Who were the six young men whose skeletons were discovered face-down, hands bound, and covered with stones in a fissure on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria?
Evidence at the Caleta de Arriba site indicates that a traumatic death occurred centuries before the conquest of the archipelago off the coast of northwest Africa by the Spanish in the 15th century.
“They are not interred strictly speaking… The director of the excavation, Veronica Alberto, explained that this is a funerary practice that signifies extreme symbolic violence.
Gran Canaria archaeologists are perplexed
She told Reuters that the corpses had been forcibly deposited on the rocky surface and then pelted with stones. Some had bindings or restraints on their extremities.
Alberto added, “It could be an aboriginal burial, but due to the characteristics of the archaeological site, we must consider that they could be from other periods after the conquest, such as the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.”
Without artifacts to help establish the period, scientists are awaiting the results of bone radiocarbon dating experiments.
The archaeologists, who use safety harnesses to work on the precipitous terrain, stated that it was not a typical burial ground because they only discovered male remains. All six had muscular biceps, indicating that they participated in the same physical activity.