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L.I.S.A. Redaktion | 01/09/2019 | 285 Views | Movies by the Gerda Henkel Foundation |
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The Mass Grave of the Maya

A key piece | Episode 6

On the Dia de Muertos Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead with colourfully painted skulls and skeletons. Yet it’s not only for present-day cultures that death has a particular significance, as even in the times of the Maya people had a particular relationship with death and dying. This becomes clear at the mass grave in Uxul, where the remains of 25 men and two women were found. The skulls and lower jawbones can provide fascinating information about the lives of those who died, as Dr. Nicolaus Seefeld well knows. 

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

Alle Episoden (en)
Forschung im Maya Tiefland
Episode 1
12/05/2018
Die Grabungen
Episode 2
12/12/2018
Fundsituation
Episode 3
12/19/2018
Der Forensiker
Episode 4
12/26/2018
Gewaltdarstellungen
Episode 5
01/02/2019
Ein Schlüsselstück
Episode 6
01/09/2019
Kulturelles Umfeld
Episode 7
01/16/2019
Das Generalinterview mit Dr. Nicolaus Seefeld
Episode 8
01/23/2019

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