Found in Gran Canaria the first prehispanic tomb of a flexed corpse – La Provincia

Found in Gran Canaria the first prehispanic tomb of a flexed corpse - La Provincia


The Historical Heritage Unit of Cabildo of Gran Canaria has concluded an intervention carried out as a matter of urgency on the first pre-Hispanic tomb that has been found with the corpse flexed and dating more than 250 years before the Castilian conquest.

Specifically, the place, located in the vicinity of El Risco, in the municipality of Agaete, already it was object of intervention in October of 2018 by the archaeologists Marco Moreno, Verónica Alberto and Marta Alamón.

According to the Cabildo, the works have revealed their exceptional nature in the context of the funerary practices of the indigenous of the island known by the research community.

So, it's about first case documented in Gran Canaria in which the corpse is located inside the mortuary cavity completely flexed, away from any other archaeological example of burial hitherto known.

A male between 25 and 35 years old

In this way, the remains of a male between 25 and 35 years old who was included in a pit excavated in the rocky substrate in an unusual position: completely flexed and practically disposed upside down (prone-lateral position).

A position that would have been difficult to achieve had it not been tied the corpse before his burial, so the Cabildo recalled that the ancient Canaries, as a general rule, shrouded their deceased fully extended and with arms on both sides of the body, wrapping with shrouds of skin, plant tissue or the combination of both.

Once the body was placed inside, the pit was covered with stones and an outer ring with these same materials was lifted. The C14 test He has dated the death of this person between the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th century AD, that is, more than 250 years before the Castilian conquest of the island.

The terrain had been altered

Unfortunately, the alterations that this grave had suffered (the skull had been removed, for example) have prevented to obtain the complete information for its historical explanation.

However, the finding has led to the approach of some working hypothesis, since the team responsible for this intervention proposes that "it represents an exceptional situation in the field of funerary practices of the old Canarian people".

It is also the first documented case in which the corpse is completely flexed and practically upside down, which is achieved by tying the corpse to be introduced later into a narrow and shallow pit.

As its excavators point out, this type of exceptional body treatment formulas is often described in other populations as "the expression of a procedure loaded with a strong negative charge towards the deceased"

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