Tuesday 22 June 2021

Skeleton of ‘Ripped’ Woman Who Lived 5,900 Years Ago Discovered in Nicaragua

The skeleton of a ‘muscular’ woman who lived 5,900 years ago and had bulging forearms has been discovered in what is now Nicaragua.

The excavated burial (top) of the ancient woman, next to an illustration (bottom) of how she was buried in a shallow oval pit about 5,900 years ago. Credit: Roksandic M. et al., Antiquity 2018; Courtesy of BICU-CIDCA

Archaeologists say the rare discovery is the oldest known burial in Lower Central America.

The ancient human remains were buried in a shell mound 2.3 meters  (7.5 feet) below the ground’s surface with her legs flexed towards her stomach.

- Advertisement -

According to scientists, the adult woman had ‘strongly developed musculature of the forearm, possibly from rowing or similar activities’. The analysis showed pronounced marking and ridges on the bone, indicating strong muscles.

Tropical places like Nicaragua don’t usually preserve human remains well but scientists believe that the shell mound under which the woman was buried reduced the acidity of the soil.

Mirjana Roksandic, a professor of anthropology at the University of Winnipeg in Canada, told LiveScience: ‘Ancient people created shell mounds for a number of reasons, including to bury their dead or to mark the landscape.’

(Top left) A map of Nicaragua, where the ancient woman’s remains were found; (bottom left) Monkey Point, the site of the archaeological dig; (right) a zoomed-in image of Monkey Point, showing the exact spot of the Angi site. Credit: Roksandic M. et al., Antiquity 2018; Figure by L.M. Viera Sanfiel from Imagery @2018 Data SIO, NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO, Landsat/Copernicus, Data LDEO-Columbia, NSF, NOAA

Professor Roksandic and her team had originally been studying the ancient people of Cuba but got a tip from an anthropologist that they should investigate the area, known as the Angi spot in Monkey Point, southern Nicaragua.

- Advertisement -

‘I was delighted and went there right away to visit the site and examine the burial,’ Professor Roksandic added.

The spot was originally excavated in the 1970s but the female remains weren’t found until recently.

After anthropologists located the skeleton, they got permission from the indigenous communities to continue their work.

The woman was uncovered in an oval pit on her back with both her arms by her side and her legs tucked in towards her stomach.

An analysis revealed that the woman was an adult, but not particularly old — likely between 25 and 40 years old. And she wasn’t that tall; the woman stood 4 feet, 11 inches (150 centimeters) tall, which is short by Northern American and Northern European standards, “but not by the standards of Central America or other Southern populations,” Roksandic noted.

Despite the woman’s small stature, she had “strongly developed musculature of the forearm — possibly from rowing or similar activities,” Roksandic said. Even today, local people are adept rowers.

A profile shot of the Angi burial. On the left is a photo taken during the excavation. On the right is a drawing of that photo, showing the different layers, as well as where the shells and body were buried. Credit: Roksandic M. et al., Antiquity 2018; Courtesy of BICU-CIDCA
- Advertisement -

“While we were in the village of Bankukuk Taik, [study co-researcher] Harly Duncan introduced us to a Rama elder who rowed that very day for 4 hours to visit family,” Roksandic said. “She was 82 years old. Kids as young as 9 rowed around Rama islands in a dugout.”

Moreover, like other people who eat a fair amount of shellfish, the woman had extensive wear on her teeth, Roksandic said.

Professor Roksandic says that little is known about the ancient indigenous cultures of lower Central America and that further study of the site is necessary.

Ancient people who bury the dead among shell mounds are often fishers, gatherers and horticulturalists, according to Professor Roksandic.

She said that it is not possible to ascertain the reason why the burial took place there or the particular significance of this woman.

The left radius (arm bone) of the ancient woman. Notice the pronounced markings on the bone, which suggest she was muscular. Credit: Roksandic M. et al., Antiquity 2018

The study concluded that the individual demonstrates the importance of the site for understanding the early history of lowland Central America and the urgent need for its protection and further evaluation.

In the anthropology world, time is of the essence, as Monkey Point will soon be affected by the construction of the Nicaraguan canal and other developmental projects, Roksandic said.

The woman’s remains are currently housed in the CIDCA Historical Cultural Museum of the Caribbean Coast, the researchers said. The local communities, which are working with anthropologists on how to preserve their heritage, will decide what happens to her next.

The study was published online in the December issue of the journal Antiquity.

Article originally appeared on Today Nicaragua and is republished here with permission.

- Advertisement -

FACT CHECK:
We strive for accuracy in its reports. But if you see something that doesn’t look right, send us an email. The Q reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it’s accuracy.

Q24N
Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

Related Articles

MOST READ

Nathalie Álvarez Mesén’s feature debut, Clara Sola, ready for the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight

Q ENTERTAINMENT (CINEUROPA) Nathalie Álvarez Mesén’s debut feature, Clara Sola, is ready to take part in this year’s Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film...

Fifth tropical wave precipitation will be heavier in the north of the country

QCOSTARICA - For this Wednesday, the arrival of the fifth tropical wave of the season is expected, thus reinforcing the rainy activity mainly to...

Cynthia Ann Telles named new U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica

QCOSTARICA - Today, U.S. President Joe Biden announced his nomination of Dr. Cynthia Ann Telles as United States ambassador to Costa Rica. According to the...

Construction companies that paid alleged bribes would be disqualified for ten years

QCOSTARICA - If it is proven in a final judgment that they did pay bribes to Conavi officials, several companies could be disqualified from...

New trends in coffee consumption challenge sector

QCOSTARICA - Changes in consumption habits in terms of times, types of preparation and specialties challenge the coffee sector. Most of the consumers in Costa...

Rainy afternoons and nights this week in most of the country

QCOSTARICA - Characteristic of the rainy season, we will see rain in the afternoons and nights in the Central Valley, the entire Pacific coast,...

Today’s Vehicle Restriction June 21: plates ending in 1 & 2 CANNOT circulate

Today, Monday, June 21, we are back to the two plates that cannot circulate, in today's case plates ending in 1 & 2 CANNOT...

“Caso Cochinilla”: Name arose when comparing parasite with hidden corruption

QCOSTARICA - On Monday, the Organismo de Investigacion Judicial (OIJ) moved to the raid, seize and arrest of their investigation into corruption of public...

The Best Sports To Play On A Beach

Costa Rica has some of the best beaches in the world. The coastline is blessed with golden sand, beautiful palm trees, and perfect blue...

WANT TO STAY UP TO DATE WITH THE LATEST!

Get our daily newsletter with the latest posts directly in your mailbox. Click on the subscribe and fill out the form. It's that simple!

Article originally appeared on Today Nicaragua and is republished here with permission.

Log In

Forgot password?

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.