Santa Lucia Construction Unearths MammothsBy Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 05/22/2020 - 18:36
The bones and remains of as many as 60 mammoths have been found by construction workers building the new Felipe Ángeles International Airport in the Santa Lucía locality in the State of Mexico. Aristegui Noticias reports that INAH had informed authorities of the initial findings of these remains back in December, but that they can now reveal to the public of the full breadth of this ongoing discovery. The bones were found on the sites of what will become the airport’s control tower and main runway.
When preliminary work on the airport’s construction began in April 2019, INAH was expecting a degree of historic and prehistoric remains to be found during onsite excavations given Santa Lucia’s location within the ancient Xaltocan lakebed. They particularly expected to find pleistocene fauna which dates back to 35,000 BC (although the pleistocene epoch stretches from 2.59 million BC to 10,000 BC). In 2015 a complete mammoth skeleton in the nearby municipality of Tultepec was found during excavations for the installation of a new drainage network. That skeleton was mounted in a nearby local cultural space now widely known as the Mammoth Museum. Further diggings found 800 bones corresponding to a total of 14 mammoths. According to a report from Excelsior, human mammoth traps were also found, the first of their kind identified anywhere in the world, evidence of human societies in the central Mexico Basin going back as far as 15,000 BC. However, despite this precedent, INAH was not expecting this volume of work; one year ago, they placed three archeologists with 12 assistants each in Santa Lucia, but now that team has increased in size and now gathers a total of 31 archeologists, each with their own team, and three restorators. Additionally, human remains from the more recent Mesoamerican period have also been found, along with obsidian art and other archaeological remains.
INAH Archaeological Coordinator Pedro Francisco Sánchez Nava said in an interview with W Radio today that they expect the amount and volume of these findings to continue increasing as INAH will remain an integral part of the team doing daily work in the Santa Lucía worksite.