

Redaktion
Peter Prestel

Kamera
Klaus Hernitschek

Schnitt 
Klaus Hernitschek

Gesamtkonzeption
Gisela Graichen und Peter Prestel

All episodes
Research in the Maya lowland
Episode 1
12/05/2018
The Excavations
Episode 2
12/12/2018
Discovery site
Episode 3
12/19/2018
The Forensic Scientist
Episode 4
12/26/2018
Episode 5
Episode 5
01/02/2019
A key piece
Episode 6
01/09/2019
Kulturelles Umfeld
Episode 7
01/16/2019
Episode 8
Episode 8
01/23/2019

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