Pre-Hispanic artifacts slow down completion of power plant conversion
The project, Terminal de Gas Natural Licuado Manzanillo (TGNLM), or Liquified Natural Gas Project was temporarily halted when excavations to lay pipeline uncovered numerous pre-Hispanic artifacts.
The TGNLM project consists of the construction of a new port terminal, storage tanks to hold liquefied natural gas (LNG), a facility to regasify the LNG, to modernize the thermoelectric plant by converting it to LNG, and finally, to ensure the supply of clean fuel for future thermoelectric plants in the country.
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The staff of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), with headquarters in Colima, was asked to conduct inspections to determine the presence or absence of archaeological relics on the site. They determined, upon careful excavation, that the site was indeed an Indian burial ground, dating from 400 to 900 A.D.
The burial mound will provide information on the culture of the people, and their funeral traditions. The data recovered on the forms of burial will also help to reconstruct of some aspects of the life of the people who lived in this area.
During the months of excavation 350 human burials were located. The tombs contained some very unusual tributes to the departed. As funeral offerings, various vessels (pots, jugs, bowls) were placed next to the head of the deceased, meant to go with the loved one on his journey into the afterlife. In this case, "zoomorphs," (vessels in the shape of animals) were found, the most frequent in the shape of dogs.
Also, female and male figurines were found placed in the chest cavity of the body, as well as numerous body ornaments, such as necklaces and earrings. Much of the jewelry was quite intricate, made up of stones carved into zoomorphs, elaborate necklaces with animal teeth, polished stones, or painted ceramics.
There was also evidence of a class structure, as some of the bodies were buried with many things, including musical instruments and fine jewelry while others had only a simple tribute. Also found in the graves were the remains of animals, mostly dogs, indicating a strong tie between the person and his canine companion.
The main element of the burial mound was located in the central part of the excavation. It consisted of a structure built of stone slabs, built in two phases. The oldest one corresponds to the period Comala (200-400 A.D.), and the second, covers the previous one and corresponds to the period Armeria (700-900 A.D.).
Currently, in order to obtain more data on pre-Hispanic life of the "Laguna de Cuyutlán" the archeologists are are carrying out the analysis of the pottery and the human and animal remains. They will add this new data to the current data, which will give a more complete picture of life 1,500 years ago.
The regasification facility was completed July 15, 2011. According to reports the power plant conversion will be completed by the end of this summer 2011.