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Life and death at Teposcolula Yucundaa

Life and Death at Teposcolula Yucundaa: Mortuary, Archaeogenetic, and Isotopic Investigations of the Early Colonial Period in Mexico

Christina Warinner1, Nelly Robles Garcia2, Ronald Spores3, Noreen Tuross4

1Institute of Anatomy, University of Zürich, Winterthurestr. 190, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland

2Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History, Insurgentes Sur No. 421, Colonia Hipódromo, México D.F. CP 06100, Mexico

3Professor Emeritus, Vanderbilt University, USA

4Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 11 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Two mid-16th century cemeteries are investigated at the Mixtec site of Teposcolula Yucundaa and shown to be related to the unidentified pandemic of 1545-1550. Through archaeogenetic and oxygen stable isotope analysis it is shown that the interred individuals are local Mixtecs, and mortuary analysis sheds light on both Christian and traditional religious practices at the site. Mitochondrial haplogroup frequencies do not support population bottlenecking during the 16th century epidemic period, and carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis does not support a shift away from maize consumption, despite evidence for increased wheat production at the site.