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Thursday, October 25
by Jessica E. Saraceni
October 25, 2012

Historical documents indicate that the Otomí inhabitants of Xaltocan, which is located in central Mexico, abandoned their homes in the mid-fifteenth century following a military defeat, and were then replaced by the Aztecs. Archaeological evidence from the site, however, suggests that the Otomí were assimilated into the new population. A new study of mitochondrial DNA, taken from a small sample of human remains at the site, proposes that the people living at the site before the conquest were biologically different from those living there after the conquest, but perhaps they were not a completely new group of people. “Our results show that the Otomí inhabitants of the sampled houses were not maternally related to the Aztec-era inhabitants of those houses, but we need to study biparentally inherited genetic markers and other households at Xaltocan before we can say whether the original Otomí population was completely replaced or not,” said Jaime Mata-Miguez of the University of Texas at Austin.

A large Hindu temple  dating to the fourteenth century was found on the island of Bali during a construction project. Pottery and stone plates were also uncovered. “This discovery is the largest stone temple found in Bali,” said Wayan Suantika of the Denpasar Archaeology Agency.

Achim Bayer, an expert in Buddhism at South Korea’s Dongguk University, has responded to a request from scientists for cultural information about a Buddha statue in a private collection that was in the news last month. They had analyzed the composition of the statue and found that it was carved from a meteorite  from the Siberia-Mongolia border. Bayer says that statue is probably a twentieth-century reproduction. He notes that the clothing and grooming of the supposed deity does not resemble historic Tibetan and Mongolian fashions.

In 1066, some 10,000 soldiers are thought to have been killed during the Battle of Hastings, when the invading William the Conqueror defeated England’s King Harold. But no human remains or artifacts have ever been found in the area tradition holds as the location of the epic battle. Historian John Grehan thinks the fighting took place about a mile away, on a steep hill similar to the hill mentioned in historic documents. There’s also a ditch at the base of this hill, known as Caldbec Hill, where he thinks the fallen may have been buried in a mass grave. “The evidence pointing towards Caldbec Hill as the scene of the battle is, at present, circumstantial, but it is still more than exists for the current Battle Abbey site,” he said. Grehan is calling for an archaeological investigation of the ditch.

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