Last Rites for the Tipu Maya: Genetic Structuring in a by Keith P. Jacobi

By Keith P. Jacobi

Jacobi's groundbreaking osteology research uncovers the heritage of the Tipu Maya of Belize and their next touch with the Spanish conquistadores and missionaries.

Two cultures collided at Tipu, Belize, within the 1600s: that of the local Maya and that of the Spanish missionaries, who arrived with an time table of spiritual subjugation and, eventually, political keep an eye on. Combining old documentation with the result of an archaeological exploration of a Tipu cemetery, Keith Jacobi offers an account of the meshing of those cultures and the assimilation of Catholic practices by means of the Tipu.

In specific, Jacobi specializes in the dental is still recovered at this web site. A the teeth could be the final tangible proof of a residing creature, so enamel can exhibit information regarding an individual's overall healthiness, vitamin, beauty alteration, trauma, and genetic constitution. From the genetic constitution the researcher can examine information regarding an individual's dating to others in a specific inhabitants and among populations.

Jacobi's study unearths how those ecu and Spanish Catholic practices have been assimilated by means of the Tipu Maya and allows the 1st description of the customary attitudes towards loss of life and burial customs. via this research of Tipu Maya dentition alterations via time, Jacobi sheds gentle on Spanish intermarriage, Maya familial relationships, and the Tipu genetic affinity with different prehistoric, ancient, and glossy Maya.


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What would you do if someone were to leave a corpse in the place where you eat and sleep? And yet you leave the dead (animam mortuam) not where you eat and sleep but next to the body of Christ . . How can one visit the churches of God, the holy temples, when they are ¤lled with such a terrible odor? (Chrysostom 1718–1738, cited in Ariès 1981:30) However, the practice of placing burials away from the living gradually changed as this extreme fear of the dead lessened and Christians developed new attitudes toward death.

Understandably, the most sought-after resting place was within the church in a ®oor pit covered with a stone slab, and it was not uncommon for the wealthy to choose a crypt near the altar. Finally, an attempt was made to inter burials in orderly rows with proper head orientation, although overcrowding sometimes undermined this practice (Müller-Wille 1993). Ideally, bodies were oriented with heads to the west and feet to the east (Puckle 1926). “To the Christian the burial of bodies with their faces to the East is the outcome of the belief not only of the resurrection Catholic Burial Practices 27 of the body, but also that from the East shall come the ¤nal summons to Judgement” (Puckle 1926:149).

Thus, one might speculate that the unexcavated burials beneath the church are arranged according to baserria, possibly with some sex segregation in evidence. The foregoing examples illustrate the type of mortuary patterns that in®uenced the friars who came to Tipu. When the Catholic fathers set foot in the New World, they were well indoctrinated with the various practices shown in the examples: preparation of the body; alignment of graves in rows; speci¤c body orientation; burial placement, sometimes dictated by status, sex, age, or even land ownership; intrusion of burials caused by multiple interments; ad sanctos burials; interment beneath churches or chapels; interment in cemeteries; use of cof¤ns or cists; charnel pits; and separate treatment for suicides, baptized pagans, and unbaptized infants.

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